More often than not during lessons while a student is singing a song, I’ll ask them how their breathing was in terms of ease. Since I prefer to teach amateurs and beginner level singers, they usually respond by saying that they felt short of breath using the breath points we put in the song for the purpose of phrasing. For the cases when they are not short of breath, I notice that they took at least twice as many breaths as they were supposed to for phrasing purposes. I keep mentioning breath points and phrasing purposes because in my opinion, the hardest part about singing is remembering to do it correctly, consistently.
To help students automate their singing I usually begin my lessons with breathing exercises, increasing in difficulty from lesson to lesson. This way they can not only learn to feel where the air is supposed to be produced, but learn to gain total control of it. For example, a beginner level student would be asked to breath in for four counts, then exhale for four counts through what I like to refer to as a ‘straw breath.’ The reason I choose to use my straw breath technique is because I’ve found through years of application that I can breathe towards my diaphragm more efficiently and allow my lungs to fill up with more air when I take a breath through my mouth as if I were sipping through a straw. after simplifying this very important technique for myself by referring to it as a ‘straw breath’, I taught myself how to take breaths effectively no matter what shape my was currently in, and even through my nose by inhaling to full capacity as my #1 objective while singing.
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