Page 7 - Voice for Life Workbook 4 - Red
P. 7

 Keeping a steady upper body
Use this exercise to help you feel the movements in the body that happen when you breathe. Exhale (breathe out), making a ‘sss’ sound or a whispered ‘ah’ until your lungs are empty. Can you feel the lower part of your rib cage contract (get smaller) while you do this? Now inhale (breathe in) deeply through your nose and feel how the rib cage naturally moves back out.
Do this again. This time, as you exhale, raise your arms almost as high as your shoulders – but take care not to raise your shoulders themselves. Then, lower your arms as you inhale. While you do this, your upper body should move as little as possible. Remember this feeling of having a steady upper body and keep it when you sing. Otherwise, the upper body tends to collapse towards the end of a phrase. This has a bad effect on the tone.
 Exercising the diaphragm
For this exercise, make a barking sound like a dog, or a short laughing ‘ha’ sound. The sound should be sudden and high– pitched. Repeat it five times. As you do this, you will be able to feel how the diaphragm rapidly contracts and releases.
 Comparing relaxed and tense breathing
Drop your jaw slowly. Can you feel how this causes air to be drawn into your lungs? Note how the diaphragm falls and the lower rib cage expands. Do the same thing again, but this time breathe in noisily. This time, your body and diaphragm will become tense, especially the muscles in your neck.
When you take a breath before singing, you should aim to breathe silently to avoid tension in your throat and body. Breathe calmly and deeply, giving yourself plenty of time before you are due to start singing. This means you will have to look and think ahead.
Module A: Using the voice well 7 Red book UK prepress January 2020.indd 7
Practising breathing
Although the diaphragm plays such an important part in your breathing, it is not possible to feel it or control it directly. It is the abdominal muscles that surround the diaphragm that will help you to manage your breathing when you sing.
As your breathing is so dependent on muscles working efficiently, you should aim to practise your breathing regularly. Try exercising for about ten minutes a day. This is an ideal way to strengthen your muscles. Here are some exercises to help you.
Did you know that if you hold your hands behind your back when you sing this will restrict your breathing? When singing without music, keep your hands relaxed and down by your side. This allows your rib cage to move freely.

   5   6   7   8   9