Vocal Voice Training… Learn to Breathe All Over Again

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Breathing is an automatic process you don’t usually think about until you have health problems, but when you decide to sing, it becomes a focal point that you need to manipulate and control. In a nutshell, vocal voice training involves learning to breathe all over again.

That may sound a bit odd, but it’s true. Air is what fuels the singing process, and how that air moves through your body is one of the main determinants of the quality of the result. You need to be able to control the rate of air passage out of the body, and you want to be able to hold notes as long as necessary without becoming breathless.

Taking Control of Your Breathing

When you begin vocal voice training, the first step is learning how to control the release of air from the lungs. What makes breathing for singing so different from breathing for talking is that you need to manage the air release depending on the words and notes you are using.

In other words, when you breathe normally, you have no specific pattern or need for air at a specific moment. You just breathe. When you sing, the air you exhale must be controlled so you don’t run out of air too soon in the middle of word sets. The only way to ensure that you can match the exhalation process to the singing is to learn control.

Below are a couple of beginning exercises that focus on the abdomen muscles, which control how fast air is expelled during the exhalation process.

Exercise 1

Stand using good posture

Place your feet approximately shoulder width apart

Extend both arms out until they are perpendicular to your body

Turn the palms down

Breathe in for 3 to 4 seconds

Hold your breath for 3 to 4 seconds

Breathe out for 3 to 4 seconds

Exercise 2

Stand using good posture

Place your feet approximately shoulder width apart

Breathe in deeply

Exhale as long as possible while making a hissing sound

These two simple breathing exercises teach you to control the release of air. In the first exercise, you can begin increasing the amount of time you spend inhaling and exhaling air. This will increase lung capacity and teach you to control the time it takes to release air.

In exercise two, you are learning to release air steadily. You don’t want your breath coming out in short bursts or gasps, as that is completely contrary to the act of singing, which requires a steady stream of connected sounds.

Training Your Breath

Most vocal voice training begins with breathing training first. There’s a good reason for this: songs have specific notes that require paced, timed breathing.

For example, long notes require extended steady exhalation without interruption. The range of pitches that you must glide through when singing also requires breathing control.

You should do your breathing exercises regularly until the techniques become almost like second nature. When singing, you won’t even have to think about your breathing pace or holding notes, because those things will come naturally.

There are a number of available breathing lessons that will expand your capacity during vocal voice training. While you are working on your breathing control, you also want to concentrate on avoiding tension. In other words, try not to exhale air to the point where tension is created in the vocal cords because you are trying to force air out that doesn’t exist.

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