Have you ever heard that some singers and performers collapsed on the stage and died while performing? Gasping for breath on the stage while singing your favorite tracks can be quite frustrating, humiliating, and even fatal. Experts have recommended breathing exercises for singing to train the muscles of the diaphragm, pharynx, and larynx. Whether you are singing as a hobby or a profession, you should learn how to engage in the best breathing exercises for singing because this vocal training will help you continue singing more excellent and better melodies without abusing your voice in any way. Moreover, it is disheartening that some persons breathe in air with the upper lungs instead of using the full-scale capacity of their lungs.
You will learn breathing techniques involving how to breathe correctly and control your breathing while singing for optimum effects. This is merely the mechanics of the human voice, and the American Academy of Otolaryngology has grouped these voice production systems into three main aspects, which are the lungs, voice box or trachea, and the throat, nose, mouth, and sinuses. Furthermore, the lungs are regarded as the power source, the voice known as a vibrator, and the others like mouth, nose, throat, and sinuses are known as resonator respectively.
Breathing from the Diaphragm
Breathing from this abdominal tissue is one of the best things to do and stay healthy while fulfilling your career objectives as a singer. The membrane is known as an inhalation device and the starting point of breathing as it inflates and deflates the lungs through its pumping mechanism thereby enhancing proper breathing.
As the diaphragm lowers, the body receives air using the nostrils and mouth by the dilation of the rib cage, thereby filling the lungs with the required airstream. On the other hand, if the diaphragm rises, the airstream will be released through the trachea by compressing the lungs and rib cage together. During the process of inhalation and exhalation, the passage of airstream through our windpipe empowers the vocal cords to produce the voice. If you want to experience greater voice support, ensure that about ninety percent of your inhalation must come from the diaphragm.
However, you may ask, how can someone breathe from the diaphragm? Experts have advised that proper inhalation must be done from the breathing mechanism, but the challenge is in regulating this involuntary activity effectively.
You can only regulate how you inhale and exhale air by the dilation and contraction of the diaphragm. You can also control the movement of your intercostal and abdominal muscles, but the following activities will help you to breathe from your diaphragm.
For proper biochemical and physiological functioning of the body, you should breathe in through your nose, and breathe out through your nostrils and mouth simultaneously. Another way to blow from the diaphragm is by inhaling deeply by using your lower lungs full-scale capacity. Again, try to reduce tension and pressure in your upper body, which is limiting you from producing good lyrics and vocals. Finally, maintain a proper or balanced posture by keeping your shoulders still and relaxed during inhalation.
Let us analyze some of the proper breathing exercises every singer needs for a comfortable and active singing lifestyle.
Reasons Why People Don’t Breathe from the Diaphragm
Most persons do not monitor the way they breathe in air. Some use their chest muscles in drawing in the air; others use the neck muscles while the majority of persons breathe in the air by merely moving their shoulders up and down.
A critical survey made by a group of professionals has postulated that some bad habits are the main reasons why most persons do not breathe from their diaphragmatic membranes such as: being in sitting positions for a long time, thereby making it difficult for breathing to take place from the diaphragm. Another condition is due to ailments and diseases or lack of quality exercises causing the inhalation device to be damaged too. Furthermore, smoking is another condition that can limit your chances of breathing from the membrane because it causes chronic bronchitis, which is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes resulting in the low pumping of air in and out of the lungs as the case may be. In the same vein, smoking may cause the lungs to lose their flexibility and elasticity, a condition regarded as emphysema. This situation renders the diaphragm and abdominal muscles incapable of proper inhalation and exhalation exercises.
Another significant reason why some persons don’t inhale from their diaphragm could be attributed to learning lousy breathing habits from others. If you can avoid all these contrary breathing lifestyles, you will surely regulate your breathing and control your voice while singing.
