Here’s a quick singing tip that will help singers of all experience levels! I do this simple exercise with all my students because it’s the easiest, most effective way I know of to learn diaphragmatic breathing. When we connect the power of our breath to our voice, singing instantly becomes more fun and natural.
Why don’t you try this simple singing tip yourself and see?
Non-singers often have the natural stress reaction of holding their breath when singing, and therefore over-strain their throats. Being aware of your diaphragm and using it to power your breath and voice is the cure!
Here are the steps…
(or click here, and watch Video 7, from Chapter 12 of my book, about breathing for singing)
• Take a nice, big relaxed breath and feel it fill your lungs while you allow your belly to expand.
• Check in to be sure that your shoulders, neck and jaw are relaxed.
• While you are still full of air, begin to make an “ssssssss” sound, like a child pretending to be snake. Make repeated short “sss” sounds that repeat until your breath is used up.
• Begin to notice what parts of your body are engaged and working as you do this.
• Repeat, double-checking that your shoulders, neck and jaw are relaxed. This time place your hand over the top of your belly. Again, exhale on a series of short “sss” sounds until you are out of air.
Can You Feel Those Diaphragmatic Muscles Working?
What parts of your body do you feel engaging and working as you do this? Can you feel the muscles in your upper belly, under your hand, contract and release each time you start and stop the “sss” sound?
Do this a few more times until you are able to clearly identify what this diaphragmatic breathing feels like. If you are having a hard time feeling these muscles working, try exaggerating the action by squeezing in a little bit on the muscles under your hand while exhaling on the “sss” sound.
• If you are still unclear, try doing this in front of a mirror to give yourself a visual cue. Do it again one last time. This time, keep exhaling until you feel like you are completely out of breath.
• You may want to change from the “sss-sss-sss-sss-sss” to a long “ssssssssssss” as you approach the end of your breath.
Notice how you have to squeeze your stomach and diaphragm to keep the “sssssssssssss” sound going. Your diaphragm is squeezing in tighter and tighter as you use up your breath, isn’t it?
It’s amazing how much longer you can go, how much breath you have on reserve, when you push it out with those belly and diaphragmatic muscles! At the end of this last exhale, you will feel that you are working hard. This is an opportunity to zero in on these muscles. I want you to feel, very clearly, the way the power at the end of this long breath is coming from the diaphragm and belly, and not from the throat, jaw, etc.
Now that you’ve identified these muscles, try engaging them just lightly while singing or humming a little bit. Imagine that your throat is just a hallway or tunnel that the sound is passing through — without any strain at all! When you support your voice with your breath, notice how much easier it is to sing and play with your voice.
Look for more simple singing tips for beginners in newsletters to come. And Check out my book, The Fear of Singing Breakthrough Program: Learn to Sing Even if You Think You Can’t Carry a Tune. Ask for it at your local bookstore or get it on Amazon!