Hey Ken. I like your information and no nonsense way of presenting it. I’ve been teaching voice for over twenty years now and always enjoy reading other teachers perspective on things. Feel like talking more about breathing? Curious on your views?
I’d be happy to expand on my thoughts about breathing.
While I wrote an article a few years ago about how “the breath isn’t that important,” I do believe it plays a crucial role in singing. But, I also think that it’s important to stress that it’s only a part of what makes a well balanced voice… not all of it.
We’ve all heard when singing that we need to breathe diaphragmatically. The reason for this is because you can better control the flow of air when you involve your diaphragm. Just to get a taste of what diaphragmatic breathing feels like, breathe deeply and feel the expansion all the way around the base of your rib cage. Good… you can breathe from your diaphragm.
Now, like I said before, the reason we breathe from our diaphragm is so that we can achieve a steady flow of air. Doing this helps us to creates consistent compression underneath the vocal folds, allowing us to maintain balance while singing.
An inconsistent flow of air will throw off the balance of our vocal mechanism, which causes the singer to adjust in unnecessary ways, often leading to vocal tension and greatly limiting ones vocal range.
But an inconsistent air flow isn’t the only thing that can get in the way. Having too much air or too little air pressure under the cords can produce an undesired result as well.
To give you an example of this, take the deepest breath you can and hold it. Now breathe in a little bit more on top of that. Feel that tension in your throat? That’s an example of too much air pressure underneath the cords. This is somewhat common for singers to do when they’re consistently singing higher in their range. They don’t use all their air and keep stacking more and more on top of it, causing unnecessary tension.
So, all that being said, the most important aspect of the breath to create a consistent flow of air that provides you a comfortable level of compression underneath the vocal cords. This will help you keep your vocal mechanism balanced, giving you much more freedom as a singer. Also check out my article on Breathing and Singing for the most recent updates on my theories.
If you or any other readers would like to share any advice or tricks that have helped you with breathing, please comment below and help out the community!
Vocal Coach Ken Taylor