By Robin Earl
Many of you know I equate breathing for singing with breathing for sports… Here’s a new one:
I had a voice coaching session this week with a country singer who plays the Nashville downtown clubs, and sings for long hours. He was having trouble with breathing, running out of air, and general throat tension.
First, we practiced ‘Back Breathing.’ He hadn’t felt or noticed or felt that sensation of the lower lungs filling up before. (You can try it by leaning over and putting your hands on your lower back, feeling the expansion of your lower lungs as you inhale deeply.)
When I asked about physical activity and learned he lifts weights, we used that knowledge of breathing he had in his lifting to apply to his singing.
We did some imaginary ‘lifting’ with proper breathing, then felt the same support ‘work’ in his singing. His resonance, forward focus, and power improved dramatically just by that awareness and core muscle support of his tone. So did his flow, enunciation, and confidence, and the chorus he had been struggling with came out so easily.
Coincidentally, I’ve worked with three singers this week who have weightlifting as their main exercise, and the imaginary lift has been a great way to engage the breath for efficient singing. I’ve tried it with some non-lifters too!