Clinton’s Quick Tips – Holding a Note Using the Voice

Clinton’s Quick Tips – Holding a Note Using the Voice

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[Reading time: 2 mins]

Singing uses more lung capacity than speaking, so it’s only natural to see people taking more air in than usual when they go to sing a long note. The trick to using an even air flow when singing is to practice breathing out evenly to a piece of paper or the tip of your finger. This is to gauge the velocity of your breath.

Here is an exercise to extend your breathing:

Step 1. Imagine you are a balloon – The aim is to fill the belly area of your torso. Whilst breathing in, expand your belly area so you concentrate on filling your lungs from the bottom end rather than expanding your chest area (which often people do). Doing this incorrectly will cause a discomfort on your rib cage so be vigilant.

Step 2. Hold – When you have had your fill of air, hold your breath for 5 beats (a little slower than walking pace).

Step 3. Exhale – Release your breath (constant controlled blow) for 5 beats

Please remember to hold out your finger (or paper) and blow on it, to gauge if the air flow is constant. The aim is to control your breathing.

Once you have mastered the breathing at these measures we can now play around with the numbers (see chart below).

 Breath in  Hold breath Exhale (Blow)
5 Beats 5 Beats
5 Beats 10 Beats
5 Beats 15 Beats
5 Beats 20 Beats

You may want to try a different mouth shape which gives you a more controlled passage of air flow. Try using the following (see chart below).

Breath in Hold breath Exhale using ‘SSSSSSS’
5 Beats 5 Beats
5 Beats 10 Beats
5 Beats 15 Beats
5 Beats 20 Beats

There are many varieties of mouth shapes to use. Why not try the following shapes

  • a. Fff
  • b. Sss
  • c. Shh
  • d. Vvv
  • e. Zzz
  • f. Www
  • g. Ooo
  • h. Uuu (Jaw dropped)
  • i. Ahhh (Jaw Dropped)
  • j. Ehhh
  • k. A’hh (Smile + Jaw dropped)

These variations start with a smaller air flow all the way to the widest air flow. It also would be handy to monitor how well you do by marking your progress on a chart (see example below).

A – K
5 Beats/5 Beats
5 Beats/10 Beats
5 Beats/15 Beats
5 Beats/20 Beats
5 Beats/25 Beats
a. ‘Fff’ X X X X X
b. ‘Sss’ X X X X X
c. ‘Shh’ X X X X X
d. ‘Vvv’ X X X X X
e. ‘zzz’ X X X X X
f. ‘Www’ X X X X X
g. ‘Ooo’ X X X X X
h. ‘Uuu’ (Jaw dropped) X X X X X
i. ‘Ahh’ (Jaw Dropped) X X X X X
j. Ehh X X X X X
k. ‘Ahh’ (Smile + Jaw dropped)/td>


Once you have completed the chart, trying playing around with notes using ‘la’ or ‘Ohh’. You should feel a growing confidence holding out a note after completing the above. Let now how you get on, please leave a comment to tell me how you got on!

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