Actuation (Breathing)

Breathing gives us life! That is why it is so important when singing. When you allow deep and deliberate breaths to support your tone, you will be more successful at singing in tune. Believe it or not, breathing also prepares us mentally for our singing challenge. To feel a few different ways of breathing, I would like for you to pant like a dog. Go on, try it! Now, take a deep focused breath….. Feel the difference? That cool and calm feeling is what will make your performance look and feel better!

Actuation is all about having good breath support before you sing. Interruptions in the voice when singers perform are usually because there is an interruption in their own air-flow. Having sufficient air to sing a song with is jus as important as a car having enough gas to complete a road trip. There may be opportunities to stop and fill up in between, but it always interrupts the smooth flow of the journey. There are three different ways that a person can breathe: * Panting is the type of breathing that involves your shoulders and upper chest. It is the kind of breathing that we use when we are exhausted. Olympic runners exhibit this breathing after they finish a race. If you breathe this way while singing, you will develop tension in your neck and throat. The tension this type of breathing creates will make it hard to sing smooth sounds, and is not recommended in any authentic method of voice training. * Shallow breathing is the type of breathing where we expand our chests sideways and forward without expanding our abdominal muscles to lower our diaphragm. This style of breathing will make us run out of air very fast because there are not enough muscles involved to control the air leaving our bodies. Holding in our tummy muscles will restrain our airflow and possibly make us sound like we are out of breath while we sing. * Deep breathing is the kind of breathing that involves the full usage of our tummy muscles and allows us to take full relaxed breaths. With shallow breathing, there was no inclusion of our tummy muscles, but when breathing deeply your tummy will expand and contract in a natural, relaxed way. Remember! To sing your best breathe into your belly, not your chest!

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