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Catching and Timing Your Breath while Singing

Learning how and when to breathe is an important ingredient in singing properly. Learning to catch and time your breathe for each song you sing is critical to a quality performance.

Catching your breath

If you’re singing an up-tempo song with quick-moving words, you have to know exactly how to get the breath in quickly to make the next line come out clearly.

Remember that the release for the next breath has to happen quickly. Open your body to allow the breath to drop in quickly and exhale slowly. Opening the throat quickly prevents gasping. Gasping doesn’t allow you to get the air in as fast, and it feels more like a struggle.

Timing your breathing from the beginning

Look at and listen to your musical introduction, or prelude — the part before the lyrics come in. Before you sing that first note, you need to be ready — you need to time your breath. Sometimes timing your breath just right so you can begin the first phrase with enough air is tricky.

The best way to get the breath is to practice breathing two beats before you sing. Get your song’s tempo in your head. When you have that tempo set in your mind, count one, two, breath, breath (breathe for two counts), and then begin to sing. If you find that’s too much time for breath, practice taking the breath in one count.

You don’t want to take the breath, hold it for a few counts, and then sing. Holding your breath may get you locked up in your upper body. Remember that breath is always in motion.

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