Magic Choral Trick #115 Hands Up!
To quote Maxwell Smart: “The trick is old, the trick is stupid, the trick is working!”
When singers say to me that they’re running out of breath before the end of the phrase or exercise, I know that it’s usually for one of two reasons. Air is being wasted through lack of focus in the sound (Magic Choral Trick #68), or the breath they’re taking beforehand is not free and open enough.
Here’s an old breathing trick that still works.
Put both hands and arms straight up into the air as in “Reach for the sky!” Now take in a breath and sing the phrase again.
Since this choreography is not appropriate for most songs, here’s the next step. Leaving the chest in this high position, relax the arms and shoulders down again. Breathing is more free and easy when the ribcage is floating a little higher. You’ll be less likely to be gasping for oxygen at the end of the phrase.