How to improve your breathing technique and breath control?


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How to breathe and develop your breathing for singing?

How to control your breathing and breathing?

We can never praise enough the benefits of deep belly breathing. Singing with your stomach is one of the best techniques possible and allows you to carry your voice. If you want to know more about the basics of breathing, I invite you to consult the course on breathing exercises basic.

Diaphragmatic breathing helps expel stored air and creates a better sound. This will allow you to sing louder, longer, more stable…. The more air you have in your lungs, the louder the sound will be. And the more you control the air, the more this quantity is optimized.

How to breathe when you sing: What is breathing?

Do you know that a good start in your singing practice doesn't necessarily have to start with singing? During your first singing lessons, there is a good chance that your singing teacher will have covered the subject of breathing support. Or breathing technique when he discussed the path to healthy, sustainable singing. One of the simplest ways to improve vocal endurance and comfort while singing is to incorporate breathing exercises for singing into your vocal warm-ups.

How to breathe when you sing: Breathe better to sing better?

Below, I explain the who, what, when, where, why and how of breathing exercises for singing. This information is not only a practical guide for singers discovering how to breathe when singing, but also practical additions to any experienced singer's warm-up regimen.

At the end of this article, I've outlined four breathing exercises for singing that I've found both accessible and helpful; my goal is that at least one of these exercises will meet the needs of every singer who tries them.

How to breathe when singing: Causes of poor breathing

When a person breathes normally, inhaling and exhaling are relatively shallow. Then there is a short pause before the cycle starts again. This style of breathing is akin to operating on autopilot because the effort required is minimal.

Trying to breathe the same way you do when you're sitting at a desk or walking in a park doesn't work for singing. Singing requires concerted effort and more varied breathing techniques. If these foundations are not in place, a singer will perform poorly. There are several differences between the way a person usually breathes and the way they breathe when they sing.

How to inhale and exhale for singing?

When singing, the exhalation is longer than the inhalation and must be done with regular effort. The singer should also be aware of their breathing technique, instead of letting it flow unintentionally. Additionally, when we breathe normally, the breaths are relatively shallow because our body is exerting as little effort as possible.

How to breathe when you sing: The lungs are an air reservoir

Therefore, we only use about five to ten percent of our lungs' capacity in any given breath. On the other hand, during singing, this figure of this respiratory capacity rises to 50 %.

There are a myriad of ways a singer can breathe incorrectly. These include shortness of breath, improper use of the diaphragm, poor posture, and the inability to know how quickly to inhale or exhale. This mismatch can lead to unnecessary tension in the voice, untapped potential and therefore a significant level of bodily stress.

How to breathe when singing: Who should practice breathing?

The answer to this question is: Everyone! Singers of all levels should do breathing exercises for singing. Whatever your level, you will always need to practice your breathing. Learning breathing or developing it, breathing work is the work of a lifetime. Indeed, it must be continuous and regular. In fact, it can only get worse by a few minutes per day. Always choose the best time of day for you, that suits you. Take this as a little break to refocus on yourself and your voice.

How to breathe when you sing: Breathe when you sing correctly?

To begin with, breathing exercises seem more technical than they really are. These are simply various ways to control inhaling and exhaling. Additionally, warming up the lungs before singing allows the body to support the voice with full, deep breaths.

Singing can use up to 90 % of the singer's lung capacity, making this activity much more physically demanding than new singers often realize. In fact, breathing exercises can be replaced with physical exercises, such as running or yoga, and often achieve the same benefits for singing.

How to breathe when you sing: Breathe when you sing through your stomach?

Generally, the singer will want to do one or two breathing exercises before warming up their voice, so that the feeling of healthy, full, and efficient breathing established by the breathing exercises continues during vocal warm-ups and supports the singing during the remainder of the practice session, lesson or performance.

How to breathe when singing: Eliminate respiratory stress

Breathing exercises are always appropriate when it comes to singing, whether before a singing lesson, before a concert, or before a personal practice session. In fact, breathing exercises can be helpful on many non-musical occasions as well.

