Singing in a Corset: Can You Do It (and How)?!

Singing in a Corset

Once you start a waist training regimen, you’ll be amazed by all the things you can do.  It’s a common misconception that women in corsets are prone to swooning, but if that was true, Victorian ladies wouldn’t have gotten much done.

If women can run in high heels, it should come as no shock that they can carry on perfectly normal lives in a corset.  Still, you wouldn’t necessarily go hiking in your stilettos, and by the same token, there are some restrictions to what you should attempt while wearing your corset.

Running a marathon, swimming, and doing anything that requires excessive bending should probably be avoided, for example.  After all, a rigid, steel boned corset is designed to compress your midsection, and there are going to be minor limitations associated with that.

What if you sing for fun or professionally?  Not only could this breath-heavy activity be part of your daily routine, but you may actually have to perform in a corset as part of your costume.  Is it possible to sing in a tightly cinched corset?  How can you accomplish this task when your main tool – your diaphragm – is unable to fully expand?

The good news is, it’s possible, as evidenced by generations of female opera singers.  The trickier part, of course, is how to do it.  Here are a few things you should know about singing in a corset.

A Note on Breathing

Breathing is an essential task our brains managed for us, so most people never give it a second thought.  As a singer, you probably know a bit more about this subject than most, since breath control is especially important when you’re trying to sustain a high C, for example.

Before we get into how to breathe in a corset, let’s spare a minute to discuss the ins and outs of breathing.  There are two main components involved in breathing: the lungs and the diaphragm.  The diaphragm is a band of muscle that rests horizontally beneath the lungs, essentially separating the top and bottom portions of your torso.

In order to draw in air, your diaphragm moves downward, creating space to expand your lungs and fill them with.  When it moves upward, it forces air out of your lungs.  If you look at a sleeping baby, you’ll notice the tummy rising and falling as the diaphragm helps the body to inhale and exhale.

If you’re at all familiar with how corsetry works, you’ve no doubt realized the potential problem.  When you tighten a corset around your abdomen, focusing the tightest part at your waist, how are you supposed to use your diaphragm properly to expand your lungs so you can belt out a tune?  Never fear – you’re not the first to face this conundrum, and plenty of singers before you have figured out a basic formula.

Don’t Overtighten

I mean, duh, right?  This seems like a no-brainer, but if you’re a long-time waist trainer, chances are you’ve gotten pretty comfortable with a corset tight enough to make the average person uncomfortable, especially if you’re a tightlacer.

If you’re going to sing, however, you’ll have to rethink your strategy just a bit to accommodate deeper breathing.  You may not want to compromise your waist training in the slightest degree, but neither do you want your voice to sound thin and reedy, or worse, for the world to go black as you pass out from lack of oxygen.

A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to wedge at least 2-3 fingers (stacked, not flat) between your skin and your corset when the laces are tightened.  True, this might not be your preferred level of compression for waist training, but once you’re done singing for the day, you can always tighten the laces.

Always Use a Seasoned Corset

You may be tempted to wear a shiny, new corset for a singing performance, but this is a major no-no.  Would you wear brand-new stilettos to a night at the club, where you know you’ll be standing in agony for hours?  Of course not!  It’s imperative that you season your corset to hug your curves with comfort, and that you get familiar with the feel of a corset before you undertake any activities that require intensive breathing.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Like any skill, singing is one that you have to hone over time if you want to be good at it.  When you change up your routine by adding abdominal compression to the mix, you’re essentially going to have to relearn some trained behaviors.

What it really comes down to is expanding your breath into your upper back and shoulders, instead of just your abdomen.  If you don’t lace too tightly, you can still use your diaphragm, but when you learn to expand into the lats (lower back), traps (upper back/shoulders), and pecs (chest), you’ll get the full range of breath needed to sing.  It may take some practice to perfect, but it’s definitely possible.

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