Here is a fantastic exercise to develop your breath control. Lilli Lehmann approved of Oskar Guttmann’s book ‘Gymnastics for the Voice’. This exercise is taken from his book.
Stand in Oskar Guttmann’s base position (I blogged about this in an earlier post). Breathe in through the nose, suspend for 5 seconds and then exhale through the mouth.
‘Breathing with Interruption’ will develop your self-awareness. You will discover there is no need to take in a lot of air to begin with. In fact, taking too much will make the exercise difficult. However, as you increase the duration of the interruption/suspension, you will find you need increasingly more air. Accordingly, you will become aware of not just your abdomen expanding, but also your rib cage and even your back.
In addition to developing your self-awareness, ‘Breathing with Interruption’ will also develop your skills in training your ribs to remain outwards. You will need this skill when you are learning the Great Scale or singing long passages.
Below is the diagram from Mr Guttmann’s book ‘Gymnastics for the Voice’ and a video of a demonstration of the exercise. The video is very boring but the location, the Northern Cape of South Africa, is very pretty!