Sing Better Instantly With Diaphragmatic Breathing
Breathing is easy – we do it each moment every day without thought, right? Singing actually requires efficient control of and management of airflow and air pressure, which occurs as a result of diaphragmatic breathing and the vocal concept of support. Breath support occurs when you engage the diaphragm in the most efficient manner to create a balance of airflow and air pressure. By creating and managing air pressure with diaphragmatic breathing, you will enable an open throat when you sing.
When you achieve vocal fold closure and create breath support with diaphragmatic breathing, you will find all strain and tension dissipates from your singing, and high, powerful notes will become free and easy.
How To Sing From The Diaphragm
The diaphragm is a large, dome-shaped muscle which sits at the base of the lung cavity. By engaging the intercostal, abdominal and lower back muscles, the diaphragm pulls down towards the abdomen and creates a negative space in the lung cavity which instantly fills with pressurised air.
When you sing, diaphragmatic engagement should be maintained as you ascend or hold a phrase. This results in controlled, consistent and powerful breath support and freedom in your resonance.
Breathing starts with healthy posture, and healthy posture in singing looks something like this:
- Head up
- Shoulders back and down
- Chin parallel with the floor (looking straight forward)
- Proud chest and wide ribs
[one_half padding=”0 20px 0 0″][/one_half]With this strong and healthy posture, you can now engage the diaphragm at your mid section. Diaphragmatic breathing occurs at the lower back ribs and the sternum – imagine you are breathing through a very small drinking straw, low and sharp. Done effectively, this will feel like a ‘tyre’ of air that fills around your mid section rather than at your shoulders or upper chest.
Simple tricks like a deep yawn, a surprised gasp, a quick pant like a dog or even lying flat on the floor on your back while breathing are great ways to discover correct diaphragmatic engagement when you sing. The key to powerful singing is achieving compression of the air held in by a correctly engaged diaphragm, allowing you to sing with managed air pressure instead of excess aspiration of air itself.
Fun tip: A professional singer often uses less than a quarter of the air that a beginner singer uses.
How To Sing A Lip Trill
One of the best vocal exercises for developing diaphragmatic support is a lip trill. By creating a continual ‘bubble’ at the lips like a “BRRR” and adding vocal chord closure, a lip trill helps you achieve release in your resonance and vocal registers, along with training you how to use your articulators (tip of the tongue, teeth, lips), the soft palate and of course – support.
Correct support is one of the most fundamental parts of your foundation as a singer. By setting up a rock solid foundation for your voice, you will achieve breath support and diaphragmatic breathing with ease.
A great place to start is the Foundation 101 singing course here at Bohemian Vocal Studio which will show you how to set up each element of your vocal foundation, from mixed voice, connecting chest and head voice, shaping vowels and more.
If you have any questions about diaphragmatic breathing, feel free to leave any feedback or questions below.