The essential reason why one has to breathe to be able to sing is because the air is the part that gives us a voice. We need the breath to make the sound in our voice and that is the main reason why vocal instructors aim to perfect breath training to singers. Some of the breathing exercises for singing are rigorous, but when one learns to perfect the breathing from an early stage, it creates the ideal foundation for singing.
The diaphragm is the main muscle in our body that is used when singing. It is a thin sheet of muscle that separates the rib cage from the other organs. Its function is not singing, but to regulate the flow of air in the body as it contracts when inhaling and relaxes when exhaling. This muscle moves involuntarily and unless one inhales and exhales, one has no control over it.
It seems confusing when one says that it is the main muscle that is used when singing but one has no control over it. The fact is that we have full control over the intercostals muscles that are around our ribs and surrounds the diaphragm. These will be used during the breathing exercises for singing.
Firstly one has to relax the shoulders and chest. Doing this enables one to take deeper breaths for those high notes and long phrases of a song. Taking a proper breath of air is the second step. Place a hand on the belly button and breathe in. The area should expand first. Never lift the shoulders and push the stomach out as stated before. At first the exercises may leave one tired, but the more one practices, the less energy it takes to do them.
When one does not feel comfortable with breathing the following exercise is helpful. Lay flat on your back with your hands on your waist and fingers pointing towards your belly button. Take a slow deep breath and fill the stomach with the air. Your hands will rise gently during the breathing. Count to five and exhale. Do this ten to twelve times. The aim is to know the difference between a shallow breath and a deep breath.
To increase breath control one can do the following exercise. Count on one breath singing each number out loud, but keep the numbers to about five. This means one should reach the singing of number five before exhaling. Increase the numbers gradually to control the length of each breath. When one reaches twenty five without straining or running out of breath, one has the breathing under control.
An exercise that is aimed at feeling the air in the body is to get down on your hands and knees. Take slow breaths and notice the movement of your abs towards the floor. When you exhale it moves back to your body. Make sure your chest does not move when your abs move. Your back should expand when you inhale.
After one has control over the chest not moving with the abs, squat down on the floor and inhale. Ensure your abs move out and your lower back expands. Make sure you know the feeling and move your heels up and down until you feel the abs sucking in while the lower back expands.
Those were all inhaling exercises. Exhaling is just as important and the following exercise is to practice exhalation breathing. Light a candle and hold it about eight inches from the face. Take a deep breath as exercised before. As you exhale, breathe on the candle without blowing it out. The flame should slightly bend over. Keep the flame bent as long as possible.
Speech level singing makes use of exercises to balance the air pressure around the vocal cords. As one sings higher, less air is needed to the vocal cords. It then shuts off the vocal cords which allow vibration to happen faster. When the vocal cords vibrate faster one can reach high notes easier.
These exercises are aimed at relaxing the muscles that interfere with the tone making process. These are the outer muscles of the larynx. They also exercise the diaphragm to naturally regulate the air supply to the vocal cords. It is not needed to strengthen any muscles as the muscles used during singing are already strong enough.
Breathing exercises for singing is easy to do and it should be done one at a time until it is mastered before moving over to the next exercise. One should also do these exercises without cease to ensure one will have breathing fully under control.
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