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By Selena, 21/11/2017, Category:Breathing and Posture
It's funny, I still always find myself surprised that such a lot of people name breathing as one of the things they most want help with in their singing. Because, after all, it's not the actual singing itself! But it is the power source of singing. Every tone we croon is riding on the outbreath. And since every single one of us has breathed since the day we were born, why should we need help with it? Odd, don't you think? The fact is, though, that breathing for singing IS different to breathing for talking, activity or rest, and not everyone taps into the singing version automatically. They might encounter problems such as running out of breath before the end of the phrase, or not being able to fill up quick enough, and finding themselves gasping for air at unsuitable moments. These things can contribute to making singing a bumpy ride, or more effort than you want it to be. So what is the biggest mistake singers make with breathing? It's this: They get in their own way. That's right. They interfere with the natural flow of breathing by, consciously or unconsciously, 'trying' too much. There's 2 ways that can go: Pushing or holding back. They're both problematic. I'll get to the specifics on this now....about what's happening in your body. So how do we get in our own way? Firstly, we prevent ourselves from breathing in properly. In a song, you need to breathe in quickly, and deeply. Alas! so many of us have got into a habit of shallow breathing, or gasping for air, which means we simply won't have a good store of air to supply the next phrase or long note. So how can you fix this? Well, the biggest way to enable that quick deep inbreath is to release tension in your tummy, abdomen and torso. That will make sure you're not preventing your lungs from expanding fully. So...no tight belts or corsets when you're singing! Implementing that tip will help you enormously...although it's not the full picture...you'll have a chance to learn that soon. The second way we get in our own way with breathing is that when we breathe out, supplying the tone with power, we don't know how to pace it properly. That's managed by your ribs, diaphragm and voicebox. If you've got a tense back, your ribs will move down too quickly, and you'll not be able to sustain a steady airflow. So for this aspect, good, spacious posture is critical. If you give yourself the instruction to release your tailbone, your spine lengthens and that will help. All in all, optimal singing for breathing is actually a real art, as it requires the fine co-ordination of several bodyparts; aswell as requiring the un-doing, for many, of years of unhelpful habits! In fact, it's a skillset that warrants a several hours of training. And if you've read this far I take it you're interested in improving your breathing-for-singing. So I'm very pleased to tell you that I offer a Mini-course, called Breathe Right For Singing, for individuals or small groups. In it, we cover all the aspects I've mentioned here, and more; in fact everything that's important to enable you to breathe with ease when you're singing, creating smoothness, flow, power and confidence. The Mini-Course tackles all the key singers breathing challenges, and transforms your bad habits into good ones. Not only that, but it's fun, energising , and good for your health! So check out Breathe Right For Singing which can take place either in person at my Singing Space in Dartington Totnes, Devon, or online through a Video Call. I'd be delighted to work with you!
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