Five Singing Tips for Breathing (and Some Mistakes!)

Singing Tips for Breathing

Breathing and singing go together intimately. If your vocal cords are starving for air, your singing suffers.


When you’re singing does it help your breathing to pull in your tummy? There are some mistakes with pulling in your tummy I’d like to share with you. Take a couple of deep breaths and join me as I give you some singing tips for breathing.


When you’re singing, does it help your breathing to pull in your tummy?


It helps me. But it can also cause problems if done incorrectly.


Let’s briefly review diaphragmatic breathing. For essential breathing basics be sure to watch Episodes 15 and 16.


Singing Tips for Breathing - the diaphragm helps us get breath when we sing

The diaphragm is an umbrella shaped muscle just inside the lower part of the ribcage. When it flattens out, it pushes the abdomen outward while creating more space in the lung cavity. This space creates a vacuum in the lungs which is quickly filled with air rushing in.


As you use your air when you’re singing, the diaphragm returns to it’s original umbrella-like shape under the rib cage. The tummy returns to its’ normal flattened shape. With your next breath, the cycle repeats and so on.


Singing Tips for Breathing

Sounds easy right? Here are some singing tips for breathing to make sure things work right.

  1. Avoid high chest, shallow breathing. This tends to raise the larynx and add tension to the outer neck muscles. This makes it harder for the vocal cords to work easily and freely.
  2. When done correctly, you don’t have to “take” a breath when you sing. You just breath.

You stand with your feet about shoulder width apart. Your chest is up, shoulders back and your head level looking straight ahead. Your hips are rolled slightly forward and tummy in.

Instead of “taking” a breath, just relax the tummy. Sometimes it’s referred to letting it drop. This allows the diaphragm to flatten and air rushes into the lungs. You don’t have to take a breath, the air fills the vacuum in the lungs without any effort.


  1. As you sing you’re using the air. As you do, gradually and gently pull your tummy inward toward your back. This seems to help the air move steadily to the vocal cords and outward with your singing voice.

A mistake can be made if you overdo pulling your stomach inward.  Just a slight and gradual pull inward is plenty. You’ll be the one who finds just the right balance. But guard against too much tension or force.


  1. There are three times I find it helpful to be more forceful pulling my tummy in.

           A. When I have to sustain a note for a long time [Demo]

           B. When I have a high note in my upper range held long or short. This seems to help me be on pitch. [Demo] Again, a potential mistake is jerking your tummy in too hard. This can cause too much tension, push you sharp, blow your cords into falsetto, etc. It takes time to find the right balance.

           C. When I need to project my voice on stage, during public speaking, or any other time I need to speak loud. Also, you need to project your voice even though you have a mic. The sound engineers will balance the volume. If you’re not projecting, the mic will not help you and the audience won’t hear you. [Demo]


      5. I’ve also noticed that I tend to hold my stomach in as I finish using the air. Then, when I take a breath, I relax and “drop” my stomach…let the diaphragm drop, and refill with air for the next phrase. [Demo]


As simple as this sounds, it’s a struggle for many singers. You have to practice breathing this way until it becomes a habit. Practicing your songs while focusing on breathing, will make it easier to breath correctly when you perform for an audience.


Vocal Type

These singing tips for breathing also applies to each vocal type. Your vocal type is not whether you’re soprano, alto, tenor or bass. Your vocal type is what you tend to do when you sing from your chest into your head voice.


Do you know your vocal type?


Visit and take the vocal test, which I call the PowerTest. Take the quiz and discover your vocal type. Then visit the Knowledge Center and watch the videos about your vocal type.


Download the free exercises for your vocal type and start improving your voice rapidly.


I’m Chuck Gilmore with Power To Sing.


You can sing higher with beauty, confidence and power. I’ll see you inside the next video.

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  1. I’m not a singer. I just love to sing so I tried to sing daily as an exercise and my own entertainment. But I stop my singing routine for a few months now, and suddenly my voice became hoarse and I couldn’t able to hit a note like I did before. I hate the sound of it.

    I did these mistakes previously. But now, I will try to follow these tips and will avoid doing mistakes.

    Very informative and well-written article. Thank you.

  2. Thanks Chuck. I am learning, with your help, that breathing is key!