Review of the 5 Best Singing Teachers in Toronto

Express Voice Studio | Singing Lessons

When looking for singing teachers in Toronto, the choices can be overwhelming. There are singing teachers everywhere in the city, each selling themself by claiming to be the best vocal coach for opera, or the top singing teacher for musical theater. How do you find the best vocal coach in Toronto training programs?

We have put together a review of the top 5 singing teachers in Toronto based on what their niche is. Who excels at coaching pop singers? What singing teacher is an expert at working with gender diverse voices? Keep reading to find the right voice teacher in Toronto for you. 

What Makes A Great Singing Teacher

In our analysis of what makes a great singing teacher, we consider a few qualifications. Too often we have seen aspiring singers work with a teacher that wasn’t the right fit for them, and their voice and career suffered because of it. Not all amazing singers make good teachers! Our overall advice to finding a great vocal coach is to try out a couple and see who connects with you and the way you understand your body and voice.

Hopefully your teachers will understand that singing is a journey, and they shouldn’t take it personally if you decide to leave to work with someone else. Here are some qualities to look for in your potential vocal coach, whether you are a beginner singer or professional singer looking for vocal coaching.

 

1. Do good singers make good voice teachers?

Keep in mind that some people were just born with a natural ability to sing. From a teaching perspective, it is difficult to teach someone how to sing if you never actually had to figure it out yourself! Teachers who were born with the ability to sing are limited to explaining to their students what it feels like in their body: they have not had to overcome tensions, bad technique, and vocal issues and thus they really don’t know how to coach you on overcoming those same problems. 

Look For: 
A teacher who has had previous vocal health issues or vocal technique challenges which they have overcome, and thus understand how to coach others through the same challenges.

 

2. Why Your Singing Teacher Should be A Performer

Part of what we look for in a coach is their experience in the field we want to be in. If they are an active performer, it means they are likely known within the industry and have connections. Business is about who you know, and the arts are no different. You want a singing teacher that is a full time artist because they know the people you will need to know to get roles, opportunities, and stage time.

Building your network as a singer is critical.

Your teacher is also demonstrating that they have the chops to do what you want to do! Your teacher should be able to demonstrate the techniques they are talking about. If you need to work on stamina- your teacher should also be capable of answering the question, How do you sing on stage without losing your voice?

Look For: 
Success acquiring roles, gigs, and singing opportunities in their field.
Active participant in the scene you want to be a part of: Connections in your industry.

 

3. Singers Need Alexander Technique Training

We would actually expand that statement to say that singers need one of the following body awareness studies: Body mapping. Alexander Technique, Linklater, or Feldenkrais training. Each of these somatic body movement practices connect the singer with a deep understanding of how to coordinate their body, retrain incorrect coordinations, and release tension.

Never heard the word somatic before? It refers to the connection between your mind and body.

Most singers do not have perfect technique, and depending on the issues they have, they may or may not be risking losing their voice, damaging their vocal chords, or singing in pain. When your teacher has experience in Alexander Technique or another somatic practice, they can help your body stop subconsciously using muscles that are not only not necessary for beautiful singing, but are actually preventing you from singing better!

Great side effects include no more neck pain, better breath control, more vocal power, and being able to practice singing in a way that is not frustrating!

Look For: 
A voice coach with training in body coordination or somatic practices.

top 5 singing teachers in Toronto

In our review of the 5 best singing teachers in Toronto, Tylor comes in as one of the most well rounded. Tylor has received awards for classical voice, worked and studied Musical Theatre career path, studied acting at Guildford School of Acting. He offers singing lessons for adults in Toronto, working with singers of all skill levels in Pop, Jazz, and Musical Theatre.

With technique experience from Estill to Alexander Technique, Tylor checks our boxes on needing somatic body awareness training and he is one of the few vocal coaches in North America to incorporate techniques found in the Laryngeal Conditioning System, which aims at freeing the voice through balancing acoustics & power, dealing with issues in registration, and allowing singers to produce a healthy mixed belt.

If you live in Toronto, consider yourself lucky to be able to work in person with Toronto pop singing teacher Jenn Connor. In 2022, ReverbNation named Jenn one of Canada’s top independent pop recording artists, and Toronto’s number one artist! Vocally, Jenn is classically trained, specializing in Bel Canto over the past 13 years. 

