Voice Lesson: How to Breathe When Singing

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In this free online voice lesson, Berklee College of Music professor and Berklee Online course author and instructor Anne Peckham demonstrates how to breathe when singing.

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About Anne Peckham:
Anne Peckham is a singer, voice teacher, and author, whose work has influenced popular singing pedagogy worldwide. A professor in the Voice department at Berklee College of Music, Anne teaches private voice lessons and develops curricular materials for “Elements of Vocal Technique,” a required course for all vocal students. Her work at the college, which has included Berklee’s Musical Theater Workshop and the Berklee Concert Choir, has helped enrich the musical experience of hundreds of students over the years.

Anne has traveled extensively as a voice clinician and adjudicator for song and choral festivals in North America, Mexico, and Europe. Her master classes and vocal pedagogy seminars for students and teachers embrace the foundations of good vocal technique, while building skills in rock, jazz, pop, and R’n’B music. She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and served as vice president on the Boston chapter’s board of directors.

Anne sang with the Tanglewood Festival chorus for four years, performing on two recordings with the Boston Pops, including a featured solo in their televised Gilbert and Sullivan presentation, which aired on PBS. She has performed with regional theater companies, has worked as a professional soloist with area church choirs, and performs frequently in recital and cabaret venues. In 2006 Anne appeared in the TV reality series Trial by Choir, a show featured on the Learning Channel. Additionally, she was featured on the children’s television show Fetch in 2007.

Anne is the author Vocal Workouts for the Contemporary Singer, The Contemporary Singer: Elements of Vocal Technique, Berklee in the Pocket: Singer’s Handbook, and the instructional DVD Vocal Technique: Developing Your Voice for Performance.

41 thoughts on “Voice Lesson: How to Breathe When Singing”

  1. The Heartbreak Time Machine

    This is a great video, but do you have any exercise suggestions for
    improving the length of time you can sustain the exhaling “hiss?” I can’t
    get past 12 seconds….

  2. How do you expand the area around the diaphragm substantially? I can’t seem
    to expand it much, if not at all, and I feel this tightness and strain
    around that area.

  3. thank you so much for he tips you’ve given.,. you’re not like others, that
    making only joking.,., so THANK YOU SO MUCH!!,. HOPE YOU’D POST MANY AS YOU

  4. Hi. Great video. Thank you so much. I can hissing between 17 and 22 sec But
    i have one problem 🙂 after repeated 2.3 times i missing air in the
    lungs…. any proposal to solve it,any help?

  5. this is what my vocal teacher says too, but I find it so much harder to
    breathe this way when singing because I can’t do it fast enough in between
    when I have the time and I find it hurts :s is this normal? shes telling me
    she hears a difference when i sing and breathe right, but I dont notice any
    change AT ALL. Help?

  6. Robyn Carrigan

    You are finding it hard to expand when breathing because are out of
    practice. When we are little children we naturally breathe correctly. Then
    as we mature we observe others breathing incorrectly (trying to keep their
    tummies small all the time from vanity) and we model them and start
    breathing incorrectly. We have to re-train ourselves. It will feel funny at
    first. Then amazingly natural. Good luck!

  7. Not if Ur a screamo/rock singer with keep the air in Ur lower body like she
    explained but we have to flex as hard as u can or else when we scream were
    gonna let our air out faster a we crack high pitched notes

  8. Ellaine Balatero

    Hai maam as what I observed to singers and have powerful voice like ailee
    (korean-american singer) and charice pempengco (filipino singer) they
    raised their chest when they inhale,,,,,, and i tried your tips but its
    hard because i cant sing well pleas post other tips maam 

  9. The chest should descend while exhaling, otherwise the abdominals which are
    the expiratory muscles lose their ability to resist against the inspiration

  10. I noticed she breathing through her mouth versus her nose. So singers
    always are taking a breathe in through their mouth when singing ? It seems
    you can get more air if you breathe through the nose. Or is it a preference
    or is it the only way to breathe a effectively when signing? I am novice.

  11. In his book, Falconer documents his quest to learn about his rare and fascinating condition, interviewing professional musicians, psychologists, neuroscientists and ethnomusicologists to figure out how his brain processes music differently from others.

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