Mastering Breathing for Singers

Mastering Breathing for Singers


Singing well is a unique skill, as it combines a strong set of lungs AND a beautiful voice. Most musicians and music appreciators will state that one is either born with the ability or simply cannot sing. However, improving on one’s singing ability, through voice training, is commonly accepted and recommended in the music world.

Without a healthy set of lungs, a singer is handicapped, unable to reach his or her potential. One vocal coach has been quoted as saying: “When breathing, focus not on how much air you breathe in, but how efficiently you use that air.” Although you cannot increase your lung capacity, there are techniques to help singers obtain more power from their lungs and sustain notes longer. Unlike typical breathing which is often shallow breaths, singers must inhale rapidly and exhale slowly, holding the notes. Additionally, breathing exercises prior to singing help to relax the vocal cords, allowing the singer to relax, and calming the nervous system, permitting the singer to prepare for the performance. Let’s investigate some of the ways singers can master breathing for their craft:

Start Every Singing Event with Breath Training

Just like an athlete stretches and warms up before participating in sports, singers should prepare their body for the upcoming event. Singers should concentrate on a steady and consistent flow of air, be aware of the mouth movements, using the facial muscles to shape the vowels, and releasing tension in the tongue, face, and neck muscles.  Both your lungs and your mouth need to be prepared for singing.

Use Inhalation, Exhalation, and Yawning Exercises

Athletes usually have a warm-up routine, preparing their bodies for the activity to come. Singers should do the same, and these types of exercises are a great way to start your singing routine:

  • Inhalation Exercise: Breathe quickly, imagining the air you inhale is filling a jug. Fill the lungs completely. Hold that breath for 3 seconds before you release it. This rapid inhale mimics what happens when you inhale while singing.
  • Exhalation Exercise: The second part of the warm-up breathing exercise is controlling the exhale. Unlike the rapid inhalation process, exhale consistently, with a level amount of air throughout the exhalation process. Imagine you are pushing a feather or balloon with your air and need to move it steadily. This technique teaches you to sing with a solid, steady note.
  • Yawning Exercise: Yawning helps to soften the diaphragm and throat, which are prone to rigidity, as well as providing your lungs with a boost of oxygen. Additionally, yawning allows the larynx to drop down and exercise surrounding muscles. By yawning, you are exercising your lungs, your voice and your face. Win-win-win for singers!

Visualize the Mechanics of Breathing

Imagine filling your lungs up when you inhale, like a balloon filled to maximum capacity. Don’t expand your chest and body upward, but imagine you are stretching horizontally, expanding out.  Upon exhaling, keep the rib cage up and imagine your lungs deflating without the rest of your torso moving.

Yoga Breathing

By focusing specifically on the mechanics of breathing, concentrating on the three breath ratios, you can improve the efficiency of your breathing. In yoga, an equal length of inhalation and exhalation is ideal, considered the ideal balance in yoga, where breath control, or prayanama, is considered a critical part of maintaining a healthy body.

PowerLung Respiratory Muscle Training Device

Adding a RMT device is just one more instrument to add to your arsenal of training tools and techniques. Singing requires engagement of your face, larynx, neck, shoulders, torso and lungs. Utilizing the PowerLung allows you to focus specifically on strengthening your respiratory ability, while utilizing different techniques when concentrating on the mechanics of singing. This compact, portable device can be a small, yet powerful, addition to your training regimen. Providing both inhalation and exhalation training, both aspects of your machine (your lungs) are being challenged and improved.

You have a unique skillset as a beautiful singer. Don’t take this gift for granted and use respiratory training to improve it. From mental to physical preparation, your lungs are at the heart (no pun intended) of this amazing ability. The PowerLung device can help you maximize your warmup sessions, further supporting your singing. Try these tools and techniques and discover how much better your voice performs!


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