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?