Breathing techniques in vocal training can vary depending on different methodologies and singing styles, leading to some disagreement among experts. However, there are a few fundamental concepts that are commonly shared across teaching approaches. Read on to learn more about how to breathe while singing!
Embrace Low Breath Support
In many methodologies, this concept is referred to as diaphragmatic breathing or supporting the breath. To simplify it, it is generally advisable to maintain a low breath position when singing. This means allowing the breath to expand the stomach and lower ribs with each inhalation.
In contrast, a shallow breath causes the shoulders to rise and the upper chest to expand. This shallow breathing technique often leads to tension in the muscles surrounding the vocal tract, which can make singing more challenging.
To simplify this concept to its essence, focus on inhaling towards your stomach and keeping your shoulders and upper chest relaxed.
Cultivate Quiet Inhalation
Beginner singers often have a tendency to audibly “suck” in air when inhaling. Apart from being undesirable, this creates distracting sounds, particularly when using a microphone.
Developing a quiet inhalation is relatively straightforward with awareness and practice. Make it a habit to maintain soft and silent inhalations during your vocal performances.
Avoid Under-filling or Overfilling the Lungs
A common mistake among singers is either underfilling or overfilling their breaths.
Under-filling refers to not taking in a sufficiently deep breath for the phrase or section they are about to sing. This forces the muscles to tense in order to produce the desired sound. Prolonged periods of this can result in vocal fatigue or even potential damage.
On the other hand, overfilling the lungs creates excessive pressure. You can experience this by taking an exaggeratedly deep breath and holding it. The natural inclination is to release the excess air immediately.
It is important to note that singing rarely requires inhaling to maximum lung capacity. In fact, filling up to around 75% is often more than enough for most vocal lines. Good breathing technique emphasizes control rather than focusing solely on the amount of air inhaled.
While these three concepts provide a solid foundation for how to breathe while singing, they are merely a starting point. To delve deeper into breathing and other aspects of singing with one of Toronto’s premier vocal coaches, please contact us today!