The Truth About Breath Support And How To Get It Right

Do you like to sing, but you feel that you have to catch your breath all the time?

The feeling of not getting enough air when you’re singing is very common and breath support is usually one of the first things you work on when you start taking singing lessons. Many methods and voice teachers do, however overly complicate the process and as a result, many new singers find themselves confused about how to properly breathe and control their breath when they’re singing.

The truth is, it doesn’t have to be complicated and it should never feel forced. Your singing should feel easy and natural and so should your breathing while you’re singing.

The myth of taking a big breath

You might get told by people, even voice teachers, that in order to have good breath control when you sing, you need to take big, deep breaths of air and breathe into your diaphragm. This is a myth – You don’t need to take any bigger breaths than you normally do. This will only make your body tense. Instead, just breathe in the normal amount of air.

What you should pay attention to, is to make sure that the air goes deep down, all the way to your stomach. Place your hand on your belly so that your thumb is on, or close to your belly button. When you breathe in, your belly should expand and when you breathe out, your belly should move towards your spine. Breathe slowly and evenly – no need to make any sudden moves at this point. Relax your shoulders, neck and face. Breathe in and out either through your nose or your mouth. If you breathe through the mouth, let it be slightly open. Keep your throat relaxed.

Breath support

Now, breath control and support is not just about how to inhale, but it’s also very much about how to exhale. Even if you learn how to breath into your belly, but you let all the air out at once, you will still find yourself being out of breath when you sing.

So, how should you exhale then? The easiest way to get the feel for the right kind of breath support is to do an “Sss” on the exhale. Breath into your belly (not too much air) and do a couple of short “Ss!” when you let the air out. Then add a longer “Sssss”. Try to keep the “Sssss” for as long as you can. Keep it even and vision it as

a straight line coming out from your mouth. Don’t squeeze your throat. The only “push”, should come from your belly.

While you’re doing the long “Sssss”, the lower part of your belly should slowly move in towards your spine and the upper part (the diaphragm) should stay out. Lastly, also the upper part of your belly should move towards your spine. Then just relax your belly and let it fill with air. Then you’re ready to do it all again!

How To Get It Right

First, practice breathing without singing. Do this for a couple of minutes twice a day and you’re guaranteed to breathe more easily also when you do sing. When you get used to the movement of your belly, you can start applying it to singing. Try it first with slower songs, where you have time to breathe properly and then you can move to faster songs. Happy breathing!

About the author:

Linda Lampinen is a voice teacher and the owner of Laulutunnit Tampere, a singing school in Tampere, Finland. If you live in the area and want long lasting results in the fastest and most fun way possible, be sure to visit www.laulutunnittampere.fi.