How To Sing With Your Diaphragm (Part 2) – LESSON 4 – Craig Shimizu Voice

How To Sing With Your Diaphragm (Part 2) – LESSON 4 – Craig Shimizu Voice

Articles Blog

Hi, this is Craig from Shimizu voice. Today we’re going to continue learning how to
sing from your diaphragm. To learn to use your diaphragm, you need to
be able to do two things. Number one is, of course, breathing diaphragmatically. So if you can’t do that, then please look
at my other video, “How To Breath From Your Diaphragm”.
It’s very easy. There’s animation. You just copy the animation. And it will teach you how to breath
diaphragmatically really really quickly. And number two, you have to be able to
pull your stomach in correctly. If your stomach doesn’t move
in correctly then it will throw off how the diaphragm
works. You will have mixed results. So just a
quick review. Diaphragmatic breathing is stomach
breathing. When you breathe, only the stomach should move. And number two, the stomach should move
in correctly. When you’re doing any kind of singing
actually it should be moving in like this. So if you are able to do those two
things then proceed with this video about then now, how to use the diaphragm.
The diaphragm is complicated because it doesn’t have sensory nerves in it. What that means is that you don’t really
know where the diaphragm is at any given time.
But we do know what the diaphragm is doing because of what the surrounding
internal organs and musculature and bones, how
they move will let us know what the diaphragm is
doing at any given time. To explain that I’ll have my friend, Fred show you what your insides look like.
Fred? This is Fred. So as you can see, the diaphragm is just that little white line below the
lungs and your, and above the liver and stomach. As you can see there is no room for the diaphragm to move without the internal organs, internal organs being
displaced. So that’s how we can tell where the
diaphragm is at any given time. Thank you Fred. Good man. But of course now we need to figure out where the diaphragm is without exposing our internal organs. So the way we can do that is fairly easy.
It’s with this area, the solar plexus and the side of
your ribs. When you breathe diaphragmatically, this
area of the body moves in and out. So that’s how we can tell what the
diaphragm is doing. There’s two ways to train the diaphragm. You can use your solar plexus right here.
And, or you can feel the sides of your ribs right about here. So what that looks like, when the diaphragm expands, that’s what
the side of the ribs looks like. With the solar plexus, this area looks like this when the
diaphragm expands. So the problem with the diaphragm is
that when you don’t control it, what it wants to do after you inhale is
that it likes to relax. It moves up into the rib cage causing uncontrolled
breath release. At the same time it’s doing that,
it’s going to be bothering your vocal cords. So neither of that is desirable. To feel
what the problem is inhale, and then blow out gently. The diaphragm went up into your ribcage and air came
out uncontrolled. So we want to be able to
control what the diaphragm is doing So we actually want to hold it down as best we can when we’re singing. If I
use the solar plexus it would look like this. So that’s my
diaphragm fully expanded. From the side ribs it looks like that. That’s my diaphragm
fully expanded. So now let’s see if we can do it. What
you have to do let’s try the solar plexus first. Put
your two fingers in this soft area of your body and I can feel the expansion when you
inhale diaphragmatically. It feels hard like the outside of a balloon
that you just expanded. So what we want to do to sing diaphragmatically is to keep this area hard. So after you inhale, now blow. You blow while pushing out on your solar
plexus. If you use the ribs, go ahead and inhale. When you exhale the ribs moves in and gets soft. So you want to keep
that hardness When you inhale, see if you can blow and keep the ribs out for as long as you can. That’s
what diaphragmatic singing is. Its ability to control the diaphragm, to
be able to hold it down for as long as you can. So now let’s go through a progression.
We’ll use the solar plexus first. Inhale. Blow. What would be good is about, if you can blow
for about 4-5 seconds. Because the average phrase if you sing
with breath efficiency, meaning about a tablespoon of air per
second, then the average sentence being a bout four seconds long, you will need very
little air. So for all the exercises if you
can do it for about 4 to 5 seconds then you’ll be in good shape. And of course if you
can do it longer, even better. But we’ll go about 4 to 5 seconds
for right now. So you inhale… Notice that my stomach moves in while this area stays out. Just a reminder, too that the shoulders
should be still. And there should be very little sternal movement. With a side of the ribs, if you can do that for about five
seconds then move on to the next one, which is the hiss. If you’re good with that then move on to
the next thing which is a buzzing sound. With the solar plexus, “zzzzz”. “zzzzz” “zzzzz” The buzzing sound with the side ribs. “zzzzz” “zzzzz” “zzzz” “zzzz” “zzzz” “zzzz” Now, I’ll move up to an “ee” sound. Like this, “eeee”. “eeee” “eeee” “eeee” With the side ribs , “eeee”. “eeee” What makes diaphragmatic singing tricky is
that it’s an intricate coordination between the
diaphragm and the stomach moving in. If either the diaphragm or the stomach
moves forcefully it will affect the
performance or the other. When the two work together
you will be at your highest efficiency when you sing. You’ll produce the
best tone with the least amount of effort. Let’s try a simple scale right now and see if we can now concentrate on
balancing the two. “ah – ah – ah – ahhhh – ah – ah – ah” “ah – ah – ah – ahhhh – ah – ah – ah” The ability to recover really tells you
if your stomach is doing the right thing or not. If you’re trying to sing with the
diaphragm but then you find breathing laborious, that it’s
hard to get ready for the next line, that means the stomach did not move
in correctly. Now what I call practical application. A
demonstration of using the diaphragm and stomach while I sing. “He’s like the song I might have known. if God had granted me a son. The summers die one by one. How soon they fly on and on. And I am old and will be gone.” “He’s like the son I might have known if God had granted
me a son. The summers die one by one how soon they fly on and on. And I am old and will be gone. And that’s diaphragmatic singing. I’m Craig
from If you found this video useful pleeease like it and subscribe. I’ll be releasing more
videos in the near future. Please leave a comment. I will address
all comments positive or negative. Please leave your
comments below. Thank you for your time.

