The Silent Ah Exercise

A common fault indicative of a poor breathing technique is the noisy in-breath or gasp. The causes may be poor posture and musular tension which constricts the larynx. A good singer should be able to breathe silently and deeply, because breath that sits low is able to provide vocal support and easy to control. The relaxed larynx is able to function freely and tone improves. This exercise should be practised in front of a mirror so that you can see what is happening.

First establish your proud posture. Ensure that the jaw is relaxed and the tongue is placed forward: the tip of the tongue touching the gums behind the lower front teeth.

Shape the mouth to form the vowel 'a' as in 'apple', and breathe in deeply and silent through the mouth. Breathe out a very quiet 'ah'.

Notice that there is cold air at the back of the mouth; the throat is wide and open; the abdominal muscles have to work harder to pull in the air; the shoulders do not rise and fall but remain relaxed. Then when you breathe out the abdominal muscles are working to expel the breath.

To begin with this may seem like hard work, particularly if you have trained the abdominal muscles to tighten and pull in when singing. You need to relax and let the abdominal muscles do the work. You will quickly notice an improvement in your breath control.

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Copyright © 2014 Jonathan Jessop.