Jenn has worked with renowned producers including Los Angeles-based Tomas Costanza (Boys Like Girls) as well as award-winning producers Douglas Romanow (Justin Bieber) and Rob Wells (Ariana Grande). 

Jenn teaches vocals, beginner and advanced piano (classical and pop/jazz), and helps students prepare for RCM examinations, auditions, and performances. Her experience in the recording studio makes her an ideal voice teacher in Toronto for any parents looking for a singing teacher for kids in pop music.

Another voice teacher who can seemingly do it all is Robert Popoli. Robert is a voice and piano instructor, composer, and performer based in Toronto. Work on musical theatre, pop, opera, and rock with Rob or take advantage of his incredible skills as a composer to learn how to write songs.

Rob can teach students how to accompany themselves while singing, and develop their sense of creativity for songwriting. In addition to one-on-one lessons, Robert occasionally offers masterclasses where students can perform for each other and receive feedback from their peers via live performances. 

We recommend working with Robert if you are a more advanced singer wanting to increase your vocal range, sing with more power, learn musical theory and song writing or just ensure you are not singing in a way that is harmful to your voice. Learn to sing with a teacher who is highly trained like Rob and building confidence as a performer is only a matter of lessons. 

If you are looking to explore finding new sounds or aesthetics with your voice, Clifford is your teacher. Clifford’s work as a voice actor and stage actor gives him the ability to show you the limitless possibilities with your sound. Think Sia, Janice Joplin, or Freddie Mercury whose iconic voices made them legends.

What interesting quirks could you pull out of your voice that may become your trademark sound? If you decide to branch into voice lessons for voice acting, you won’t even have to change teachers!

Voice studios rarely have such diversified teachers.  

If you thought belting was only used in Musical Theatre, think again! Belting is the style of singing used in r&b, pop, & jazz when the singer gives you that moment of insane power where your jaw drops and you start to think, God I wish I could do that! Toronto vocal coach for belting Madison Clarinbold is a master at this genre.

So, though we have named her the best Toronto musical theatre singing teacher, she is in fact ideal for anyone looking to belt and sing jazz, rnb, or pop as well. Your singing voice is a muscle and like having a trainer at the gym, having Madison on your team for voice training will work you out!

How To Sing Better in Toronto

There is no other music school in Toronto solely dedicated to the voice. Express Voice Studio only hires full time artists who are active and successful in their field so that you get the best voice teachers in Toronto.

You may have been feeling overwhelmed by the idea of starting vocal lessons before. You may have stage fright and worry about feeling confident. Our teachers can work with you to build confidence and make you excited by the opportunities that await you!

Each of these teachers uses their teaching styles to craft a personalized voice routine for students. How can you learn to sing better in Toronto? Pick a coach, work hard, and know that each of these options for singing teachers will not lead you astray.

Become part of an elite music academy and work with one of the top 5 voice teachers we highly recommend in Toronto!

Check Out Canada’s Only School Dedicated to All Things Voice:

www.expressvoicestudio.com

Why Do I Gasp When I Sing?

Why Do I Gasp When I Sing?

Your breath is the foundation of a beautiful sound. How often do you notice yourself hearing your friends breathe? Unless you both have just completed an hour of Cross-Fit, probably not very often. Why then, do some singers make an audible gasp when taking in breath to sing?

The sound of someone gasping is defined as, “the strain to take a deep breath.” To put the complexity of your body mechanisms attempting to function together simply: You are fighting yourself! One of the most obvious- and loudest- ways to check if your breathing is… messed up… is to record yourself and see if you gasp between phrases for air. Sorry to say guys, this absolutely needs to be addressed.

Because a gasp is the result of tension in your body, the solution is to release this tension.

Simple enough.

However, your body considers these tensions essential to existence; without habitual tensions, your body believes it cannot produce the action you are demanding of it: standing, walking, sitting down, and of course, singing. For this reason, stopping yourself from gasping is not a matter of merely telling yourself not to do it. Rather, you must use Alexander Technique and personalized vocal exercises to change the way your body supports itself while strengthening intercostal muscles (also called the singer’s support).

Now you ask me:

But, isn’t it enough to just practice singing and it will go away on its own?

I wish I could tell you yes! But, I also would by lying if I said definitively no!

And herein lies the frustrating truth about singing: No two bodies are the same, no two singing journeys are the same, and the speed at which you and Bob beside you progress are highly dependent on the extremity of your natural habits and whether your teacher understands exactly what your body needs. Let’s look at Bob first.