63 thoughts on “How To Sing With Your Diaphragm (Part 2) – LESSON 4 – Craig Shimizu Voice”

  1. I thought that actually seeing how you breathe while singing was most helpful.  So the "loudness" and expression of a word or phrase are controlled by the diaphragm being pushed by the stomach?

  2. wow, this is like the best explanation I've seen of this and I've seen a ton. Kudos. Way to get right to it.

  3. Shimizu, you got this… do more videos because you will have results here, you are a good teacher.
    Can you help with something about diaphragm? You say some where "you can just relax your stomach so your breath come in. 1. I have sinus problem, hardly breath from nose, is that work anyway? 2. So, i can think that breathing is just relaxing my stomach and press in, or i need to pull some air, and where i put this power to blow air?

    Sorry about english, im from Brazil.
    Thank you again!

  4. Thank you ,thank you !What a great analysis of appoggio ! So happy ! I have this every day in my warming up and awakening of the body !Ready to sing without stretching the vocal cords , so naturally !! thank you !!! Keep going !!

  5. Wow! Thank you very much !
    I've seen so many videos teaching about how to sing using stomach but still did not really get what they mean. Yours is the one that made me really understand enough how the application of diaphragm and stomach work together , thanks alot !

  6. Wow! Thank you very much !
    I've seen so many videos teaching about how to sing using stomach but still did not really get what they mean. Yours is the one that made me really understand enough how the application of diaphragm and stomach work together , thanks alot !

  7. This is amazing Master! I've been working in my breathing since a year but mostly because I do mountain climing and my breathing has always been a problem. Since that year I actually had made a progress with it, but just until these exercises I have realize how much power the diaphragm have! Is amazing the diference of how far and cold I can exhale the air now! Thank you very much! I will keep and eye on your work 🙂

  8. Hey Craig. Great video and channel. You really go into the right level of details which shows you know what you're talking about which sets you apart from many other vocal channels / teachers. I have a few questions for you and a video request if I may:

    1) Does the stomach have to come in as you sing? I understand that the solar plexus and ribs need to stay firm but if we keep the stomach also firm is this actually wrong? I wouldn't imagine it wrong to keep the stomach also firm as the important thing is to keep the diaphragm from rising up?

