Yet another trick for raising the soft palate and creating more resonating space. This works especially well when the tempo of the song is very slow, and you have the luxury of more time for a leisurely breath.
As you breathe in through the nose, imaging you are smelling the delicate fragrance of a flower – like a rose, or my favourite – freesia. I always wish I could breathe in for much longer when I’m around freesia. It seems to be important to imagine the fragrance as being delicate because if a scent is shouting at you, there’s no need to employ the ‘seeking out’ mechanism of raising the soft palate.
During the in breath the soft palate will rise, so that by the time you have the air you need, your internal mouth posture is correct for producing a resonant sound.
Imagining something as pleasant as the fragrance of your favourite flower also causes your face to take on the Inner Smile ( https://betterchoirs.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/magic-choral-trick-53-inner-smile/ ) which helps with forward placement of the sound.
Some people complain that breathing in through the nose is too noisy – but if the soft palate is raised, there’s barely any sound (unless you have chronic sinus problems or are in the midst of a snorfling cold).
By the way, an added benefit of breathing in through the nose is that there’s no air rushing in through the mouth, drying it out.