A right posture for singing provides a deep, full breath; if the singer`s body is rigid or bent, the diaphragm prevents it from correct inhalation and exhalation. The unrestriction of the air path can be gained via a proper body alignment, which is the following: head upright and in line with the spine, back straight, chin level, abdomen flat, jaw and arms relaxed (Burgin 13). A singer must learn to expand his/her diaphragm without deviating from the correct posture: the stomach and chest should be enlarged while inhaling and relaxed while exhaling.
During inhalation and exhalation, the throat needs to remain open: in the first instance – in order to get a sufficient quantity of air, and in the second instance – to create the pitch and sound the vocalist wants (Burgin 24). The diaphragm is an inhalation muscle system (it descends when the singer inhales), and its duty is to control the dynamically changing breath pressure. The ribs serve not only as a protection for the vital organs of the thorax (lungs and heart) but also to create a firm support for the lungs while singing. In everyday breathing, the rib cage expands to help the lungs let the air in at the time of inhalation, and when the oxygen is used, the ribs collapse; when exhaling during singing, the rib cage does not lower, and it keeps high and wide position above the waistline (Miller 32). The abdominal muscles provide postural support and depress the thorax while exhaling thus forcing air out of the lungs (Miller 33).
Breathing for singing is obviously not the same as everyday breathing – the first requires “holding back” the air stream (quick inhalation and slow exhalation) whereas the second involves shallow inhalation and exhalation. Breathing is a complex system of inner muscles` organized work and it is one of the few bodily functions that can be consciously or unconsciously controlled.