“if we think we are able to control the diaphragm’s movements, then we certainly have it wrong!”
I recently had a short lesson with one of our singing students, and when she realised that I did not mention the word ‘Diaphragm’ at all during our lesson, and that I intentionally told her to ‘loosen up’ her abs and her core muscles, she was confused!
And so, she popped me this question. “Aren’t we supposed to use our Diaphgram when we sing?”
In truth, she’s 100% correct. We do have to use our diaphragm. However, if we think we are able to control the diaphragm’s movements, then we certainly have it wrong! The diaphragm is an involuntary muscle, and trying to give it instructions is just like trying to tell your heart to beat faster or slower. You just can’t!
However, what we can do, is to support the muscles surrounding the diaphragm and that have an effect on how fast or how slow you inhale and exhale. That will in turn allow you to be able to regulate your breath flow when you sing, and hence, ‘control’ your diaphragm when you sing!
Another reason why I don’t usually tell students to ‘sing from their diaphragm’, is because most of the time, they misunderstand it as ‘pushing breath from the diaphragm’, and that is a major no no when it comes to singing. We want to use breath when we sing, but we don’t want to push excessive breath and create too much pressure on our vocal folds, which will in turn make it tough for us to make the subtle changes in our voice when we sing.
So, if we can’t control our diaphragm when we sing, and we shouldn’t be thinking of singing ‘from the diaphragm’, then what should we be doing?
Well, we need to use our support muscles in our body, and these include our head, neck and torso! We will also be using our legs and our pelvis, in order to provide additional support. So you see, there’s so much more support we can get in our body, and we really don’t need to just hinge all that ‘support’ on our diaphragm alone!
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Thank you for your kind attention, and have a great day ahead!