Intercostal Diaphragmatic Breathing?

Nuggets of Wisdom

  • "Our Body is Our Instrument"

  • "Singing is Sustained Speech"

  • "Resist the Collapse of the Breathing Mechanism"

  • "The essential difference between breathing to live and breathing to sing lies in the amount of conscious control exerted"

  • "The diaphragm can be described as a floor to the chest and a ceiling to the abdomen"

  • "Since the ribs in the front of the rib cage are higher than the ones in the back, the diaphragm extends lower in the back than it does in the front"

  • "The abdomen; comfortably up, comfortably in and free to move"

  • "A well performed inhalation should be noiseless and should look effortless"

  • "Breath support is a function of the breathing muscles. Breath control is a function of the vocal cords themselves"

  • "The ability to sing long phrases comes primarily from the efficiency of the vocal cord action; it is the result of good laryngeal adjustment, not of lung capacity"

  • "How much air your body can hold is not nearly as important as how well you use what you have"

  • "Many of the problems which singers encounter about running out of breath are psychological ones"

3 Types of Breathing
1. Chest-Clavicular(reserve)
2. Ribs-Costal(primary)
3. Diaphragm(primary)























The Diaphragm "The strongest and single most important muscle used in singing"





















3 Stages of Natural Breathing(Not Conscious)

  • Breathing In

  • Breathing Out

  • Rest/Recovery

4 Stages of Singing Breathing(Conscious)

  • Breathing In

  • Setting Up/Suspension(breath not moving in or out)

  • Controlled Exhalation

  • Recovery Period


INCORRECT Methods of Breathing

1. Upper Chest Breathing: The chief cause is our daily sitting posture(reading, computer, etc.), especially prominent in women..

Clue-chest rising during inhalation and falling during exhalation.

Cure-lie flat on your back and place a large book on the upper abdomen.


2. Rib Breathing: May be almost invisible if the singer is wearing loose fitting clothing since the primary expansion is lateral.More prevalent among slender people due to little excess tissue to expand.

Clue-outward movement of the elbows when breath is inhaled.

Cure-breathing exercises sitting down and leaning slightly forward.


3. Back Breathing: Concentrating attention on expansion of the back or ribs will virtually eliminate frontal expansion, butconcentration on frontal expansion will result in full and free expansion of the back and ribs at the same time.

Clue-difficult to assess from the front

Cure-down and back position of the shoulders for a comfortably high chest


4. Belly Breathing: It limits breath support for the upper voice and can result in tone quality/vibrato problems.

Clue-The singer may seem to become shorter as a phrase progresses.

Cure-posture check; high chest, stretched spine and straight back.


Other breathing and support faults

1. Hypofunctional breath support: failing to demand enough physical activity of the breathing mechanism, common among new/young singersCure-pant like a dog, laugh like Santa

2. Hyperfunctional breathing: demanding too much physical activity of the breathing mechanism, prevalent among experienced singers

Cure-sing like you are singing to a baby



In Life: Inhalation=Slow & Exhalation=Fast

In Singing: Inhalation=Fast & Exhalation=Slow

1. Lungs: Rest elbows on knees with your head bent. Breath in 6, Hold 3 and Out 9

2. Abdomen: Lay flat on the floor and place a book on your stomach then try to push it off with a breath snap.

3. Diaphragm: Inhale 'Aw' and exhale 'S' while holding a hand on your belly and one on your lower back.

4. Ribs: Inhale through your nose while raising your arms. Exhale while lowering your arms but keep your ribs high.

5. Catch Breath: In for 3, suspend for 3, breathe out for 3 hissing, relax for 3. Repeat with 2 counts followed by 1

Note: Open air passages so that there is nothing to restrict the flow of air or to create frictional noises

































Julie Freebern