Breathing Exercises for Singing: How to Sing from Your Diaphragm Properly | Singing Lessons


Hi, there! This is Marnell Sample bringing you another vocal tip. In today’s vocal tip, we’ll be covering how do you actually
breathe for singing. This is a topic that you probably have heard
a lot about if you’re a singer… …you probably have heard about breathing from your diaphragm
or singing from your diaphragm, but we’ll cover in this video what exactly that means —
how you’re supposed to do it. So, this is where we will begin.
Take your hands, like this… …and place them on your sides where your love handles would be. So, that would be midway between the top your pelvis and where your lowest ribs are.
Somewhere around in here… Make sure your fingers here are
on the front side of your body, and that your thumb is around here on the backside right below your ribs.
Now, what I want you to do is squeeze. So you’re going to squeeze like you’re clamping like this…
Squeeze the area where your love handles are. And then, breathe in but try to make your fingers expand as you breathe in. So, you’re going to be squeezing…inhale… …and exhale… Then try it again. Still squeeze and try to make your fingers expand. Inhale… …and exhale… Now what I want you to really do
to emphasize it and make it even better, even more efficient …where your thumb is at on the back here… …try to really feel an expansion in this area here. Really try to make that part expand.
Don’t worry about the front here so much. The front WILL expand,
but, you want to really get this area here to expand when you breathe in.
Try that a few times. Squeeze again…inhale… …try to make your thumbs expand backwards away from you… …then exhale… Try it again. Inhale… …exhale… Once you’ve done that, you’re successfully taking a diaphragmatic breath. You shouldn’t see anything rising up
here. If you’re trying to breathe in…like this…then you
won’t get anything down here pushing your
fingers apart. It takes care of all of that for you.
So, how do you go about actually using this in singing? This is where we’re going to have to
combine it with something I call “the cry.” It’s a little sound. It’s like this… [demonstrates] It’s almost kind of like a sigh a little bit… [demonstrates] Another way you can think of this sound is almost like you’ve seen a little adorable baby, and you go, “Awww. That’s such a cute little baby right there. Awww.” That “awww” sound — that’s this or this sigh that I’m talking about. So, what we want to make sure we do is squeeze here, at your love handles again… …breathe in, and then try to make that crying sound. But as soon as you get ready to start
the sound, actually try to make your fingers expand more. If your fingers are able to clamp down all the way, and you don’t feel
any outward resistance against them, then you’re doing it wrong.
So, it’s like this…inhale… [demonstrates cry] You can either do it on AW or OH,
whichever feels easiest for you. But you should feel this area right here
where your love handles are… …it should try to expand a little bit
more the same way it does when you’re breathing in. So, you breathe in, then get ready to start
the sound, and it tries to expand even more. [demonstrates OH with cry] And then just try a little small slide
like I’m doing now… [demonstrates] If you do it wrong, it’ll sound like this… [demonstrates]
This isn’t expanding at all. This is letting everything collapse. [demonstrates] Now, if you lose this little cry or sigh in the sound, you WILL get an expansion down here, but
you get rigid up here in your throat. So you’ll end up doing this… [demonstrates] It’s not that sound.
The throat must remain supple with this… [demonstrates] …with that kind of a touch, with that kind of inflection in your voice.
So, try it a few times on OH or AW, just sliding around making sure you
keep this expansion here, this outwards resistance. So… [demonstrates] And now, I’ll show you..how this works actually in a song. So, what I’ll do is sing a little bit of “Home” from Michael Bublé. It will start like this… [sings “Home”]
♪ Another summer day ♪ I’ll stop on that line because on every single ascending pattern, we have to give a little bit more of an outwards resistance here where my hands are pinching… …so they try to resist out a little bit more. [sings]
♪ Another summer day ♪ On the EE, I had to push out a little bit
more here. ♪ Has come and gone away ♪
The same thing there. ♪ In Paris and Rome, but I wanna go home ♪ ♪ May be surrounded by ♪ Same thing there…♪ by ♪…push out more
…♪ by ♪…on the second note. ♪ A million people I ♪ ♪ Still feel all alone, but I wanna go home ♪ ♪ I miss you, you know ♪ And throughout the whole phrase, I’m keeping
some degree of expansion here. ♪ And I’ve been keeping all the letters that I wrote to you ♪ And the same thing for this line…
♪ And I’ve been keeping ♪ Every single note I go up, I push out here a little bit more… ♪ And I’ve been keeping ♪ …but still keeping this little cry in my voice. [demonstrates slowly]
♪ And I’ve been keeping ♪ [speaks with the cry]
I have this little inflection in my voice the whole time. If I were to talk with the cry, I’d sound the way I do right now. It’s a different kind of inflection in the voice. [speaks normally]
It’s not the way I would normally talk, like this. [speaks with cry]
But it’s this sound… ♪ And I’ve been keeping all the letters that I wrote to you ♪ ♪ Each one a line or two ♪ ♪ I’m fine, baby, how are you ♪ ♪ And I would send them, but I know that it’s just not enough ♪ The same thing here, I’m still pushing out…
♪ My words were cold and flat ♪ ♪ But you deserve more than that ♪ And that’s how you apply this to singing. That’s how you breathe properly for
singing, and that’s how you sing from the diaphragm. The only other thing I would
mention with this is when you’re going for the cry, the sound should still be clear.
So if it starts to get muffled like this… ♪ And I’ve been keeping ♪
…then you’re doing it wrong. Your throat should be relaxed, the sound clear, and you keep this outwards resistance here at your love handles. So, thanks for watching this video! If you found it helpful, then be sure to subscribe for future updates, and also like the video.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. I have a problem. I have a sort of baritone voice. I can not sing very high when I sing in chest voice. I can't even sing up to tenor high C. But somehow when u place my voice in some other part of my body, I don't really know where, I can sing up to C6 with strength. My voice also flips and cracks very often. I don't know exactly how to get my voice to stay stable and how to add range or support. I also strain when I sing. I really need help!

