This is one of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to singing – How to breathe when I sing?
In fact, the first thing many voice teachers talk about in lessons is Breathing.
When I first started singing, I have worked extensively on breathing and breathing alone, because I was taught that it is the most important skill for singing. But, is it?
Is breathing really that important when it comes to singing?
Or, is it that difficult that you have to learn from scratch how to breath all over again?
I believe that the importance of breathing for singing is completely over-rated.
In this article I will share with you the Top 3 Breathing Exercises for Singers and how easy it is.
Breathing is Not as Important as People Think…
There I said it!
As controversial as it sounds, the most important thing for singing is what’s happening at the vocal fold level – how the vocal cords are behaving and how your resonance spaces are formed, not breathing!
You don’t really have to spend the first 3 years of your singing lessons learning how to breathe.
I can show you in 3 minutes how to breathe properly for singing in my lessons.
Over-breathing can actually hurt your voice
The muscles that control your breathing is located in the abdominal area.
When you lift heavy objects, you grunt and feel the stomach tightening up greatly.
When it comes to singing, the only difference is that you are lifting way lighter weights.
The vocal folds are very delicate sets of muscles that can get easily over-powered by air pressure generated by the breathing muscles.
That’s how you hurt your voice and develop nodules!
The best way to protect your voice is to have advanced singing technique. There’s no way around it!
Over-breathing is tiring and inefficient in singing
I sing professionally with a singing group. I have heard singers around me saying that you should push hard from the stomach when you sing.
One of the singers say,”If you don’t feel tired or sore after you sing, you are not working hard enough.”
That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard about singing.
Aren’t we training and learning to make singing easier and not harder?
Sadly, the singers around me that say that are unable to handle big songs that require power and dynamics.
When I sing with them on a day-to-day basis, I could over-power them with very little effort if I want to.
The correct way to breathing is – you should use as little air as possible to create the biggest sound.
You give a little air and a big sound comes out! That’s what all advanced singers do!
In order to attain that kind of skill level, you need to get advanced training even when you are a beginner.
The Top 3 Breathing Exercises for Singers
Let me share with you the breathing exercises that you could learn in just 3 minutes. It’s so easy. Don’t overthink it!
1. Breathe deep and make a tiny hiss sound.
Place your hands and each side of your waist – your love handles. Breathe in and feel the waist expand in a relaxed way.
Remember this lower expansion has to be relaxed. If you are pushing it, you will create unnecessary tension for singing.
Start making a tiny and focused hiss sound. Maintain this hiss sound for as long as 15 to 30 seconds.
The key is to keep the volume consistent. If you get louder or softer, you are not using your breathe efficiently.
2. Sing Fricatives like “V” and “Z”
Fricatives are consonant sounds that uses the lips to block a significant amount of air when you’re producing a sound.
This breathing exercise is when you first introduce a real sound.
Make a soft “v” sound on any single note and maintain a consistent volume.
Hold it out for as long as 15-20 seconds, or as long as possible.
If you can’t do this for as least 10 seconds, you are not doing it right.
You can do this fricative exercise with “z” or “s”.
This advantage of the fricative exercise is for you to feel the balance between air resistance from the lips and vocal cords at the same time, so you know how much air to pump from the abdomen.
3. Sing real vowels like OO or EE
Now we are finally making some real sounds. Sing a long OO sound, slowly slide it up a fifth or and an octave, and slowly slide down.
The advantage of singing the OO is that it encourages a smooth and consistent air flow.
Then, you can do this exercise with an EE sound which is more solid and closer to a completely singing sound.
The key is consistency and smoothness. If there are interruptions and breaks in the sound, you are not doing it right.
The Final Conclusion with Breathing for Singing
After sharing my top 3 breathing exercises for singer, I have to stress that breathing is not hard as all. The important thing is not to over-think it.
The singer should focus how it feels in the throat and the vocal cords.
Knowing how to work those vocal cords is way more important than over-emphasizing on breathing.
You can be the best breather, but without knowing how to use your vocal cords and resonance spaces to amplify your sound, you will not go very far with your singing.
If you want to learn how to really work your voice, I suggest you get training from the best online singing courses that teach this.
Your singing pal,