Breathing Techniques in Singing: Silent Inhalation


Today’s topic is silent inhalation.

If you hear (demonstration of audible inhalation). Those are audible inhlations. And I am going to tell you why it’s not a good idea. Why it can actually be the reason why you cannot make it through a sung phrase.

I don’t know how you feel about audible inhalations. Maybe you are not even aware that singers use audible inhalations. To me audible inhalations are distracting and when you are singing with a mic, they are amplified and to me they are not pleasant.

But there is another reason, there is more important reason why audible inhalation is not a good practice. When you hear someone inhale, what happens is … there is some kind of obstruction or narrowing or constriction or tension in the vocal tract and it can be either narrow vocal passage. Or it can be a position of your tongue, it can be narrowing of your throat, or tension in your throat.

Audible inhalations are usually a sign of shallow breathing.

What is shallow breathing?

Shallow breathing is when you use mostly the upper portion of your lungs. You are not using the whole capacity of your lungs. When you inhale audibly, you are using your upper body for inhalation. And that does not ive you enough air so then you have a hard time going through a phrase.

Also, when you inhale audibly, it’s very often associated with some kind of tension in your upper body. Either in your neck or your upper body and when we sing we don’t want any tension, right?

You actually have to work much harder when there is a constriction, obstraction or anything. You have to work really hard, much harder than when everything is open and the inhalation is silent. Silent inhalation is an effcient and much easier way of inhaling.

How to practice silent inhalation?

Step 1: Inhale silently.

If you are inhaling through your nose, flare the nostrils. Do you see how my nostrils flared? You create more space in your nasal passages. If you are inhaling through the mouth, open up, make a space. But I am not talking about (demostrating open mouth) opening your mouth. I am talking about creating space in your throat. It’s the concept of open throat and lifting your soft palate.

Step 2: Once you know how to do this, you can practice silent inhalations in breathing exercises. So maybe you want to inhale for the count of four, exhale for the count of four. If you know how to do this, you can practice silent inhalations with your sung phrases. Inhale silently and sing your phrase.

Step 3: And once you know how to inhale silently in front of each phrase, then you can put the phrases together and sing the whole song. And maybe, you can inhale silently in many parts of your song but you come across a part where you suddenly realize: Oh, I inhaled audibly here. And start thinking: what happened, where is the constriction, where is the air turbulance coming from, where is the strain, where is the obstruction and trouble shoot around that. And try it again and inhale silently for that phrase.

So that’s all for today.

Thank you for being here with me. Thank you for watching.

If you have questions, post them and of course, I want to hear about your singing. Are you able to inhale silently? Are you able to inhale silently in all those places in your song or are there some particular places in your song where you suddenly realize: Oh, I am using audible inhalations. What can I do about it? What cause audible inhalations? So troubleshoot around that.

So please share. Happy silent breathing! Happy singing! Bye!

Link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmgDKdY6_GA