Vocal Training Tips: 5 steps to mastering breathing for singing.
Hello and welcome! My name is Katarina and as you may know I am very passionate about music and singing.
If you are watching this video, I believe you have the same passion.
I am going to introuduce a 5-step system to mastering breathing for singing. A simple system that helped many singers to learn to control their breath fully so that they can produce steady, resonant and tension-free sounds.
So let’s get into this. Here are the five steps to mastering breathing for singing.
Step 1: Mindset
Step 2: Knowledge
Step 3: Posture
Step 4: Self-Exploration
Step 5: Exercises and Application.
How does it sound? Easy, right? But trust me this is a simple but complete system that will keep you on the right track to your goals.
I can feel some skepticism here, so let me tell you briefly about each step and why they are important on your journey to better breathing, better voice, better anything! Each step will pose a question. If you answer all five questions, you will know exactly where you get stuck and what you need to work on.
Step 1: Mindset.
Set yourself up for success! In order to change or develop the way you breathe during singing, the absolutely first step is to put your mind to it. Some of you watching this video may be still on the fence whether breathing for singing is a skill that needs to be developed or whether it comes naturally. Some of you may think: “Well, I am not an opera singer, I sing simple songs. Maybe I can do without good breath management.”
The truth is that if your mind is not 100% set on the goal, you will never put 100% of your efforts into reaching the goal. If you are not convinced about the absolute need for developing effective breathing technique required for singing success, then you will never go the extra mile to master this skill.
So the questions is: Do you truly believe that breath management is a skill that needs to be developed?
Step 2: Knowledge.
Developing good breathing technique has to be based in science. There are a huge number of misconceptions about singing in general, including myths about breathing for singing that are rooted in poor knowledge of anatomy and physiology of the vocal and breathing mechanisms. How can you build solid and effective skills on lies? It’s like building a house on weak foundation. A house like this is likely to collapse very soon.
Are you one of those people who say: “I don’t like anatomy. It’s too difficult or it’s too boring. Why do I need to know all the muscles or bones in my body?” Well, you don’t have to. However, you need to have a good understanding of how our body looks and how it functions during breathing and singing. Without this knowledge, you may be attempting movements and coordination that your body simply cannot do. Then you end up confused or disappointed that your efforts did not pay off.
Now answer this question: Do you build your skills on facts or misconceptions?
Step 3: Posture.
One may think that posture and breathing are two different topics. But I believe that they are closely intertwined. You cannot have good breathing without good posture. And good posture is the starting point for effective breathing. You do them at the same time or shortly one after another. So why would you want to separate them?
You need optimal body posture, including medium high chest posture before you start inhaling. At the beginning of inhalation, the vocal tract opens up and shapes into an optimal posture for sound production. As you exhale, you want to maintain the posture you’ve established for the best sound production. All these motions are linked together and it would be silly not to develop them at the same time.
The question is simple: Do you have optimal body, chest and vocal tract posture for best sound production?
Step 4: Self-exploration.
Singing is a self-discovery process. You can have the best teacher telling you the best advice about breathing for singing but if you do not apply the knowledge to your own body, it will not translate into progress or mastery. Self-discovery starts with self-exploration of movements and sensations during inhalation and exhalation. Self-discovery leads to self-awareness, which is the key ingredient to singing mastery.
No one ever learned to breathe or sing properly just by reading books or listening to videos. It is absolutely essential to do the work. But not just any aimless work or exercise. It has to be work that makes sense to you and your body. We are all individuals with different bodies, different needs, and different sensations. Self-exploration is a process that makes a new skill your own. No self-exploration, no mastery.
The question for this step is: Do you apply the knowledge to your own body?
Step 5: Exercises and application.
I believe that you are very well aware of this last step. In singing, the saying “practice makes perfect” does not apply as much as the saying “practice makes permanent”. And practice also makes a singer’s life easier. A new skill or movement has to be practiced on a regular basis to become automatic. Automatic movements and skills decrease the need to switch focus constantly. Initially, when learning a new skill, it may be challenging to keep focus on all the body parts and movements required for singing. But through regular exercises, the ultimate goal can be achieved and that is an effective application of technique to singing a song.
The last question to answer is: Do you practice on a regular basis so that the new skills become automatic?
O.K. So this was a brief introduction of the 5-step system to mastering breathing for singing. Some of the steps are easier than others. Some steps can take very little time, some steps may take longer.
Link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEV6edqxhVI