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Coordinating Breath with Tone for Singing

When you have your throat space open, you want to coordinate breath with tone to sing. You want the movement of the air to happen at the same time the tone starts.

Try these three ways of coordinating breath and tone:

  • Whistle: Whistling requires that you move some air between your lips as you make tone. This coordination of breath is similar to singing. Whistle a tune or whistle at an attractive person. Notice how your body moves. You can’t whistle without using air, and the air movement and start of the tone happen simultaneously.

  • Laugh: Laughter is mostly about connecting air with the start of the tone. Take a few minutes to explore that feeling of boisterous laughter. Let the sound vary in pitch and change to higher and lower pitches as you extend the laughter.

    Notice the movement in your body as you laugh. More than likely, your body moves so that your lower abs (that’s short for abdominal muscles) move in and your sides move out as you exhale to make the sound.

  • Play: Pretend that you’re on the playground, having a blast on the swing or the merry-go-round. Kids often exclaim “Weeeeeeeee!” when they’re delighted by moving fast. The “Weeeeeeeee” may start on a high pitch and gradually slide down, or you might extend the sound without changing pitch. Notice that this exclamation is clear and that you’re moving breath as you sustain the sound.

After you explore these three suggestions, try singing part of a song to notice the flow of your air as you start the beginning tone of each phrase. You want the air to be moving consistently the entire time you sing, and you want the open space to remain open as you sing.

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