    2) Until now I've been learning from another vocal program that for breath support we should instead be bringing the lower stomach in (as if we're stopping from urinating) and then harden that area and push down as if someone is about to punch you in the stomach. Just wondered your thoughts on that? I understand pushing down somewhat engages the solar plexus area by default, but i prefer your view to focus on solar plexus area as it seems more effective, unsurprisingly because it's closer to the diaphragm and easier to focus attention to.

    3) Would abdominal exercises help to make the solar plexus stronger and help us with breath support / singing?

    Request: I think the real key to singing is practicing actual songs as i'm sure that many of us find doing scales comparatively easier and then when it comes to doing the actual song we struggle a lot… Could you please do a video which focuses on how we should approach actual songs and also recommend good popular songs we should practice i.e. songs you believe are at a difficulty level which are not too easy and not too difficult for most people? I find that most of the music i enjoy listening to and singing are probably too challenging for myself to sing properly, so would really appreciate some recommendations of which songs are good to practice and how to approach their difficult areas. Maybe it would be great to have a series on videos which each focus on individual songs.

    Sorry for the long comment and request. Thanks in advance!

  9. Thanks for making this video! It's very helpful, esp. the part about the solar plexis. I still have a problem, however.

    I can't breathe in much air using only diaphragmatic breathing. I can breathe small amounts of air without my shoulders and chest moving, but my stomach is only able to expand just a little. I notice that your stomach is able to expand a lot, as if you've just had a big meal, but I look like I just only had a small one. When I try to breathe in as much air as possible with my diaphragm, I feel tightness and pain in my stomach area. Is this related to lung capacity or the size of one's rib cage?

  10. Thank you Craig.. No one else comes close to explaining this stuff in the way(s) that you do!! Much appreciated as always.

  11. Hello Craig, thank you a lot for your nice videos in a "kind and gentle voice". Your comment on the "fixed sternum" is an important takeaway for me. I just tested that I could also be in "support" if I kept the thorax completely collapsed. It seems that as long as the thorax is fixed, whether in a collapsed position or in a very high position, you're in support. Many thanks for your help and all the best to you !!

  12. Hey Craig, I've realized my biggest problem is my breathing. I found that I really don't know if I'm doing it right, and because Im not sure I make myself paranoid and give myself extra nerves that hold me back even more so than from me not breathing correctly. I go to a vocal coach and she told me that I should feel as if I'm "inflating a tube" of air from the bottom of my stomach and around my backside, but this is actually very hard for me to feel while I'm standing, it's easier when I'm sitting or leaning over. But in this video you teach that we should control the ribs and expand them and the solar plexus, and when I try to do that I don't see much of an expansion when I breathe in as I see when you do it, my side ribs don't expand either. It also kind of hurts when I do it because I feel like I'm really trying to push it out and expand it on my own and not with my breath, is that wrong? It should all be natural right? I'm just really confused, please help!

  13. best lessons on singing !!!! but i have a question : when we inhale ,are we supposed to do it through the nose? i read that inhaling through mouth is nit good for the chords ,makes them dry

  14. I will watch every video, thank you so much for giving them away for free..
    i really want to sing better without cracking 🙂

  15. craig,I find it difficult to keep pressure on ma solar plexus while moving in my stomach and exhaling at the same time. Please help

  16. Hi Craig! Thank you so much for another awesome video, I have a question! Been experimenting with the way I inhale these 3 days, constantly referring back to your video:) it definitely has helped in being able to hit higher notes easier than before and I definitely feel less strain and evidently less vocal fatigue. However, sometimes the intake of breath feels a bit weird.

    1️⃣So when I breathe in, I should feel my stomach, solar plexus and lower ribs move outwards right?

    So I tried to breathe when I lay down just to feel the difference. What I notice is that when I lay down, the bottom muscle below my belly button is completely relaxed but when I sit or stand, I kind of need to contact the muscle below the belly button to support/aid the breathing. It's like I had to hold the organs inside bc gravity is pulling them down. Is this ok? Or am I suppose to completely relax bc I find it a bit difficult to do so:)

    Then when I blow, the muscle below the belly button will still contract but the core transverse abdominis will set it and this contraction actually feels more obvious than the contraction of that muscle below the belly button.

