Can Do Muses

Still Breathing?

September 19 2021

The last post  (hmmm?) was an invitation to “breathe” as a music warm-up  AND an anxiety relief.

Two tips on music breathing.

1st Tip  —In through the nose  —  out through the mouth.   On the out, in breathe warm-ups, the key is to control the rate of exhale.  Hold one finger up in front of your mouth.   Imagine its a candle.   The flame is warm and gleaming.   As you exhale, don’t blow the candle out!   Breathe in to a count of 4,  and out to a count of 4  (building up to higher numbers) AND don’t blow the candle out.

2nd Tip  —lungs are not muscles, they’re just sacks.   The muscle that pulls the lungs open, is under them.   It’s called a diaphragm.  It’s a lot easier, and more satisfying, to breathe in deep when the diaphragm is free to work.   When we’re tense, or in the midst of stage fright, the whole upper body squeezes.  There’s no room for air, so we breathe shallowly and quickly.

To force deep breathing, try purposefully sticking your belly out (while standing or sitting straight).  This works the diaphragm, pulls the lungs down and sucks in the air.  WOW!  It’s amazing.

Works the opposite way when singing and running out of air near the end of a note.  Pull the stomach in,  the diaphragm pushes up against the lungs to get all the remaining air pushing out.   Wow -extra sound!

A quick check on breathing styles may be done this way:  “Lie on the floor on your back with your hands on your stomach. Breath in (inhale) and your hands will rise. Now breathe out (exhale) and they will lower. In this position it is virtually impossible to breathe incorrectly. “ (from BBC singing site)

Just exactly what we are breathing in, is an entirely other matter eh?

Music Basics »

Browse ideas to help understand the most important elements of music.

Teaching Basics »

Ideas about classroom management, assessment, conducting, & performance.

Resources »

songs (mp3, mp4), flashcards, composition projects, student work pages, lesson plans

Each lesson builds on the one before so that concepts grow in complexity through the year.  Practice and review are planned into lessons.  Canadian curriculum expectations are detailed at the beginning of every lesson (and in the overview).  This is a complete music curriculum including music literacy, performance, instrument playing and active listening.  Songs are suggested, but may easily be switched with your own favourites.  As long as the planned teaching points are covered, all curriculum expectations will be met.

Grade 1 - Music, Dance & Drama!

Begin with the basics, for student and teacher. Music, dance and drama combined in 2 fine art lessons per week!

Grade 2 - Music & Dance

Review Grade 1 music concepts then move into growing those concepts through new and familiar music. Focus on solidifying the basics --beat, rhythm and reading rhythm.

Grade 3 - Music

Review music concepts from Grades 1-2 while adding a few new ones. Lots of time in the lessons for using concepts in performance and composition. Music pre-literacy is the focus of the second half of the year in preparation for learning to read the musical staff in Grade 4.

About Can Do

Create your own music lessons using some of the resources on the site, or, if you’re new to teaching music, try following a few of the lessons given here. Whatever you use –my hope is that “Can Do Music” helps to make music in your classroom and life. To learn more about the site and its creations, explore the links below.

~Dr. Lesley J Clare