How To Sing From Your Diaphragm And Not Your Throat Saturday January 14 2023, 5:30 AM
Yona Marie
Singer, Songwriter, Producer.
How To Sing From Your Diaphragm And Not Your Throat

How To Sing From Your Diaphragm

Singing from your diaphragm is a vital part of getting through a sung phrase without running out of air.

There are generally two ways you can breathe before you sing or speak: you can breathe from your diaphragm, AKA your chest, or you can do a breath from your throat.

While breathing a shallow breath from your throat will work in most speaking cases and some short sung phrases, singers want to make a habit of breathing in with their diaphragm (full chest) in order to get a good amount of air for their sung phrases.

If you get a breath from your throat instead of your chest, you will find that you'll run out of air and have to break up your phrases. Or even worse, your sung notes to get a quick breath in and continue to sing.

Related Post: 7 Breathing Exercises For Singing To Try For Breath Control

What Is Your Diaphragm?


While it's simple to picture that your diaphragm is in your chest, it is important to get an idea of how it expands and contracts when you take deep breaths in and out.

When you breathe in, the diaphragm expands and relaxes, and when you breathe out, it contracts. 

This is often confusing for many people who think that you need to suck your stomach in to take a deep breath, but you actually want to do the opposite. When you breathe in, you want it to feel like your stomach is getting wider with the air you let in. 

Related Post: Why Does My Throat Hurt After Singing?

Posture And Good Breathing

To sing from your diaphragm the right way, you want to make sure you are practicing good posture. A restricted posture can stop you from breathing properly, make you sound nasal, affect your pitch, and limit your singing range. 

Stand or sit up straight and avoid any hunching in your back for good breath support.

There is also a common misconception that you need to take in deep breaths by raising your shoulders, but since the shoulders have nothing to do with your diaphragm, just relax them. 

It may help for you to put your hands around your rib cage as you breathe in and out to make sure that you are taking in the best breaths possible and not slouching in the position you are in. 

There is no need to try to stick your chest too far out in an attempt not to slouch either; you want to find the perfect balance for perfect singing posture! 

Warm Ups And Lip Trills

A lot of tension that singers suffer from is focused right in the larynx and mouth area, which can lessen the air you get successfully when breathing and singing from your diaphragm.

An easy way to ease that stress in your body is to warm your voice up. Don't be afraid to try a full body stretch before singing, too, if you are a beginner looking to get better at your singing posture. 

I would suggest doing some of the vocal exercises that I've suggested in the article while in a position of lying down on your back.

It may sound crazy, but lying on your back is a great way to connect your body and breath for a vocal performance!

Popular professor Richard Miller from the Oberlin College-Conservatory of Music wrote in his bestseller that "Lying on the back places the entire body, head to toe, in alignment, and the sternum is dissuaded from falling."

"In the supine position, the head, neck, and torso remain axial, and problems of laryngeal positioning, voice registration, and clavicular breathing are avoided."

Most warmups include a lip trill, which is the act of making your mouth vibrate very fast while making a "brrr" sound, and are sometimes referred to as lip rolls, raspberries, lip bubbles, or lip buzzing.

Lip trills help put your body in the proper position for healthy singing and speaking, just like singing while lying on your back can.

The air that pushes up from your consistent escaping breath helps you increase your breath support, puts your larynx muscles in a productive and relaxed state, and then the vibrations help to relax and activate your face muscles. 

Related Post: How To Lip Trill And Why It's So Important


Straw Singing And Diaphragm

Straw singing, often referred to as straw phonation, is a helpful vocal technique for singers and speakers that want to maximize their performance abilities, especially when it comes to breathing.

Straw singing is perhaps the most popular form of SOVT singing, which stands for semi-occluded vocal tract. It may sound intense, but it's really just a fact way that you are singing with your mouth partially open.

The first time I came across the act of straw phonation as a professional singing technique was when I was learning how to manage my breath better for long phrases.

Sustaining a good amount of breathing through phrases is a challenge for many singers, and straw singing addresses the problem. 

When you sing with this technique, the straw will force you to not use any more breath than you need to, which many singers make the mistake of doing.

When you use all your breath too soon at the beginning of a phrase, you'll find yourself struggling to sing through to the end. 

Related Post: How To Use Breath Marks In Music


Singing from your diaphragm is important to do no matter what register you are singing in, what your volume levels are, and what notes you are singing.

For all types of singing styles and approaches, breathing plays a vital role in the success of the sung phrases. 

When soprano singers are singing insane whistle-tone notes in their highest registers, their diaphragm will need to be filled with air. 

When altos go for those high and mid-range belts that are filled with power and coming from their chest voice, they really need their diaphragm to be filled with air.

When tenors that are trained opera singers are performing their most impressive notes in their mixed or head voice register, it requires a great amount of air to be coming from their diaphragm! 

Even when modern-day rappers are letting out a verse in the studio or live on stage, they will highly benefit from breathing in deeply from their diaphragm instead of shallow throat breaths that many performers mistakenly rely on. 

Related Post: 5 Ways Singing While Lying On Your Back Can Help You


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Yona Marie

As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her recent collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!

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