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How to Sing Without Running Out of Breath?

It is not uncommon for singers to run out of breath while on stage. But don’t worry, it is something you can overcome!

Here are the main ways to sing without running out of breath:

  • Have a correct singing posture
  • Have the correct breathing technique
  • Keep your body relaxed
  • Have a good control of air
  • Create a singing plan
  • Practice, practice, practice!

Let’s look at each of the ways in more detail, with examples and real practical techniques you can use!

Have a correct singing posture

Singing with the correct posture is very important. Your voice will sound much better while avoiding potential damage to your vocal cords.

Here’s a guide on how to have a good singing posture:

  • Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, with one foot slightly in front of the other. This ensures you’re in a balanced stance.
  • Slightly bend your knees, and your legs should be rather relaxed.
  • Keep your body straight while relaxed. When you breathe, your diaphragm should be able to expand and contract freely.
  • Keep both of your arms at your sides. Your hands should be open and relaxed. Leave a slight gap between your hands and your body, and stay relaxed.
  • For your chest, keep it high, and your shoulders should be down and relaxed.
  • Keep your head straight, looking straight ahead, and have your chin parallel to the ground. Lean your chin slightly backward, so that your neck is actually straight.

Have the correct breathing technique

Breathe from your lower lungs

As you sing, you should breathe from your lower lungs. Breathing from your lower lungs will enable you to take in much more volume of air. Just visualize yourself taking air into your lower lungs when you’re starting out, and over time you will have a stronger grasp as to how to properly do this. Once you’ve got it, you’ll have a much easier time singing using your diaphragm, which is the correct way of singing.

Push out diaphragm when you are breathing in

Be mindful of pushing out your diaphragm as you breathe in. Many beginners will actually contract their stomach when they breathe, and that prevents you from taking in enough air to sustain the phrase of the song.

As you breathe, take in the air and push out your lower lungs where the diaphragm is located. That will maximize the amount of air you’re able to breathe in. By having enough air, you’ll find yourself running out of breath much, much less.

Breathe through your nose and mouth

It is important that you breathe through the nose and the mouth at the same time. In this manner, you’ll be able to take in much more air in less amount of time.

This is extremely important when singing a song with long phrases and short gaps. If you miss the opportunity to take in enough air during the short gap, you’ll certainly run out of air due to the long phrases. This isn’t intuitive at first, so you may want to practice breathing in through your nose and mouth.

Note that this only applies to taking in air. You do not want to breathe out using both your mouth and nose, that will surely make you run out of air. You simply take in the air with both mouth and nose, then sing without breathing out through your nose.

Practice breathing lying on the floor

If you’re just starting out, you may want to practice breathing while lying on the floor. While lying on the floor, your back becomes straight and you’ll have a clear airway. This makes you breathe in the correct posture easily.

Once you understand how it feels, stand up in the correct singing posture and try breathing. Does it feel the same? It should. If not, keep practicing until you get the hang of it.

Keep your body relaxed

You should always relax your body when singing. When your body tenses up, it will mess up your singing posture, and in turn, affecting your control of the air.

Don’t raise your shoulders

Never raise your shoulders at all. Doing so that interfere with your posture and also compromise the flow of the air from your lungs. It is amazing how many beginners will raise their shoulders while singing, especially during challenging parts of the song. The reason they do it is they’re trying to force hitting those notes by tensing up their body, which actually hinders their performance.

If you have this bad habit, try to be mindful of it. Every time you notice yourself raising your shoulders, stop, relax your body and try again. After some time you’ll notice that your body is much more relaxed while singing.

Have a good control of air

If you keep running out of air, and you’re singing in the correct posture, that may very well mean you’re not in good control of air. Even if you’re taking in enough air, if you spend them all in a short period of time, you’ll still run out of breath. So having a good control of air is crucial in singing.

Do the hissing exercise

A good exercise of breath control is the hissing exercise. Here are the steps to do so:

  1. Breathe in with both your nose and mouth. Take in the maximum amount of air you can.
  2. Say the syllable “s”, hold it for as long as possible until your air runs out.
  3. Time how long it takes for you to breathe out. Repeat with the intention of hissing for a longer time.

The point of the hissing exercise if for you to get a sense of your diaphragm and how you can control the amount of air you use while singing. This exercise can really help you avoid running out of breath, even when singing challenging songs that require a good control of air.

Avoid breathy singing

Do you sing with a breathy sound? Although it may be an artistic choice for certain songs, you shouldn’t do it when starting out. If you’re running out of breath while singing, try not singing with a breathy sound first. Try to sing with a more solid sound, using your diaphragm. Once you’ve mastered that, and you’re no longer running out of breath, then you can try using your breathy singing in certain songs that suits the technique.

Take enough air for the phrase

Many people underestimate the volume of air requirements, a fact that goes a long way in causing shortness of breath. Thus, before pronouncing any phrase, you should take enough air for that specific phrase. Different phrases no doubt require different volumes of air. The longer phrases require more volume of air while the shorter phrases require shorter volumes.

Of course, to do this properly, you should be familiar with the song you’re singing, so you’re well prepared for every phrase you’re about to sing. That way, you won’t be surprised by the length of a certain phrase, and run out of air because you didn’t take in enough air to begin with.

Create a singing plan

Just as is the case with any other activity, you need to plan for this one too in advance. Read the score sheets prior to the commencement of the singing exercise. Then, mark out the segments of the sheets where breathing might be necessary. Of course, you have to follow the plan diligently.

Check your diction

You should check your diction before you sing. Diction simply refers to the length and the quality of the vowels measured against where and how the consonants are placed. They also determine to a great extent the volumes of air you might need and subsequently how your words shall be pronounced.

Be mindful of words in legato

The legato is the smooth transitions between any two successive notes. While singing, you are supposed to be mindful of the legato parts. If there are consequent legato parts in a phrase, you’ll not be able to breathe in between as there won’t be any gaps. So you have to prepare the breathing points beforehand.

Start small and gradually increase the volume

As a beginner, a tip of singing long phrases is to start the phrase singing at a lower volume. By starting small, you can gradually increase the volume throughout the phrase. That way, you’re actually using less air overall. But be careful when using this technique, as the phrase may not be suitable singing in a crescendo like this.

However, even if it’s not a crescendo, starting the phrase at a lower volume than you normally sing can greatly decrease the chance of you running out of air at the end of the phrase.

Breathe out of tempo, sing in tempo

When singing, breathe out of tempo while singing in tempo. This is because the breathing gaps are usually very short and out of tempo. Many beginners will instinctively breathe on the beat, which is a huge mistake.

If you try to breathe on the beat, you may either spend too much time breathing in, or you may miss the breathing point because you’re waiting for the right time to breathe. Instead, when you reach the breathing point, do not follow the beat of the song. Breathe with just enough time before the next phrase.

Practice, practice, practice!

Regular practicing is not only for you to breathe or relax well while on stage. It is also necessary so that you may master the tunes, the words, and the other issues that may compromise your performances. By practicing on a regular basis, you also get to prevent those things that may usually trip you off to the extent of losing your breath.

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