    Sorry, is my question a bit confusing? 😭😅

    2️⃣Also, another question, there should be no expansion of the upper rib right? Just the lower rib?

    I think the first time I tried this breathing, my rib cage keeps expanding but I couldn't feel any expansion/stretch near the belly button so I reckon it's the wrong way.

    3️⃣Another thing is erm, after these few days, I change the way I breathe, I don't really squeeze the vocals to reach a pitch but sometimes I would be off pitch for a certain note, certain point in the song. Is it because my transverse abdominis is a little weak? I feel like I need to contract even more to hit the note but at that time I just feel like the muscle is like an untrained muscle needing constant workout in order to be able to hold/reach the note.
    (However, it feels better working that muscle than the one in my throat. I feel more relax and it feels as tho I'm just working out the transverse muscle).

    Once again, thank you so much!!! 👍🏼👌🏼You're really a good teacher that not only teaches well with good explaination and diagrams but also a person who 活到老学到老 (hahaha it is a Chinese idiom that translates to "One is never too old to learn". I see you keep learning from others to improve yourself and be able to share more knowledge generously with the people who wanna learn but have no access to a vocal teacher. 😄😊

    You really teach great techniques and give good tips! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 I could release so much tension in the throat area just within 3 days and it's bazaar. (I found your channel only 3 days ago) 🙆🏻🤗 back then I was annoyed because I couldn't grasp the breathing with diaphragm concept, I know that the tension I always get in my throat is caused by the wrong breathing method and the support.


  17. Craig thank you so much. I wish I'd had your advice 10 years ago. When I inhale I have noticed if my stomach is utterly relaxed it easily expands. However, my solar plexus and ribs do not. If I tighten up my lower stomach a little, I am able to expand solar plexus and ribs. However I am having to tighten lower abdomen muscle to do this. Am I on the right path to use a little lower stomach muscle in order to inflate plexus and ribs? Or Should I just let my stomach totally drop and expand? Keep in mind when I do this, my solar plexus does not expand at all.

  18. I'm having trouble expanding my ribs and belly at the same time while inhaling . Am I suppose to expand ribs with air first then belly ? Or belly first then ribs?

  19. If I understood correctly, You need to tense a bit the plexus and the same with the stomach… But it can tense your throat, so I think those contractions must be subtle, looking always for a physical pleasure.
    Thank you my love.

  20. I had the flu in April it was bad in bed 2 weeks and another 2+ weeks just to get my energy level back. Needless to say I lost my singing voice. I was gentle with my scales and warm ups which helped me get most of my middle range back but still something wasn't right. Just watched your videos on diaphragm breathing. BINGO! It's back, immediately! And Better than ever. A big old thank you and Namatse'

  21. Hey there Craig! Love, love all your lessons, and style.
    Could i ask about this exercise: (from 4:15 – 4:45 or so). Does this contradict what you're saying here? (ie is it a bad idea to train on this exercise, in your opinion?)
    And it seems that others sometimes say, we should definitely try to maintain the diaphragm/solar plexus out, BUT it's eventually gonna tighten and recede, and that's okay. When you're singing, does your solar plexus (and ribs) ONLY collapse at the very very end of singing (ie not between each phrase)?
    Thank you for your time, and all these videos.

  22. Very nice. Thank you. Craig, at all times in your waking life, do you now breathe through your diaphragm, while reading the paper, conversing with friends, gardening, etc.? Is that a good goal to have?

  23. I am studying the Indian bansuri (bamboo flute) and would like to expand my breathing capacity to play pure tones for up to thirteen seconds. I think this lesson will be helpful. Do you agree? Should I make any modifications? How many hours per day may I safely practice this? I do not want to overdo it, as you might imagine. Kindly, Matt

  24. Hello Craig. I have few questions for you.
    When I breathe in, as you explained in previous video – (letting the air freely in the belly- the recovery ) -I don't feel at all or very little expansion in the ribs or solar plexus. Is it something i should do myself, by forcing the ribs going out?
    2. You show here the ribs and the solar plexus separately, does it mean that I can choose one of them to concentrate on ? For exemple if I don't feel at all control on solar plexus can I just concentrate on ribs?

