Singer’s Breathing and Breath Support
Written for Walton Voices by Zoran Milosevic
01932 246 635
Choir rehearsals and singing lessons will often start with a breathing exercise, usually a variation of “inhale for 5, hold for 5, exhale for 15 seconds”. It appears to be a quite simple and straight forward drill, except … that it is not! Each of the three steps have their peculiarities that are not intuitive.
Taking a Breath
Let us start with breathing in. We breath subconsciously, but at any level higher than casual or bathroom singing, breathing should be done in a particular manner. Breathing is accomplished by altering the size of the chest cavity, sucking the air in when the cavity is expanded (creating vacuum inside the lungs), and expelling it when the cavity is contracted. These actions are initiated automatically by nerve signals that the brain sends to the relevant muscles, be it the inspiratory (inhaling) or the expiratory (exhaling) muscles.
We can change the size of the chest cavity by following muscle actions:
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