Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Exploring Singing Basics 4: Essential Breathing Exercises for Singing

Breathing Exercises for Singing

Hello and welcome to the fourth installment of learning singing online. We hope you are enjoying our articles so far and will be pleased to know that you have probably already improved your singing by reading all about the basics. We are still on the fundamental knowledge needed for singing and this week’s information is absolutely vital if you want to make the most of your voice. It is all about breathing exercises for singing.
If you have read anything about how to improve your singing then you may already know that many tutors and experts mention breathing a lot. This is because it can really help to take your voice to the next level. Read on to find out how!

The difference a good breathing technique makes

Believe it or not, there is a very real difference between adopting a good breathing technique and a bad breathing technique. And breathing as you do normally is a big no-no. Taking shallow breaths may be enough for you to survive but it is not enough for you to sing. It is a bad technique for using your voice. Instead, you have to take control of your breathing techniques for singing, drawing a range of quick and slow breaths before exhaling slowly as you sing. If you fail to do this then your voice losing tone, strength and can actually be interrupted as you begin to run out of air.
There is another point as well. Good breathing techniques for singing can not only make your voice sound better and really help you to improve your overall tone and range, but it can also help you to keep fear and nervousness out of your voice when you finally step on stage. This may be a way off for you yet (after all, we are still learning the basics!) but it IS something you must consider. If you understand and exercise good breathing techniques then you can breathe through the nerves. You can keep your voice steady and will be able to use its strength and tone to project comfort and confidence, even if you do not feel it on the inside.

All about posture and breathing

As you can see, breathing exercises for singing are incredibly important in enabling you to sing as well as enhancing your voice overall. However, it is not as simple as just changing your breathing. Your body is not used to exercising breathing techniques for singing because they are not natural. In fact, the techniques may actually seem a bit forced to start with so it is important to practice them. In addition, you have to use your body. We have already spoken about how vital posture is so make sure that you stand with feet at shoulder width, a straight spine and an open stance so that the breath can really get into your lungs.
Here is how you inhale correctly:
  •  Inhale quickly, sucking the air into your lungs and visualising it being really heavy as it enters your body.
  • Focus on it as it falls through your body, hitting your belly button.
  • Feel your lower back and stomach expand and you may even want to use your arms to welcome the air into your body.
Of course, you will not have time to do this when you are singing but this exercise will give you an idea of how the technique can work. When you exhale then, you will need to control it, using your breath in a sustained and smooth way to ensure that you have enough puff to get to the end of the note or passage. Try to visualise blowing a feather gently on a constant course and you will get the right idea!

The best breathing tips

Although future newsletters will cover more in depth breathing exercises for singing, there are some basic tips that can help you to get to grips with breathing now. You have to learn to walk before you can run so make sure that you keep it simple with the following:
  •  Take a deep breath in and close your eyes. As you inhale, feel your entire body expand from your torso to your lower back. Feel the breath touch every element of your upper body and then release it slowly, singing a note of your choice as you do. You will be able to feel the control and maintain it after a few tries.
  • Stand still and take a quick but deep breath in. Place your finger in front of your mouth and exhale. Listen to the amount of noise made. The more noise the less control and more tension there is in your vocal chords. Try again until you can get it almost silent.
  • Pay attention to your breathing for an hour and see what you can do. The more aware of your breathing you are the easier it will become to control it.
There we have it then – now you have good knowledge of the basics of breathing exercises for singing. You now have to put it in practice. When you do, you will find that your singing becomes much better.
Thanks for joining us again and stay tuned for our next newsletter, the final element in our basics series before we move onto the stuff that will really get your voice jumping up the improvement ladder.
Until next time!

P.S. If you liked these singing tips why not share this with your friends or family who may also find it useful if they are trying to improve their singing techniques. Use the buttons at the top and bottom of the post to share. 
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