    3 – you are saying in this video ( 9:30) that if either of one : the breath or the diaphragm moves forcefully it's not good, they will effect each other.
    The breath – I understand it has to be kind of a natural pooling in.
    But the diaphragm- that's what I feel when I try to keep my ribs open I kind of forced them to stay open otherwise they go in.

    I would appreciate your answer.
    Thank you!!!

  25. Your teaching about breathing is easiest and resonate most with actual experience of my learning how to sign from diaphragm. Thank you so so much. Bless your teaching!:)

  26. Thanks a lot for the detailed and easy exercises again. I have a couple of questions. How long of these exercise do you recommend for beginning stage singers to build support?

    Another question is regarding voice type. You can sing both classical and pop, correct? when you sang the "God on High…" song, did you use the classical voice or mixed voice? I am all confused about these different types of voices.

    For example, when I sing Whitney's Houston's "One Moment in Time", for high notes, I tried to sing with chest voice, and sounded strained. There seems to be different theories out. Some teaching videos say keep practicing chest sound to be able to go a little higher, some say bring in head voice, and some say use mixed voice….. It's one of my burning questions.:)

    Please help!

  27. Hey Craig, I am having troubles with getting the ribs to expand. I have tried to focus on both the solar plexus and side of the ribs, but I can only get my stomach to expand. How do I fix that? I have tried lying down and breathing, but my rib cage still does not move? What do I do?

  28. Hi Craig, thanks for this video! How do you relax the stomach while keeping the solar plexus engaged? I feel like trying to keep the solar plexus hard ends up tightening my muscles, I feel a tightness in my shoulders. How can I practice isolating just the diaphragm alone?

  29. I must say that you have made the lesson so understandable. Your video is very helpful to me.
    Thank you so much.

  30. Umm.. How i sing diaphragmatically is that i fill my lungs completely, like with no space left in my lungs and my whole chest and abdomen tightens obviously because i fill them completely then i am i doing something bad or wrong which gonna took a toll on my singing skills in a long run?

  31. Sensei, when i try to harden diaphragm , it make "the navel/abdomen pull in" become harder, what technique/muscle to do it correctly ?

  32. Whoa, this is really great.

    I saw many videos teach about singing using the diaphragm. All they teach is just how to practice. Not how to inspect the problem.
    As you told to touch the soft area under the chest and keep them like a filled balloon. I instantly know that I do it wrong all along. As I inspect it, my muscle suddenly knows how to move. I make my breath easier in instant. But I think I need to keep practicing. Because it is somewhat like an exercise that takes some energy to do it.

  33. Hi Craig I have Another question. I found out that when I sing I push out my solar plexus for about a second when I sing and then lose it. What am I doing wrong?

  34. I don't know what to say except for THANK YOU! I am practically crying for the simplicity and clarity of this video. Amazing how much confusion can exist on this topic. Thank you so much Craig!

  35. is this what breath support is? (keeping the diaphragm down using a hard solar plexus and expanded ribs? should this feel rigid and pressuring at your throat at first? I can't seem to lower my larynx in the recovery breath during singing

  36. When i try to breath from diaphragm ,when I breath stomach doesn't blows out instead it blows in when I take a breath please tell me how to overcome it

  37. I always feel my vocal cord has been bothered while exhale,now I finally got the answer from your vedio。Thanks a lot for the wonderful explanation。

  38. I've been whatching another famous signing coach's (KTVA) videos for a while, and in only 2 of YOUR videos i've learned more than many of his. You have a wonderful way of teaching, explaning in a simple way but cristal clear the WHAT, the WHY and the HOW of each subject. Thanks a million and keep doing this.

  39. just a little question. i always unconciously start to tighten my pelvic floor. any tips to keep it relax? thanks

  40. Your pictures and demonstrations are excellent, even better than coaches who have millions of subscribers.

  41. Wow thank you soo much Shimizu! I tried to sing chandelier and I had sooo much more breath while using my diaphragm right. Thank you so much again!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *