How to Sing from Your Diaphragm | Vocal Lessons

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Hi. I’m Cari Cole. I’m a celebrity vocal coach and artist development expert. And I help artists find their voice, craft their music and create successful music careers. I’ve worked with Donald Fagen from Steely Dan, Courtney Love from Hole. I’ve worked with the band Journey. I’m gonna teach you how to be a better singer and performer.

So, I’m gonna teach you an exercise for how to sing with your diaphragm. Now, I can’t go into all the details here, and it’s a bit more complicated than I’m gonna show you. But for a quick peek into how to use the diaphragm, and what the diaphragm is, this is gonna help you understand the subject.

So, the diaphragm is a muscle that’s inside the rib cage, okay? So, here’s one side of your rib; if I had another hand it would be over here, right? The diaphragm is inside that rib cage. The diaphragm doesn’t have any nerve endings, so we can’t feel it. So, it causes a lot of confusion for singers, or wanna be singers, when we start talking about singing with the diaphragm, because it’s not a muscle we can feel. But, we can control its movement by the surrounding muscles.

So, when the ribs open, the diaphragm has room to go down. When the ribs are too tight and locked, so it has a lot to do with your breathing, of course; when the ribs are too tight and locked, that diaphragm isn’t gonna go down. So, of course, breathing and learning how to open up the middle of the body, not breathe up into the chest, but breathe down into this area, right here. And it really is 360 degrees around the body that you want to move, when you breathe. This is how you start to control that diaphragm movement, and get it to move down.

Now, when the diaphragm moves down, it pulls air into the lungs. That’s why so many people, when they take a deep breath, they do this, and they breathe into the upper chest. Singers have to keep the chest lifted, elevated slightly, more than normal and then reach down below the chest, for the breath. And this is how we get that diaphragm movement going, like so.

So, for those of you that are very tight in this area, particularly dancers have a hard time with this, because they’re always tucking their stomach, or for those of you that have very tight abdomens or work your abdomens out a lot, this is going to be a little bit tougher for you. So, with this hand that’s being place on your upper stomach, I want you to apply more pressure in the areas that don’t move. If your ribcage doesn’t move or your upper stomach doesn’t move or your back muscles where my thumb is wrapping around to, if any of those areas feel tighter than normal, apply more pressure. So, if your stomach feels tighter, apply more pressure as you breathe.

So, I just want you to keep that chest elevated, hand here on the upper stomach with your fingers pointing in, hand on the ribcage; exhale your air, but don’t drop the chest. So, you don’t want to go like that, right? Chest stays up. Try that again. Take a breath in, blow your air out, keep the chest elevated. This is the first step to using the diaphragm correctly.

The second step is trying to open down here. So, breath down into your abdomen, and your ribs, and your back; all the way around into your back. Blow the air out, chest stays up; it doesn’t drop. And then take a breath in, reach down into your abdomen, ribs, and back. Imagine that diaphragm going all the way down, blowing the air out, keeping the chest elevated. You’re on your way to breathing into your diaphragm.

44 thoughts on “How to Sing from Your Diaphragm | Vocal Lessons”

  1. Hi Cari. My name is Montreal. I’m extremely passionate about singing. In
    fact, I hope to one day become a huge pop star. I love all genres of music
    and I even attended a performing arts school called Rogers when I was about
    13. I majored in vocal for 2 years. Now I’m 20 years old and I feel like
    I’ve let a lot go with my vocals. My coach in Rogers really helped me to
    see my true potential and he made my voice 10 times better but now that I
    am picking it back up, it seems like I am singing…..

  2. From my naustrils..like I’m not opening up my throat or something. I have a
    very loud, strong voice and I belch out a lot when I sing because I sing a
    lot of songs by people like Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, and
    many more. They all have very loud vocals like me. I’ve recorded myself
    singing plenty of times but it just doesn’t sound right to me. Can you
    please tell me what I’m doing wrong and what I can do to practice bringing
    my voice back to its full potential? Thx for your time.

  3. I’ve never attended a Musical School. I’m 18 , and I feel it’s Too late,
    But I know it’s not. I believe I’m a Talented Guy, But I need Some
    Training. I’d Like to improve my Voice as Well. You know , I Like it when
    you stand on the stage, Lights, Screaming Crowds and these things. WOW !
    Anyway, Good Luck , Wish you all the best. Oh btw,, I’ve Plenty of FREE
    beats, Contact me if You need any x_guys_x.leb@hotmail.com
    Pop/Rock/Techno/Hip-Hop/RnB/Jazz

  4. This is not what I was taught. I was taught to do something like this, but
    then to suck the stomach back in quickly when you go to actually sing. I am
    confused now. Once your tummy and back and rib (basically your whole torso)
    has expanded, what happens then? You open your mouth to sing but what do
    you do with the torso while you’re actually singing your line?

  5. Holy mother of god I mean I didn’t think I was a very good singer I sound
    decent sometimes but I just use this technique Mixed with the pitch
    technique and it was beautiful 

  6. so many videos talk about breathing from the diaphragm but not singing from
    the diaphragm. It’s easy breathing into the diaphragm and humming out basic
    sounds. but actually singing words is a bit more challenging to do when
    trying to concentrate on words and staying on pitch. I guess I’m wondering
    how to actually use the support from the diaphragm WHILE singing instead of
    using it to breathe FOR singing. Does that make sense? Any insight?

  7. Rachel Mcclatchey

    you basically have to hold those muscles and it feels like a tight band
    and you dont run out of air but because i have chronic condition.
    fibromyalgia i get muscle weakness and spasms so sometimes my voice is
    shakey due to it and of course the pain ha ha! but i dont give up!

  8. This is like a blue print of what I do when I breath in singing. However a
    lot of singers, and schools hold this technique as incorrect as far as I
    know. They talk about the belly out, and that you should press out the
    stomach and so on, which has never worked for me. This makes much more
    sense, considering you are freeing the diaphragm

  9. interesting points ,if anyone else wants to learn about tips on how to sing
    well try Alkarno Quick Singer Alchemist ( search on google ) ? Ive heard
    some super things about it and my co-worker got amazing success with it.

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