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Support: or how to stop squeezing and love the high notes?

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Fred
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I have a feeling I'm not fully understanding support or grasping its' meaning, leading my throat to squeeze out the air, which in turn leads to the two muscles under the larynx to tighten and strain on high notes. I have no trouble singing them any longer but I get the stuffed potato throat for a couple of hours afterwards which it is not right.

I can hold my breath in these two ways:

1. Breathing into to my stomach area and "clutching" at the throat, relaxing the body and holding it there like a balloon. Letting out air result in a whispery sigh with almost zero tone (but you can speak in it).

2. Breathing into my stomach area and kind of just holding the air there. Letting the air out empties the lungs almost immediately, just collapsing. I can however breath slowly out.

I am so assuming the second is more correct so I'm using that for the below

I get the impression of support in these ways

1. Tightening the abs area or where the stomach is. Does absolutely nothing. Sometimes I feel the sinus ways tightening but it could just be imaginary.

2. Pulling the stomach inwards while still holding back breath, sternum and ribs lifted. Breath becomes a little shorter and I find I still have lots of air left in the chest area.

3. Moaning and not thinking about it, just trying to hold an open throat. I completely empty the lungs slowly but the sensation of soft palate nudging is gone. It feels more like pulling the notes out of the throat, stomping and slamming them into the roof of the mouth. Sounds kind of like it too.

In none of the above I feel any added "pressure" from below and the belly. The only difference I can feel is the the more air I let trough the more I feel something in the soft palate. This is what I think is causing me the still squeeze the throat.

So do anyone have some exercises for support or any ideas how to topple a squeezing throat?

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Ah! I have now. Excellent resources and spot on discussion. Thank you.

Had a little go at 'sss'ing and 'v'ing and I definitely feel something going in there. Much more of an open "feel" in the throat/glottis.

Shame it't the middle of the night so I can shout it out and try it. Hit E5 today so I'm eager to try something up there with support. Probably have to let it sink in first though *sigh*

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Ah! I have now. Excellent resources and spot on discussion. Thank you.

Had a little go at 'sss'ing and 'v'ing and I definitely feel something going in there. Much more of an open "feel" in the throat/glottis.

Shame it't the middle of the night so I can shout it out and try it. Hit E5 today so I'm eager to try something up there with support. Probably have to let it sink in first though *sigh*

Fred: Here is some more stuff : http://www.punbb-hosting.com/forums/themodernvocalist/viewtopic.php?id=45&p=2

Check out post #29 for a good summary of exercises for estabilishing breath balance for singing.

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Thank you Steven!

It's too soon to tell but I've been experimenting all morning and I can definitely feel something now. The longer the exhale the more I have to concentrate on holding the ribs up/out, and "work it" harder. It's easier on a note because I can hear the resonance bounce in my soft palate much more clearly when I "hold my breath with support" so to speak. I also found out that the hardest thing to do so far is a steady exhale, then hit a note for a short time and continue the same slow exhale in one go.

Three things I've noticed so far:

First I have to pull the navel area in to exhale, which is on par what most schools seems to refer to as correct breathing. Otherwise the throat constricts or the ribs wants to cave in.

Another thing I've notice is how hard it is to describe these feelings in text, and kudos to all you that succeed.

Lastly. Damn, this is hard. This kind of breathing is close to what I have been doing at the gym, but yet completely different, in a good way.

When I feel I succeeded a breath I can hold on for 10-15 seconds at most. When doing the other gym kind of breathing I can hold on for minutes but the throat constricts unless I really really consciously think it away. The supported breathing feels like someone poured lube into my throat and I can raise or soften the volume without any extra push or anything. And the soft palate buzz like a happy bee (can hear it more than feel it though). High notes seem to require more of this support thing, whatever it is.

Cheers

Fred

/edit

OH MY GOD! I just sang through my whole setlist, which contain deliberately difficult pieces, without strain hitting the falsetto and high notes easy as a piece of cake. I'm laughing myself happy here!

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Thank you Steven!

It's too soon to tell but I've been experimenting all morning and I can definitely feel something now. The longer the exhale the more I have to concentrate on holding the ribs up/out, and "work it" harder. It's easier on a note because I can hear the resonance bounce in my soft palate much more clearly when I "hold my breath with support" so to speak. I also found out that the hardest thing to do so far is a steady exhale, then hit a note for a short time and continue the same slow exhale in one go.

Three things I've noticed so far:

First I have to pull the navel area in to exhale, which is on par what most schools seems to refer to as correct breathing. Otherwise the throat constricts or the ribs wants to cave in.

Another thing I've notice is how hard it is to describe these feelings in text, and kudos to all you that succeed.

Lastly. Damn, this is hard. This kind of breathing is close to what I have been doing at the gym, but yet completely different, in a good way.

When I feel I succeeded a breath I can hold on for 10-15 seconds at most. When doing the other gym kind of breathing I can hold on for minutes but the throat constricts unless I really really consciously think it away. The supported breathing feels like someone poured lube into my throat and I can raise or soften the volume without any extra push or anything. And the soft palate buzz like a happy bee (can hear it more than feel it though). High notes seem to require more of this support thing, whatever it is.

Cheers

Fred

/edit

OH MY GOD! I just sang through my whole setlist, which contain deliberately difficult pieces, without strain hitting the falsetto and high notes easy as a piece of cake. I'm laughing myself happy here!

fred and steve,

i'm not saying this is right, but one of the ways i learned the feeling of support and disciplined myself to stop inhaling too strongly is by exercising or singing lines of songs on very minute inhales or on a the tail end of an exhale. i forgot where the hell i read this idea, but it sure helped me a lot. i think it also helps to learn that when you hear a singer who may sound like they geared up to hit this powerful note...they actually may have not. i think when you learn that volume does not equate to power or level of inhale it sure starts to make sense. i can sing a very powerful note at the end of an exhaled breath better than a geared up super low deep breath these days....steve, please comment if i'm off base....lol!

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Tried that for a while and find sense in it too. I do find it a lot harder to raise or push out the ribs without inhaling but will give it a shot in the coming days. I can do it ok on empty lungs if the belly/navel is pushed in tightly, which is what I'm supposed to do anyway right?

If anything it sounds good to know you can still sing clearly to the very end of your last breath, so to speak. I planned on doing that in any case :)

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Tried that for a while and find sense in it too. I do find it a lot harder to raise or push out the ribs without inhaling but will give it a shot in the coming days. I can do it ok on empty lungs if the belly/navel is pushed in tightly, which is what I'm supposed to do anyway right?

If anything it sounds good to know you can still sing clearly to the very end of your last breath, so to speak. I planned on doing that in any case :)

Bob, Fred: The small breath, "microbreath", or "teacup" breath is just taking in the right amount of air for the phrase to be sung. There are a number of teachers who include this idea in their breath training kit... because it works!

The reason goes to the physiology of breathing. Because an inhalation stores potential energy in the body, (energy that helps to power the exhale,) when more air is inhaled there is more potential energy to be managed with diaphragmatic action. Its just _much_ less work to master breath management when there are small amounts of energy to manage.

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The supported breathing feels like someone poured lube into my throat and I can raise or soften the volume without any extra push or anything. And the soft palate buzz like a happy bee (can hear it more than feel it though). High notes seem to require more of this support thing, whatever it is.

Fred: I wanted to comment on the 'soft palate buzz'. Depending on the vowels you sing, this sound and sensation can be quite strong.

As to the other sensations, and the ability to raise or soften the volume without the sense of pushing... IMO all good. Sometimes, this sensation has been described as 'the voice floating on the breath'.

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