Singers! How to Use the Breath to Sing Our Best

How do we do it? Where do we begin?

I understand that there is an arena of topics to be covered in the art of singing, like placing the voice, attack, and registers. But without proper breathing skills, they will most likely never reach their full potential. Sorting it all out is one of the biggest challenges for both the teacher and the student. A student learning proper breathing techniques for singing begins with coordinated exercises. Many miss the point that singing is all about breathing coordination and not simply singing a whole host of scales.

Singing is about breathing coordination.

Yes, it is and I will explain. I am an avid exercise buff and to get the most out of getting huge or increasing your endurance, you need proper technique. I possess a phase five level in Jeet Kune Do, which is called the way of the intercepting fist. I possess unique boxing skills that incorporate Jeet Kune Do. Recently, I decided to take up bodybuilding, a big step out of my comfort zone.

Not too long ago, I was performing a lift called the SLDL Deadlift. Upon making my first lift, I felt my technique was off, and sure enough, I hurt my back. It hurt like the dickens. That lack of good technique in the lift put me out for six weeks. So, if you were asking if breathing technique is so important in singing, I will answer Jeet Kune Do yes. Do not think for a moment that you can shortcut the singing process. Eventually, you will sustain an injury due to a technical mishap. If your technique is below average, to begin with, then why take a chance on a chance?

Students need instruction in areas such as the formation of tones, timbre, blending of the voice via breath, and simple scales.

Students will have a tough time moving forward until they have first solidified a two-note and so on, not to mention arpeggios, minor scales, and the Messa di Voce. What is the Messa di Voce? The Messa di Voce is the emission of tones. It is sustaining a note on a single pitch that gradually increases in sound called a crescendo on the breath and decreases in sound called a diminuendo. The Messa di Voce is an advanced technique, but the cornerstone to building a solid foundation in singing is breathing. The Messa di Voce’s origins were as early as the 17th century, just before the Bel Canto period.

It is the job of the voice instructor to learn the voice of the student.

This includes where they are in their development and assigning the proper material to build incredible voices. Students today must be not only great singers but smart in their selection of whom they will trust to train their voices. One thing I have learned over the years is that the more teaching hands that are in the mix, the harder it is to see clearly. Jump out of the mix and take a bird’s eye view of what your training will look like as a whole, not simply in the immediate. Learning the singer’s breath is a surefire way to increase your vocal prowess and avoid injury.

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