Copious amounts of information float around in books and on the internet about breathing for singing. It can be challenging to decipher what information is good to apply to your singing, right? Allow me to break it down for you.
Three main points:
First, Is the diaphragm important? Yes, it is. It is also an involuntary muscle, and that means other parts of the body must be considered when working to improve breathing for singing. Since we’re here, though….the diaphragm is like an umbrella between the lungs and heart and the viscera, a fancy word for your gut.:) The diaphragm is attached to the spine, ribs, and lungs, so yah, it’s important. Let’s move on to prevent boredom from setting in, shall we?
Second – Lot’s of things must happen in the body to achieve efficient breathing for singing, so the ultimate goal is to get the separate components operating together as a coordinated whole. Ribs should stay expanded as much as possible, even though they do collapse toward the ends of musical phrases. The abdominal wall (the part below the belly button) should move in and up the entire length of a phrase and then expand again when inhaling. When these two components – the ribs and the abdominal wall – work in tandem, beautiful breathing for singing takes place.
Third – All of these parts of your body you just started thinking about because now you’re thinking about breathing for singing need STRENGTH! They are muscles and you are either a vocal athlete or you want to be, so listen to your body as you develop the skill of breathing well for singing. Muscles, like in any other athletic endeavor, need time to build strength and stamina.
You can do this! Reach out if you’re having difficulty with your breathing, and always, have fun singing!