The first thing any singer or soon to be singer needs to do is take a long hard look at their breathing. Learning to breath is disregarded by most, but not singers. As I think about it, most musicians, dancers and actors think about breathing as they advance in their work. All one needs to consider is the stress and fast paced life we try to keep up with. This life causes us to “breathe high.” Our shoulders lift and our lungs only inflate to a fraction of their capacity. I probably don’t have to tell you that this is not good. “Breathing high” keeps us in a fight-or-flight state.
To escape the race and the confinement of a “normal” person…take some time to breathe. Sit in a comfortable way on your chair or stand. Place open palms on the rib cage, right on right/left on left (4 fingers front, thumb facing back) and close your eyes. Then imagine expanding your rib cage into your hands. Exhale slowly on a “hissssss.” Now you are breathing with a fuller capacity of your lungs, allowing your rib cage to expand, internal organs to be pushed out of the way, abdominal muscles are expanding and your breath is beginning to slow. Your diaphragm, a crescent moon shaped muscle under your heart will expand and do its full job. This is a “low breath” and what you mean when you think about “singing with your diaphragm.”