Useful Tips

Why is breathing so important for a vocalist


From a runny nose, the voice becomes muffled, a cough irritates the larynx, and sputum flowing into it causes inflammation. If the voice is hoarse, then the best thing for it is silence: constant irritation of the mucous membrane of the larynx enhances inflammation and prevents the ligaments from recovering. Therefore, phoniatrists in many cases when patients have problems with voice prescribe silence as a treatment regimen.

If this is not possible, you should try to minimize voice loads. Do not speak in a whisper: it makes the vocal cords work with great effort. You just need to speak quieter and calmer, and yet - less and less.

Try to provide throat treatment throughout the day. Even if you go to work, bring along a bottle with a disinfectant solution, anti-inflammatory tablets and lozenges. Ideally, every hour or two you will treat the throat with an antibacterial (gramicidin, furatsillin, iodine and sea salt solution) and anti-inflammatory (propolis tincture, calendula, aloe juice) solution, alternating them. At night, it is good to lubricate the sore throat with olive or sea buckthorn oil, put an alcohol compress and keep warm.

And when the throat has already passed, it is useful to learn a simple rule: immediately after waking up, rinse the throat with a glass of boiled, slightly warm water. This helps to remove plaque from the mucous membrane of the throat and larynx, but does not violate the healthy microflora, which is present on this part of the mucosa and is very important for the normal functioning of the ligaments.

Commandment Two: Eliminate Larynx Irritation

Spicy, too cold or hot food adversely affects the delicate folds of the larynx - it injures the mucous membrane. It is also undesirable to experience sudden changes in air temperature, especially when switching from a heated room to cold. Even with a healthy voice, it is recommended to be silent for about 15 minutes before going out, so that the ligaments calm down and cool down. And if you went outside in the cold season, then any talk in the open air, especially wet and humid or in the cold, should be excluded. Be careful when talking on the phone. Doctors found that such speech wears out the vocal cords much more than direct communication.

Smoking has a very significant effect on the state of the voice - it significantly increases the likelihood of diseases of the larynx, causes polyps to appear on the ligaments, which makes the voice coarse and hoarse.

The same effect can be “achieved” if one invariably speaks loudly and sharply, with tension. Over time, callous growths - nodules appear on the ligaments. They become a significant obstacle to the normal sound of the voice.

Commandment Three: Learning to breathe properly while talking

To preserve the vocal cords, always start speaking as you exhale. Otherwise, there may not be enough air to finish the sentence, and the ligaments will overstrain, compensating for this shortage. When the lungs are full of air, the words are pronounced loudly and smoothly. The strength of the voice depends on the work of the lower respiratory organs, lungs, bronchi and trachea.

So that when breathing you always have a supply of air, when inhaling, try to fill it with not only the chest, lifting the upper ribs, but also part of the abdominal cavity, working with the lower ribs, the abdominal wall and the diaphragm - the septum between the chest and abdominal cavities. If it doesn’t work out, just try to “breathe in with your stomach”, when you inhale, your stomach fills with air, and when you exhale it deflates. The diaphragm regulates the pressure under the vocal cords so that they do not have to strain.

Commandment Four: Watch Your Speech

During the conversation, often change the intonation. A variety of voice modulations greatly decorate speech and give it expressiveness and emotional coloring. But the monotonous, monotonous narrative, on the contrary, does not affect the state of the voice too well. And if you have to “increase the volume”, the ligaments become more tense and the voice loses its sonority.

Commandment Five: Exercise for Voice

Voice treatment specialists - phoniatrists from the Moscow Research Institute of Ear, Throat and Nose - advise you to learn some simple exercises.

After a small set of air, a long consonant sound “m” or “n” is produced. It is directed up into the nasal cavity. The fingers of the hands are put together on both sides of the nose. Under them, vibration should be felt. Try also repeating in your nose the words don-n-n or bom-mm. The sound should respond with vibrations in the upper lip.

Then, exhaling the air, whole letter combinations are drawn out loudly: “mi-mi-mi”, “mo-mo-mo” or “ma-ma-ma”. This is exactly what singers do when they sing. You can still say "no-no-no", "b-ba-bo-bo." In the future, using the sounds "m" or "n", you can sing "whole nose" melodies.

To improve the sound of chest, low sounds, lower your head to the chest and, pressing the chin to it, together with the exhale, pronounce in a deep voice: “oooh” or “oooh”. Pull the sound while breathing is enough. Place your hand on the upper chest. You can lightly pat your palm. This will increase the vibration of the vocal cords and the strength of their vibrations.

