BREATHING FOR SINGERS
RIB CAGE AND DIAPHRAGM
The chest may be compared with a cage made of jointed framework. However proper breathing is not to allow the breath to enter the chest. A low breath in the rib cage and diaphragm helps to control stress and tension within the face and shoulders. The ribs which compose the framework are attached to the breast bone in front and the spine at the back. The lower or floating ribs are attached to each other in front and not to the breast bone and so are capable of greater movement which has an effect on respiration as will be seen later. The floor of the chest is the diaphragm, a large dome shaped muscle, which is attached by fibers to the spine, the ribs, and the sternum (There sternum, or breast bone, is the bone running from the neck to the stomach and having ribs articulated with it at the breast bone). The part of the abdominal muscles principally concerned with breathing is that portion which lies above the waist and may be felt in the angle between the ribs below the end of the breast bone. The abdominal muscles coordinate with the diaphragm, relaxing when it contracts and contracting when it relaxes. This coordination is largely dependent upon the expansion of the chest wall. In fact, all factors concerned, ribs, diaphragm and abdominal muscles must be trained together. Satisfactory coordination can only be obtained here.
Singing Technique and Proper Posture:
In order for breathing to flow fluently, posture is important. This exercise will help straighten your posture.
Put your back to the wall with your heels touching the wall. Put your knees a comfortable distance apart and keep your head centered on the shoulders not pressed against the wall. Lengthen your knees down until the small of the back is flat against the wall.
a. Breathe in on 6. Release the diaphragm breathe into the diaphragm, release, breathe in making sure the rib cage stays expanded while the diaphragm works.
b. Make sure the voice is centered (using your speaking voice) practice with open AH’s.
c. Practice doing other desirable vocal exercises such as AY, EE, I, OH, and OO.
d. When ready straighten knees and walk away from the wall. Using a long mirror you can see perfect posture and you will also feel as if you have grown an inch taller.