In this lesson, Jeannie Deva talks about all things related to breathing. Specifically where the breath goes when it enters your body, the lungs. She also talks about how to breathe correctly in a way that will maximize the performance you can get out of yourself during singing. She also corrects a few ideas.
- How important is breathing to singing? What do you think? If you didn't have any breath inside you, would you actually be able to sing? Your answer's supposed to be no. (laughs) Okay, so there's a lot that you might have heard about how to breathe. We're going to untangle some of these different hearsays and directions, and I'll do it in a systematic way as we move forward in this curriculum.
But the first thing is this, and here comes the big more than hundred-dollar question. When you breathe in, where does the air go? Think about it. When you breathe in, where does the air go? Anybody ever tell you it comes in here? Breathe into your belly, or breathe into your diaphragm? Anatomically, that's impossible, so if you have, in fact, ever been told to do that and you've wondered how in the world can you do that, you can't.
Air, when you inhale, and if your answer was the lungs, that's correct. Air, when you inhale, goes into your lungs. But the next question, where are your lungs? Hmm. You may know the answer, or you may be scratching your head, so I'll help you. Here, in the front of your body, is where the lungs are, and they start, if you can feel your collarbone, please do.
And they're right in this area. Okay, you may have thought that they're down here. Nope. You may have thought that they go all the way down here. Nope. They end right about there. Not as much as you thought, huh? But wait. Your lungs fill your whole chest from front to back. Doctors actually call the whole area that your lungs fill your chest, which it took me quite a while to figure out what definition they were giving it, because most people consider their chest here, and so most people think that, if they know that the lungs are in the chest, they only think the front.
Feel the top, if you can, of your shoulderblade. That's the top of your lungs in the back. So it's kind of equidistant from the front to the back. And now I want you to put your hands about two inches above your waist in the back. Okay, so that's where the bottom of your lungs are. Next question for you to answer. Where's the biggest part of your lungs? Okay, duh.
Back, right? So when you breathe in, where would most of the air actually go if permitted? The front or the back? Obvious answer, right? You have the biggest part of your lungs in the back, so that's where most of the air would go. Now let's put this together. Take your hands like this. Point them backwards. I want you to put the backs of your fingers on your sides and take a deep breath, thinking in your back, and let that breath go.
You feel that movement? Those are your ribs. We're going to get into this in more detail as we move forward, but I just want to let you know that if most of the air goes into your back, those ribs need to move. If they don't move, you will not be able to either breathe, or you will be missing out on a lot of air. That brings us back to the first question. How important is air for singing? It's very important, so here's your little exercise I'm going to give you.
I want you, when I'm done with this particular lesson, I want you to turn off the videos and just put your hands on your back. Breathe into the back, and sing. You may be astounded at the immediate difference in your voice.
Note: The course is part 2 of the Vocal Lessons with Jeannie Deva series, recorded and produced by ArtistWorks. We are honored to host this training in our library.
- Improving breath management
- Relaxing your stomach
- Practicing rib cage exercises
- Using songs as warm-ups
- Strengthening your voice with lip trills and nose buzz
- Improving pitch and resonance
- Nailing song phrasing, timing, and dynamics
- Moving from practice to performance