Diaphragmatic Breathing and Warmups


  • Lie down comfortably on your back on your bed or on a mat or carpeted floor. Position yourself with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent (pointing upward). Simply follow your breathing for a minute or two with your attention. See if you can sense which parts of your body your breath touches.
  • Put your hands (one on top of the other) on your belly, with the center of your lower hand touching your navel. Watch how your breathing responds. You may notice that your belly wants to expand as you inhale and retract as you exhale. Let this happen, but don’t try to force it. Dogs, cats and babies do this naturally and so do you as you drift off to sleep.
  • Now place a heavy book on the belly in place of the hands. This adds weight and aids in a more pronounced feeling as you inhale.
  • With the weight of the book resting on your belly, lift the book as you inhale and hold it for about 5 seconds. Then lower the book slowly as you exhale all of your air. Repeat, 5 or 6 times, breathing through the nose.
  • Repeat this exercise, but this time replace just holding the book for 5 seconds with singing the numbers, 12345678910. Lower the book as you sing.
  • Repeat the above exercise and increase your singing the numbers to 15.
  • Repeat again, singing to 20 or as far as you can. DO NOT STRAIN.
  • Going through the same physical movements, sing a simple song such as “Happy Birthday” or “Amazing Grace”.
  • When you need to take a breath (at the end of each phrase), make certain you are inhaling from the belly.



Noise made through pursed lips.  Sing through pursed lips (raspberry) so that a clear sound is produced. It is a silly technique but it increases your breath support better than anything else I have found.

Warmup every day with this technique.  Sing scales, songs, act like you are having a conversation with it. Use this technique to increase your range. Have fun.

If you are having trouble singing through phrases of a song without running out of air, practice singing it through your pursed lips until you can sing it more comfortably through the end of the phrase.


  1. Run up and down a five-note scale (using any vowel and consonant combination).
  2. Then run up and down the scale twice in one breath. Then three times.
  3. Vary the scale from five notes a full octave, or add an arpeggio on the end.


  1. Using a ‘hoo’ sound, start at a low point in your range and make a slow, upward siren noise to mimic the rollercoaster climbing the first hill.
  2. When you get to the top, let go and swoop down and around the track, incorporating some loops.
  3. Indicate the route with your hand and improvise where the ups, downs and loops will come.
  4. Vary ranges so your own rollercoaster ride will be unique.



Jacobs Vocal Academy

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