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Support - Just need your opinion :)

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Mikerush
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Hi,

I've been learning to sing for about a month now and I'm attempting to teach myself the basics. (Will get a teacher when I come across something I'm seriously stuck on)

For a while I got stuck on support. Nothing I did seemed to be working, there was no "muscular antagonism".

I think my problem was that I thought that once I learnt how to breath so that my stomach relaxed out I was done. Recently I've been working on breathing in a way that expands both the ribs at the back and lets the stomach/abdomen expand at the same time. The only way I could achieve this is either by lying on the ground front first and letting the back ribs expand or by squatting very close to the floor.

This has helped me immensely but my problem now is that when I try to keep my back ribs expanded I sometimes start to shake. I have to say that I'm not straining or pushing at all when I do this, it's more like that feeling you get when you crouch for a while? Am I heading in the right direction? I feel like I am but just want to get some opinions :) Also a lot of the time when I try to expand the ribs I accidentally "flex" them and they contract. I'm guessing I want the opposite. I'm going to try panting with my ribs out once I finish this.

Sorry for the amount of questions but I just have one other thing to ask!

Whilst doing some random exercises in the car recently I felt something change and the bone just behind the nose start resonating/vibrating like crazy! It felt really good as any tension I had vanished and there was just a strong sense of pressure behind my nose. I read about mask/forward placement a while back and thought that maybe that was it?

I searched this forum for the term mask and found this post - http://themodernvocalist.punbb-hosting.com/viewtopic.php?pid=3760#p3760

The "TH" sound was amazing to help me feel the sympathetic vibrations in my face but it didn't bring back that behind the nose feeling.

I'm yet to experience that sensation again :(

Just wondering if someone can shed light on this? Have you ever felt the same sensation? Weird thing is that usually I'm pretty closed off to the feelings of "placement".

Also I don't necessarily subscribe to the use of the word "mask" or any other words I use, they're simply the closest word I can use to describe it.

One other thing, I mention that I have only been learning for about a month now but I have been researching and reading on the subject for quite a while now. I only mention this so that people don't think that I'm overcomplicating things for myself.

Thanks for reading this essay of a post and I really appreciate any opinions you have to share :)

Mike

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before you can support, may i suggest you learn about diaphragmatic breathing and posture.

starting last week sally morgan "sing like you speak" is posting a series of yt videos on breathing. maybe you can watch those. they're all free.

she takes you through things nice and slow and builds up with each new video.

.

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hey Mikerush

may I suggest getting to a teacher as soon as possible. Right now if you're just starting to sing you haven't trained alot of bad habbits yet. A good teacher w a good ear can make you progress so much faster. Imagine you train bad habbits on your own it might set you back.

If finances are the problem I can give you a few free basic lessons until you save up.

Pertaining to your question about support. Support is very important, but I don't believe in it being thought straight of the bat. I think once a singer has formed an idea about good closure, he will naturally will feel resistance as he pits airpressure against it. This control of the breath vs that resistance of the cords creates the breath pressure essential for singing. Not even all singers support equally, not all styles require as MUCH support. Atm there's so much information out there that alot of starters get lost in it ;>

Kind regards

Elrathion (same skypename)

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I'm with Daniel and Elrathion about the cord closure being very important because you can support all you want but if you're letting too much air leak out by singing a breathy tone then you will always run out of breath.

On the other end of the spectrum if you are keeping the body open and holding back the breath pressure with your torso that will free up the vocal folds to do their job without undue tension.

In my opinion the number one cause of tension is not having enough control over the breath with the body. Think about it...Your vocal folds are only about the size of your pinky nails, so they can't handle the amount of pressure that we place on them by exhaling passively. What happens when they can't control they air flow??? Other muscles around the throat try to assist in helping them close. This causes your larynx to rise, your tongue to pull back into the throat, and will cause your folds to create a breathy or pressed tone.

The solution to this problem is to regulate the air flow with the body so the vocal folds are not bombarded by excess air pressure. I personally start out with doing some stretches around the core while focusing on breathing into those areas low in the body, then I lay on the floor and perform relaxed low breaths for 10-15 mins, then while laying on the floor I do the hissing exercise for 15secs, 30secs, 40 secs, and if possible 50 secs.

The key is to maintain the feeling in your lower body that you have while hissing. There should be no pushing or pulling just a slow and steady release of air. If you are doing this correctly you will feel very fatigued in your lower body after doing this for a few mins which is completely normal. As you practice do this everyday before vocalizing you will gain more strength around the lower back and core and better breath support. Good Luck

One more thing "singing should be done on the gesture of inhalation" This means when you breath in and expand these areas of the body just stay expanded. Simple as that :)

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Hi,

...

Whilst doing some random exercises in the car recently I felt something change and the bone just behind the nose start resonating/vibrating like crazy! It felt really good as any tension I had vanished and there was just a strong sense of pressure behind my nose. I read about mask/forward placement a while back and thought that maybe that was it?

The "TH" sound was amazing to help me feel the sympathetic vibrations in my face but it didn't bring back that behind the nose feeling.

I'm yet to experience that sensation again :(

Just wondering if someone can shed light on this? Have you ever felt the same sensation? Weird thing is that usually I'm pretty closed off to the feelings of "placement".

...

Mike

Hi Mike!

The sensation of that pressure is an effect of what you did elsewhere with your voice use. The particular note/vowel combination, amount of breath energy, cord closure, epilaryngeal posture... all of those contribute, and varying any of them will change the sensations.