A Singing Case Study: Bob v. You

Bob has some nasty habits: His posture involves pulling his neck forward and down while his shoulders slump forward, and back curves over. As a result, his voice is compressed and his throat must work extra hard to create sound- this is why Bob finds it difficult to talk for extended lengths of time and gasps when he takes a quick breath. Bob is going to have to change his posture entirely if he hopes to sing without pain and use his voice in a healthy way. Bob understands that he cannot use strength of will to force a good sound out of a twisted instrument and so goes to work with an Alexander Technique teacher for 8 weeks. He spends time learning how to change his relationship with his body so that when he goes to sing, he can ask of it what he needs to support and play with sound.

Now lets maybe look at you? You are commended often on your posture, you exhume a regal air and are known for being able to project across large halls. It seems that all you need to work on is loosening some tension in your chest (likely established from holding that posture without an awareness of the space that should exist within your sternum and back even when standing straight!) But luckily, you are not nearly as twisted as Bob. You take singing lessons focused solely on scales, trills, and sighs without any specific body work or Alexander Technique, but your teacher mentions you are a bit stiff and should try yoga. A few months later, you are a better singer with less tension and have achieved the goals you set out to: This is a possible outcome! Alas, the story could easily go the other way, where the absence of body work has actually made you even tighter, and now you have lost your ability to project across large halls.

Bob, who incorporated both body work and vocal exercises into his learning, now has a job as a voice over artist for Disney.

So, What Should You do To Ensure You Improve And Stop Gasping?

Don’t leave anything to luck. Treat your body like a cellist treats his cello- keep it in top condition and watch for any broken strings. Work with a voice teacher who has training in Alexander Technique or another form of body work or complement your training with your current voice teacher by doing sessions with an Alexander Technician.

When you go into the practice room, go in as a detective. Spend time just breathing and preparing to sing- before you make sound, see where in your body you feel tight. Make notes and take this to your teacher. Lessons and practice times should be exploratory. No one is inside your body but you, and if you try to improve as a singer by simply repeating the same act over and over again, you are neglecting the most obvious and yet forgotten fact:

Your body is your instrument.

Be like Bob.

Does stretching help with singing

Does stretching help with singing

Stretching Cannot Help Your Voice

We are about to bust open one of the trendiest fitness routines of our generation and answer the question: Does stretching help with singing?

The short answer, No. Stretching does not inherently help improve your singing voice.

So…Yoga for singers, why do it?

To feel more present in the body? To allow space for breath? To improve flexibility? To help posture? To relieve pain?

There are some really amazing benefits of yoga. Do it for your mental health, to stimulate a part of your body when you wake up, you could even do it for the positive correlation it induces between heart health and your resilience to stress, but please:

Don’t think you can change the way you breathe and sing by increasing the time you spend stretching.

A necessity for “breath work” often derives from a teacher observing compensating movements in the upper body as the student inhales. In the pursuit of moving a singer’s breath out of the shoulders and chest and into the intercostals and back muscles, singing teachers often use creative metaphors, hoping to trigger a psychosomatic change in their student: Think of a sigh of ecstasy! Be like a monkey!

Sometimes, these images work, and the student re calibrates their perception of singing with a new, more accurate sensation . More often, students walk away with a cognitive understanding that their breath is too high, that their shoulders move too much, and somehow they need to get the tension in their chest, back, and hips to release to make room for a deeper breath.

Enter stretching.

As we stretch, there is a pleasant sensation of expansion and release which we often mistake for beneficial change. In reality, this is merely a moment of awareness as your mind registers a sensation in an area of the body where there previously was none. Numerous studies have demonstrated that stretching not only fails in achieving most of its perceived benefits, but can actually have a negative impact on performance and alignment including a decrease in lower body stability by 22 percent!

Certainly, overall flexibility can improve from stretching, but most stretchers don’t suffer from limited movement, in which case overdeveloped flexibility serves no beneficial purpose. Now, what if your intention is to release tension in a tight muscle you believe is impairing your breathing? Every muscle in your body has a resting level of tension set by the nervous system. Over the course of your life, your posture, repetitive movements, and stress teach these muscles to remain tight. While static stretching temporarily lengthens muscles by reducing the activity of the stretch reflex, the effect is short-lived. Our muscles typically start tightening up within a few hours as the stretch reflex regains normal function. Whatsmore, many of the key muscles involved in singing are unstretchable! 

