Bear with me on this one! It’s really simple and helpful, even though it may sound silly.
Have you found that you just can’t “get” how you’re supposed to breathe for singing? You’ve read about “diaphragm this” and “floating ribs” that, but it just doesn’t feel right unless you fill your chest and raise your shoulders? You’re used to breathing a certain way – after all, you’ve been doing it this way for years or decades – and when you try to breathe only into your belly, you feel like you can never actually get a full breath?
Does that sound familiar?
Well, first, let me give you just a few of the benefits of learning to breathe properly for singing:
- More volume and ability to project your voice
- Fuller, more robust sound
- Better tone
- Ability to sing longer phrases
- A more confident and professional sound
- More vocal agility
- Ability to sing for a longer time without tiring
Hopefully that will convince you that this silly exercise is worth it.
OK. Here it is:
Step 1: Pant like a dog.
Don’t know what that’s like? Go find a hot dog… it’s summer, there’s bound to be one around somewhere. No, you don’t have to let your tongue fall out of your mouth. 🙂
Do you see how nothing really moves but the belly? Dogs don’t fill their chests or raise their shoulders when they pant. Or when they breathe normally, for that matter. Your throat and tongue should be relaxed as well.
Step 2: Slow down the exhale.
OK now, before you hyperventilate, gradually slow down your exhale. More and more slowly, until the exhale part of your breathing is nice, slow, and controlled. Don’t change anything but the speed of your exhale – don’t revert back to high-chest breathing. Don’t tighten up your throat or tongue. Simply exhale.
Got it? OK, now vocalize:
Step 3: Add voice to the exhale.
Again, without changing anything, simply change your exhale from unvoiced to voiced. Again, don’t tighten up your throat or tongue. Simply change from an unvoiced exhale to something like “ah”. But don’t worry about anything but continuing to breathe from the same place.
Silly? Perhaps. But did it work for you?
(c) 2010 Adrienne Osborn