Breathing, the Key to Success

Author: Emily Mander
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Emily Mander is also the author of Singorama
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Is Breathing Truly the Key to Success?

Have you run out of air in a singing performance? Did you have to unnecessarily gasp in a middle of a line? If you wish to improve your vocal technique and enhance your singing performances, you have to undergo several practical exercises that will definitely improve your breathing and increase your lung capacity. Engaging in vocal techniques is necessary in order to be in good singing condition. This will improve your breathing proficiency; hence, maximizing your confidence as a singer. The steps are actually as easy as 1-2-3.
How to Breathe Properly
Good breathing should be learned properly in order to achieve good voice connection and tone quality. This is probably the reason why most vocal teachers spend a lot of time on teaching this concept. To achieve a better control over your sound, learning to breathe properly is essential. However, going through practical exercises are also necessary.
It is natural for us to breathe. As we inhale, our diaphragm flattens, resulting to a creation of space by which air can pass through to fill the lungs. As we exhale, our diaphragm and rib muscles relaxes, making our lungs shrink back and let the air out again.
The way a singer inhales and exhales differ from normal inhalation and exhalation. It is necessary to know how much air you need and how to inhale and exhale it the right way. It is important to be aware of the rate at which you exhale because it determines how much air you will be sending to your vocal cords and for how long you should send it. During the whole process of exhalation, you must be able to keep the expansion of your rib cage as you use your abdominal muscles in pushing your diaphragm against your lungs. This will result to a steady air stream release to your vocal cords.
If you will be very conscious in controlling your breathing as you sing, it will create extra tension in your body which will definitely affect your singing. To avoid negative circumstances, you can simply maintain a correct posture and breathe.
Breathing In
The “breathing from the diaphragm” concept is so popular that even new singers know it well. However, proper breathing does not only involve the diaphragm. As a singer, you will have to work with all areas of your body, especially around your lungs and rib cage. To be able to breathe properly, you have to imagine that you are breathing with your whole body.
Here is a sample exercise which you can try:
1. First, lie on the ground then take a deep breath. In doing this, you will feel your upper chest and abs is expanding upwards. Avoid tension in your abdominal muscles. You will notice that your shoulders are not moving. After this exercise, you can say that you are able to breathe from your diaphragm.
2. Second, take another deep breath and feel as your entire chest and abdominal area expand. By doing this properly, you will notice that your chest expands outwards, not upwards. You will also feel that your back and side muscles expands too. This is the proper breathing that a singer must learn to achieve.
You can also try this exercise:
1. As you sit in a chair, lightly rest your lower back against the back of the chair.
2. Then, take a deep breath and feel the 360 degrees expansion as learned previously.
3. Feel your back by pressing into the chair and make sure that your shoulders do not rise.
Breathing Out
After learning to breathe in correctly, you can practice breathing out properly. Having filled your lungs with air, you can now sing by slowly releasing that air. You cannot use or release all the air at once since too much air will be going through your vocal cords and will therefore make your sing worse. Remember that your vocal cords must tighten first in order to hold back the air volume. By using less air, it will be easier for you to reach high notes; hence, producing good tone quality.
Only use enough air that your vocal cords can handle. If you singing with too much air, your voice will be airy and breathy.
Here is an exercise which you may try:
Sing a scale on ‘ah’ from the middle of your range and see if it is thin, breathy or focused.
1. First, look at a clock with a second’s hand.
2. Then, take a breath and sing a note on ‘ah’. Try using all your breath for 5 seconds, no more or less.
3. You can repeat this as many times as you like, using larger or smaller breaths each time. Just practice using up all the air in 5 seconds.
These exercises will eventually help you in achieving a clear and focused sound through teaching you on how to utilize the body for better breath management. If you carry on practicing, you will definitely have a well-managed voice in no time!

B Y   T H E   S A M E   A U T H O R . . .
Emily Mander is also the author of Singorama

Singorama is a comprehensive vocal enhancing program by Emily Mander, a famous vocal coach who is well-known for using a series of unique vocal trainings to improve the quality of voice of singers in a short period of time.

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