Breath support is an essential element of singing that allows singers to produce strong, resonant, and consistent sounds. It involves the coordinated use of the diaphragm, intercostal muscles, and abdominal muscles to control the flow of air into and out of the lungs.
To be put simply "Breath support is the physical resisatnce of the exhale using muscles of the torso"
The diaphragm is a large, dome-shaped muscle located at the base of the rib cage. When you inhale, the diaphragm contracts and moves downward, creating more space for the lungs to expand and fill with air. As you exhale, the diaphragm relaxes and moves upward, forcing air out of the lungs.
The intercostal muscles are the muscles that run between the ribs. They help to expand the rib cage during inhalation, allowing for greater lung capacity and more air intake. The abdominal muscles, including the transverse abdominis and rectus abdominis, are also involved in breath support. They help to stabilize the torso and provide a solid foundation for the diaphragm and intercostal muscles to work efficiently.
When singing, proper breath support allows the singer to maintain a steady stream of air throughout each phrase, which leads to better pitch control, tone quality, and overall vocal endurance. Without proper breath support, a singer may experience strain or tension in the throat, resulting in a strained or shaky sound.
To develop good breath support, it is essential to practice proper breathing techniques regularly. Here are a few tips to get started:
Practice breathing: Sit or stand with good posture and place one hand on your ribs and the other on your stomach. Take a deep breath in through your nose or mouth, feeling your ribs and stomach expand outward . Exhale slowly through your mouth, feeling your stomach and ribs deflate as your diaphragm relaxes.
Engage your abdominal muscles: As you exhale, engage your abdominal muscles. This will help to support the expansion of the body and prevent tension in the throat.
Focus on steady airflow: When singing, focus on maintaining a steady flow of air throughout each phrase. Avoid pushing or forcing the air out, as this can lead to tension and strain in the throat.
Practice breath control exercises: There are many exercises that can help to improve breath control and support, such as sustained notes, lip trills and hiss exercises.
By practicing proper breathing techniques and focusing on breath support, singers can improve their vocal performance and produce more consistent and resonant sounds. With patience and dedication, anyone can develop strong breath support and become a more confident and expressive singer.