Katarina here again from How 2 Improve Singing. The diaphragm seems to be the most common word that singers talk about. How many times have you heard:
“Breathe from your diaphragm”
“Support the sound with the diaphragm” or
“Use diaphragmatic breathing”?
Let’s end this madness and get the facts straight.
In today’s video, I will be talking about the diaphragm. What is it? Where is the diaphragm located and what does the diaphragm do when we sing? By the end of this video, you will recognize why statements like “breathe from the diaphragm” or “support the sound with the diaphragm” do not make sense. Let’s start.
I am going to tell you right away that the role of the diaphragm is overrated among singers. I believe that this craziness about the diaphragm is rooted in poor knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of our body. We are going to change that in this video.
What is the diaphragm?
The diaphragm is a dome-shaped muscle. The shape can be compared to a parachute. The diaphragm is the major muscle of inhalation because it is responsible for about 70% of inhaled air.
Where is the diaphragm located?
The diaphragm spans across the bottom of the ribcage and separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. The diaphragm is attached to your spine at the back, to the bottom ribs on the sides and to the breastbone at the front.
What does the diaphragm do when we sing?
During inhalation, the diaphragm contracts, flattens and moves downward. This is when the diaphragm is hard at work. As a result of the downward movement of the diaphragm, the space in the lungs increases and air enters the lungs. At the same time, the diaphragm pushes on the inner organs in our abdomen. You can observe this direct effect of the descending diaphragm as your belly gets pushed out during inhalation.
During exhalation, the diaphragm relaxes and returns up to its dome-shaped relaxed position. Yes, the diaphragm is relaxing when we exhale or make sound! As a result of the diaphragm moving up, the inner abdominal organs also return to their “normal” position. You can observe this as your belly moves in. The lungs decrease in volume, which causes air to leave the lungs.
As you can see, the diaphragm is important for breathing, especially for inhalation. But we use many other body parts when singing, so start paying attention to those too! For example, to your chest, sides of your body, your back, your body position, your larynx …
Today, I shared some practical tips about the diaphragm with you. But knowing about the diaphragm is only one aspect of good breathing technique. To help you understand if you are breathing correctly for singing, I prepared a complete breathing checklist for you. Click the link in the description below the video to download your free breathing checklist.
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Link to the video: https://youtu.be/9yqkVofkdt0