HABIT IS A MANS SOUL COMFORT. WE DISLIKE DOING WITHOUT EVEN UNPLEASANT THINGS ,TO WHICH WE HAVE BECOME ACCUSTOMED. ~ GOETHE.
If you really want to build vocal power, you've got to build breath control and support. It is important that you become familiar with the diaphragm being the major muscle of inhalation and how to use it. So lets focus first on how to breathe correctly.
Be aware of your body as you breath and notice…
Is your stomach rising and falling? or
Does your chest do all the work?
Raising our chest and shoulders is a common habit, but it really causes us to draw a shallow breath, and this creates problems later when we need more breath to support our singing, especially for high notes or for long phrases in a song.
Notice the way a baby breaths and you will see their little bellies rising and falling. This is the way we naturally breath, however somewhere along the way we have forgotten and fallen prey to laziness, stress and tension causing us to breath short shallow breaths.
When you sing do you get a sore throat? Do you find it hard to sustain the high notes or even reach them? The key to unlock the answer is all in the breath control and support, along with your vocal exercises.
As a singer YOU ARE the instrument, and just like any instrument the better the care, the better the outcome. If you take good care of your voice, you can look forward to learning how to produce an amazing tone and strength; which will lead to you singing with the ease and power that not only the stars do – but YOU will too!
Place your hand on your stomach and breathe deeply into your diaphragm; as you do this, your hand should rise and fall as your diaphragm is filled with air.
Now imagine your stomach is like a balloon as you blow it up – what happens to the balloon? As you breath out, all the way out, imagine this balloon is in your stomach. Place your hands just above your hips and feel it expand as you breathe in and deflate as you breathe out.
~ In order to care for your instrument you must breathe properly.
~ Shallow breathing into your chest will limit the quality of voice, limit your range and tire you out!
Some important points to note: Our shoulders and chest area should be relaxed when we inhale. If we find that our chest area lifts up high or our shoulders are raised when we inhale, then just rest both hands on your stomach and repeat the inhalation exercise.
My challenge for you is to make the breath work a part of your daily routine!
Be aware of your breathing (even when you are not singing). Make a conscious effort to breathe deeply into your diaphragm. This will require some persistence though soon enough it will you will do it naturally (the way we are meant to breath). This will not only significantly help your singing, it will help your circulation of oxygen to your blood for a feeling of optimal health, energy and zest for life.
To conclude I’d like to recommend ‘The Breathing Book : A Practical Guide to Natural Breathing’ by Brad Thompson. This is a great little book, packed with practical exercises to enhance your breathing as well as better understand the physiology and mechanics of breathing.
Before incorporating any of these practices into your routine it is the authors recommendation that if you have any health issues to consult with a health professional to ensure no pre-existing condition could be jeopardized by any of these exercises.