Most of us will hit the end of the natural range of motion of the joint long before we’ve stretched anywhere near as hard as you can stretch other muscles. In other words, some muscles are just biomechanically awkward to stretch. I call them “the unstretchables” — a bit of hyperbole, but true in spirit. Although these muscles can be elongated, they can’t be elongated enough to create the satisfying sensation of good stretch.*

When singing a difficult phrase requiring sustained support or powerful vocals, you must engage the expansion of your back and intercostal muscles. The intercostal muscles, located in the chest between the ribs are nearly impossible to manipulatively stretch. Their role in singing is one of coordinated release and lengthening achieved through inhibition (or an accurate body map in the students mind) which invites a correlated relationship of expansion from the lower back muscles. And what about post-workout soreness, those days where you have to perform vocally but that lower body session from two days ago has you feeling stiff and vocally blocked? Won’t stretching help to loosen these knots? No.

Your best option is to practice a level of awareness in your workout wherein you monitor proper form, not as it is explained with the end goal of lifting a heavy object, but from an alignment and muscle engagement perspective: Any compression of the spine and lower back or tightening of the psoas and related respiratory muscles will need to be released to its natural resting length throughout every movement and at the end of every session to minimize the impact of workouts on the function of singing.

The deep soreness that follows a hard workout (“delayed-onset muscle soreness” (DOMS) or sometimes just “post-exercise soreness”) is very uncomfortable and it does impair performance. Many people believe that stretching can prevent or relieve it. But this definitely doesn’t work. Basically, nothing touches DOMS — nothing anyone has ever claimed as a treatment for it has actually passed a fair scientific test.*

The deepest problem for singers and non-singers alike lies in our tendency to only become aware of an issue in the body when a tension or misalignment has progressed so far as to cause pain and discomfort. Then, an attempt is made to eradicate the nuisance and yet no question of WHY is posed. Simply stretching tight muscle tissue without addressing the habitual irritant will only result in further misuse of the body and myofascial discomfort. Often, the culprit of our tensions and pain is our own posture and the manner in which we use our body habitually every day of our lives.

Muscles are “dumb”; they do only what they are told to do. I’m constantly pounding it into my patients’ heads that the nervous system controls everything and muscles don’t contract unless the nervous system says so. If a muscle is chronically tight, there’s a reason – for example, the body trying to provide stability to an unstable joint.

-Linsay Way, Dynamic Chiropractic

Chiropractors now suggest warming up your body by doing the exact moves your exercise routine calls for. Thus, in the case of a singer, warm up your connection to deep breathing through… breathing.

Careful- Herein lies a cyclical problem.

When I ask you to breathe, you have an instant reaction of what it means to breathe: How you perceive this action and what you feel while doing it is called your sensory perception. If a faulty sensory perception of “how to breathe” is causing you to follow a habit wherein your body is misaligned and holding tension, a warm up of breathing will never change your habit!

A 2010 paper in Physical Therapy identified our nervous system’s ability to learn how to allow greater movement. This means that a reduction in malleability anywhere in your body is actually a neurologically imposed limitation, not a physical one! The only way to change the resting level of muscle tension being set by the nervous system is through active psychosomatic movement. Improper movement, or habitual movements, can increase undesired tensions, posing a critical need to address faulty sensory perception and re-educate the student’s nervous system through Alexander Technique. Numerous studies back the Alexander Techniques’ efficacy, such as these two randomized studies that show the techniques as less expensive but equally effective, if not more than massage and even yoga in dealing with a full range of issues.

What we can take away from the way athletes approach their warm-up today is using a more gentle, focused piece of the ‘action of singing’ before diving into full belting, opera, or other styles that will call for maximum support. When the coordination and resulting movements are done properly, with a reliable sensory perception and coordinated release and expansion of the body, starting our session as singers by simply practicing breathing and gentle sound production is the absolute best way to warm up! Through this work, you are awakening the psychosomatic relationship integral to singing between your intention, your musicality, and your physical instrument.

How to improve singing everyday

How to improve singing everyday

Singing students often feel guilty when they haven’t sat down and put in hours of uninterrupted practice every week. The thing is, there are ways for you to improve your singing just by having some self-awareness throughout the day! This article will teach you how to improve your singing everyday.

