LEARN TO SING
The diaphragm is the power supply for the instrument known as the voice. The key to becoming a “good” singer is the ability to utilize the diaphragm.
I’ve heard so many people say, “I don’t know how to breathe,” or “I don’t know how to use my diaphragm.” To which I say, “You have been breathing your whole life. You already know how. If you weren’t using your diaphragm, you’d be dead.”
Let’s just start there.
You have been breathing your whole life. Your diaphragm is the muscle that regulates your respiratory system. Its function is to bring air into the lungs and release it. Also, when you vocalize in any way, singing, speaking, laughing, etc., the diaphragm brings air into your body, then flexes in order to support a steady flow of air pressure against the vocal cords. The air pressure makes the vocal cords vibrate, the vibration resonates and we hear sound.
Like I said, you have been breathing your whole life. Your body knows how to do this really well. Your diaphragm totally works with every breath you take and every sound you make. Usually when people are learning to sing they are told about taking deep breaths, or holding the breath, or not holding the breath, or just go right into breathing exercises. None of this is wrong or bad, however, it starts us thinking about breathing and trying to breathe and what happens more often than not is the singer is now totally interfering in their own natural process. If you want to know how to breathe, pay attention to your body and notice how it breathes for you. Notice how your body works when you are on the phone, or humming, or laughing, or just start counting out loud and check it out.
Your breathing is definitely minimal effort, but it gets the job done every time. To breathe properly for singing, you must breathe low into the bottom portion of the lungs. Your rib cage and back will expand. Your shoulders and upper chest will remain still and will not rise. If you lift your shoulders, or your upper chest rises or you suck in air (with your mouth shaped like an “oo”), or have tension anywhere, you are interfering with the process. You do not do these things when you speak, so you should not do them when you sing or exercise your breathing.
So then why is singing difficult? A HA! Because it takes a lot more than minimal effort to CARRY a tune. Even the easiest song demands a lot more effort than speaking on the phone. So, allow yourself to breathe, and allow your body, specifically your diaphragm, to work and then start your breathing exercises.