Breathing Exercises for Singing
Do you know that you can train and control your breathing pattern to improve the performance of your vocal organ while singing by merely breathing exercises? Although it is not easy to change any habit, your breathing pattern has a way of influencing your musical career as it determines your pitch, tone, voice, and volume. To enhance effectiveness as a musician, you should engage in quality breathing exercises and not just train your voice alone. After preparing your voice and you cannot control your breath very well, you will still not be able to produce sonorous vocal expressions and function effectively as a singer.
Here are several breathing exercises, which are ideal for musicians always to adopt and maintain their vocal organs.
Training for Vocal Stamina and Endurance and Right Singing Posture
This breathing exercise is aimed at training you on vocal stamina and endurance, how to subdue your upper body muscles, and maintaining the right singing posture accordingly. Although, this activity exerts much pressure on your muscles but is the proper training for your abdominal and diaphragmatic tissues.
Methods and Procedures
♣ Position yourself uprightly and stand with your legs parted to some extent from each other. Be in a comfortable and relaxed posture as much as possible just like you would be if you were performing on stage.
♣ Now, stretch your hands out and form a ‘T’ with it, as you maintain a relaxed posture.
♣ Keep your arms at a parallel level to your shoulders and take slow breaths.
♣ Take rapid breaths and check if you can continue lifting your arms and chest as you breathe up and down.
♣ At this stage, lift up two items of the same weight to your shoulders’ levels with both hands. Stand up straight and maintain your posture as you undergo the training again.
♣ Alternate the items quickly between both hands and continue lifting them up for as long as you can endure.
After this first day, make this exercise a routine and continue for some time. This physical training is relevant for handling the usual tendency to inhale using the muscles of the shoulder, neck, and chest, which does not give you a full-scale inhalation to perform adequately on the platform.
Exercising to Maintain Deeper Breaths
Exercising to maintain deeper breaths is by using slow breaths necessary to allow the right amount of air to enter into your vocal organs, thereby producing the required sounds or words you need. Practicing slow breathing is ideal for singers as it uses the proper muscles like diaphragmatic and abdominal muscles and other organs responsible for inhalation to make your breath more naturally and less stressful as you engage in this exercise and sing subsequently.
On the other hand, quick breaths are shallow, superficial, and experienced by the muscles of the chest. You will employ a lot of effort to take a pure natural inspiration, and this type of breathing is complicated and stresses your voice easily, especially when you are singing or performing on the stage. In fact, it is a situation you don’t want to experience at all as a music artist.
Methods and Procedures
♣ Stand upright with both legs spread out slightly and relax comfortably as you will be on the platform while singing.
♣ With your right pointer finger placed on top of your right nostril, breathe in slowly and exhale gently from the other nose. Then, open the closed your nose. Repeat this process several times before changing to the work on the other one as much as possible and in like manner as the first nostril. The reason for closing one of the noses is that the diaphragm is stimulated to work if one nose is blocked or stuffed from breathing normally.
♣ You can practice deeper breaths by closing your lips in a way as to form a little opening like an ‘O.’ Just as if you are sipping with a straw. Then, try to breathe in and out using your mouth. Draw in the air into your slightly opened mouth with force, and it will produce a hissing or whispering sound but breathe out slowly as you create a less sound.
However, maintaining a deeper breath through this exercise requires much flexibility and can only be done by using the muscles in your abdomen and diaphragm simultaneously.
Training for a More Flexible Diaphragm
Have you performed a song or music that involves more paces and steps or other rigorous techniques? If you are presenting the part of a song involving more rhythms and levels, you will understand that you tend to breathe more rapidly and in most cases, you will be gasping for breath. Nevertheless, we want to introduce you to this exercise because it will help you to control your voice and manage your breath in a way that you will avoid much strain and pain during your performances. However, try to maintain consciousness as you undergo this exercise.
Methods and Procedures
♣ Lay down on your back and raise your knees up, and put your hands on your stomach.
♣ Now begin to draw in air slowly and gradually from your nostrils into your lower lungs until the respiratory tract is filled with air.
