When you want to hold a note for longer or hit those far-away octaves, you need to pay attention to your breath. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your tone is or how loud you can sing, the breath is what will make sure your voice is flawless.
But, only focusing on your breath when you are singing is a recipe for failure. You need to be strengthening your lungs and boosting your singing stamina on a regular basis. Think of your breath like another muscle – the more you use it, the better control you’ll have over it.
Most people breathe incorrectly most of the time. Their breaths are shallow, creating tension in the neck and throat. This means they sing from their throat instead of their stomach, which is much more difficult to maintain long term. The key is to train your body into taking deeper (not longer) breaths so that you can have a relaxed throat when you sing and the most beautiful possible voice.
Here are some breathing exercises that will help you to sing louder and for longer.
Place Your Hands on Your Belly
One easy way to work out if you are breathing properly is to place your hands on the side of your belly so that you can also feel your sides and maybe the base of your rib cage. Take a breath in through your nose and notice if you feel your body expand. If it doesn’t, you need to keep practising until it does. That is a sure sign that the breath is getting where it needs to be.
Note that you should feel no tension in the upper body when you do this. If you do, work on relaxing those muscles and try again.
Some people will find this easy, while others will struggle. Either way, it is a great trick that allows you to really feel the breath, both internally and externally.
Place Your Hands on Your Ribcage
This exercise focuses on your intercostal muscles, which are the muscles in between your rib bones. Take a quick, sharp breath in, like someone has scared you, and then work on letting it out slowly. Again, this might be hard at first, but with a bit of practice, you will gain control over these muscles.
The intercostal muscles are important because they support the diaphragm. And, as any good singer knows, you’ll never hit the top notes without your diaphragm! So don’t miss out this exercise!
Hiss for 45 Seconds
What? That’s ages, right? Well, actually, this is something that everyone should be able to do. And if you can’t, then you need to practise more!
Many people struggle with this exercise because they expel too much air at the beginning. Start slow, and you’ll last longer. Breath control is the main benefit of this exercise, so the more you do it, the better you’ll be able to wrap your voice around those rap songs or power ballads!
Pant Like a Dog
When you’ve finished hissing like a snake, it’s time to pant like a dog! We promise we’re not winding you up! This exercise is amazing at strengthening that all-important diaphragm.
Start by placing your hand on your lowest rib bone and stretch it out to your belly button. Take short sharp breaths and feel your stomach muscles relax as your skin moves out. Vary the speed of the breaths to gain proper control over your diaphragm and breath.
Take this exercise to the next level by making a ‘ha’ sound at the same time as you pant. You should be able to feel the sound in your diaphragm – it definitely shouldn’t be coming from your throat.
You can also try singing scales as you pant. This is a great way to test out any notes you are struggling with so that you become better at singing them.
These are just some of the breathing exercises that you should be doing daily to enhance your craft. If you want more guidance or just some reassurance that you are doing it right, you might like to book a one-on-one singing lesson with us. Or come along to some group classes and improve your voice while making friends!
Tags: singing technique
, vocal technique
, vocal tips