What Does Breathing Have to Do With Successful Singing?




I once had a legendary singing coach who assigned mantras to his students. On the third day of class, he’d hand each one a tiny piece of paper, carefully folded, imprinted with what was rumored to be a sacred handwritten message, a customized holy grail personally chosen specifically for each individual. It was why so many students rushed to take his class every semester. It’s why I stood in line for over an hour three semesters in a row until I finally got in before the class filled up. And it’s why, upon being accepted, I was convinced that I was about to inherit my destiny.


On that long awaited day, as I opened my hand to receive my mystical key to ultimate talent, wisdom, and success, he leaned in, bowed his head, and slowly whispered, “Whenever you are out of balance, anxious, blocked, or in doubt, close your eyes and focus deeply on this word. It is just for you. Share it with no one.”


I braced myself for greatness. Time stood still as I deliberately released each crease to reveal the one thing missing from my life, the secret I’d been anticipating since being admitted into his class. Seven letters emerged, looking as if they’d been carelessly scrawled in a hurry, a mindless afterthought. I’d been expecting meticulous, golden script. A word I’d never seen or heard before. But staring up at me from this flimsy scrap of paper torn from a cheap notebook was a common, ordinary word...one I’d taken for granted for as long as I could remember as a necessary, utilitarian, hardly impressive bodily function.


My mantra was this: B R E A T H E


Breathe? Seriously?! This was the ultimate gift, the key to my kingdom, the one thing I could not live without?


Yes. Breathe.


Every singer knows the practical importance of breathing. We know that the breath is the vehicle which carries the voice. We are taught from day one how to strengthen our breath, deepen it, control it, manipulate it, meter it, use it as a tool to sculpt the tone and volume and timbre and duration and quality of each note. We understand.


But do we?


B R E A T H E


How you breathe, what you breathe, when you breathe...that you breathe. This is the heart and soul of everything. It is your voice, your music, your life. Breathing is magic.


As we begin a series on breathing, I wanted to capture your full attention and get you to focus on the importance of breathing, much as my amazing coach did so many years ago. Not just technically. Not just academically. But on the deepest of levels. Down to every cell in your body. Down to your spirit, to the center of your being. So I am assigning you this mantra, too.


B R E A T H E


Every morning when you awake, focus on this word. Every time you need to find your center, your balance, your voice...close your eyes and BE the word.


B R E A T H E


Sit with it. Live with it. Question and ponder it as I once did.


Years later, after becoming friends with my professor, he made a confession one night over pasta and wine. For the decades that he’d taught that class to thousands of students, he had never once chosen to commit to paper any other mantra. We’d all received the same one.


B R E A T H E


It was that critical. But it was also that versatile and malleable. That one word - that one all encompassing concept - said it all and spoke its unique truth to each individual student.


So what does breathing have to do with successful singing?


Everything!


And who takes it for granted - at least on some level?


Virtually every single one of us at some point or another.


To become a SINGular Success, you must truly embrace your breath on a holistic level. And so we will explore that deeply in the coming weeks.


Meanwhile...


B R E A T H E

#themonalisalife #singularsuccess



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