  2. Hey Marnell. Just wanted To know If you Had any Tips for Me because I can Sing and I'll be Auditioning for Detroit School of Arts soon. So my Auntie and My Cousin told Me that When im Singing i dont Breath. And its Hard for Me to Sing without Music, i Kind of Loose the Key. And when I try To breath And use My diaphram It seems Like im Not using The right Voice and I dont Sound good Hitting high Notes. Any tips Or Anything?

  3. Excuse me Mr.. Uhmm, can i have a question? Uhmm where should i breath? From my mouth or from nose? Im getting a little bit confuse, but when im singing, im breathing from diaphragm through my mouth and i think i can sustain high notes there.. But some people say I should breath through my mouth.. Whats ur advice Mr.. Thank you for your swift reply..

  4. Hopefully you answer my question but do you need to use the cry whenever you sing cause my mine sounds different than your's but is still almost the same and I no longer feel the tension in my throat so does that mean that I'm doing it right?

  5. when I try to breathe like this, I take in a lot of air, but I feel that I'm losing it really quickly, is there anything I can do to fix this?

  6. @Mason Sayers Well, one thing I notice you mentioned is that you take in lots of air! That is a huge error you want to watch out for. Singing doesn't require much more air than speaking. I cover that part in this video more:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2XRMD5fJH4

    Now, as for running out of air quickly, do you have a breathy sound? If so, then it indicates you're missing cord closure, and that will cause you to waste your air, thus running out of breath prematurely. I cover how to correct that in this video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T99xgK8MpXM

    Also, try this. Hold out an SSSS sound like a hissing snake for as long as you can, and tell me how many seconds you can do it for. Then try the same thing on a buzzing ZZZZ sound, like a bee, and record your time. Then try the same thing on a VVVV sound (that's V as in "Victor"), and tell me your time. Then I can tell you what to do from there.

  7. I still can't expand my back, idk what I'm doing wrong, I think I got everything else right do you have any other methods for doing it?

