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Support Sensations

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I have recently bought Jamie Venderas book on breathing and have gone back to the beginning concerning breath and support because it's something I don't think I have fully grasped and is preventing me from taking other areas of my vocals further. A rather new concept to me was using the muscles below the diaphragm (kegel muscles?) as a means of support. I came about this concept whilst learning to scream which obviously requires a large amount of support.

My question regarding this is what should I be feeling to know I am using this means of support correctly? at the moment felling I'm getting is as if I was to stop myself going to the toilet mid flow, like an upwards clenching. Is this what I should be feeling. It feels strange at the moment but I'm not sure if that's because I'm not used to doing it or whether I am doing it incorrectly.

My second question is about the amount of support. Obviously for quieter/softer notes I will require less support, so should these muscles below the diaphragm only be engaged when large amounts of support are required?

Thanks :D

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From my understanding of the physiology of the voice, the Kegel muscles are to be employed throughout the entirety of the phrase. softer notes actually require more support because one is holding back the breath or keeping the breath pressure at a consistent rate.

Hope that helps, and if you have more questions, feel free to ask, and I'll help you the best I can. :)

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I have recently bought Jamie Venderas book on breathing and have gone back to the beginning concerning breath and support because it's something I don't think I have fully grasped and is preventing me from taking other areas of my vocals further. A rather new concept to me was using the muscles below the diaphragm (kegel muscles?) as a means of support. I came about this concept whilst learning to scream which obviously requires a large amount of support.

My question regarding this is what should I be feeling to know I am using this means of support correctly? at the moment felling I'm getting is as if I was to stop myself going to the toilet mid flow, like an upwards clenching. Is this what I should be feeling. It feels strange at the moment but I'm not sure if that's because I'm not used to doing it or whether I am doing it incorrectly.

My second question is about the amount of support. Obviously for quieter/softer notes I will require less support, so should these muscles below the diaphragm only be engaged when large amounts of support are required?

These muscles form the the floor of the abdominal cavity, so strengthening them helps to prevent damage, i.e., inguinal hernia, under situations of high abdominal pressure. I think its fine to do them for their benefit on overall muscle tone in the area.

However, the art of singing, even when it includes screaming, does not necessarily involve these high abdominal pressures. Powerful vocalism can be done with less effort than most imagine.

To my thinking, the key to breath technique is to use as little exhalation force as can be produced, balanced by the downward flex of the diaphragm, so that the lung (subglottic) pressure is in the right range to produce the free, powerful tone. A very great deal of this training is the gentle use of the diaphragm to balance the potential energy which was stored in the abdominals during the inhale, and then to learn the subtle adjustments of ab and diaphragm action to keep the subglottic pressure at the desired levels for the dynamic being used.

In this balance, it may be useful to have good muscle tone in the muscle you ask about, but in my view, they do not power exhalation, they just provide continuity to the strength of the abdominal wall... a good thing.

As to what the exercises feel like... your description seems to fit those found with a google search.

Now, if you want an exercise that will substantially affect muscle action in the entire lower abdomen, try this....

Stand with your shoulder blades gently touching a wall, with your heels about 4=6" out from the walll. Now, contract your lower abdomen so that your lower spine and small of your back go close to the wall, or even touch it. This motion has been characterized by some as a 'bun tuck', but the effect is to cause a firming contraction of the lower abs. In this position, take a slow breath, and then onset a note with the hips in this position.

I think you will be pleased with the result, as the muscles in this position and action are directly involved in the creation of exhalation force.

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I have recently bought Jamie Venderas book on breathing and have gone back to the beginning concerning breath and support because it's something I don't think I have fully grasped and is preventing me from taking other areas of my vocals further. A rather new concept to me was using the muscles below the diaphragm (kegel muscles?) as a means of support. I came about this concept whilst learning to scream which obviously requires a large amount of support.

My question regarding this is what should I be feeling to know I am using this means of support correctly? at the moment felling I'm getting is as if I was to stop myself going to the toilet mid flow, like an upwards clenching. Is this what I should be feeling. It feels strange at the moment but I'm not sure if that's because I'm not used to doing it or whether I am doing it incorrectly.

My second question is about the amount of support. Obviously for quieter/softer notes I will require less support, so should these muscles below the diaphragm only be engaged when large amounts of support are required?

Thanks :D

if you need to know what good support can feel like, note how you feel when you do your lip bubbles. lip bubbles done well (consistent, with no breaks in the fluttering and a flappy and smooth as opposed to tight and rigid lip action) is actually a good barometer of breath support skill.

if you do good "lip bubbles" you are most likely adept at supporting tone.

also, one can almost feel like you're inhaling when you sing. but, that's a harder concept to explain....lol!!

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