Understanding the Difference between Breath Support and Breath Management

You may find it hard to believe, but these are 2 of the most commonly misused terms in singing. So before we start to look at the difference between breath support and breath management, let’s first take a look at what’s involved in the breathing process:

The Nasal Passage
The Mouth (Oral Cavity)
The Trachea
The Lungs
The Diaphragm

Did you know it’s a fact of everyday life that most people only use around one third of their lung capacity on a daily basis for breathing and talking?

It’s true, however, by understanding and learning how the breathing mechanism actually works, you can ‘re-learn’ to use the whole of your lung capacity until it becomes a permanent daily habit.


If you’ve ever watched a newborn baby breathe, you will see its tummy rise as it inhales and fall as it exhales. This is the body’s way of breathing naturally. As we get older we develop thought processes and bad habits which actually make most people breathe in the completely opposite way.

Not only will re-learning to breath naturally dramatically improve your singing voice and take away lots of unwanted stress and pressure, it will also help you to develop a more healthy way of breathing by allowing more oxygen to enter the body.


There is an element of caution to be taken into consideration when talking out breathing processes though and that is:

Although you must physically feel the breathing process working when you are ‘re-learning’ – once it becomes natural again, you must learn to completely relax the process and allow it to happen naturally.

How many times have you heard ‘Breathe from your diaphragm?’ or ‘give it more support by pushing from your tummy?’

While these phrases are commonly used by teachers of singing, they do not help promote a freely produced singing tone. Yes the core has to be strong, stable and fully supported, but the diaphragm (which cannot be directly controlled) must be allowed to do its job naturally.

So the difference between breath support and breath management is simply this:

Breath Support
Engaging the core muscles so you have a nicely expanded rib cage and anchored body to allow the breathing process to operate naturally.

Breath Management (otherwise known as Breath Control)
The process of managing the airflow so that you can control tone quality and how long a note or phrase lasts.

There are lots of breathing exercises and ways to maximise breath control over time and these should be developed on a daily basis in order to help you improve your singing voice.

Please feel free to leave any comments on this or any other post as I always love to hear from anyone interested in improving their singing.

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