How to Sing From Your Diaphragm – Top Tips & Exercises

Published Categorized as Singing

You may have overheard many vocal coaches saying that you must always sing with your diaphragm, and they’re right! Singing with your diaphragm can help provide benefits to vocal techniques and your overall vocal tone.

In this article, we will explore how to sing from your diaphragm and what singing from your diaphragm can do for your voice. From singing acapella to death metal, we’re here to help!

What Is Diaphragm Singing?

The diaphragm is crucial when singing and is located below the lungs. The diaphragm is used to help support the lungs when air is coming in and out of the body. The diaphragm is a muscle that you can build and control with time and practice.

When learning how to sing from your diaphragm, you will need to adopt a new mindset of being very aware of your diaphragm and how your body feels when you are singing.

To activate the diaphragm and use it to help with your singing lessons, you will want to take nice deep breaths rather than shallow breaths. Understanding what the diaphragm is and how to best use it will help you control your breath when singing.

Singing From Diaphragm Benefits

Learning how to sing using your diaphragm can provide long-lasting benefits and results. Here is a list of ways singing using your diaphragm muscles can help benefit your voice and technique:

  • Care for your vocal cords
  • Longer notes
  • Breath control

Care For Your Vocal Cords

Singing using your diaphragm muscles can help your care for and save your vocal cords in the long run. By singing using your diaphragm muscles, the airflow will be used effectively which is kinder on your vocal cords.

When the airflow is used effectively it helps make sure that the vocal cords are not strained to reach a note or make a note last. The less your vocal cords are strained, the better it is for your vocal health.

When you start to learn how to sing, it is common that you will use your throat instead of your diaphragm which is not good for your vocal cords. This kind of singing could cause your throat to hurt and for you to lose your voice easier.

Longer Notes

Not only can singing using your diaphragm help care for your voice but it can also help you sing notes for long periods of time and also for the note to be stronger in volume and tone. This is ideal for singers as it means that their voice will sound strong and healthy.

When you breathe with your diaphragm, the air can be stored up and expelled gently which will allow you to hold a note for longer before running out of breath. You can also use this stored-up air to produce a louder vocal sound.

To practice, this is best to practice breathing exercises and hold a deep breath for as long as you can. This will strengthen the muscles in your diaphragm.

Breath Control

The biggest benefit of singing with your diaphragm is that your breath control technique will be improved drastically. This technique can come in very useful when singing the hardest songs or when you need to sing a long note such as a belting note.

A lot of popular songs nowadays either have large belting parts or a lot of lyrics where breath is difficult to place. Having good breath control could help open up your repertoire to what you can sing.

Fort Wayne Music Festival, shooting from the pit. 
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How to Sing From Your Diaphragm

Learning a proper singing technique to master diaphragm singing can help strengthen your vocal performance in multiple ways including breath control and quality of tone. These techniques can help you become a singer a lot faster than normal.

Here is how to sing from the diaphragm:

  • Locate your diaphragm
  • Practice breathing
  • Practice breathing while standing
  • Strengthen your diaphragm with exercises
  • Practice a song with a lower range
  • Add breathing exercises to your daily routine
  • Practice lip trills

Locate Your Diaphragm

You will need to know where your diaphragm is before you can start. The diaphragm helps with breath support and therefore it is easy to find. The diaphragm is slightly below your lungs and towards your sternum.

There is a simple breathing trick to help you locate exactly where your diaphragm is. Firstly it will help to lie down on the floor so that you can see your stomach. Make sure that you take a nice slow deep breath in and hold the breath for a second or two. Once you have held your breath you should exhale.

While you are breathing deeply, make sure to look at your stomach and see the movement so that it helps you locate where your diaphragm is. Lying on your back while doing this exercise will help you breathe deeply as when you are lying on your back, it is more difficult to take shallow breaths.

Practice Breathing

Practicing diaphragmatic breathing techniques is vital to help you fully sing from your diaphragm. Practicing these breathing techniques will also help you strengthen your diaphragm at the same time. When practicing these breathing techniques, your stomach should be the first to expand rather than your sides or your chest.

This is a sign that you are breathing deeply and using your diaphragm rather than taking shallow breaths. The best way to describe what your stomach should look like is by picturing a balloon. Your stomach should expand like a balloon when you are practicing these breathing exercises.

Practice Breathing While Standing

Once you have worked out where your diaphragm is and how to practice breathing while lying down, it is now time to start practicing breathing exercises standing up. It is harder to breathe deeply when you are standing up compared to when you are lying down and often many singers take shallow breaths when they are standing.

