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The foundation of all styles of singing is the breath. Without proper breath support, a singer will be limited in what they are able to accomplish. But how do you know if you’re breathing properly? Show How Studio can help you master breath support for singing in just three easy steps.

Let’s play with an experiment. You will need a mirror that shows your shoulders and ribs at least, and if it covers your belly and sides, even better.

Step One - Assess Your Breathing

A singer at resting position before breathing.

A singer at resting position before breathing.

Start out just looking at your posture in your reflection and passively breathing. Learning what to look for in the mirror is part of this experiment, so feel free to try this exercise facing the mirror, in profile to the mirror, etc. Note what you see moving in the reflection. When you are ready, expel all your air, and then consciously inhale through your nose, paying attention to where you see your body rise.

 

A singer breathes incorrectly with shoulders raised.

A singer breathes incorrectly with shoulders raised.

 

 

 

 

If your shoulders and chest lift up in a vertical movement, you will need to take some time retraining your body on how to breathe. The diaphragm needs to flatten and contract in order to pull air into your body. Therefore, raising the shoulders and chest will prevent air from filling your lungs.

Step Two - Monitored Breathing

A singer at resting position while monitoring breathing..

A singer at resting position while monitoring breathing..

Imagine that you have an inflatable inner tube around your waist. You want to be able to expand and inflate that inner tube by expanding your belly, sides, and low back when you breathe in. The ability to relax your core muscles to accommodate that inhalation so that they are able to help control the exhalation of breath from your lungs is a cornerstone of breath support.

 

Place one hand on your belly button, spreading your fingers out, and the other on your chest or breastplate.

A singer inhaling while monitoring breathing.

A singer inhaling while monitoring breathing.

 

 

 

Run the original experiment again – expel all your air, and then consciously inhale through your nose, focusing on expanding in all directions, without letting the hand on your chest rise up. Once you are able to manage a more correct inhalation, you will need to work on controlling the exhalation. Making a hissing sound, just the ‘s’ sound, ration out your breath to see how long you can sustain the hissing or controlled release of breath.

Step Three - Practice

In as little as 3-5 minutes / 3-5 times a week you can master breath support for singing. There are, of course, a variety of breathing exercises we use in studio. Every student is on their own journey, and exercises are modified for each individual student’s set of challenges. However, understanding how to apply these concepts in your own breathing is a huge opportunity to level up your skills.

Corrie Beula Kovacs

Corrie Beula Kovacs

Instructor, Show How Studio

Corrie Beula Kovacs has found a niche providing expert training in theatrical voice and dance. She brings a wealth of performing experience to her instruction, including NYC credits and Broadway tours. She is an adjudicator and workshop provider for the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, as well as co-author of We Like It Where?, an original musical that premiered at Northern Sky Theater in Door County in 2019.

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