You may not have time for daily phoniatric exercises. However, a few simple steps to strengthen the voice with which you can start the day, it is quite possible to perform.

Otorhinolaryngologist-homeopath Vladimir Orekhov advises every morning to begin with the phrase: "you must speak not with your throat, but with your nose." Try to draw out these words for a long time, slowly letting out air through your nose so that your voice sounds a little nasal. The exercise can be repeated throughout the day - it well removes the load from the vocal cords.

It was always believed that talking and chewing at the same time was both ugly and dangerous, and contrary to good manners. However, the Austrian scientist Frechels has developed a method for treating voice disorders that combines these two processes. He drew attention to the fact that during chewing, the ligaments relax, and thus it is easier to achieve a natural sounding voice in those patients who, during a normal conversation, form the wrong stereotype of speech movements. Many experts in the treatment of voice use the Freshels method, but the domestic school of phoniatrics does not consider it effective.

Our reference

Male voices are traditionally divided into high (tenors - from 128 to 512 Hz), medium (baritones - from 196 to 426 Hz) and low (bass - from 80 to 300 Hz). Women have higher voices, which is associated with the structural features of their vocal chords (those with high voices are thinner and shorter), as well as with the level of hormones in the blood, thanks to which girls become women and boys become men.


An unusual way to restore a lost voice was invented in the United States. Recently, a surgical lift has come into fashion here. vocal cords. A new-fashioned operation, the cost of which is 17.5 thousand dollars, is especially popular among older people, who think that a coarse, faded voice over the years gives out their age.

Champions in voice work are opera singers. The age of the vocalist is short-lived - 20–25 years. However, exceptions do occur. Irina Arkhipova, Zurab Sotkilava, Eugene Nesterenko, Joseph Kobzon - a vivid example of this. Experts associate their amazing stage longevity not only with the “correct” school of singing, but also with the competent exploitation of their voices. On this score, stage professionals have their own unspoken code. The vocalist is strictly forbidden to sing in a cold, smoke (this makes his voice coarse and loses its sonority), supercool, abuse alcohol and talk loudly on the street after the performance, when the ligaments warmed up after active singing are most vulnerable. On the eve of the performance, it is also not recommended to gluttony (at the latest, 4 hours before the performance): a crowded stomach puts pressure on the diaphragm and does not allow holding the breath necessary for the singer. In fact, all the vocalists go on stage half-starved.

The most complex (in terms of sound saturation and load on the voice apparatus) are traditionally considered dramatic parts. Women have Turandot and To`ska from Puccini's operas of the same name. For men, Cavaradossi from Tosca and German from The Queen of Spades. In terms of the volume of work for performers of the main parts, there are no heavier performances than Othello, Chio-Cio-San and Boris Godunov.

How to learn to breathe while singing - exercises

In fact, there is nothing complicated here. The main secret on how to breathe properly while singing is deep and even breathing. It must be taken not with the shoulders, but with the lower abdomen. At the same time, the shoulders do not rise, they are free and relaxed. This must be checked in front of the mirror. Put your hands on your stomach and take a deep breath. If you do everything correctly, then the hand on your stomach will rise, and your shoulders will remain relaxed and motionless. Then try to take a deep breath and sing a phrase or just pull a long sound. Give it as much as you can. Here with such a feeling you need and need to sing. Daily breathing training will help you get used to this feeling.

How to breathe while singing a romance or a song? You need to take the note text and see where the commas are. They denote breathing between phrases or in certain places to create a special effect. Teachers advise taking a breath before starting the next phrase in the text. The end of the phrase should be prolonged a bit and made quieter so as not to create the feeling that you are short of air.

How long does breathing exercise take? If we are talking about individual exercises, then no more than 20 minutes a day, but in general, the process of singing is the best simulator for breathing, provided that you sing correctly. Here are some simple exercises:

  1. Slow exhale on the sound "w".You need to take a watch with a second hand, take a deepest breath and exhale very slowly on the sound “w”. The norm is 45 or 50 seconds for an adult.
  2. Slow exhale on the sound.Try to sing a slow phrase on an economical exhale on one sound or a vocal exercise. The longer the phrase, the faster you learn to sing long notes and phrases while breathing.
  3. Now try to sing a phrase with a long pronunciation of words.This is harder than the previous exercises, but the result is worth it. I wish you success and good results!