Running Out of Air When Singing

Hey there, this is John Henny and today I want to talk about what to do if you find yourself Running Out Of Air When You Sing. 

Often when I’m doing a public masterclass for singers, I will ask the assembled room. If I had a magic wand, what vocal issues would you like me to fix? And inevitably, somebody brings up I run out of air, how do I fix that? And they often think the answer is to just take a bigger breath of air or to push more singing from this diaphragm. 

They may have heard that, which is a whole nother topic of discussion. But this idea of pushing more air actually doesn’t help because very often the culprit air are the vocal folds. And what’s happening is your vocal folds sit over your windpipe and they basically close over when you go to make sound and the buzz like a trumpet players lips. 

Think of when you would blow up a balloon and then you would pinch the top to get that, that really squeaky noise. Now if you pulled the balloon too tight, it would choke it up. But if you let the top go a little slack, the air would rush out, it would still make some sound, but you would lose the air very, very quickly. 

That’s likely what’s going on in your voice. When you are singing, the vocal folds aren’t coming together enough to create that nice tight seal to close over and compress the air into sound waves. So you kind of have this breathy voice and no matter how much hear you push, it’s just going to make it worse. So what I suggest is beginning to develop better vocal fold closure. 

Now a really simple exercise that you can do is to just say like your reprimanding a small child and just to feel yourself on little scale not allowed to you couldn’t also put a consonant on it like a hard G or K, K, K, K, K, K, K, K, K, K, and just work those exercises until you feel the breath in and start to go away and when you do, you should start finding that you actually have enough air to sing. 

Hey, for more vocal tips go to my website johnhenny.com. You can find out more about my book Teaching Contemporary Singing, as well as my podcast The Intelligent Vocalist. 

Thank you so much.