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Good breathing

As the new school year begins, I like to spend the lesson with my singing students refreshing them of the “basics” that get forgotten over the summer. Breathing so often gets overlooked, especially by those relying on microphones in their singing. So here are some dos and don’ts for anyone looking for a quick reminder. For those more experienced singers, I hope the below are a given!

Do:

  • stand tall. Make sure both feet are flat on the floor, knees are straight but not locked, tailbone is rolled forward slightly, shoulders are rolled back, chin is level and eyes are looking straight ahead.
  • practise breathing through your nose, placing one hand on your stomach and one on your mid back to feel how your body changes when inhaling and exhaling. You should feel like a balloon being filled up!
  • be aware of how and where you breathe. In yoga you are taught the 3 “breathing zones”: deep breathing, the chest breath and the top up or snatch. Try “finding” each one, one on top of another!
  • practise breathing exercises regularly as well as vocal warm ups.

Don’t:

  • stand badly or awkwardly.
  • raise your shoulders when you inhale. (It doesn’t achieve anything except look funny!)
  • suck your tummy in when you inhale. Where’s the air supposed to fit if you make the space smaller?

A couple of exercises to try:

  1. Place one hand on your tummy and one on your larynx (voice box). Hiss out all the air in your lungs. Imagine you’re swimming under water and are desperate for air. When you’re ready, take a deep gasp of air as if you’re surfacing from the water. If you’ve breathed correctly, you should feel your stomach area expand rapidly with air as your lungs fill, and your larynx “drop” a very little.
  2. Now place one hand on your tummy and one on your mid back. Hiss all your air out. Take 4 measured breaths in. Hold your breath for 4 counts. Hiss out 4 measured breaths, being careful not to breathe in in-between each one. Repeat with 6, 8, 10… breaths! You should feel your stomach area and back (to a lesser extent) expand as you inhale and gradually deflate as you exhale.

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Jennifer Maslin
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Luisa Santos-Stephens
Luisa Santos-Stephens
14:56 20 Nov 19
Jennifer is an incredible singer. We had her with Cafe Society to play at my 40th and it was everything I could dream off- they played beautiful music, and brought a very good vibe to the party. All the guests talked about how great they were, with a repertoire of very nice songs which we loved to listen to, but at the same time allowing us to keep the conversation going. I can’t recommend her enough.
Lisa Purcell
Lisa Purcell
19:34 03 Sep 19
Jenny sang beautifully at our wedding in August 2019! She moved many members of the congregation to tears with her amazing singing. We absolutely loved it and would highly recommend her. Each time we meet up with friends and family that were there, they all comment on how amazing her singing was and how much they enjoyed it! She sang a Maori love song perfectly - commented the relatives from New Zealand! X
Rachel McGuckin
Rachel McGuckin
16:06 27 Jun 19
Jenny was the absolute highlight of our wedding ceremony. We picked some tricky songs and she had the whole audience joining in at the chorus. Luckily they didn't join at all points because it gave everyone a chance to hear her beautiful voice as well! I can't recommend highly enough.
Kate McNamara
Kate McNamara
14:36 12 Jun 19
Jenny was amazing from the moment I enquired about her playing the violin at our wedding ceremony. So quick to respond, helpful, friendly, flexible & professional, and was able to recommend songs and even learnt a new song for the exit music. I was so confident that she had everything under control which was invaluable and it was something on the day that I knew I just didn’t have to worry about. Jenny is so talented and it really added to the ceremony, I am so pleased that I found her! Thank you so so much!
Aimee Curry
Aimee Curry
13:56 15 Feb 19
We highly recommend Jenny! She played amazing violin music beautifully at our wedding. Jenny was so lovely and was so approachable and helpful to plan our ceremony music which was a highlight of the day and also the drinks reception music.
T Whyte
T Whyte
19:17 30 Jan 19
Jenny sang at our wedding - her music set the tone and made for a truly special experience. She has a beautiful voice, is very easy to work with, and worked seamlessly with our (very exacting) venue to get everything just right. Thank you Jenny!
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