Proper Breathing Technique For Choral Singing By David L. Chaump
Proper Posture Stand straight up with shoulders back Arms at side Feet shoulder width apart, right foot slightly forward Arms loosely dangling at side, hands open Chin parallel to the floor, head loose-on a swivel. Spine should feel elongated
Diaphragmatic Breathing Also known as “breathing from the diaphragm” and “abdominal breathing”, is a technique which allows singers to sing with much greater efficiency and control. The diaphragm is a dome shaped muscle below the lungs which covers the internal organs. When breathing from the diaphragm, one expands their lungs downwards and at the same time contracts the diaphragm muscle.
Diaphragmatic Breathing (Continued) This is a diagram showing what diaphragmatic breathing looks like: Picture courtesy of www.petethomas.co.uk
Diaphragmatic Breathing (Continued) As the diaphragm muscle is contracted, a void is created in the thoracic cavity where the lungs fill the void as they expand with the air taken in through the trachea, or windpipe. When one exhales, the diaphragm muscle relaxes, allowing the air to rush out as the lungs deflate…similar to a balloon deflating
Other Important Points The throat should always feel ‘open’ The ribcage should feel as if it’s floating and free. As you breath in it should expand outward. There should always be the sensation of having a full column of air in your lungs Proper diaphragmatic breathing can take years to master
Practice Exercise: (courtesy of www.cchs.net/health) 1. Lie on your back on a flat surface or in bed, with your knees bent and your head supported. You can use a pillow under your knees to support your legs. Place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your rib cage. This will allow you to feel your diaphragm move as you breathe. 2. Breathe in slowly through your nose so that your stomach moves out against your hand. The hand on your chest should remain as still as possible. 3. Tighten your stomach muscles, letting them fall inward as you exhale through pursed lips (see "Pursed Lip Breathing Technique"). The hand on your upper chest must remain as still as possible. When you first learn the diaphragmatic breathing technique, it may be easier for you to follow the instructions lying down, as shown on the first page. As you gain more practice, you can try the diaphragmatic breathing technique while sitting in a chair, as shown below.