It is always a surpise to clients when I don’t make a big fuss about breathing. As a matter of fact people will almost always open up a first session with ” I need to do something about my breathing” and then stand back puzzled when I suggest putting the issue aside for discussion at the end of the lesson. Of course I know that by the end of our session they will have a completely new understanding of the difference between the breath stream and the vocal sound stream and that they are distinctly different currents. When mistaking breath for energy the voice is either breathy or forced and there is an overuse of muscle to push the air. I cringe when I hear singers say ” you have to suck it in and use the diaphragm muscle to push it out”. As the great guru of voiceÂ Dr.Arthur Lessac states: “……voice is not vocalized breath. The only direct use of the breath stream in the speaking or singing voice is to help initiate the vibration of the vocal folds; the role of the breath puff ends as soon as sound begins”.
Singers, actors and speakers beware – the overuse of breath can irritate the vocal folds and create hoarseness! Too much air can prevent vocal fold closure which we need for a pure resonant sound.