Healthy Breathing is so intregal to singing, yet it’s often the last thing we think of! Especially when we are performing, or multi-tasking such as playing the piano at the same time.
By healthy breathing, I mean deep into our lungs, engaging the diaphragm fully (even whilst sitting). Especially if we are having any difficulty in singing, becoming aware of breathing and posture is necessary to properly trouble shoot, and problem solve any number of voice issues.
But it takes practice to remember and expand this most overlooked skill. We just take it for granted so much.
So here I’ll offer some great tips and exercises to develop healthy breathing skills - as it applies to singing in any setting. I also invite others to share their tips and practices.
First things First - here is a very simple diagram of the diaphragm, which is very had to draw (btw) because it’s actually a C shape that domes up underneath the lungs, and expands it’s floor down and out on the inhale.
- If you place your hand on the high side of your belly, you can feel this expansion on the inhale when you breath all the way to the bottom of your lungs.
- Try to keep your shoulders level, to avoid heaving which often indicates shallow breathing to only the top of your lungs. Align your posture, whether sitting or standing, as if you are perfectly supported by a horizontal stalk.
Breath with your mouth and nose wide open, silent gulping breaths, then exhale on a sigh to release any tension you are holding in your mouth, neck or body
Use the Hsss sound on the exhale to engage this muscle to push the air out of your lungs smoothly.