Yes, breathing is involuntary. But it is also one of the most important details of singing. Breathing affects the diction, delivery, and overall mood of your singing. With a few simple tips and techniques as mentioned below, you can learn how to have more control over your breathing.

1. Practice Where to Breathe—with the Songs You Love!

Two people, seemingly students, sit together and work. One of them is reviewing some notes while listening to music. This might be what your learning sessions could look like, if you are trying to improve your breath-control while singing.
Listen to your favourite songs and note down timestamps/lyrics where there is space to breathe. Fun and learning, all in one exercise!

A fun and smart technique to figure out where you can find space to breathe in a song is to simply listen to all your favourite songs and note these spaces down. You could note the timestamps or relevant lyrics down on a notepad or your phone while you enjoy the song!

2. How long can you sustain a note/sur without stopping short?

You can use video tutorials to help you learn how to sing a long note (any note—sa, re, ga, ma, pa, dha, or ni). However, take care that you end the note in a proper way and not abruptly due to a shortage of breath. This will take practice. You will have to learn to start ending the note a second or so before you run out of breath. Keep at it, and you'll surely master this method!

3. Breathe in—one two three four—breathe out!

A simpler way to work on your lung capacity is to breathe in for 4 counts and out for 4 counts, then go to 6 counts each, and so on. Set your own pace, increase the counts slowly, and you will be able to have better breath control.

This is a diagram explaining proper deep breathing. As you inhale, your lungs fill up with air, diaphragm lowers, and belly expands. As you exhale, the air leaves your lungs, your diaphragm rises, and your belly contracts. As you do this exercise to improve your breath control for singing, place a hand on your stomach and make sure it rises and falls this way as you breathe deeply.
While you do this exercise, make sure to breathe deeply and properly. Place a hand on your belly, and make sure it is expanding and contracting as you inhale and exhale, respectively.

4. How Many Sargams can you do per Breath?

Another good way to figure out your current lung capacity and improve it is to see how many sargams you can do per breath. Breathe in and sing- sa re ga ma pa dha ni sa, sa ni dha pa ma ga re sa….and so on. If you have doubts as to how this is sung, look up any tutorial online! A breathing exercise that is also like a fun challenge? Learning can really be enjoyable.

5. Exercise too will Expand your Lung Capacity!

Exercise is a valuable method to boost your stamina and strengthen your lungs. Improving your lung capacity will help you sustain notes for longer and give you more control over your singing. Some basic stretches can be beneficial. Running certainly helps, and swimming is one of the best ways to improve lung capacity and breath control. Try out a variety of workouts and figure out what is best for you.

An image of a person running/jogging on a beautiful stretch of road. Running is an effective workout for improving your breath-control and therefore singing.
Running can help you a lot with breath-control and lung capacity. Unlike swimming, it does not require that you learn it separately. Just find a good place, and go for a run! 

Once you get into the habit of practicing the techniques given above regularly, you will be on your way to perfecting one of the most crucial elements of singing. So keep going—time, effort, and commitment can never fail you!

To know more about breathing and its importance for a singer, check out Neha Kakkar's singing course on FrontRow. There you will find a set of detailed video-lessons with explanations and demonstrations of a variety of concepts related to singing!