Hello and welcome to the first section of the Sing Smarter, Not Harder series which is all about breathing! I’m your vocal coach Ken Taylor, and I’ll be moving you through this training.
In this article, we’re going to discuss why we breathe in a certain way as singers, as well as explain a bit of the science behind the why. So let’s get to it!
Now, if you’ve been singing for any period of time at all, I’m sure you’ve heard you need to use your diaphragm when you sing. It’s pretty common knowledge. But, have you ever wondered why we want to do this?
Well, I was well into my 20s before this idea ever stuck. Which is crazy, considering I’ve been a professional singer since I was 15, and got my degree in vocal performance in my early 20s. But, somehow along the way, I guess that idea slipped by me. And I want to make sure it doesn’t slip by you. Especially since it’s such an important idea. So…
Why do we breathe in a certain way as singers?
…to create a steady and consistent flow of air.
Now this seems relatively simple, but this simple idea is vitally important when singing. We breathe in a certain way as singers to create a steady and consistent flow of air.
Now, why is that important? Well, the airflow and the vocal cords work hand and hand to create a solid, easy sound. Without a consistent airflow, muscles in the throat react to try and help balance the sound, leading to more tension and strain.
As I’m sure you can imagine, that’s not good. So, how do we create that steady and consistent flow of air? We moderate airflow by utilizing the diaphragm.
You see, the diaphragm is a muscles that’s connected to the base of the lungs. When it contracts, it pulls the lungs downward, giving us control over the air in the lungs. All we have to do to create a consistent flow of air is continue to engage the diaphragm, which feels a lot like a down and outward expansion in our lower torso.
The flip side of that is when you take a high chest breath, you can only moderate the airflow in your throat. This causes a strained sound, which doesn’t sound or feel particularly good. So, you want to be sure you are utilizing the diaphragm when you breathe so that you are creating a steady and consistent flow of air.
Now that we have an idea of why we breathe in a certain way as singers, and the science behind it, let’s move onto the next video and talk a bit more about how to breathe using the diaphragm.