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Breathing

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  • 1. Normal Breathing • We breathe in rather slowly and breathe out quite quickly. • Everyday breathing is rather shallow.
  • 2. Breathing for singing • We breathe in rather quickly and breathe out very slowly compared to normal breathing – prolonged exhalation for singing. • Deeper breaths are required.
  • 3. Breath Support • Long, controlled exhalation for singing is achieved by breath support – setting up a resistance between the intercostal muscles (between the ribs) and the abdomenal muscles, so that the air is pressurized in our own bodies.
  • 4. Four Steps in Breathing for Singing • Inspiration • Suspension • Exhalation • Recovery
  • 5. Inspiration • First step – if it’s not correct, the other steps won’t be correct. • Postural alignment important – to feel lengthened, and not pull the head back as you breathe. • Breathe through nose and mouth. • Helpful images: Breathe as though you are smelling a flower and starting a little yawn (not a full yawn). This will encourage the jaw to relax, a gentle lift in the palate, and a feeling of openess in the throat. • Breath moves in, down to the lungs, and out around the middle of the body (in, down and out). • Feeling of expansion around the middle of the the body in 3 areas: the ribs, the back and the abdomen. • Breathing should be noiseless. • Avoid taking too much air in – amount of air depends on the musical phrase.
  • 6. 2. Suspension • The split second before you sing when you set up the equilibrium between the breathing-in and breathing-out mechanism necessary for breath support. • Not a part of normal breathing
  • 7. 3. Controlled Exhalation • The best way to gain control of the exhalation of air, is to try to maintain the expansion around the middle of the body – in the upper abdomen, lower ribs, and the back as you sing, - to resist collapsing as you sing. • The sternum must find a moderately high position and retain this throughout inspiration and expiration. If the sternum lowers, the ribs cannot maintain an expanded position.
  • 8. 4. Recovery • Brief moment when all the muscles associated with breathing relax.
  • 9. Catch Breath • Used when a quick breath is needed • Important to get air passages completely open so there is nothing to restrict the flow of air – drop jaw and breathe in as though you have been surprised or startled. • Also, it’s possible to shorten the final note of the previous phrase
  • 10. Main Faults of Breathing for Singing 1. Chest Breathing (Clavicular Breathing) 2. Rib Breathing only 3. Back Breathing only 4. Belly Breathing only 5. Hypofunctional breathing & breath support 6. Hyperfunctional breathing & breath support
  • 11. 1. Clavicular Breathing (Chest Breathing) • Chest rises during inhalation and falls during exhalation. • Present in many beginning students. Correction: • Establish good posture • Encourage the student to breathe more deeply (in, down and out) and to maintain the expansion as they sing.
  • 12. 2. Rib Breathing • Some element of truth • Ribs expand, but there is no expansion in back and upper abdomen • Abdomen is often sucked in. Correction: • Release postural tension and encourage upper abdomen expansion while inhaling
  • 13. 3. Back Breathing • Back is expanded, but there is no expansion in the ribs or upper abdomen. Correction: • Encourage frontal expansion, as well as expansion around the sides and back.
  • 14. 4. Belly Breathing • Characterized by pushing out the lower abdomen • Often accompanied by squeezing the chest down. Correction: • Establish and maintain good posture (sternum comfortably high) • Encourage the student to feel expansion in the area of the intercostal muscles between the ribs as well as all around the middle.
  • 15. 5. Hypofunctional breathing and breath support • Failing to demand enough energy of the breathing mechanism. • Failure to take enough breath deep into the lungs and to activate the support. Correction: • Use exercises such as panting, or laughing like Santa Claus (Ho, Ho, Ho) to encourage more energy.
  • 16. 6. Hyperfunctional breath and breath support • Demanding too much physical activity of the breathing and support mechanism. • Too much tension Correction: • Reduce tension • Discourage overbreathing and trying too hard. • Encourage student to take a comfortable, deep breath and to use it efficiently.
  • 17. Good Breathing for singing • There should be a gentle expansion all the way around the middle of the body as one breathes, and an expansion downward deep within your body, that seems to stretch like an elastic. • The expansion created by the inspiration should be maintained as much as possible when one begins to sing. • There should be a resistance against collapsing the intercostal muscles. • One should also feel the abdomenal muscles deep in the lower abdomen contracting. • A resistance/antagonism between the intercostal muscles and the abdomenal muscles is created causing pressurization of the air in the body. This is called breath support, and allows for maximum control in singing.