For example, always do a breathing exercise when you feel nervous or anxious. In addition, certain breathing exercises are useful in the evening when you have difficulty falling asleep. These exercises, in addition to promoting healthy vocal technique, allow you to achieve a calm, focused, even meditative state of mind.

How to breathe when singing: Why do breathing exercises before singing?

Doing breathing exercises regularly before singing will develop exceptional breathing capacity.

How to breathe when singing: The ability to inhale large quantities of air

The ability to inhale large amounts of air allows one to sing long phrases in a conscious and relaxed manner. We exploit this ability by breathing deeply, allowing the lungs to fully inflate while the diaphragm descends. To start, lie down on the floor or on your bed. Breathe in and out through your mouth and focus on the sensations in your body.

Inhale through your mouth or nose for a certain number of seconds.
Note that when you slow down your breathing, there should be no tension. The throat is just a pipe.
It will be liberating if you can master the art of inhaling and exhaling without tension. Experiment and invent your own breathing exercises to develop this ability.

How to breathe when singing: The ability to quickly take in more air

The ability to take a deep breath quickly is effective when there is little time to breathe between rapid phrases of a song. To do this, practice gasp. You will feel your stomach moving in and out at high speed.

This is because your diaphragm moves up and down and pushes out the contents of your stomach. Try to do this silently. Focus on exhaling and watch how easily the air returns to the lungs. You will be surprised at how much air you can breathe in by simply relaxing.

How to breathe when singing: The ability to fully control one's breath

The ability to control the escape of the breath allows singing long phrases in a controlled and relaxed manner. When exhaling, the diaphragm returns to its resting position, below the lungs.
Since the diaphragm controls the rate at which we exhale, our goal is to learn how to slow down this process. If the exhale is too fast, it can create tension because we won't have enough breath to produce a solid, coherent sound.

How to breathe when singing: Lack of respiratory support?

This is where many problems with vocal technique occur, often referred to as lack of support and unconnected vocals.
Your stomach should remain in the full sensation position that you feel immediately after inhaling. You should try to hold this position as long as possible when singing. Try to maintain this feeling of relaxation as you exhale. In fact, it's about slowing down and thus controlling the rise of the diaphragm so that it is slow.

How to breathe when singing through breathing exercises?

When you play sports, the start is the warm-up. It's about preparing your body for exercise. The middle is the exercise itself, and the end is the cool down, that is, the return of your body to a normal resting state. As a singer, you must control your breathing thoroughly. Indeed, the breathing technique must have no secrets for you and you must be an athlete! If many people seem to think that great singers are born from simple talent, well, they are totally wrong.

How to learn to breathe?

To become a great singer, you have to practice, and breathing techniques are at the very heart of that training. It's imperative that a singer is able to take a good, full breath in a split second and use it to support the voice so that you're not trying too hard to keep pushing through a song.

Learn to breathe

Better singing cannot be reduced to a talent. It is linked to a skill that you develop by using good breathing techniques. In this singing lesson, we'll explain why it's so important to practice breathing as a singer. This breathing method for singing will introduce you to basic techniques and help you get started.

Place your hands on your stomach

You have probably already seen singers practicing by placing their hands on their stomachs. Indeed, as it is not always easy to fully feel what is happening inside, control points are necessary. Thus, placing your hands on your stomach will allow you to control the forward and backward movement of the latter. Therefore you can appreciate the speed, the amplitude and you can correct using your hands.

Use diaphragmatic breathing to save your vocal cords

When you start singing, it is recommended to sing with your stomach. This technique can help use airflow more efficiently, meaning you maximize the use of your vocal cords.

How can you protect your voice?

Diaphragmatic breathing puts less strain on the vocal cords and can help protect the voice. Naturally, most amateur singers use their throat when singing. This is the technique that seems most natural to us. However, if you want to sing properly, you can't just use your throat. This will strain both your throat and your vocal cords. So when your throat starts to hurt and you're feeling tight, it's time to start singing with your belly!

