Low Belly Breathing Exercise for Singers to Improve Breath Control

Low belly breathing exercise for singers to improve breath control and sound shared by vocal coach and singer Tamara Beatty

I’m sharing one of my favorite easy breathing exercises to focus on your low belly as a singer. In singing, breathing is crucial to our performances. We have to learn how to access breathing more deeply and in a different way than we might for everyday life. Today, I’m sharing my “four tanks” related to our breathing and how we can better connect with those tanks and practice breathing exercises for more control as a singer. This breathing exercise for singers will help you improve your stamina, complete longer phrases, and stay in tune as you perform. 

The Four Tanks

The first tank is the “tank” that we use every day in our speech and is our lower belly. Our second one is up in our ribs. Ribs expand and contract when we’re breathing. Tank three is our back. When you take a big deep breath, you can feel your back move and expand, which is what we’re focusing on. Finally, tank four is our chest up. When you take a breath and feel your chest move up and down, this is the movement we’re focusing on in this space. While you can spend most of your day breathing from your chest up (though I don’t recommend it) and not engaging tank one (your lower belly), as a singer, that’s not going to be enough to support you.

Low Belly Breathing Exercise f0r Singers

Take a deep breath in through your nose. Place your hands on your lower belly and feel. You should be able to feel slight movement there – this means that you’re activating this area while you’re breathing! The goal is to feel your belly move in and out without your chest (tank 4!) moving up and down. Your breath should originate in your low belly, around your navel. At this point, you may realize when you go to exhale that you have a lot of air coming out. So, that tells us that the idea that we need a HUGE breath before we begin singing is actually false. When you use that first tank to start your breaths, you’re actually taking in quite a bit of air! 

This exercise is really important for any singers experiencing fatigue. Oftentimes, when we feel fatigued as a singer, it’s because we’re bypassing this deep belly breath. It’s also useful if you find you can’t complete longer phrases or go flat near the end – these tend to indicate that you’re not getting a deep enough breath. While there’s lots of great ways to get big breaths, I think it’s important to start here and ask yourself: did I fill and expel that first tank? Filling and emptying our lower belly is a more efficient way to approach breathing as a singer. 

To watch the tutorial of these exercises, make sure to tune into this week’s video! 

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