If our bodies are our instruments, then their habits must be worked on to improve sound. What you do throughout your day directly impacts your singing ability.

Connect To Your Voice When You Wake Up

Where does your day begin? The few feet from your head resting on the pillow, to sitting up in bed, to walking to the bathroom. If you live alone, maybe you don’t utter any sounds for a few hours; if you have housemates, a ‘good morning’ or conversation over coffee could be where you begin to vocalize. However, you are not really aware of how you are connecting to your voice here. If you sleep on a mattress that hurts your alignment, if you have naturally damaging habits, or if you spent the previous day dehydrated, you may start to speak in a damaging way!

Change up your morning routine.

When you wake up, do vocal fry on a few exhales. Do it while you brush your teeth and make coffee. If you have the time, lay on the floor in Alexander Technique’s Semi-Supine or Active Rest position for five minutes while performing vocal fry.

Take Those Breaks At Work

It has been said time and time again, take small breaks throughout the day to move your body. This improves focus, body soreness, and mental health. Now let’s add one to the list: It helps your singing too!

Try to take two to three small 5-10 minute breaks throughout the day to check in with your body. Ask your neck to to be free, your head to come forward and up in relation to your spine, and the spine to lengthen and widen in all directions. Simply sending these requests invites your psycho-physical relationship to improve and the body will respond, if only in small degrees at first, more drastically over time. Whatever tensions you are holding throughout the day don’t magically go away when it is time to sing.

Bring body awareness into your breaks at work. Take five minutes a few times a day to check in and give yourself a request to release. Feel your feet in contact with the floor. Think of your ankles extending deep into the ground with your head growing gently up from here, in relation to your back, which lengthens and widens as you sense your true height.

Renew these directions several times while breathing.

Jaw Tension Hurts Singing Ability

To all my teeth grinders and jaw clenchers, now is the time to become aware of your habit! Like all muscles, the more you use them, the stronger they get. Opening your mouth to sing is then restricted. It can be uncomfortable to try to stretch it open farther, and yet a free jaw is essential when singing as it must be able to move according to where in your register you are singing.  Just like stretching any other muscle, you cannot will your jaw to be free and elongate to its maximum potential on the spot! Jaw tension is something a vocal coach in Montreal could help you undo.

When you brush your teeth, wash the dishes, or are working at your desk, check in with your jaw and invite it to release one percent more. Do this repeatedly throughout your day and week to gradually stop jaw clenching and enable the muscles to loosen.

Bad habits and good habits are ingrained in our bodies the same way: through repetition.  We cannot force our body to do the opposite of what it considers its normal 24 hours a day. However, we can permanently change how we use our body during daily activities and in turn, improve how we tap into the body’s abilities during vocal production. How?

By using body awareness and patience to gradually replace bad habits with ‘good use.’

Want to talk to a vocal coach and identify your negative tensions? We can help you create a vocal workout and body awareness program to improve your singing.

How to Improve Breath Control in Singing

How to Improve Breath Control in Singing

The underlying motive of human beings is to achieve a result as quickly and efficiently as possible. This is why marketing catchy titles which promise a fast result are so effective! But, have you considered that like trying to lose weight or using physiotherapy to rebuild muscle coordination and strength, proper breathing is also a full body exercise with absolutely no shortcuts.

But hey, maybe your breathing is already amazing! How am I to know? Just a voice on the internet. So why don’t I help you the best I can to analyze your breathing technique and check if indeed you know how to breathe correctly.

Physiology Of Breathing

For the purpose of analyzing if we are performing proper breathing, a very quick explanation is required as to what exactly is breathing. We do it everyday, and yet what do you actually know about it?

Breathing is performed by the nervous and motor systems which control their own functioning and work to maintain the equilibrium. The breathing system regulates proper intake of oxygen as well as a balanced amount of carbon dioxide. The diaphragm is a shelf of muscle and tendon stretching over the base of the neck. When inhaling diaphragmatic muscles contract and air rushes in.

What is SUPPORT?

Although methods for gaining breath support are varied from person to person according to training techniques and genre or styles, most teachers and singing artists have common concepts or definitions. Support is using other parts of the skeletal system, such as muscle, and lungs, as tools for producing the desired result such as improved tone and the capability of singing longer phrases and maintaining the same notes. When a singing teacher talks of the terms breath control or vocal power they are inherently referring to the existence of breathing control techniques necessary for support.

