I want to start this post by mentioning that I have been a professional singer since the age of 15 and I am presently working full time as a vocal coach (and not to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty good too). That being said, what I’m about to say will shock everyone who knows absolutely anything about singing.
“The breath isn’t that important.”
…are you still reading? Good. Now let me explain my reasoning for saying such a blasphemous thing.
I know that everyone who thinks they know anything about singing knows that it’s all about breathing from the diaphragm. You’ll hear it everywhere from studio engineers, to choir directors, to your next-door neighbour who’s been singing his whole life… occasionally even on stage. However, I can assure you that from my personal experience and the experience of many of my students, working too hard on the breath (aka making it a bigger deal than it is), especially with beginning singers, only creates bigger vocal issues.
If you try too hard to make something happen during the inhalation process, you’re ultimately going to create pressure underneath the larynx. This holds true whether you breathe too deeply or shallowly, whether you stick your stomach out or tuck it in. Now, that being said, we can’t ignore the breath.
If you are a high chest breather (aka your shoulders rise while you breathe), you have to address this immediately because by doing this, you’re raising the larynx and knocking your whole vocal mechanism out of wack. To fix this, bend over like you’re going to touch the floor and breathe naturally. While doing this, you’ll likely feel the breath filling the lower back and stomach area. This is where I want you to send the breath when you’re singing. Beyond that, forget about it. Make it effortless just like the whole singing process should be and I promise that especially for all you beginning singers out there, you’ll get better vocal results.
I hope you benefit from this tip as much as many others have and as always, happy singing!