How to breathe when you sing: Improving your breathing technique

You need to use your diaphragm to control the flow of air through your respiratory system. Don't exhale all at once, because you won't have any more air to sing. Using this technique can help maintain the health of your vocal cords.

How do you know if you are breathing well?

This method is used by professional singers to avoid long-term damage to their vocal cords. If you put too much strain on your vocal cords, you run the risk of getting nodules. Nodules are inflammation of the vocal cords caused by repetitive friction and can cause you to lose your voice. As you can see, it is good to use diaphragmatic breathing to avoid injuring your vocal cords and losing your voice.

How to breathe when singing through your stomach and with your diaphragm?

Before we discuss any other techniques, we need to address some fundamental principles of breathing. That means we need to talk about how to use what's happening in your stomach, so your diaphragm. Your diaphragm is the most important belly muscle for your breathing and most people never really use it properly.

1) Deep Inspiration Exercise

When you inhale and actually take a deep breath, try to push your navel outwards. Try to keep your shoulders relaxed and don't raise them. Do you feel the abdominal buoy? Do you feel this significant reserve of elastic air which is therefore at your disposal?

1) Deep exhalation exercise

Conversely, when you exhale, pull your navel toward your spine. Don't slouch and stay straight. This may seem a little strange or confusing at first. Mastering this breathing technique is the first step to taking control of your abdominal breathing. So this is the first step towards controlling your singing.

Diaphragm technique

In general, the diaphragm works involuntarily or automatically. So, we often don't use it to its full potential. Unless we exert ourselves to the point of being out of breath. The development of this muscle is essential. This is one of the keys to allowing you to sing in a controlled manner and tackle more difficult pieces of music.

Relaxation and anti-stress

Singing, Yoga, meditation…same fight! The deep abdominal breathing technique is also excellent for combating stress and anxiety. This helps slow your heart rate and can be very useful if you feel nervous! After spending a few days working on diaphragm breathing, you can try to integrate other sensations:

Deep breaths

Of course, to sing for long phrases, you need to be able to take a deep breath. Here is an exercise to develop your breathing capacity. Lie on your back in a comfortable place and take a few abdominal breaths, being aware of your diaphragm. Inhale through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 8 seconds, and exhale again for 8 seconds. Try to get as much air as possible into your lungs using your diaphragm.

Rapid, short breaths

Learning to inhale super quickly is critically important for singing. Indeed, you must be able to inhale as much air as possible in a minimum of time. Sometimes the text leaves you very little time to take your breath and in places where you wouldn't have done it unconsciously.


Practice panting. This method is as simple as it looks. Practice panting slowly and then faster and faster. It can help to make some sound at first, but then try to make it quiet. This exercise helps open the throat and control the speed of inhalation and exhalation. In addition, it helps release throat and tension. It is extremely important to continue to feel your diaphragm for breathing and to push your belly button out! Practice panting in a very exaggerated manner. It is once again extremely important to always use your diaphragm, otherwise you will only fill a small part of your capacity.

Beware of hyperventilation

Also, if you feel dizzy during this or any other breathing exercise, take a break!
This is hyperventilation. When you start singing and working on breathing you are not used to handling so much air. As you control your air flow, hyperventilation will disappear. The singer is an air acrobat!

How to breathe better?

Use these first feeling exercises and constantly train your diaphragm to expand deeper and longer. This way, you build a foundation that will be very useful to you. Again, singing is as much a skill as it is a talent, and at the heart of it are breathing exercises. So practice and feel again and again.

How to breathe when singing: Warm up with exercises

The goal of the warm-up is to warm your body and prepare it for the exercises to come. Typically, warming up consists of activities at a slower pace and reduced intensity. The goal of warming up is to increase your body temperature, which will warm up your muscles. Blood circulation and flexibility increase during warm-up.
Like the warm-up, the cool-down, also called the cool-down period, generally consists of exercises at a slower pace and reduced intensity. This allows your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure to return to normal at a slower rate.

Pay attention to posture!

