3 Easy Breathing Exercises For Singing

Learning to breath effectively is as important to singing as being able to sing in tune or being able to keep good time (stay in rhythm). Like these other fundamentals, it is a skill that can be mastered with practice. Trained singers use a breathing technique called diaphragmatic breathing. The same technique is used in some types of yoga and meditation.

Diaphragmatic breathing allows you to take deeper breaths and control your exhale more effectively. Controlling your exhale means using a steady stream of air from your lungs to support your singing voice. Air flow effects pitch, tone, vocal strength and vibrato. If your air flow is weak, you might find yourself singing flat (out of tune, below the pitch), having a breathy tone, and/or having a weak sounding or strained voice.

To learn more about this breathing technique (If you haven’t watched this yet, you should!), check out this video and article.

Breathing Exercises for Singing

Today I’m going to teach you 3 simple breathing exercises for singing that will help you master diaphragmatic breathing.

Breathing Exercise #1

Stand in front of a mirror and start by taking a deep, low breath. Watch yourself expand around the waist as you inhale. (Remember your shoulders and chest won’t rise if you are doing it correctly.)

Now, put one hand on your upper abdomen and one hand on your ribcage as you exhale on a hissing sound. Keep a strong, steady stream of air going for as long as you can. Keep your upper body open and relaxed as you exhale. You should see your abdomen come back towards your body while your rib cage and chest stay open. Repeat this exercise 5 times.

Next, pick a note at the upper-middle part of your register and instead of exhaling on a hissing sound, sing one long held note on the exhale. Each time you repeat the exercise, move up a half step. Higher notes require more breath support, so you will find it move challenging as you go higher.

Breathing Exercise #2

Lie down on the floor with a pillow under you head. Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest. First, take a regular (shallow) breath. You will feel your chest rise and the top of  your ribcage expand.

Now take another breath, but focus this time on relaxing your abdomen and expanding around your waist. Picture your diaphragm muscle pulling air down into your lungs. If you are doing it right, you should see your abdomen rise, but not your chest.

These two types of breaths should feel and look distinctly different. Go back and forth between them- first shallow, then deep, shallow (chest), deep (abdomen) etc..

Notice what it feels like to take a deep breath- this is the first step to building the muscle memory you’ll need to take deep breaths while singing.

Breathing Exercise #3

Stand in front of a mirror with a hand on your abdomen. For this exercise,  you will be focusing on gently and quickly contracting the muscles in your abdomen to create little bursts of air/sound. Choose a note in the middle of your register and sing on a short pulse “Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha”. Don’t squeeze to hard- you don’t want to create unnecessary tension or hurt yourself.

The goal of this exercise is to feel how the muscles in the abdomen help control the exhale as you sing. Remember, your rib cage should stay open (Keep your upper body open and don’t let yourself cave in) while your abdominal muscles contract slightly on the exhale. This is called breath support. It allows your diaphragm to ascend slowly, enabling you to sing longer phrases and have better control over pitch and tone.

Go up and down your register singing these short pulses.


How To Practice

Practice these breathing exercises at the beginning of your daily practice routine before you warm-up your voice. Soon diaphragmatic breathing will start to feel natural. It’s easy to over think these exercises and sike yourself out. Stay relaxed and try to focus on the easy flow of air in and out of your lungs.









1 Comment

  • John

    Reply Reply September 29, 2017

    Very good!.useful and practical.please,am interested in your piano lessons too.

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