  8. Do you have any lessons on how to improve and develop a good bass voice? Need help in that area.

    Please and thanks

  9. Thanks for the video, it is very helpful. My question is do you know what I should look for when looking for a vocal teacher? So far I have been disappointed with the ones I've had. I don't think I've made much improvement, I know one main weaknesses is breathing but none of them have tought me how. All I do is practise songs with them but don't really correct me on anything except if I'm out of tune or something. Yesterday I auditioned and for the first time someone actually gave me a helpful feedback about my singing which was that I was breathing incorrectly and I'm always using head voice. In a year and half that I've been taking vocal classes none of my vocal teachers ever told me that. However, the place I auditioned offer classes but they charge $60 for a half an hour session and its an hour away plus parking ( it is in Boston) I can't pay $80 ( class, gass, parking) a week. Im a broken college student. The place is Bristol recording and voice studios. Do you think i wont be able to find something like them and cheaper? Will the money be worth it? Do you think i can learn by myself? Any advice will be helpful. Thanks!

  10. I don't know if am doing this right, when i squeezing the sides and inhaling my stomach goes outward which is odd

  11. How come when you see professional singers singing live it doesn't look like their stomachs are expanding?

  12. This is awesome. I started experimenting with this on "the stars look very different TODAY" in Space Oddity. It helps me sustain my tone on TODAY without having to belt. If I understand correctly the cry sound in my vocal resonance helps relax the throat tension and the expansion in my lower back is where I am shifting the tension to. Is that right?

  13. this teaching helped me so much! The way you teach is perfect for me and my way of understanding. Thank you again! God bless you!

  14. This is gold mate! You're awesome! I've had so many people and videos tell me to "breath from my diaphragm" and that's all fine and dandy and then I do that, but this is the first time someone actually added the part about sustaining the tension in your diaphragm in order to actually SING from the diaphragm. I could immediately tell an improvement in my singing! Funny thing is, I was looking up how to sing vibrato earlier because I just can't get a natural vibrato going. I try your breathing and singing technique and I already heard some actual vibrato breaking through here and there (not always but there were a few times I started hearing vibrato).

  15. You should upload some videos of you singing . Most of you tips a are extremely helpful but I'd like to hear your skills . Personally. I'm not a choral singer anymore but I use a lot of your exercises to strengthen my overall vocals and I'd like to see where they have gotten you

  16. THANKYOU SOOO MUCH
    you saved my life
    All I want to do is sing…but I just want to sing …"the right way"
    People have taught me before how to sing from my diaphragm but it NEVER worked this fast and easy…thankyou thankyou thankyou

  17. Hello there,
    I wanna know that does oily and fry food effect bad on vocal cords?
    Should I permanently avoid them or justhe before singing?

  18. hey so i havnt practiced in awhile and my voice started suffering from it but after comming back to this video i instantly feel so much more confident and i have alot better tone and a clearer sound so i was wondering if by any chance i could sign up for a skype class with you and how i would go about paying for the class

  19. When you're singing home at the end, how do you get that vibrating sound to all of your notes? I can't get that clear crisp tone, but I believe I am using my diaphragm.

  20. @Marnell Sample I was wondering when I inhale to sing to my diaphragm when I inhale through my nose or my mouth or does it even matter? Thank you you have the best YouTube diaphragm and videos by the way!!

  21. Thank you! Very helpful, especially the cry demonstration at 6:30. I copied the unpleasing cry you made and got the technique finally

  22. So are you saying you basically HOLD IN your breathe, and NOT push it out, when singing? I've been singing for years and have always done it where i push the breathe out, but i lose air a lot, so your video really interests me. Thanks 🙂

  23. @marnell sample thank you so much. My wife and I watched and see tried it and she actually sung better… Awesome

  24. Happened on this site and so glad…want ro be able to sing with amateur band.. I can carry a tune, but have to keep changing octaves, and know zero about breath control….at least in singing, but do tai chi abdominal breathing…

  25. HALLELUYAH this is marvelous blessings to your for sharing your gifts freely. The impact these videos have truly transcend what you imagine. Keep up the great work. Peace and love

  26. Marnell sample whenever i try to sing from Diaphragm it sounds good and better but at the same time after singing i am feeling like my abs are getting strong and i am feeling too much hungry so it is a side effect or not ??

  27. good job bro. I don't know what's is the real issue but I might need professional ears like your to fix what I think is minor. breathing good, don't know if its the cry or the push needs correction or maybe both. is feel some abdominal pain and slight back pain some times when I sing. it doesn't happen when I rap and Dj but I am a master of those arts. Just a bit uncertain with the singing at time. sounding good but too much efforts.