Of the things you described, IMO the most important was your comment about how the tension had vanished. Something about the approach you took did not provoke unnecessary constriction. If you are interested to re-experience this, set up the circumstances in which you discovered it the first time: in the car, playing around with the same kinds of pitch/vowel patterns... whatever you remember you were doing.

In general, the intensity and location of vibration sensations correlate with efficiency of phonation and a particular balance of resonance that has strong frequency content. The sensations you mention are not universal among singers, but are fairly common among those who sing with strong high frequency content, and particularly when the vowel is tuned to emphasize particular higher harmonics.

Because of this, I think in your prior car experimentation you used an efficient, unpressured phonation, and happened to pick a good vowel/note combination. For male voices, there are couple vowels that are helpful in this kind of rediscovery: dark OH, as in the word 'shone', in the notes from the F above middle C to the A above that, and the OE as in the word 'foot' from that G to the Bb above. If you play around with those, making them clear in the middle of your range (perhaps by using the voiced TH as a starting point), and then sliding upward into these higher ranges maintaining the vowel, you will find those moments where suddenly the sensations intensify.

I hope this is helpful.

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Hi,

Will write a response to each person!

Videohere - I wrote that first post really quickly and neglected to mention that my point was about breathing and posture haha! Completely agree with you about that as I don't feel like I'm doing either of the two correctly.

Just had a look at them and her videos look promising so will stick with it :)

Found Alexander Massey's videos also which were incredibly helpful and informative so hopefully I'm getting back on track.

Elrathion - May have found a decent local teacher so will look into that. I appreciate the offer but I don't have a webcam so I'll have to decline. Thanks though!

Thinking on what you said I have a suspicion that I haven't learnt to properly breath yet but have already felt the sensation of support (like a pressure/contraction in your abs that sometimes feels connected to your back?).

Danielformica - This is related to Elrathion's post also. I've always understood closure as simply meaning a non breathy tone without being pressed/forced. So like a balance? I think I have alright closure as my tone is pretty strong without it sounding gripped (generally). If so that might explain why I've already felt support without learning proper breathing.

izzle1989 - What you're saying makes me feel that I've definitely experienced support before but without properly breathing first. I hear that quote banded about a lot so thanks for simplifying it! Will definitely give your suggestions a go + the stretches which are a new idea to me.

Steven Fraser - I remember that I was doing some "NEE" exercises at the time. (same as "NAY's" - I know some people hate them but they seem to work for me). I only felt it for about 5 seconds before it vanished.

Will definitely try and get that sensation back again. It seemed to be when I wasn't really focused and relaxed.

I'm interested when you talk about singing with "strong high frequency content" Is this a desirable way to sing for an entire song or is it just another type of musical expression. In other words if I can get this vibration/resonance to appear is it ok to use it all the time or is it the equivalent of belting (Subjective term I know) throughout an entire song (In the sense that it doesn't suit the song)?

Will give those vowels a go and report back if I can get that sensation to reappear!

Just remembered something else. You mentioned cord closure earlier and when this sensation appeared I got the distinct feeling that my cords were teetering between falsetto and modal voice. It was like I kind of loosened them but stopped them just before I flipped to falsetto.

Thanks very much for you're help everyone, I really appreciate it! Definitely feel like I'm starting to move in the right direction now :)

Mike

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Hi,

Will write a response to each person!

Videohere - I wrote that first post really quickly and neglected to mention that my point was about breathing and posture haha! Completely agree with you about that as I don't feel like I'm doing either of the two correctly.

Just had a look at them and her videos look promising so will stick with it :)

Found Alexander Massey's videos also which were incredibly helpful and informative so hopefully I'm getting back on track.

Elrathion - May have found a decent local teacher so will look into that. I appreciate the offer but I don't have a webcam so I'll have to decline. Thanks though!

Thinking on what you said I have a suspicion that I haven't learnt to properly breath yet but have already felt the sensation of support (like a pressure/contraction in your abs that sometimes feels connected to your back?).

Danielformica - This is related to Elrathion's post also. I've always understood closure as simply meaning a non breathy tone without being pressed/forced. So like a balance? I think I have alright closure as my tone is pretty strong without it sounding gripped (generally). If so that might explain why I've already felt support without learning proper breathing.

izzle1989 - What you're saying makes me feel that I've definitely experienced support before but without properly breathing first. I hear that quote banded about a lot so thanks for simplifying it! Will definitely give your suggestions a go + the stretches which are a new idea to me.

Steven Fraser - I remember that I was doing some "NEE" exercises at the time. (same as "NAY's" - I know some people hate them but they seem to work for me). I only felt it for about 5 seconds before it vanished.

Will definitely try and get that sensation back again. It seemed to be when I wasn't really focused and relaxed.

I'm interested when you talk about singing with "strong high frequency content" Is this a desirable way to sing for an entire song or is it just another type of musical expression. In other words if I can get this vibration/resonance to appear is it ok to use it all the time or is it the equivalent of belting (Subjective term I know) throughout an entire song (In the sense that it doesn't suit the song)?

Will give those vowels a go and report back if I can get that sensation to reappear!

Just remembered something else. You mentioned cord closure earlier and when this sensation appeared I got the distinct feeling that my cords were teetering between falsetto and modal voice. It was like I kind of loosened them but stopped them just before I flipped to falsetto.

Thanks very much for you're help everyone, I really appreciate it! Definitely feel like I'm starting to move in the right direction now :)

Mike

Great job Mike the teetering between the modal voice and falsetto will help you to truly find a connected head voice with a firmer closure, but you must learn to find that balance between entering head voice with NO BREAK and "breaking" into falsetto. Remember one voice is the voice you want. Good Luck! :cool:

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