I am taking singing lessons where the teacher taught me to breath by focusing on the movements of the stomach.

However in this video, the teacher indicates I should breath by expanding my rib cage.

These 2 movements seem very different to me. Are both techniques valid, or is one better?

  • FWIW, I was taught that the rib cage should be raised and steady, and that breathing should be from the diaphragm (the sheet of muscle below the lungs; movement of the stomach may be a rough consequence of this). I understand that's because moving the rib cage is slow, less well controlled, and has wider effects on voice production, whereas the diaphragm is tuned for exactly this.
    – gidds
    Feb 12, 2022 at 12:23
  • In breathing for clarinet, I’ve been told my shoulders should not move. I suggest discussing details with your teacher - that’s what you pay then for! There should be a lot of tiny details about breathing that are important and it is very helpful to work on fundamentals early rather than fix them later. Feb 12, 2022 at 17:13

2 Answers 2


Expand your stomach to lower your diaphragm. You'll take in a lot of air. If you then lift and expand your rib cage you'll take in even more.
So the answer is: both.


The breathing apparatus are of course connected: this is not as much an anatomically accurate advice as it is one of where to focus control for best results. A focus on the lower abdomen helps keeping the channels in between pliable for the communication of finely controlled pressure (pressure is force per area and the diaphragm has a large cross section). Of course there is no air touching the diaphragm. Maintaining the connection to the abdomen also maintains the resonance paths, giving a sustained quality to the produced sound.

Additionally, the throat should not feel like a constriction: essentially one aims for a feeling of connecting the diaphragm's action with the mask where the sound is emitted, with the throat being relaxed and not the principal source of either sound or air.

Anatomically, of course, this is a load of nonsense, but the visuals of that description help to avoid constricting your airways in places and manners detrimental to sound production and vocal health, and there are centuries of experience that thinking and teaching in those terms produces good results even if X-ray videos of good singers would be more scientifically accurate.

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