© Yvonne DeBandi, BME
If you have talked, studied or read about singing anywhere, no doubt you have heard at least once that singing well comes down to breathing. Why? Because your airflow is what breathes life or energy into your tone.
Your breathing abilities as a singer creates the airflow that is somewhat responsible for the creation of your vocal tone, the quality of your vocal tone, the length of your vocal tone and the power of your vocal tone. I say “somewhat responsible” because there are many other factors in the vocal tone game, but one thing is true. If your breathing is out of whack, EVERYTHING else will be too.
Intercostal breathing refers to breathing with the upper lobes of your lungs and could also be referred to as shallow breathing. You might think you are able to get the singing job done with this type of breathing, but it will NEVER be your best choice. This type of breathing generally occurs when the body is under stress, and STRESS never accompanies a good vocal tone.
Diaphragmatic breathing is a term that refers to breathing that engages the diaphragm. It involves a deeper breath, engages the lower lobes of your lungs, and fills your body core with oxygen. This is why I like to call it “body breathing.” While many singers struggle with this technique, believe it or not it is the same EXACT method of breathing we use when we sleep well. When the body relaxes, the brain naturally opens up the pathway and allows the body to rest and heal itself overnight. Because oxygen is a requirement of that physical function, it is a natural course of action for a healthy body.
Understanding the sensation of breathing “correctly” for singing is half the battle. So next time you are about to fall asleep and find yourself in that nice relaxed state, pay attention to how it feels. If you are truly relaxed, you will find that you draw your breath deeply towards your belly button and your sides expand evenly all the way around your midsection. Try to duplicate that relaxed breathing sensation while you are singing and you are on your way!
Breathing. The very life of your singing tone. How do your breathing skills rate?
© Copyright Yvonne DeBandi, BME
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