One of the first things my teacher, Patricia Taylor, taught me was to SPLAT.
She picked it up from an American singer who was judging at the Bournemouth Music Competitions Festival and I’ve since heard it used by many coaches. SPLAT is an acronym for ‘singers please loosen abdominal tension’ and is aimed at achieving complete relaxation of the tummy muscles immediately ahead of breathing in.
I’ve talked before about not placing emphasis on the in-breath. How it should just happen by allowing the airways to open and imagining your lungs like an open plastic bag into which air simply drops with no additional effort.
While we shouldn’t focus on the in-breath during performance, we can increase lung capacity outside of the practice room. SPLATting is one of the easiest ways to create more space in the lungs. By truly letting the belly go (I always think of Jabba the Hutt from Star Wars – a giant, slug-like creature whose belly splays out on the floor beneath him) we allow the diaphragm to flatten and, hey presto, our ‘plastic bag’ is suddenly much bigger.
By working on our ability to SPLAT when doing other forms of exercise like yoga or running, we build muscle memory that should simply kick in during singing practice or performance.
Today’s tip is to breath out fully – expel all the air from the lungs – before completely relaxing the belly. When you SPLAT fully, it’s a lovely, liberating feeling.
Stay cheered, stay healthy and don’t be afraid to let it all go! Lots of love xx