♣ After this, breathe out the air by forcefully releasing the airstream intermittently as you clench your teeth and contract the muscles of your throat. This trapped airstream will be making a jerky and bouncy hissing sound as you exhale from your mouth.
♣ As you continue forcing more air out of your mouth, the bouncy and jerky sound will increase.
♣ While this is going on, you will begin to feel heaviness and uneasiness as the pressure in your abdominal area increases. Then, your voice will get weak and tired.
This physical training is vital if you desire to maintain a tighter and firmer breath control and excel in your career as a music artiste. Moreover, you can combine this and any other exercise for better and more significant outcome. You can also use this training to prepare yourself on how to handle those lingering crescendos and climaxes that appear as if they will never end. You will be able to manage and meander between high pitch and low pitch tunes.
Experts have confirmed that this training will ensure your diaphragm and other adjoining tissues become active, robust, and more flexible to handle crucial moments. In other words, you will become poised to inhale and exhale from your diaphragm and become more successful as a singer.
Exercising for Optimal Breath Control
During musical performance, you may want to slow down your singing voice if that is needed by a particular stanza as the case may be. This exercise is geared towards training you on how to slow your breathing and easily sing a specific tune or melody effortlessly.
Practicing this exercise can be done from a sitting or standing position. However, we recommend that you lie down while undergoing this training for optimum result. If you can adopt the lying position, it will help you to be relaxed and more conscious of whatever you are doing.
Methods and Procedures
♠ Lie down on your back, raise your knees up, and put your hands on your stomach.
♠ Now begin to draw in air slowly and gradually from your nostrils into your lower lungs until the respiratory tract is filled with air.
♠ After this, breathe out the air by using your tongue to push it out as you clench your teeth. This trapped airstream will be making a continuous hissing sound like an ‘S’ sound.
♠ An excellent way to check if you are breathing from your diaphragm is to put an object on your stomach and watch to see if it is making an ‘up and down’ movement when you are inhaling and exhaling.
♠ As you undergo this training, you will be able to condition your abdominal muscles and diaphragm to reduce and regulate pressure from your lungs, which are filled with air. This process will enable you to maneuver your voice during tensed moments and sustain a tune for a long time without faltering and wavering.
Moreover, you can continue the practice by attempting to produce a piercing and penetrating hissing or shrill sound. With this exercise, you will feel a warm and tense air pushing its way through your lungs and escaping through your clenched incisors and oral cavity.
Training to Free Strained Diaphragm Muscles
Breathing without the diaphragm always end up stressing and straining the diaphragmatic tissues. Experts have warned that this condition usually provokes unnecessary tension around the muscles surrounding the membrane.
This training is organized to help you and teach you how to release accumulated pressures around your abdominal area. With this practice, you will know that it is not difficult to stimulate your diaphragm and make it an active breathing device as it is called.
Methods and Procedures
♠ Bend downwards towards your knees and cause your hands to hang down and dangle but ensure to keep your shoulders at a level range.
♠ At this posture, you will be able to exercise your abdominal muscles as you push your stomach up while breathing in and out.
♠ Remember to breathe in slowly since this tends to force air into the deeper parts of your lungs and abdomen.
Do you know that when there is sufficient air in your lungs, it becomes easier to sing any pitch without fumbling? Of course, enough airstream in the lungs will help you to maneuver and exercise control over any situation with your voice, pitch, and tone during your performances as an artist.
Engage in Breathing Exercises and Sing Healthily
Breathing is an essential feature of every living thing. However, some persons breathe from the chest, which is shallow inhalation while others breathe from the diaphragm regarded as deep inhalation. Without enough air in the lungs and abdomen, no singer can perform excellently. Gasping and shortness of breath while singing is the result of weak or shallow inhalation. However, most persons have developed the habit over the years, but with a pragmatic approach to engaging in breathing exercises, you will overcome it and sing healthily.