Most people find that when they inhale, their chest rises: this is, after all, what comes naturally. But by developing your posture, by practicing breathing exercises and chanting regularly, you will begin to master deeper diaphragmatic breathing. Have you ever heard someone say to you: “sing from the diaphragm!” ? In fact, we don't sing only with our diaphragm. It is a combination of abdominal muscles, intercostal muscles (ribs) and the diaphragm that constitutes the mechanism of breathing.

Breathing exercises: muscles in action

When we inhale, the diaphragm moves down into the stomach area, pushing down and pushing aside anything in its path. The intercostal muscles of the rib cage extend laterally, causing expansion around the stomach, sides, and back. On exhalation, our diaphragm relaxes upwards, back to its original position, while our lungs empty of air. This is where the abdominal muscles come into play: they are responsible for exhaling the breath.

Role of the diaphragm

The diaphragm controls the rate at which we inhale and exhale our breath. Focusing on the diaphragm as the sole breathing mechanism is actually quite beneficial because it is closely linked to the myriad of abdominal muscles that contribute to this task. The diaphragm is also one of the largest muscles in the human body, and its rise and fall functions as a sort of pump. Attention ! If during your warm-up you feel dizzy at any point, take a break and come back later. The exercises should only be done for a few minutes at a time and in a relaxed manner.

What position to work on your breathing?

Should we do exercises while lying down?
Start like this. If you find your feet, move on to a sitting position then standing.
To make it more complicated, you can do your exercises while walking.
As you inhale, keep your upper body as relaxed as possible. There should be no lifting of the shoulders, clenching of the hands or jaw.
With your posture straight, without slumping, you must concentrate on the movement of the breathing exercise in the body.

4 exercises to learn and develop your breathing

Here are four exercises below that are quite accessible for learning how to breathe when singing. You can do them before tackling the respiratory counting video which I will talk about below. To get the most out of your experience performing each of these exercises, keep the following in mind:

1) Relax your shoulders, back, chest and arms throughout the exercise.

2) Keep your feet slightly apart if you are doing a breathing exercise while standing.

3) Imagine that the breath comes from the lower body, either from the lower torso, or even from under the feet. This will help keep the shoulders and chest free of tension.

4) Imagine that the spine lengthens on both the inhale and exhale of the breath, especially on the exhale. In reality this will allow you to better feel the movement of the diaphragm.

5) If your body is particularly tense, try stretching gently before beginning the breathing exercise to create a feeling of physical freedom and increase body awareness. Your neck and your rib cage no longer exist, everything is located in the stomach and the abdominal buoy.

6) For more control, don’t hesitate to put your hands on your stomach

Breathing exercise #1 – Inhaling through the nose, exhaling through the mouth

This simple, introductory exercise can be performed standing, sitting or lying down. Inhale deeply through your nose to a slow count of three. Hold the peak of the inhale while slowly counting to three. Exhale through your mouth for a slow count of three. Hold the end of the exhale while slowly counting to three. Repeat this cycle at least three times.

Breathing exercise #2 – On your back

This exercise requires lying on the ground and may not be practical in some environments. Using a mat, thick towel or blanket, lie down with your back on the floor, arms at your sides, feet on the floor and slightly apart. Your knees will therefore be directed towards the ceiling. Check that your lower back is in good contact with the ground.

Inhale deeply, through your nose or mouth, while slowly counting to four, imagining your back lengthening and widening on the floor beneath your feet. Exhale, through your nose or mouth, to a slow count of four, doing your best to maintain the feeling of expansion you get during the inhale. Repeat this cycle at least three times.

Breathing exercise #3 – “Straw” breathing.

This exercise gets its name from the action of inhaling and exhaling as through a typical straw and can be performed standing or seated. Inhale through your mouth as if you were inhaling through a straw for four slow counts. Inspiration must present a certain degree of constraint. Maintaining the same space between the straw and the mouth, immediately begin to exhale through the “straw” for four slow counts.

Inhale again through the straw for four slow counts immediately after completing the four exhalation counts to maintain a continuous cycle of inhaling and exhaling. Continue to repeat the cycle for three cycles of four counts of inhaling and four counts of exhaling.

