The diaphragm is such a vital part of our bodies. It is a parachute-like muscle that is attached to the bottom of our ribcage. When we inhale, the muscle expands or contracts and helps suck air into our lungs. Our diaphragm also works together with our abdominals. The diaphragm expands while inhaling, and the abdominals contract when we exhale. When we sing, we are exhaling, not inhaling. For years, vocal coaches have been instructing their students to sing with their diaphragm. The goal was to prevent singers from tightening their vocal cords, causing a breathy sound. However, many students have no clue what that means. “Singing with your diaphragm” has been a mystery for many singers.
Can you sing with your diaphragm?
Controlling your diaphragm while singing is not possible. Your diaphragm is an involuntary muscle and works on its own when you breathe. Singing with your diaphragm is one of the myths of the music industry. So, what do these vocal coaches mean? While we cannot control our diaphragm, there are still methods to sing properly. We need to instead focus on how to strengthen our voices using what we can.
What should you do then?
Imagining ourselves using our diaphragm while we sing can still be beneficial. It helps us focus on singing without our throats, which can strengthen our voices. To sing properly, we should not focus so much on our breathing. Instead, we should focus more on our posture and relaxing our bodies. Sit up straight with your shoulders back and relaxed. Relax your voice as well and let your throat loosen. Doing so will help strengthen your voice and prevent breathy singing. When you do take a breath, breath in deep and allow the lower part of your rib cage to expand.
Some singers even place a hand or book under their ribs to practice proper breathing. If your hand or the book moves up and down then you are breathing properly. Vocal coaches have taught that your singing voice should come out as naturally as your speaking voice. For more tips, read our article, “Singing Tips from Professionals”.
Singing with your diaphragm may not be possible since our diaphragms are always working. However, there is still a method behind the phrase that many professional singers have learned. For more vocal myths, check out our article here. Don’t forget to also check out our Clear Voice Vocal Spray that is used by professional singers everywhere.