Master Vocal Technique Teacher/Coach for Singers, and Published Author

Singing Lessons for Vocal Technique Tip Regarding Proper Breath Technique

Today I would like to give a tip to all vocalists about the breath and how to use it properly. There are 4 breath rules in singing:

  1. NEVER TAKE A BREATH AND HOLD IT. Holding the breath, even for a second, puts too much pressure underneath the cords. Too much pressure can cause the cords to separate too much once the note begins. If this happens you may lose too much air all at once.
  2. NEVER TAKE AS MUCH BREATH AS YOU CAN HOLD. If you lose too much air and don’t have enough to take you through a phrase, you might think the problem is that you didn’t take enough in to begin with. So next time, you take in even more. Yet even when you do this, you find there still isn’t enough. Why? If you take in so much air that the vocal cords can’t hold it, the pressure may force the cords to separate too much on that first note, causing most of the air to escape all at once. The cords only need a small amount of air to carry you through a phrase. With proper intake, the cords can then wrap around the top of the column of air and compress it so that the air comes out at its own natural rate of speed.
  3. ALWAYS BEGIN SINGING ON THE TAIL END OF THE INHALED BREATH. If you can experience and understand exactly what this means, you will have mastered the whole idea behind correct singing and breathing. The idea is to take the air in through the mouth, and just as you feel it going toward the back wall of the throat, you start singing. This is much like starting to sing on the inhaled breath. It’s a catch breath, if you will. Taking in the air and starting to sing right away is felt as a simultaneous action and it is a circular action. There is no stopping and starting, no holding of the breath whatsoever. It’s “in with the air” and “out with the sound”.
  4. ALWAYS GET RID OF ALL OF YOUR BREATH BEFORE TAKING IN A NEW ONE.  This means you should be using the breath as you sing. In other words, you should be exhaling it. But this doesn’t mean that you somehow have to push or force the air out of you while singing. It simply means that you allow the air to keep coming out as you sing. If you are taking in the air correctly, then the cords will control the flow and you will not have to manipulate your body or neck muscles in any way to keep the air flowing  freely as you make your way through the phrases.