Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method. Download All Things Vocal podcast on your fav app!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Tips to better breathing for the voice

Can't seem to get enough breath for singing or speaking?
Run out of breath too soon to complete your phrases?

Here are some tips:

Change your posture!
  • Sing or speak at the wall with your head and heel against the wall. Because your ribcage is wider at the bottom, your diaphragm will be able to flatten lower and draw more air in - without you even having to think about it.
  • After you vocalize (sing a song or do some tongue tanglers or speak a poem or story) at the wall, come away from the wall and try to retain that sense of tallness, with your head balanced on your tailbone.
  • Important: DO NOT STIFFEN - even as you stand tall, make your spine feel somewhat like the liquid in a lava lamp.
Don't think of sucking air in- let it FALL in!
  • Think of your lungs as being in your low abdominal area.
  • Imagine a beach ball lying in your pelvic floor. Inflate it.
  • Avoid "chest breathing". Better to fill the air container from the bottom up!

Give yourself permission to breathe!
  • Don't sing or speak till you run out of breath. Always have a bit of reserve so you don't sound like someone punched you in the stomach by the end of your phrases.
  • Take breaths more often... don't make your phrases so long between breaths!
  • Slow down - this actually can give the listener time to "digest" what you're trying to tell them, and gives you an opportunity to breath.
  • Take time to listen and watch for reaction. This also will give you opportunities to breathe, and make what you say more relevant to the conversation.
  • Learn to edit yourself. Make what you say more concise... short and to the point. This will help you trust that you'll be able to say what you want to say without being interrupted or tuned out. "Stream of conscious" spewing of information is only for YOU to hear yourself get it all out. Save that for therapy sessions.
Practice breathing exercises!
  • One good one is: hold a candle or two fingers about 4 to 6 inches from your mouth. Take a breath and see how long you can blow without running out of breath. While you may not make it 12 seconds ("one-thousand-twelve"), try to extend the time to 30 seconds or more.
  • Another good one: stretch your arms out to your sides. Then stretch them over your head which also stretches the ribcage open and draws in a nice full breath.
Comments appreciated as you try these things... if you're reading this in email, click on the title to this post and go to the source of my blog at my website. Then look for "comment" link below the post.



  • At May 24, 2008 at 5:18 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hi Judy! I just wanted to say first of all, I've been a fan of yours since your MTM days. Still have your albums and listen to them alot. My dad is a musician, I play the piano by ear, with some lessons, I have been better at it. I've been told that I do have a good voice, so it kind of gives me a little confidence. I find myself singing along with whatever's in my headphones, whether it's you or whoever (I like all genere's of music.) I have actually sang in public once or twice with my dad, I was kind of nervous at first, but it actually went well, the people danced to it. Anyways, I came across your website, and was reading your blogs, I liked what you ahd to say, and will honestly say, that you have helped me in some areas that I needed help with. I just wanted to say thank you! I will be back soon! Have a good day!


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