There are various ways to learn to sing, and many teachers disagree on the best way to make beautiful sound fastest and with the least negative side effects. It seems like everyone agrees at least that diaphragmatic breathing can be used to sing effectively.

Reasons for Dysfunctional Breathing

Dysfunctional breathing happens when we don’t control our breathing. It is common practice for people to inadvertently breathe incorrectly. If a singer has no ability to use a correctly-made diaphragm, only the upper lungs are filled. There will be no power. A good singing teacher understands the vital importance of diaphragm breathing to breathe correctly and efficiently. But the majority of singers lack this ability and their singing voice suffers.

Besides singers, human beings normally breathe in a shallow way. Even with Alexander Technique and vocal training it takes some time before the healthy diaphragmatic breathing cycle becomes the nervous system’s habitual coordination. Unlike driving on autopilot, this breathing pattern requires conscious work in the beginning before eventually taking minimal energy. Singing requires more coordinated efforts and more diverse breathing methods than it merely takes to survive. This is why most people never address their breathing: They are alive, so it must be working.

However, for vocalists, if the underlying foundation of their breathing techniques fails, singers can have erratic performance outcomes.

The Truth About Breathing Exercise For Singing

As a singer, your breath is the first step to making a good sound. If your breathing is tight, your voice will be tight, your vocal cords will feel stiff, and your singing voice will suffer. Our correct breathing is, what we will refer to as the breathing mechanism, is dependent on flexibility through the rib cage- particularly through the back- proper posture, and a release of unnecessary tension through the pelvic region and abdominal wall to allow space for the diaphragm. Sounds complicated? It is and it isn’t.

Your body is designed to use proper breathing techniques, which is why babies can scream without tiring- their bodies have yet to be manipulated by how we slouch in class and at work, how we tighten our neck when we workout, or how we constantly manipulate our posture as we look down at our phone to text. The way we use our body builds what is referred to in Alexander Technique as “undo tension,” and as singers we must become hyper aware of how we are using our body: Natural breathing is achieved through the releasing tension in the body while re coordinating correct habitual patterns.

The most frustrating part of it all: there is no black and white, a + b= c approach to breathing well. 🤷🏼

Your body and the tensions you have are completely different from everyone else, which is why breathing exercises which claim to be a universal solution are not the quick fix you think they are.

How To Analyze Your Breathing Technique

Lets play body detective. Perform these tests to check if you are breathing correctly. This test will not give you the answer to the question, “Where is my unnecessary tension?” However, it will visually and immediately answer the question, “Do I breathe correctly?”

Find a mirror in which you can see your full body. Stand naturally- don’t position yourself in any manufactured way. Start with a an exhale: exhale slowly and watch how your body takes in air. These should be slow breaths so that you can see how your body tries to make room for their air. Inhale deeply, but notice if you have the urge to “tank up.”

‘TANKING UP’ OR INHALING TOO DEEPLY

In preemptive manoeuvres, singers usually breathe as much air as they can without taking up any time to think of the length of phrase. These breathing habits often result in ‘increase in clogging up the lungs’ resulting in ‘fast breaths expelled’. (These same singers are usually ‘clavicular’ breathers who gasp for air between phrases in order to expel the remaining stale air.) We can label tanking up as taking in as much air as your lung capacity will allow. When you inhale, how much air you take should be somewhere between a deep breath with your lungs filling, but not so deep that you tank up.

Keep this in mind as you perform the following tests.

Test Your Breathing

The following are directions to aid you in learning how to identify whether you need to improve your breathing. If breathing is halting your progress as a singer- you’re about to know it!

1) Don’t think too much about air quantity on this breath.

When you breathe in, do you feel you are taking shallow breaths?

When you think about your breathing throughout the day, do you think they are shallow breaths? Do you feel your air rapidly fills in short bursts? Do you feel your air supply is small causing you to breathe more often?

2) Lets consciously inhale now. In the same position, inhale deeply without tanking up.

Do you feel a tension in your chest or between your collar bones?

3) When you breathe in and sing a single note or sound, do your hip sockets tighten?

6) Make sure to look in a mirror now. When you breathe in, do your shoulders rise? Do you notice your chest rises?

7) During your inhale or sound production, does your jaw tighten?

