Breath control can be one of the more difficult things for young students to grasp. It’s often the focus on a number of private voice lessons because it’s the key to making a song sound amazing.
If a singer keeps running out of breath, they won’t be able to property hit the notes or hold them for as long as possible. There are a number of exercises and techniques students and even music teachers can do to improve their breath control, but there’s one surprising method that works very well.
It’s a Simple Exercise
Here’s how this easy exercise works:
First, stretch your arms out above your head. Your arms should be fully extended, and your fingers should be pointed at the ceiling.
Second, sing the note or part of the song that you’ve been having difficulty breathing through.
Third, repeat the notes or song a few times, listening to how different your voice sounds with your arms held above your head.
That’s all there is to it! But while that’s great, you can’t exactly always raise your arms straight up when you’re singing, especially if you’re performing on stage.
So how can you incorporate this technique into your music, and why does it work, anyway? Let’s take a look at both.
It’s All About the Ribcage
The ribcage protects the lungs, which can prevent them from expanding as fully as they could. Everything seems to connect to the ribcage—the neck, arms, spine, and even the legs all have some connection to the ribcage. This means that it’s easy for issues to affect it, leading to a loss of lung capacity.
One major issue singers have today is with how much they sit. Today’s culture has evolved to the point that people sit a lot, and that’s impacting the body.
People often sit slightly slumped over while working on the computer or staring at their phone. This leads to an imbalanced posture and affects the muscles in the back and chest. These are the very same muscles used in singing, so it’s no wonder that it can be harder to breathe. Being slouched over compresses everything in the front of the chest.
Raising Your Arms Opens It All Up
Putting your arms above your head lifts the ribcage and helps align the body correctly. This makes it easier to take big breaths and hold them for longer. By opening everything up and getting the body aligned, singing becomes much easier.
It helps balance the air pressure within the lungs, and the body is better abled to adjust the muscles needed to sing. Instead of the power coming from the pelvic and abdominal muscles only, the entire chest and back is used, taking some of the stress off of those lower muscles and keeping the flow of air into and out of the lungs steadier.
Working this Technique into Performing
Now, how can students work this exercise into performing? The easiest fix is for them to simply raise their arms up here and there during their performance. Depending on the song, this may fit in great.
It’s also not necessary to fully raise the arms up. Just lifting up your elbows to about shoulder-height can be helpful. Look for ways to work this movement into the performance—for example, if it fits into the song, you could put your hands on your head, making it look like you’re adding some gestures to the song instead of simply raising your arms up for no reason.
Over time, though, it’s possible to retrain the body. The more students do this exercise while singing, the better the body will learn proper posture when singing. It can take some time, but eventually, you’ll start to assume the proper position when you sing.
Start Lessons Today
Working with a private vocal teacher is the key to learning proper breath control. If your child wants to be a singer, you’ve come to the right place. Our teachers come to your home for instruction, so you don’t have to go anywhere! Contact us today to learn more.