How to Breathe Correctly for Singing

I'm going to teach you how to breathe correctly for singing so you can sound your absolute best. 

Before getting to that though, there's something I need to mention first. 

I had such problems when I started trying to sing. Everybody told me that it was about my breathing. Every coach that I went to said, “You don't breathe correctly.” I thought, well, that's got to be the problem.

Breathing or Blocking?

You guys probably know that I don't talk a lot about breathing, because what I came to understand was that was not really what was typically going on for me. It was more that I was blocking my air. 

So your goal should be to get to this place of understanding your body and to make sure you're not blocking your air.

When you've got that part sorted you can begin working on breathing.

Let's assume that you've reached this point (and if you haven't, you'll still be able to learn from what I'm about to discuss!) 

So breathing correctly for singing... 

Throw Your Hands in the Air Like You Just Don't Care

The first thing I want you to do is something really silly.

Just throw your hands around, move around, do something so you get moving, so you're breathing. That's all you're doing.

Then you're going to stop and let yourself calm down. 

Now just put your hands on your stomach so you can feel where you're breathing. As you breathe in and out, you'll feel your diaphragm gently rise and fall. 

When I'm talking about the diaphragm, it's not just your stomach. It's actually all the cavity from your ribs to your abdomen.

So when I take a breath, I can feel my diaphragm coming out.

If you're breathing in and out very easily, you'll find in this relaxed state you'll be able to feel very vividly where you're taking in air and how your diaphragm gently moves in and out.

Let's Do An Exercise That Will Help You Breathe Correctly For Singing

Let's do an exercise so you can get this.

Take a breath and pull it down. Now sing a few arpeggios, and hold the top note a bit longer before coming back down. Be very aware of taking that breath first, pulling it down, and pushing out the diaphragm. This gives you power.  So it's not about pulling in. 

To see a demonstration of this, watch the video below (it will being in the correct place at 3:11)

And here's an audio file so you can practice along with the exercise! 

Diaphragmatic Breathing (Support And Power)

If you want to hit your notes with great power, diaphragmatic support becomes very important. 

To see what this means, here's a demonstration (the video will begin at the correct place at 2:33) 

There's No Need To Over Complicate This! 

When I was younger I went to so many coaches, and they had me doing all these weird exercises I didn't understand. One was really funny—they had me lie on the floor with a belt around my stomach so I could be aware of how I was breathing. 

Now, you don't have to go through that—just sit and just become in touch with how you breathe.

Then you want to start to duplicate that natural breathing when you're singing. That's really what's coming about. 

Practice this, and take your time with it. After a while you'll know exactly how to breathe correctly for singing. 

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! 

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About The Author

Roger Burnley - Vocal CoachRoger Burnley - Vocal Coach

Roger Burnley is a vocal coach located in Hollywood, California. He has been teaching singers for over 30 years and singing for even longer than that. 

Notable past and present clients include Macy Gray, Brandy, Ray J, The Beastie Boys, James Torme, Taylor Lautner, Nona Gaye, and many more.

His clients have collectively sold more than 30 million albums, with several reaching Platinum and Gold status. 

Roger has been featured on VH1, TV Guide Channel, TV One,
and MTV appearing as a vocal expert.

About The Author

Roger Burnley - Vocal CoachRoger Burnley - Vocal Coach

Roger Burnley is a vocal coach located in Hollywood, California. He has been teaching singers for over 30 years and singing for even longer than that. 

Notable past and present clients include Macy Gray, Brandy, Ray J, The Beastie Boys, James Torme, Taylor Lautner, Nona Gaye, and many more.

His clients have collectively sold more than 30 million albums, with several reaching Platinum and Gold status. 

Roger has been featured on VH1, TV Guide Channel, TV One,
and MTV appearing as a vocal expert.

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