Let’s talk about the Diaphragm!
A few things you may have heard:
Sing from your diaphragm Use your diaphragm Push your diaphragm in
We have been recapping breathing technique with our students over the last few months…making sure they know exactly how the diaphragm works, knowing the theory behind it and myth busting!
The Diaphragm is a thin sheet of muscle which sits under the lungs, at the bottom of the rib cage.
MYTH BUSTING The diaphragm is ALWAYS working, The same way all of our internal organs do their job to keep us alive, the diaphragm does the same! It’s job is to initiate inhalation. It is always doing this, we don’t consciously tell it to move!
When diaphragmatic breathing (which basically means using the breath more efficiently) as we inhale, the diaphragm contracts in a downwards motion, creating a vacuum. When we exhale (we sing on an exhaled breath) the diaphragm relaxes upwards, toward the bottom of the lungs.
MYTH BUSTING We can not independently move the diaphragm. It will always do this movement, we can not control the movement of the diaphragm. We also can not move the lungs, the lungs move with the rib cage and expand with the breath that is filling them!
As we have no conscious control over the diaphragm, we need to use muscles that we can control To help the diaphragm work more effectively for us when we sing. So we can use our Abdominal muscles to release/relax (not push) out on the IN breath and relax back down on the OUT breath. This creates more space, to allow the diaphragm to descend down further, allowing a more efficient movement to help with breathe management to the lungs.
MYTH BUSTING What we physically see is: On the IN Breath - The abdomen moves out On the OUT breath - The abdomen moves in. This is not us seeing the diaphragm moving, this is the abdominal muscles helping to create more efficient breath.
Why do we need to diaphragmatic breath for singing?
We need to use our breath more efficiently for Phrasing, holding longer notes, and to help equalise the breath above and below the glottis.
One of the best ways to learn and practice breathing technique is by laying on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat to the floor (semi-supine position)
Now let’s all take a big deep breath in and out! 😮💨