Develop your respiratory capacity

Once you feel comfortable with these exercises, try gradually increasing the number of inhales and exhales from four to six, eight, ten, and twelve. Keep in mind that with each increase in the number of accounts you will make the exercise more difficult and more stressful. As a result, you will find it more and more difficult to control your feelings. Increase gradually, don't try to go too fast! This would be counterproductive. When all this is mastered, it is time to move on to the counting exercises or counting of breaths which will impose a rhythmic cadence on you.

How to breathe when singing with your stomach when you're starting out?

Breathing to live is one of the most natural things we do, everyone does it without even thinking about it. But breathing while singing is another story. Beautiful, effortless singing always relies on impeccable breathing technique.
Here you will find technical exercises to learn the belly breathing technique to sing well.

Here you will find the most effective way to breathe while singing. You will also learn to recognize incorrect breathing methods. This will allow you to self-correct any bad habits you may have adopted. The main difference between breathing in everyday life and breathing for singing is the degree of conscious control we apply to the latter.
We must develop this control until the actions necessary for our breathing become conditioned reflexes.

Diaphragm work

If we look at the mechanics of our breathing, we find that the main muscle responsible for introducing air into the body is the diaphragm. It is a dome-shaped muscle placed between our lungs and our abdominal cavity. The diaphragm moves downward when we inhale. It thus creates a vacuum in our lungs which allows them to fill with air. And when we exhale, the diaphragm rises. The lungs thus return to their initial shape and, with the help of the ribs and abdominal muscles, the air is exhaled. Breathing for singing consists of 4 stages: inhalation, suspension, controlled exhalation and recovery.

How to breathe when singing with the abdominal buoy?

Inspiration for singing

Inhalation of air for singing is faster than in natural breathing. This allows us to inhale more air and send it deeper into our lungs. Air should enter our body easily and quietly. This can be encouraged by lifting the soft palate and relaxing our throat muscles, just as we do when we yawn. For this whole process to go smoothly, we need to ensure that three postural conditions are met before we inspire. Our chest should be comfortably high. Our lower abdomen comfortably tucked in. Our upper abdomen free to move. As soon as one of these 3 conditions is missing, problems appear.

Check your posture

However, if our posture is correct, each time we inhale we should feel the air moving down the body and the middle of our body expanding, almost as if it is the breath causing the expansion rather than the displacement viscera.
We should see our back and sides expand, but the greatest expansion should occur in the front of the body.
You can check the correct execution by placing your hands at your sides, the index finger just below the last ribs.

Exhalation for singing

Exhalation is said to be controlled when, in coordination with the vocal cords, it produces phonation. Exhalation should be done slowly, the diaphragm releasing its tension and returning to its initial position. One of the best ways to control exhalation is to try to maintain expansion around the middle of the body as you exhale.

Exercise to stabilize your breathing and learn how to breathe when singing:

  1. Respiratory stabilization exercise for singing Sssss over 15 seconds
  2. Respiratory stabilization exercise for singing Sssss over 20 seconds
  3. Respiratory stabilization exercise for singing Sssss over 25 seconds
  4. Respiratory stabilization exercise for singing Sssss over 30 seconds
  5. Respiratory stabilization exercise for singing Sssss over 40 seconds
  6. Respiratory stabilization exercise for singing Sssss over 50 seconds
  7. Respiratory stabilization exercise for singing Sssss over 60 seconds

Exercise to connect your breathing and your voice

  1. Connection exercise for singing from 1 to 13 in single note
  2. Connection exercise for singing 1 to 13 to a melody 
  3. Connection exercise for singing from 1 to 17 in single note
  4. Connection exercise for singing from 1 to 17 to a melody 
  5. Connection exercise for singing from 1 to 21 in single note
  6. Connection exercise for singing from 1 to 21 to a melody 
  7. Connection exercise for singing from 1 to 25 in single note
  8. Connection exercise for singing 1 to 25 to a melody