Thursday, December 8, 2011

Warm-ups for proper breathing while you sing

I made a standard breathing routine for my choral group to work on. In this article, I will share what I have taught my chorus in order for them to be accustomed to diaphragmatic breathing and in the end make them make use of it subconsciously while they sing.

As I have mentioned on my previous article "breathing the key to proper singing", we cannot fully rely on our voices to create the sound for it requires our body and enough air to control the flow of sound that comes out from within us.

These exercises were adopted from a collection of various breathing routines that I have read on other sites and watched from streamed online videos that focuses on diverse methods and techniques on proper singing. I just picked up the effective ones for I have tried some myself.

It is important that when we do these exercises we have to observe proper posture. Keeping your hands to your sides, standing straight and your chin up is a good way to start. Definitely, slouching is a big no-no when doing breathing exercises.

Also, before you begin trying these drills, you might as well refer to this previous article that I wrote. 
  1. Feel the air.  A slow approach to the routine. This is done by breathing air in slowly till it fills your lungs and expands you diaphragm (which you can rightly feel if your tummy inflates while you do this) and then releasing the same amount in the same leisurely pace till you feel all the air come out. Do this in counts of four (4) for each inhale-exhale routine. That is inhale (4 counts) then exhale (4 counts).
  2. Hold it up. Doing the same routine from number 1, we will be holding air in the middle after the inhale part. So that would be inhale > hold > and release (exhale). Again, do this in counts of four (4) for each phase.
  3. Hiss is what it is. This time instead of normally exhaling in a normal fashion, we will be doing a hissing sound when we let air out. So, it would be inhale > hold > hiss. Similarly, in four (4) counts for each phase.
  4. Make it sound. The last routine would be making a sound when you exhale. We chose a comfortable note for this one so everyone can make it through the work out - G (sol) on first octave (that is the first G after the middle C on your  piano). That would be inhale (4) -> hold (4) ->  voice out (4).
NOTES:
  • make deep and slow breathing patterns.
  • start with a four count repetition for each routine.
  • for added weight, increase your reps in increments of four - 4, 8, 12, 16, 20
  • why 4? Because a standard measure in music is done in 4 beats for every measure.
  • make sure that participants are in good health condition before engaging them in these exercises. For safety reasons, start with the first routine and give enough time before moving on the rest of the list.

Related readings:

20 comments:

nice tips adrian, I feel so awkward when practicing during high but it did a good result thanks for this

These exercises were adopted from a collection of various breathing
routines that I have read on other sites and watched from streamed
online videos that focuses on diverse methods and techniques on proper
singing.
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Ads, thanks. These remind me of our breathing routine before we practice our song, when I was a member of high school glee club 43 years ago. Good reminder!

another helpful post :) thanks for sharing :) One thing more, our shoulders should not be moving up and down when doing the breathing exercise. It's improper :)

singing isn't one of my best assets... i'll go with the warm-ups  though... thanks. Yahweh bless.

Yes! You're right I haven't included that one. One of the rules that we observe when we sing. Because it implies that your are not breathing properly through your diaphragm. Thanks for reminding.

Actually, You can also use it as an alternate breathing exercise just to keep yourself relaxed. Not only does singers benefit through this exercise but also non-singers as well.

Actually, You can also use it as an alternate breathing exercise just to keep yourself relaxed. Not only does singers benefit through this exercise but also non-singers as well.

wow! great post! I saw this kind of exercise in our music team. hope they can read this also

great tips, now i know how to sing properly without grasping for air ahaha

nice post but i guess not applicable to non singer like me, all i know is breathe in breathe out esp when i am stressed...

Hahaha. I was trying to do your tips but I failed. Singing is not my talent. :)

I've printed this. I want to do this every morning.

Doing the basic breathe in breathe out is what it takes to progress through the other variations of this exercise

haha. I will try this but not now. maybe around noontime when nobody's around..nice post!
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wow. thanks for the tips although I am not into singing I know these would help normalize our breathing process.

I'm a lousy singer, but singing is like every other sport. You should exercise your vocal chords, warm it up and take good care of your vocal chords.

This is so helpful!  It's always been my frustration to be a singer. Sad to say I am a lousy singer so I guess I have to do this exercises so at least I would be breathing properly.

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