Lesson 3: Training breath support for singing

How to strengthening Your Diaphragm?

Do diaphragm-strengthening breathing exercises. 

Exercise your diaphragm muscles regularly. Once you've learned to breathe correctly, you need to get as much power into your diaphragm as possible. Take a deep breath from your diaphragm, and while exhaling, count as high as possible. Count slowly and evenly, then record how much you've improved every day.

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Strengthening Your Diaphragm

 

  • Practice a "milkshake."

 Pretend you're sucking in through a straw. Remember to keep your shoulders and chest still. Hold your hand on your stomach to notice the movement.

  • Do "dog pants." 

Pant as if you're a tired dog, but again remember to keep your shoulders and chest still, and again hold your hand on your stomach.

  • Practice a "bathroom push" exercise. 

As ridiculous as it sounds, it really does help when learning to sing using your diaphragm. Keeping your shoulders and chest still, let out a hard breath as if you're struggling on the toilet. Hold your hand on your stomach.

  • Inhale deeply, then exhale through a coffee straw. The resistance from the small straw is similar to air passing through your vocal folds while your singing.

  • Hissing Exercise

 

You can do a hissing exercise while sitting, standing, or lying down. The key is to be relaxed when you do it. 

 

Slowly breathe in through your nose and fill your lungs, so that you can feel your diaphragm flattening. When exhaling, grit your teeth together, and use your tongue to regulate the release of air. You should be able to hear a low, but constant hissing sound through the process.

 

The goal of the exercise is to hold down tension from fully inflated lungs while still maintaining command over your voice. You can modify this example by producing a higher-pitched hiss.

1. Imagine there is a rubber ring around your waist.

The key to effective breathing for singing is in the breath. The most important aspect of breathing is breathing with your diaphragm, the muscles underneath your lungs that help them to move air in and out. A great way to visualize breathing with your diaphragm is to picture a rubber ring around your waist. This ring will move in and out, getting bigger and smaller, with each inhale and exhale.

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2. Breathe in and attempt to push the ring outward. As you inhale through your nose, visualize the ring around your waist getting bigger and expanding horizontally. Your stomach should protrude as you inhale this way.

 

3. Avoid tension in the shoulders. It is common to hunch your shoulders as you breathe. Sometimes tension creeps upon us. Another important aspect of singing is to relax our muscles. This will allow them to move properly. If you feel the tension in your shoulders, remind yourself to relax. Visualize your neck getting longer and the tension melting away from your shoulders and into the ground. It can also help to take a few long, deep, slow breaths to relax and stabilize your mind and body.

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4. Fill your stomach from the bottom to the top as you inhale. Do not aim to fill yourself until you feel like you are bursting; rather, inhale just enough air to feel the difference between shallow breathing with your chest and deep breathing with your diaphragm. During the inhale, you will feel your hands raise up and outward as they rest gently on your belly. As you breathe in, fill your abdomen from the bottom to the top, noticing your stomach rising first, then your chest.

  • You should not only feel your body expanding at the front, where your hands are, but also at the sides and back.

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5. Practice holding your breath in your body. After inhaling deeply and pulling the air down into your body, try controlling how long you can keep the air in your body without growing uncomfortable. Try to increase the length of time.

  • Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, making sure to draw your breath down into your abdomen like in the previous exercise. Try to hold it for a count of seven, then exhale.

  • Repeat several times.

  • Over time, try to increase the length of time you can hold your breath comfortably.

6. Do exhalation exercises. Exhalation exercises are important for holding steady notes; without them, your voice might waver when you sing.

  • Inhale deeply through your mouth, pushing the air deep into your abdomen.

  • Instead of letting the air rush out at its own natural rate, keep your diaphragm engaged so you can control the rate of exhalation.

  • Take eight seconds to expel all the air from your chest.

  • Once you’ve exhaled, contract your abdominal muscles to push any remaining air from your lungs.

  • One of the most important parts of improving our breathing is making sure we exhale completely.

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