Building a good breathing foundation

So many issues with improving a choir’s sound stem from how the singers breathe. Interestingly, that’s also the part that singers are keen to rush over! Sandra starts with a good, solid breathing foundation. Without good breath control underpinning a singer, they struggle to hold pitch, control phrasing or maintain vocal energy. Without vocal energy, they will probably also be struggling to produce an expressive performance. When singers can feel the effort in their singing, they worry. When they worry, they aren’t projecting out, but are inwardly awkward and overly aware of the strain.
Sound familiar?

Learning and understanding what ‘good singing breathing’ really is and how to maintain it, can improve your choir’s tone colour, agility, range and projection. It will also help them control nerves in performance and help them stay relaxed and energised in rehearsal.

Establishing a free flowing breath will then enable the throat to open and the placing of the voice to fall forward. Forward placement of the voice creates a warm, full tone and greatly enhances projection and power in your singing. If your singers are having trouble blending and you experience voices jutting out through the mix, then getting placement right can make a huge difference. Correct placing also helps a singer move through her/his range easily, for example, through the chest voice bridge, a particularly difficult shift for a lot of female singers and for the men, into falsetto.
The overall ‘tonal phrasing’ is improved, where you are maintaining the tone evenly throughout the phrase, as there is no strain and the singers ranges become more agile, flexible and extended. Placement can also help with fine tuning as more of the note ‘rings,’ producing more lock in the chords.

It does take time and repetition and with the correct warm up exercises, you will notice how your choir improves

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Sandra Smith is the director of The Lost Sound Dartmoor Folk Choir, visit their dedicated website to find out more.

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