Back to the Basics: A Trick for Proper Breathing

Hello Friends,

My name is Christian Sanders. I am the newest addition to the team at Performance High. I would consider myself an opera singer, and I love to incorporate classical techniques used by opera singers to help inform popular music, jazz, and musical theatre singers. I think every singer, no matter what music they want to sing, should have some sort of classical training to make sure that they are singing in a healthy way that will allow them to sing for a long time. With that in mind, let’s talk a little bit about breathing.

Breathing is a tricky thing. It’s so difficult to talk about with people because everyone has their own way that they think about breathing, and each teacher has a certain vocabulary that they use to try to get their students to breathe properly. Instead of going into some vague jargon about sensation or feeling, I like to introduce students to proper breathing in this way.

First, grab a book from your house somewhere. Next, lie on your back on the floor with your stomach facing the ceiling. Put the book right on top of your belly button. Now, exhale all the air you have (to inhale properly you must learn how to exhale properly). When you inhale, the only thing that should move is the book on your stomach, and it should move toward the ceiling. Try not to move your shoulders or any part of your upper chest. It might feel a bit strange, but focus on how it feels to release all of your abdominal muscles in order to make the book move toward the ceiling. This is how it should feel each time you take a breath when you are standing up! 

Proper breathing is definitely something I continue to struggle with. It’s so tempting to suck in my stomach when I inhale that I have to consciously stop and decide to release my stomach muscles in order to get a good breath before I sing. Good luck!