As we know, breathing is crucial for vocal strength. It supports high and far-reaching sounds. Controlling inhalation and exhalation is vital; otherwise, it can lead to breathlessness and fatigue. Why does breathlessness occur during singing, and what are the remedies? Follow our detailed article below to find out.
What causes breathlessness during singing?
The causes of breathlessness during singing can be divided into two types: inhalation and exhalation. Specifically:
Many people tend to breathe from the upper body, particularly the chest. Signs of improper inhalation include raised shoulders, an expanded chest, and a sense of fatigue, akin to the feeling after strenuous exercise.
So why does chest breathing lead to breathlessness while singing? It’s believed that our chest cage, primarily comprising bones and internal organs, tends to be rigid and inflexible. Forcing the chest to expand excessively and compressing the heart results in a quick loss of breath.
Lowering the larynx
Lowering the larynx is common in classical singing styles, amplifying the singer’s voice. It requires strong physical stamina and breath control.
To avoid breathlessness while using this technique, one must have a good physical foundation and learn to control their breath.
Inadequate breath modulation during singing
Some songs require a gentle, whisper-like approach. While this can add unique character to the performance, inexperienced singers might struggle to balance their breath throughout the song.
Incorrect mouth shape and volume while singing
Another cause of breathlessness during singing is opening the mouth excessively wide and forcefully propelling the air when reaching high notes. This can result in uneven sounds and increased breath usage.
Read more: Short of Breath in Conversation
4 ways to address breathlessness while singing
Above are some common mistakes leading to breathlessness while singing. How can you effectively address this issue? Here are 4 methods to help you achieve a healthier and more resilient voice:
Use diaphragmatic breathing
The structure of the abdominal muscles allows for deep inhalation and prolonged breath control. Therefore, practicing diaphragmatic breathing is crucial. Place your hand on your abdomen, take a deep breath, keeping your shoulders and chest in their original position, and slowly exhale gently. Practice this regularly to make diaphragmatic breathing a habit while singing.
Manage breath distribution and techniques
A consistent exhalation is crucial, especially for high notes. However, it doesn’t mean you should push the air out forcefully. Instead, maintain a steady breath. To achieve the right sound volume, use the mix voice technique when hitting high notes to protect the larynx from strain or damage.
Open the mouth widely to avoid breathlessness while singing
To prevent breathlessness while singing, widen your mouth but avoid opening it excessively. Avoid opening the mouth horizontally as it can create a distorted and strained sound. Instead, practice opening your mouth horizontally, as if you’re trying to yawn without actually doing it.
When pronouncing words, try to open the mouth’s arch to allow the abdominal breath to resonate in the oral cavity, creating a resonant sound. Using this resonance will prevent you from straining your vocal cords and avoiding hoarseness.
Furthermore, when using this resonance, try to pronounce the words loudly, roundly, slowly, and resonantly. Then, change the pitch, pronouncing from the lowest to the highest notes.
Keep the larynx relaxed
You need to keep the larynx relaxed, avoiding any forced or strained sound production. Your best sound is your natural voice. Therefore, keep the larynx relaxed and consider singing as if you’re talking to someone. This will help you avoid exerting excessive effort to produce sound and prevent breathlessness while singing.
The above are some reasons and remedies when experiencing breathlessness while singing or speaking. Hopefully, these insights will help you develop a healthier and brighter voice.
John Alen was born in 1971 and is a doctor in the healthcare and psychology fields with many years of experience. He is currently working at easyhealthylive.com, a leading health and psychology blog. Having studied at Y1 National Medical University named after IM Sechenov, John Alen is using his knowledge and experience to help improve the physical and mental health of people in the United States.