There is no singing without breathing. Breathing is often one of the first topics discussed during singing lessons. There are also lots of articles and videos about breathing in singing in the web. When talking about singing and breathing you can’t help noticing a term breath support that has been defined in many different ways. What is the correct way to breathe in singing or is there one?
Breathing Isn’t Fixed – It Needs To Be Allowed To Change
Breathing in singing changes with the singing style used. Singing with a breathy voice needs more air than singing softly in an un-breathy voice. Loud singers like when belting or singing opera sing amazingly long phrases without coming short of breath in the middle. But if you look at them carefully you notice that they breathe in a different way.
Breathing in is as important as breathing out. During inhalation the larynx and the vocal tract prepare themselves for singing. Classical singers need deep breathing to create the classical sound. However other singers usually benefit more from different ways of breathing. There is no just one correct way to breathe in singing.
The Airflow Changes When Singing
The airflow changes with the style but also with the pitch and words. Most important thing is that the airflow adapts to these changes constantly. Compare the consonants h and m: which one can you sing or say for a longer time without taking another breath? What happens when you sing the consonant p? These changes in the airflow happen very quickly all the time when singing or speaking even though we don’t control the airflow consciously.
One way to test the influence of the pitch to the airflow (or vice versa) is to glide with ”ee” (or any vowel) from the low range to the high range without changing anything other than pitch and especially trying to keep the airflow unchanged. If you do so you will feel how the voice changes abruptly on the way up and back again when coming down. In order to keep the same quality of voice in different pitches the airflow must change and adapt.
For breathing in singing it’s essential to find the right balance of the airflow to the true vocal folds. The most typical problem is to use too much air which can cause problems with the pitch, vocal strain, an unstable voice or – at worst – a trauma in the true vocal folds. So be careful that you don’t accidentally add too much air pressure when singing.