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A Resource for the Aspiring Vocalist

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Proper Breathing for Vocalists

Knowing how to breathe correctly and being able to control it is one of the most important skills a singer can have. A proper breathing technique will enable us to sound great and to improve the tone of our voice. Our ability to sustain notes will increase and we will master to sing longer phrases more effortless.

Breathing is a natural process of our body and therefore a good breathing technique comes natural and unforced.

Breath is the motor of our voice.

Breath is the motor of our voice.

Methods of Breathing

The human body knows several different ways of breathing which are called costal or chest breathing, clavicular breathing, abdominal or belly breathing, and diapragmatic breathing. The latter two are to prefer when it comes to singing, though only the diapragmatic method allows for full breath with maximum control.

The diaphragm by the way is a muscle system that is located in the abdominal region right under the lungs. It controls the air flow by contracting when we breathe in and relaxing when we breathe out.

Breath Support

As a singer you want to learn slowing down the relaxation of the diaphragm to gain extra volume used for sustaining notes and sing longer phrases. This is called "breath support" and can be achieved in two different ways, either by adding a bit of muscle force during exhalation and while using your voice, or through lowering the muscle force used during inhalation.

While the first method allows for an increased volume the latter will result in less air pressure in the lungs which in turn will slow down the exhalation process to the extent that you can sing longer. The second method is popular through the "Italian School" of singing, also known as Appoggio, which includes resonance factors in form of phonation alongside the breath management.

Exercises to improve breathing

Understanding the theory behind how the body masters the task of breathing builds the base for the vocalist to improve upon his or her own breathing technique, however the singer also needs to build an understanding on an experimental level. For this reason it is well worth to experiment with a few exercises to gain an additional understanding. At Lead Vocals we have collected a number of exercises to get you started.

Continue reading about the topic and these exercises at