8 Breath Control Tips For Singing In Any Genre Friday December 15 2023, 8:30 PM
Yona Marie
Singer, Songwriter, Producer.
8 Breath Control Tips For Singing In Any Genre

Breath Control

Having enough breath to make it through vocal phrases elegantly can be harder than you would think it should be. Proper breath control allows you to sustain notes, control dynamics, and sing with more power and stamina.

Years ago, when I first taught myself how to sing, although I started sounding really great, I didn't know how to breathe correctly, and it took away from my performance.

Not to mention, the fear of not getting to the end of my phrases added anxiety to the mix! 

Luckily, with voice lessons and music classes, I began to fix my old habits and noticeably had better live and recorded singing sessions. Here are some of my top tips for other singers out there! 

Have a Great Posture For Singing 

Having a great posture is essential for singing, as it directly impacts your breath control, vocal resonance, and overall performance. Stand or sit up straight, aligning your head, neck, and spine, to ensure optimal airflow and support from your diaphragm.

Good posture helps prevent tension in your muscles, allowing your voice to resonate freely. Maintain a relaxed but engaged stance, keeping your shoulders down and avoiding slouching.

This alignment not only enhances your vocal projection but also contributes to a more confident and captivating stage presence.

Regularly practicing with proper posture will strengthen the muscles involved in singing, promoting endurance and control. 


Breath From Your Diaphragm And Not Your Throat

Breathing from your diaphragm, rather than your throat, is fundamental for producing a strong, controlled, and sustainable singing voice.

The diaphragm, a dome-shaped muscle beneath the lungs, is the primary muscle responsible for inhalation. When breathing for singing, focus on expanding your abdomen as you inhale, allowing the diaphragm to descend.

This deep, diaphragmatic breath provides a stable foundation for sustained notes and helps prevent strain on the throat.

Avoid shallow chest breathing, which restricts airflow and can lead to vocal fatigue. Shallow breathing is often done by moving the shoulders and chest for a breath and not expanding the diaphragm. 

Use Breath Marks

In solo and ensemble singing, the strategic use of breath marks is fundamental for maintaining a seamless and controlled vocal delivery. While this is mostly done in classical styles, it can be used in other genres as well. 

Breath marks, typically notations in the musical score, signify designated points where singers can take a breath without disrupting the natural flow of the melody.

Integrating these marks into your performance allows for intentional and well-timed inhalations, ensuring sustained phrases and preventing breathlessness.

By strategically placing breath marks, singers can navigate through challenging passages and optimize their breath control. 


Shorten Words To Sneak Breaths In

In the realm of singing, the practice of shortening words to insert breaths discreetly is a strategic technique employed by vocalists seeking uninterrupted phrasing and sustained vocal control.

This method involves skillfully modifying word length or pronunciations, allowing singers to catch quick breaths without compromising the song's lyrical flow.

This technique requires some practice for precision in articulation to ensure that the modified words maintain clarity and musicality.

Change The Rhythms To Fit Better Breathing

Similar to shortening words, this technique involves modifying the rhythmic structure of phrases to facilitate smoother and more natural breathing.

Singers can elongate certain notes or adjust the timing of silence, allowing for well-timed inhalations without compromising the overall musical flow.

This approach is especially beneficial in demanding songs where maintaining a continuous flow of air is essential.

Keep Your Neck And Face Relaxed 

Maintaining a relaxed neck and face is pivotal for effective breath control in singing. Tension in these areas can disrupt the natural flow of breath, hindering the singer's ability to sustain phrases and control dynamics.


When the neck and face muscles are relaxed, the respiratory system operates more efficiently. Unnecessary tension in the neck, for instance, can impede the downward movement of the diaphragm, restricting the intake of a full breath.

By consciously keeping these areas relaxed, singers create an environment conducive to optimal breath support.

Practice Breathing Exercises 

Regularly engaging in breathing exercises is a fundamental component of vocal training, enhancing a singer's breath control, stamina, and overall vocal performance.

These exercises focus on developing diaphragmatic breathing, strengthening respiratory muscles, and promoting efficient air utilization. Techniques often involve deep inhalations, controlled exhalations, and extended breath holds.

Singers may use exercises like "sighing breaths" or "pulsed breathing" to refine control and increase lung capacity.

Consistent practice of these exercises not only improves breath support but also helps singers sustain notes, navigate phrasing, and reduce vocal strain.

Plus, adding breath exercises into a warm-up routine readies the respiratory system for the demands of singing.

Sing Ghost Notes In Group Settings

Now, the term for this is not actually ghost notes, but that's what I want to call it here. By ghost note, I mean a technique sometimes used in choir singing to discreetly take a breath while appearing to sing every word.

While there might not be a standardized term for this specific action, you could refer to it as "mouthing and skipping" or "mouthing and breathing."

The idea is to maintain the visual appearance of singing while strategically skipping certain words to catch a quick breath.

It's a practical approach in situations where breath management is crucial, and it allows the choir or small group of singers to sustain longer phrases without audible disruptions. 

Yona Marie

As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 300 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!

If you are in need of singer, songwriter or song producer services, see what Yona Marie can offer you on her services page.

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