In order to create a steady singing tone, it’s important to control the amount of air being expelled from the lungs while singing. The difference between how we breathe while we go about our regular day to day business, and how we breathe when we sing all relates to how air flow is regulated as the demands on our bodies vary for different activities. Breathing Exercises for singing and/or breath work can help singers gain control of how they regulate air flow while they sing. As with other endurance activities strengthening the diaphragm is key in gaining control and endurance.
Breathing Exercises for singing and/or breath work can help singers gain control of how they regulate air flow while they sing. As with other endurance activities strengthening the diaphragm is key in gaining control and endurance.
Because singing requires more breath energy than speaking does there is a greater need for stamina and energy which requires greater control of your respiratory muscles. In order to enhance your breath management capabilities, you must first master control of your breathing.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to breathing control for singing: contracting of the diaphragm and abdominal muscles, and inspiratory hold also known as apoggio. The Expand-A-Lung breathing exerciser tackles both schools of thought as it strengthens your diaphragm using inspiratory and expiratory breathing resistance giving you more control. However, we will go over multiple techniques you can use to control your breathing for singing.
Contemporary breathing techniques for singers incorporate engaging the abdominal wall in creating an upward and inward pressure as you sing. It’s important to practice this technique with caution as it places a lot of pressure on the diaphragm forcing air out of the lungs at a rapid rate which could result in airy or breathy tone.
Many classical singing schools use the apoggio method. The appogio method focuses on the muscles use for inspiration rather than those used during expiration. The idea is to slow down the pace at which the diaphragm rises by continuing to use the inspiratory muscles as you sing. By singing with the inspiratory muscles, you keep the diaphragm lower and the lower ribcage expanded. This creates lower subglottic pressure by maintaining the enlarged dimensions of the thoracic cavity.
Singers using the appoggio method learn to extend their normal breath cycle by remaining in the inspiratory position as long as possible. This posture is referred to as the “inspiratory hold”.
One exercise used by followers of the appoggio method is the Farinelli exercise which can be broken down into 3 pars. Part 1 inhalation to full capacity evenly paced to a count of 3 seconds with minimal movement in the chest. Part 2 the breath cycle is suspended for an equal count as part 1 (initially 3 seconds and then you build). The air should not be held in by the nose or mouth and the glottis should be closed off. Part 3 exhalation is steadily and evenly paced out over the count of 3 seconds.
There are many other breathing techniques that can be used to improve your breath control for singing including breathing through a straw or using breathing resistance exercises like Expand-A-Lung to gain control of the breath cycle and strengthen the respiratory muscles. In fact, the Expand-A-Lung can be used for added resistance while using the Facinelli exercises if you want to maximize your breath work training time.