  28. You're clear with your directive & light hearted. My heart lays in Hard rock & metal. I've always had a low voice, enjoyed singing passionately, but it's always been by my throat; and I've always wrecked my throat after as little as 2-3 songs when trying to really go for it. Unable to See – Tremonti is my latest track to cover, I haven't recorded myself yet but even rehearsing I'm hearing myself carry notes further with A LOT less strain. Still struggling when I try to be aggressive with this method without having those overly obvious sudden breaths getting that oxygen in and still sounding melodic. Any tips are appreciated.

    Good friend of mine is a singer and has been preaching at me for the longest time about singing from the diaphragm, this has been an immensely useful first step. Thank you. Any advice is appreciated.

  29. When I try this it sounds like I'm singing from my nose. Is this suppose to happen because I tried not to but it couldn't happen.

  30. Hi there I would love to be frank with you and let you know that I am a music producer and I make divergent genere of music. I would love to design music for you. Please let me know if you are interested.

  31. Hi Sample,
    1. Do we have to hold our diaphragm down as we sing/exhaling? And if we have to then when will our diaphragm contract?
    2. When exactly do we breathe in during singing? Some say at the beginning of each phrase. But i listen to recorded music, singers don't follow this rule instead they breathe in every after a measure and at times they go 1 and a half measure then breathe in. I'm lost!

  32. Thank you Marnell! Your tips about 1. Clamping your hands on your waist to ensure the back and stomach expand and 2. pushing back on the hands as you exhale FINALLY helped me understand what it means to breathe downward! THANK YOU!!!

  33. this is awesome I'm probably like so many people before that's heard sing from your diaphragm but I could never actually figure out how to apply it while singing​ this down and out push you teach is actually pretty easy to do and I'm beginning to see the whole picture to this singing thing thanks much for the video!

  34. Dude! It's WORKING! I went full-on talking with the crying voice for like five minutes and when I started singing again, it felt smoother and better. I never knew I could sound this way, but thank you, good sir!

  35. I find it very hard to support the lower notes, because its a much lighter support, I get the same sound with little support as I do with no support. My lower notes always just collapse on me (I dont mean the support collapses, but with that lesser degree of support the sound is just as weak as before I knew about support).

  36. Thank you so so much for your videos!! As soon as I watched your video about releasing neck tension…It helped me so much. Your tips are great. Your videos – instant subscription.

  37. The first video that i found which explains in detail how to connect the singing to diaphragm. Really clear up on the confusion that i had on breathing and support. Anyway i had 2 questions here that i really appreciate if you can answer it, the sigh or cry should be applied to higher notes only or even from lower notes? And another one is, the outward pressure while singing that u mentioned is felt at which part? Back or stomach area?

  38. I'm quite new to singing, and therefore I didn't grasp the exercise when my teacher showed me. I looked at websites, made notes, but they were all too brief. Thanks for making this video. It has helped a lot. I'm not going to make those ridiculous noises, outside of a soundproof room.

  39. Hello there. I saw this video recently where You say how to move breath from belly to back and I love it. Its so much more informative than those falks saying USE YOUR DIOPHRAGM, PUSH IT AND USE IT. You are the first for me to bold out the feeling and the technic. Ive got a question for You that fallows this video, sorry, if You already said it somewhere and I missed it.
    Its obvious that a singer needs to use his back even more than belly for singing, but why actually this works from anatomic perspective?
    Thank You very much 🙂

  40. If my maths teacher could explain as good as you explain, then I could have probably fullfilled my dream of becoming what I wanted to become since my childhood.

  41. Everybody can't do that. Everybody hands is not big enough to touch the front and the back of them. At the same time I have to make up my mind I'm either going to touch the front of me or the back of me can't do it both

  42. entonces hay que tratar de expandir mas cuando se emite el sonido , es lo que entendi gracias

  43. When I breathe in, my stomach expands and I feel some resistance on my fingers and very little resistance on my thumbs. How do I fix this because the video isn't helping me?

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