8) Now lay on the floor with your knees up and feet flat on the ground. When you inhale, does your back widen, slightly pressing into the ground, or do you feel tighten? Do you feel your back actually pulls away from the ground instead of opening into it?

If you answered yes to any of these tests, your body is not free to take in air and support your sound with its full strength and colour. Your intercostal muscles are likely not engaged, the surrounding muscles may in fact be extremely tense preventing proper vocal technique and causing poor posture, and any breathe exercises you perform will not address the overall coordination of your body.

Test Your Breathing

Alexander Technique Corrects Breath Technique

As I mentioned earlier, I cannot give you a quick fix! This is why a vocal coach is so essential: A singing coach trained in Alexander Technique will be able to analyze your sound quality and physical habits. Based on their observations, they will be able to walk you through a sequence of thoughts which will re coordinate your body and develop mobility through key areas such as the rib cage, psoas muscle, lower back, and freedom of the neck and jaw.

In order to breathe properly, you must learn how to work around sensory perception: The current understanding of the nervous system as to how to coordinate itself to make sound and breathe. Many singers, actors, voice actors, tour guides, etc. use Alexander Technique to improve their sound and breath control for this reason. It is a proven method of improving breath management, breath support, vocal range, vocal power, reducing chronic pain in neck muscles, and ensuring you can in fact breathe deeply.

When you understand how to monitor your body for tension, inhibit habitual reactions, and coordinate new muscles, you will be able to apply this awareness and learning methodology to vocal exercises and breathing exercises you find online.

The danger to your vocal health, proper posture, and breath control lies in mindlessly performing actions with your body which reaffirm bad habits.

When you are ready to take the next step, reach out to a voice teacher- preferably one with training in alexander technique- and change the way you breathe to change how you sing. Undoubtedly you will also be overjoyed with how much better your neck feels on a daily basis, how your jaw seems to feel less tight, how you can easily maintain proper posture without thinking about it, and how naturally your body can take a correct breath.

breathe

What About Yoga Breathing?

Many singers ask if yoga and practicing yoga breathing specifically is good for improving breath control. From an Alexander Technique perspective, any activity can be beneficial for breathing if you bring conscious control into the equation: Conscious control is the term given by Alexander to a form of body awareness where the head-neck-back- relationship leads all movement in order to organize the entire body correctly. Without this awareness, your movement through a yoga flow is comprised of habitual movement restricted by whatever tensions your body holds. When we stretch a muscle, we do not re coordinate it back into the necessary functioning of the entire body. This is why when you stretch your neck, it may feel temporarily better, but very quickly the pain returns: Your body is coordinating itself the way it always has.

However, if you learn how to use Alexander Technique, every yoga move becomes a brilliant way to build and change the coordination of your body! Don’t get me wrong. belly breathing is never going to be the answer to proper breathing, but the combination of Alexander Technique- conscious re coordinating of the body- with the mobility and stretching of yoga and yoga breathing is a beautiful combination.

Thus, stretching and yoga by itself may make you feel good, it certainly relaxes you, but it will not change your singing voice or directly improve breathing techniques.

Yoga Breathing

Breathing for singing: To the diaphragm and beyond!

My job as a voice teacher is for students to learn to sing properly, which involves teaching a student to breathe! Sometimes students may request breathing exercises directly, but they are not ready for me to give them breathing exercises because they are trying to “end gain.” That is, they desperately want a result, and they want it quickly, so any direction I give them is filtered through a need to achieve a result and body awareness and observation flies out the window.

This is why voice classes in person are so great. As a singing coach trained in Alexander Technique, I can stimulate their nervous system to respond with improved coordination through my touch while walking the student through the thought sequences I have successfully used to re coordinate my own body. So, How can one learn how to breathe properly while singing? By developing a sequence of thoughts that works for them to re coordinate the body even before making sound. Everyday, practice the Alexander Technique based singing exercises I give you and watch as your body feels freer, your voice feels stronger, and your breath control becomes reliable and impressive.

One thing is certain..

Learning to breathe when working on a singing voice is a good starting point. It is because breathing support gives your voice strong support throughout your vocal range. Generally, singing exercise is helpful for enhancing your breathing ability by increasing your diaphragm capacity. So prioritize working with a singing teacher trained in breathing exercises, alexander technique, and who has gone through the journey of discovering this work for his or herself- this is the best person to impart their knowledge onto you.