How to Sing From Your Diaphragm
Learning how to sing from your diaphragm is an important part of healthy singing. A better way to think of this powerful singing technique is that you need to learn how to breathe using the diaphragm rather than singing from the diaphragm. The diaphragm is an involuntary muscle that sits at the base of your lung cavity, and just above your abdomen. By extending this muscle downwards through engagement of adjoining musculature and forming the right thought process, you are able to create a negative vacuum that fills with air and can be pressurised and released at will to allow vibration and the resonance we know as singing.
Singing from the diaphragm is easy to do, but takes continuous training and regular practice. Linked with other powerful singing techniques like Appoggio and compression, diaphragmatic breathing also plays a large part in a healthy onset and many other aspects of a healthy voice. Your diaphragm serves as the foundation on which your singing voice is built.
Free diaphragmatic breathing course
To learn how to sing from your diaphragm, you first need to set up your posture and develop control over the diaphragm itself by engaging the adjoining muscles. Healthy posture for singing starts with a high head, eyes forward, shoulders back, chin parallel with the floor – and to achieve Appoggio in singing, you need to widen your ribs. The best way to widen your ribs is to raise your sternum as the honorary final step of your posture, allowing your ribs to widen and your stomach to contract – which means when you breath you are able to engage the diaphragm and breathe correctly for healthy singing.
The best way to learn how to sing from your diaphragm is to use our complimentary short course, Breathing 101, which will show you how to set up your posture and a number of great ways you can start engaging your diaphragm to build control, consistency and power into your singing foundation.
Sing with breath support
Using Appoggio singing technique while singing will allow you to sing with power and resonance in an easy and strain free manner – always allowing you to ‘lean’ on your breathing every time you change gears in singing so that you don’t push or strain as you ascend in range.
Appoggio starts with a wide rib position so that your breathing can be controlled entirely through engagement of your diaphragm, and your ribs stay wide and relaxed rather than contracting and squeezing the air out of your lungs.
As you can see, singing from the diaphragm and utilising Appoggio singing technique are linked and dependent on each other for healthy singing.
Step 1 – Set up your posture
The first step in learning how to sing from your diaphragm is to set up your posture correctly to avoid any strain and ensure the most efficient breath support.
- Head high
- Eyes forward
- Shoulders back
- Release any strain
- Chin Parallel with the floor
- Ribs wide
Step 2 – Appoggio
Setting your ribs wide is the most important step in singing with Appoggio singing technique. The best way to set your ribs up for Appoggio singing is to raise your sternum without breathing in, in essence widening your ribs and contracting your stomach. I like to think of Appoggio as a concept, rather than a technique per se, and the concept of Appoggio is that your breathing is controlled solely by your diaphragm rather than contraction of your ribs.
Step 3 – Engage your diaphragm
There are a number of effective ways to train engagement of the diaphragm, from figuratively breathing through a drinking straw, right through to the “arrow” stance I showed you in our complimentary Breathing 101 short course. Engaging the diaphragm is easy, you just need to realise that breathing doesn’t occur in your chest when you are singing, it comes from diaphragmatic control – hence the saying singing from the diaphragm.
Step 4 – Balance your onset
Diaphragmatic breathing and the onset of your resonance are intrinsically linked, because a vocal onset is simply the coordination of your airflow with your chord closure. A balanced onset is the perfect central mix of chord closure and airflow at the exact same moment to create instantaneous resonance.
Step 5 – Support your voice
Aside from the obvious causes of strain like poor posture and incorrect vowel production, basically – every time you push or strain when you sing is caused by improper support and lack of air pressure and improper airflow. Appoggio literally translates to support, or lean, so make sure you’re relying on your diaphragmatic support for power and foundation rather than pushing from your throat and straining to hit high notes.
What does your diaphragm do ?
If you’ve been wondering what does your diaphragm do, then the Diaphragm is large dome shaped muscle that sits between your abdomen and your chest, the diaphragm is capable of expansion downwards towards the abdominal cavity to create a negative space that fills with air that can be pressurised and compressed to alter the mix of airflow and air pressure for vocal phonation – allowing your to support the vibration of your vocal chords and physical frequency with which they vibrate solely by extension of the diaphragm.
Learning how to sing from your diaphragm, or better still, how to breathe USING your diaphragm, takes practice and patience, along with professional vocal training – and will allow you to sing with a POWERFUL and EXTENSIVE vocal range that is strain free and a pure joy every time you sing.
Are you ready to take your voice to the NEXT LEVEL and learn how to sing from your diaphragm like a pro? You can book a Skype session with Kegan at Bohemian Vocal Studio today and learn how to sing from the diaphragm and many other professional singing techniques like vocal placement, vowel modification, consonant grouping and vocal onsets.
If you have any questions about learning how to sing from your diaphragm, please leave any feedback below!
Kegan DeBoheme is Bohemian Vocal Studio’s resident vocal coach and voice expert. He teaches professional singing and voice technique to students all around the world and enjoys providing tutorials like this one on how to improve your voice.