It is very common to take shallow breaths if you are anxious or nervous when performing and therefore learning how to breathe deeply could also help feelings of stress as well as activate your diaphragm muscles.

When you are practicing breathing exercises standing, it is important to remember that you should stand up straight and have good posture. Having good posture while practicing breathing exercises will help you breathe deeply and do the exercise successfully. Contract parts of your body lightly such as the glutes and abs may help you feel more sturdy and in control while practicing the breathing exercises.

Strengthen Your Diaphragm With Exercises

To sing using your diaphragm permanently will require you to strengthen your diaphragm muscles. Strengthening your diaphragm muscles will help support your breath but also your voice. The muscles around your diaphragm can help support your vocal cords and make your vocal cords a lot stronger.

Practicing breathing exercises daily will help strengthen the diaphragm muscles. Taking deep breaths while tightening your abs can also help. Exercises like this are important when helping your diaphragm muscles be strong and should be practiced regularly.

Practice a Song With a Lower Range

Once you know that you can activate your diaphragm muscle while singing, you will need to make sure that you can hold this skill while singing a song or singing for a very long time. Practicing singing using your diaphragm muscles is the best way to adopt the skill as practice makes perfect. Soon singing using your diaphragm will become a habit and a skill that you do not even need to think about when applying.

When first attempting to sing a song using your diaphragm muscles, it is best to pick a song that you are comfortable singing and ideally that is in your lower vocal range. Once you have picked the song you would like to practice, aim to sing the song at half its speed while applying your diaphragm muscles.

When you are singing your chosen song at a slower speed, you will need to focus on your breath control and if the breath is successfully supporting the long note you need to sing. If you are forcing the breath and note through your throat or not hitting the note correctly, this could be a sign that you are taking shallow breaths.

Add Breathing Exercises To Your Daily Routine

Making these kinds of exercises part of your dial youtube is key if you are wanting to properly learn how to sing from your diaphragm. Aim to try to sing a song a day using your diaphragm while also implementing the breathing and vocal exercises.

Practise Lip Trills

Practicing lip trills is also very good for strengthening your diaphragm as when you practice the lip trill you need to push out the air. Practicing lip trills not only helps your vocal warm-up but will also help you gain control over your airflow.

How Do You Sing From Your Diaphragm?

A great way to practice singing from your diaphragm is to sing using your head voice. Falsetto is another vocal register that is perfect for practicing singing exercises using your diaphragm.

These two vocal registers require you to sing using your diaphragm as they need to be supported and will also require good breath control. Singing using your head voice or falsetto will feel different than using your chest voice. You will need to use more air and activate your diaphragm more, especially when singing in a falsetto register.

The best way to use your diaphragm while singing in either your head or falsetto register is to make sure you take very large breaths. Once you have taken a large breath, practice singing a vowel sound such as ‘oo’ or ‘u’ and hold onto the note for 5 seconds minimum. Once you feel comfortable practicing with vowels you can then start adding in other words.

Here is a video tutorial by EricArceneaux which demonstrates some simple exercises to try to start training yourself to sing from your diaphragm:

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How do I know if I’m singing from my diaphragm?

If you are training yourself to sing from your diaphragm at home, then you will need to know how to check if you are doing it correctly. An easy way to check if you are singing using your diaphragm is to simply lie down on the floor and practice deep breaths. When you are practicing those deep breaths your stomach should not feel tight or forced. You should also notice that your stomach expands like a balloon. If you can visibly see this then you are correctly breathing from your diaphragm.

How do you train yourself to sing from your diaphragm?

There are lots of easy ways you can start to train yourself to sing from your diaphragm. Using vocal exercises and breathing techniques as part of your daily practice can help. Vocal exercises such as lip trills, scales, and dog pants are particularly useful when training yourself to sing with your diaphragm. If you are still struggling to sing from your diaphragm then you can seek the help of a vocal coach.

Are you supposed to sing from your diaphragm?

Learning to sing using your diaphragm will help your vocal cords and singing voice for years to come. If you correctly activate your diaphragm while singing it can help protect your vocal cords from harm and even improves your vocal range. You may also find that you are able to perform a challenging song better, with more control.

Practice Makes Perfect

Singing using your diaphragm is like any other vocal technique, practice makes perfect. Some people find this skill very hard to implement and therefore incorporating breathing exercises and vocal exercises that can help strengthen your diaphragm muscles will help.

Here are more posts on the blog to check out:

By Nate Pallesen

Nate is just your average (above average) guitar player. He's no Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page - wait this site is about acoustic guitars (sorry) He's no Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, or Michael Hedges, wait? who!? He's no Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton or Ben Harper - more familiar? Anyway you get the point :-)

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