The diaphragm is the muscle that separates the thoracic cavity from the rest of the organs inside of the human body. Everybody knows that it is responsible for hiccups, and it is also one of the most important parts of singing. Professional singers always sing from their diaphragms instead from their throats, which means that they are using this muscle to breathe by forcing the air out of their lungs and through their voices. If you are looking to improve your singing, first, you must learn how to use your diaphragm.
How to Sing from Your Diaphragm
1. Locate Your Diaphragm Muscles
You cannot feel muscles of your diaphragm as easy as feeling your triceps; therefore, before you start making them stronger, you must find out where they are located.
- Think of your diaphragm as a table that is stable enough to support your voice to rise through the air column.
- If you cannot feel the diaphragm, lie on the floor and place a book on your stomach. Use only your abdominal muscles to push the book up, and, at the same time, fill your lungs with air to their maximum capacity. Then, it is time to sing, and the only way you can sing while in this position is using your diaphragm.
2. Breathe into Your Diaphragm
To fill your diaphragm with air, inhale as deeply as possible, and at the same time, stick out your abdomen but make sure that you are making minimal movements. Then breathe out, after which you should pull back your belly without moving your shoulders.
- These muscles should stay firm while singing, however, not clenched. As for your shoulder, face and chest muscles, they should stay relaxed.
- Imagine yourself as a chimney, and your singing as smoke that starts from your lungs, goes through your diaphragm and gets out through your mouth.
3. Do Diaphragm-Strengthening Breathing Exercises
As previously mentioned, to learn how to sing from your diaphragm, you must strengthen its muscles. You can do so by exercising them on a daily basis. Just inhale deeply using these muscles, and while you are breathing out, stick as long as you can. Make sure that you are doing it slowly. Take notes of your improvements.
- Try pretending to suck through a straw while not moving your shoulders and chest. Place your hand on your abdomen to feel your muscles moving.
- You can also try panting as a dog, not moving your shoulders and chest during it, and having your hand on your abdomen.
- The so-called ''bathroom push'' exercise is great too. Breathe out as hard as you can as if you were on a toilet, do not move your chest and shoulders, and place a hand on the abdomen.
4. Always Warm Up First
Before singing from your diaphragm, you must perform several vocal and breathing exercises that will warm up your voice.
- Inhale deeply and hold your breath for a couple of seconds before releasing it gradually. While you are inhaling, bring your arms up until your hands can touch one another. Start bringing your arms back down slowly while you are exhaling. Repeat three to five times.
- Sing the lowest note you can, and gradually sing higher until you reach the highest note that you can sing comfortably. This will help you control the breathing and warm up your chords.
5. Stand with Excellent Posture While Singing
Considering that the diaphragm is positioned just below the rib cage, whenever you slouch, ribs get pushed into lungs and inhibit them from expanding enough, thus limiting your breathing capacity. Therefore, an important point to learn how to sing from your diaphragm is to keep your back straight and your shoulders back. Don't move them as you are singing.
6. Sing with Your Throat Open
Your throat should be as open as it is when you yawn during your singing. This will permit the air to go through your air column more easily, and as a result, the sound that you will be producing will be clearer.
- You can make yourself think that there is a ball inside of your throat that prohibits it from getting closed. Sing some notes when your throat is open. Don't worry if they are not as strong as they usually are, because if you keep on practicing this, they will become stronger.
7. Work on Pronouncing Consonants
Believe it or not, there is a way to sing hard consonants without them becoming inaudible. You can practice this by repeating a vocal warm-up tongue twister such as ''A box of biscuits, a box of mixed biscuits, and a biscuit mixer.'' over and over again using one note only, all until it starts sounding clear and you can sing it with full breath.
- Don't strain your vocal chords too much since that's how you can damage them.
- If you insist on sing in your throat, you could develop nodes on your vocal chords that could possibly force you to say goodbye to singing.
Here’s one video that will further explain to you how to sing from your diaphragm: