To sing well, you need to learn how to use your diaphragm. In this post, we will teach you how to do it like a professional. This can greatly help you become a better singer.
Having a powerful voice and being able to sing loudly are directly connected.
When you sing, it’s your vocal chords that produce the sound, not your diaphragm. However, the diaphragm plays a crucial role in supporting your voice.
Singing from the diaphragm is important because it helps you avoid sounding like a quiet whisper. If you’re singing higher notes within your range, you don’t want to sound like Lloyd Christmas imitating the world’s most irritating sound (a reference from the movie Dumb and Dumber, in case you missed it). Singing from the diaphragm also allows you to sing a whole sentence without needing to take a breath between notes.
Developing your diaphragmatic singing technique is important because it ensures a constant and uninterrupted flow of air, which is essential for singing powerfully.
To learn how to improve your technique right now, keep reading.
What is Diaphragm?
Your diaphragm is a muscle located in the middle of your chest, spanning the lower part of your rib cage. It helps you breathe by expanding and contracting as you inhale and exhale air into and out of your lungs.
When you sing correctly, you have better control over the amount of air that passes through your vocal cords, allowing you to project your voice with more power.
Once you’ve learned how to use your diaphragm effectively, it’s important to do breathing and voice exercises that strengthen its usage. When you breathe in, your diaphragm flattens and contracts, creating a vacuum-like action that draws air into your lungs.
Importance of Diaphragm in Singing
When you exhale, the diaphragm relaxes and pushes air out of your lungs through your mouth or nose. The movements of the diaphragm, like contracting and relaxing, are controlled by a nerve called the “phrenic nerve” that travels from your neck to your diaphragm.
While the diaphragm has other functions, we will focus on its role in breathing because that’s what matters for our discussion.
It’s extremely important to strengthen and use your diaphragm because it controls the amount of air in your lungs. This affects how much air you can use and how loudly you can project your singing voice.
Take a few minutes to focus on your breath and try to get air into your chest and upper lungs only. You’ll notice that you quickly become tired and need to breathe rapidly.
To have more energy and feel calmer and more relaxed, it’s better to practice deep breathing. Many people tend to take shallow breaths, which means they don’t use their full lung capacity.
When we don’t fully exhale carbon dioxide, it can make us feel tired. Deep breathing helps remove carbon dioxide effectively. Not only does this improve your physical and emotional well-being, but it also helps you sing better by providing support for the notes you sing.
Train Yourself to Sing from Diaphragm
- When singing, don’t tighten the muscles in your throat
New singers often use their voice box muscles, which is not ideal for singing. The strain caused by contracting these muscles can harm the vocal cords.
To sing well, the voice box and the surrounding muscles, called the laryngeal area, should remain open and free. So when we talk about “singing from the diaphragm,” it means to avoid tightening the sound and to let your throat relax.
- Do not lift your Shoulder
When beginners sing, they often raise their shoulders while breathing. This is called clavicle breathing. But shallow breathing like this is not enough for good singing.
Clavicle breathing uses smaller muscles that move the ribcage. However, when singing, we want to keep our ribcage open and stable, which is the opposite of clavicle breathing.
So, when we talk about “singing from the diaphragm,” it means you should avoid raising your shoulders when you breathe in and prevent your chest from dropping when you breathe out.
- Avoid yelling out loud, Allow it to Happen
Whenever we breathe, whether we’re talking, singing, or just relaxing, our diaphragm is already at work. We don’t need to learn a special breathing pattern just for singing.
Our body naturally breathes with the diaphragm. You can observe this in babies or when we’re in a sleepy or relaxed state. This natural way of breathing is coordinated and efficient.
Sometimes, when we focus too much on controlling our breath while singing, we disrupt this natural process. Trying to push our stomach in or out to force the air doesn’t really serve any purpose.
In simple terms, our diaphragm takes care of our breathing automatically, and we don’t need to force any specific movements while singing.
Easy Steps to Sing from Diaphragm
- Feel your Diaphragm
Let’s find your diaphragm muscle. Find a relaxed and comfortable sitting position. Now, place your hand just below your ribs. Take a gentle breath in and out. As you do this, you may notice your stomach touching your hand. That’s because your diaphragm muscle surrounds your whole torso, and you can feel it moving as you breathe.
- Breathe into your Diaphragm
One important step is to learn how to breathe into your diaphragm. Before you begin, make sure you’re calm and relaxed. Sit comfortably and release any tension in your face, neck, shoulders, and knees.
To practice diaphragmatic breathing, start by taking a deep breath until your lungs are full. As you do this, try to pull your stomach in gently. Then, exhale slowly while maintaining this position.
You may feel some pressure and it might take some practice to isolate your diaphragm. Be patient and keep practicing, as this step requires some time to master.
- Practice lip Drill
To do lip trills, simply close your lips and blow air out while singing a song. Lip trills are a great way to warm up your voice and learn how to control your breath while singing.
If you want to become a better singer, it’s important to practice both diaphragmatic breathing and lip trills regularly. Make sure to include them in your singing lessons and use them consistently. At first, you might need to remind yourself to do them, but with time, they will become a natural part of your singing routine.
- Breathing exercises for the Diaphragm
There are various breathing exercises you can try to strengthen your diaphragm. One popular exercise involves placing one hand on your chest and the other below your ribs. Take slow, deep breaths through your nose while feeling your diaphragm move.
You can do this exercise while sitting or lying down with your knees bent. It’s also helpful to count the time spent inhaling and exhaling, gradually increasing it over time. This will improve your endurance, push your limits, and greatly benefit your singing lessons.
Singing requires effort and practice, just like any other skill. There are many singing exercises to choose from, but one of the most popular ones is focusing on using your diaphragm.
Before you start practicing diaphragmatic singing, it’s important to understand how your diaphragm works. The diaphragm is a muscle that helps you breathe and is closely connected to the movement of your vocal cords while singing. Learning how to use your diaphragm in different ways can greatly improve your singing technique.
Although it might seem a bit abstract or difficult at first, as you start taking singing classes and learn more about how the diaphragm functions in singing, it will become clearer to you.