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Introduction to Breathing for Singers

Watch this video, read the notes, take the test and do the assignments. God bless you!


  1. What Breathing is
  2.  Difference in Breathing when Singing
  3. Signs of Good Breathing
  4. Reasons for Breathing Right
  5. Intro to Breathing Exercises


Genesis 2:7

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

No Breath, No Life… No Voice

What is Breathing

  • Breathing is the process of taking air into and expelling it from the lungs: his breathing was shallow.
  • When a person breathes normally, the inhalation and exhalation are relatively shallow. 
  • Trying to breathe the same way you would when sitting at a desk or walking in the park does not work for singing.
    Singing requires a concerted effort and more diverse breathing techniques.yea
  • Singing is the result of a process called phonation. During phonation, air passes through a person’s vocal folds (which somewhat look like the bristles of a brush) in the larynx, which causes them to vibrate.
  • Based on how the singer chooses to increase or decrease the tension in their vocal folds, and the amount of air passing through them, they can change the type of sound they produce.

Differences Between Regular Breathing and Singing Breathing

Singing Breathing

  1. The exhale is longer than the inhale and must be made with steady (even) exertion.
  2. The singer must also be aware of their breathing technique, as opposed to letting it flow involuntarily.
  3. We use up to 50 percent of our lung capacity

Regular Breathing

  1. Breaths are relatively shallow because our body exerts the minimum amount of effort possible.
  2. We only use about five to ten percent of our lung capacity during any given breath. 

Signs of Good Breathing and Bad Breathing

Signs of Good Breathing

  1. Relaxed singing
  2. Comfortable Vibrato

Signs of Bad breathing

  1. Tensed singing
  2. Choking
  3. Unclear Vocal Notes

Right Breathing is Critical

Breathing could easily pass for the single most important element in singing. Below are important reasons to look at.

  1. Your breathing is what “fuels” your voice.
    Without the proper amount of air passing through the vocal folds, a sound is not possible.
    This makes breathing exercises critical to the success of any aspiring vocalist.
  2. Improving breathing technique allows a singer to have more control over shape, texture and tone of the voice.
    Greater mastery enables the exploring of a broader range of notes and to hit those tones and semi-tones accurately.
  3. Right breathing sustains singing stamina
  4. Right Breathing builds the ability to execute advanced techniques like vibratos and tremolos and give you more control over the shape, texture, and tone
  5. It makes your body relaxed and pliable, even under the most challenging singing demands.

How you exhale affects many aspects of your singing, including the following:

  1. Sound Quality
  2. Volume
  3. Pitch
  4. Tone.

Causes of Poor Breathing in Singers

  1. Running out of breath
  2. Not utilizing diaphragm,
  3. Poor posture
  4. Not knowing at which cadence to inhale or exhale.

Breath Techniques & Exercises

There are different types of breath exercises which focus on different target areas of the body. The end is the same, however, as singers gain more control over their muscles when singing.

Preparing for Breath Exercises

  1. Choose a place to do your breathing exercise. E.g. Living room, bedroom etc.

  2. Wear comfortable clothes.

  3. Before we breath we must ensure that our shoulders and chest are relaxed while we exercise.

Basic Exercise

  • Inhale deeply in your diaphragm, so that belly button protrudes slightly (keep the air in belly not shoulders).
  • Ensure that your stomach feels hard and not tender (this shows that your diaphragm is in use)
  • Exhale slowly from the same place, so that your belly flattens out again. You can do this for 2 minutes.
  • Inhale the same way but when exhaling this time, allow the breath to escape slowly as you make a hissing sound with your mouth (like releasing air from a balloon) repeat this for a minute

Closing: The only way to make the best out of your breathing exercises is to do them regularly and consistently. In our next lesson, we will explore some other Breathing Exercises.

Breathing Glow Music 1


  1. Vincent Abayah-Agbeko

    Thank you so much sir
    But please a few questions:
    I want to understand these terms in practical terms;
    Thank you

  2. Veronica

    Thank you very much for this video. I’ve learnt a lot.
    Please a question:
    Is there any way you can control your shoulders when doing the breathing exercises or while singing? Because I realised that sometimes I do it unconsciously. And sometimes when some singers are about to hit very high notes, I see that they take in breath and also see the shoulders moving

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