Diaphragmatic breathing is a very important technique in order to be a successful singer. In order to breathe properly from your diaphragm, it can be a little tricky at first. Luckily, there are vocal coaches that post on YouTube constantly in order to help ordinary people, like us, get the right balance.
First, why is it important to breathe from your diaphragm?
It’s important to breathe from your diaphragm because that’s where you get the most support. If you breathe and sing from your throat muscles, it’s damaging and it will start to hurt over a long period of time of singing incorrectly. If you breathe from your diaphragm, you’re engaging your ab muscles and actually getting a lot of support to be able to belt notes out or can sing notes that don’t sound wispy.
Below is an example of what you look like breathing in and out when engaging proper singing muscles. It also shows where the diaphragm is located because it’s often confusing as to where it is- it is located right below your lungs.
Image Source: choirly.com
The video I’m showing you today is from Howcast, a popular YouTube channel. Howcast has a ton of singing videos that help you with things like breathing properly, singing high notes, etc.
This is Cari Cole, a very well-known vocal coach for celebrities and an artist development expert. At 40 seconds, she starts to explain exactly where the diaphragmatic muscle is. She says that it’s located in between the rib cages and it doesn’t have any nerve endings, so when we breathe, we can’t feel it. However, we control it’s movement from the surrounding muscles. When the ribs open, it has room to move down, so if you don’t unlock your ribs, you will not getting proper breathing support. It’s important that you open from the middle of your chest!
At 1:47, she explains that singers can’t breathe like athletes do. Often, athletes will move their shoulders up when they breathe. However, singers need to breathe outward instead of upwards. You need to keep your chest elevated at all times.
At 2:10, she says that people will tight abdomens like dancers or people who work out a lot will have problems with breathing outwards with their chest elevated. In order to fix this, she says to push right under your sternum.
Cari Cole says that the more pressure you apply for the tighter your abdomen, the better. You should apply pressure like she is applying pressure, pictured above.
Pictured above is Cari Cole demonstrating the proper way to sit and place your hands around your stomach. You should have your fingers pointing in and your other hand wrapped around your ribcage. Do NOT drop your chest! Now, breathe in, keep your chest up and elevated, and breathe out.
Since the first step is to make sure your chest is always elevated, the second step is to make sure that you are opening your ribcage at the bottom, into your stomach and all the way around into your back.
Now you know how you should properly breathe with your diaphragm and with more practice, you’ll be a pro!