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Breath support lets get this convo started again :-)

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izzle1989
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It is not breath, but pent-up pneumatic energy that feeds initial vibration of the singing tone. To be able to accumulate this confined power and control its release, to feed the pulsation of the glottis, is an absolute necessity for every singer.

“Escaping breath acts as an entering wedge ‘splitting’ the vibration. To counteract this, the singer muscularly tightens his throat, and guttural tones result. ‘There are two ways of singing badly – breathily or gutturally.’ (Lamperti) A focussed, dark-light tone is a sign of healthy relationship between initial vibration and compressed breath.

“Such a tone can be ‘played on’ – made loud, soft, dark, light, somber, gay – without disrupting the connection between vibration and breath. The initial vibration must never be diluted with escaping, unvocalized breath, nor crushed with muscular effort to prevent the same.”

– “Vocal Wisdom, maxims of G.B. Lamperti” William Earl Brown

I found this interesting quote today on vocalwisdom.com

I am a firm believer that breath support whether it's good or bad is the key to our problems and solutions.

Think about this...You vocal folds are only as big as your pinky nails and they can only function off of a small and finely controlled stream of air. When the vocal folds are bombarded with air our brain will either send a signal telling the vocal folds to relax there action/breathy tone or to increase there action along with other muscles that try to assist in holding back that breath/constrictors closing of the throat and depressing the tongue. This is the reason why I hate when some teachers tell there students to sing breathy if they have a glottal or sing a glottal if they are breathy. I'm not saying there is no use for these exercises, but I am saying we need to target the causes not the effects.

If we control the breath with the body we leave the vocal folds free of tension and they are able to work properly. This is a great place to start.

Comments???

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you know how i feel about breath support. it's an engine. now let's say you attached a tranmission to it. your skill is whether you can shift into high gear and power up using it (support) or whether you can downshift with it as well.

if you are really strong down there, you can litterally start a tone at any point in the exhale. or you could replenish your breath so quickly so that you can seriously add emphasis and color to your voice.

this strength to me should be considered a mandatory requisite for any singer. .

but it's such a tricky thing to explain. i think if singers add this training to their routine they will begin to feel the benefits.

in fact, i'd guarantee they would...especially if the goal is to sing demanding pieces.

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you know how i feel about breath support. it's an engine. now let's say you attached a tranmission to it. your skill is whether you can shift into high gear and power up using it (support) or whether you can downshift with it as well.

if you are really strong down there, you can litterally start a tone at any point in the exhale. or you could replenish your breath so quickly so that you can seriously add emphasis and color to your voice.

this strength to me should be considered a mandatory requisite for any singer. .

but it's such a tricky thing to explain. i think if singers add this training to their routine they will begin to feel the benefits.

in fact, i'd guarantee they would...especially if the goal is to sing demanding pieces.

Exactly! People tend to underestimate the power of the breath...The breath that relieves stress, the breath that sustains life, the breath that powers our tone.

Anything that has to do with vocal technique has to always be thought of as a natural extension of what we are already doing. To have good breath support we need good posture which is something we should all strive towards having whether we are singers or not. Babies do this type of breathing naturally!!!

We are all born with this ability we just need to learn to control it and make it as natural as possible.

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good point. you won't know the benefits, the versatility that develops, the control that develops, until you've trained them a bit.

that leaky tire exercise is so good. as you let out the breath you keep the lower core expanded...difficult? in the beginning, hell yeah, but after a while you will add more seconds to the exhale and more seconds.

then when you go to sing there's this suspension that takes over and the notes receive all this even energy.

you go from an inhale and exhale mode to a suspension of breath.

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good point. you won't know the benefits, the versatility that develops, the control that develops, until you've trained them a bit.

that leaky tire exercise is so good. as you let out the breath you keep the lower core expanded...difficult? in the beginning, hell yeah, but after a while you will add more seconds to the exhale and more seconds.

then when you go to sing there's this suspension that takes over and the notes receive all this even energy.

you go from an inhale and exhale mode to a suspension of breath.

Those exercises are in my singing bible lol :-)

I also like vocalizing through a straw because you can really feel when you are pushing too much breath past the folds and it forces you to sing on a small compressed stream of air.

The thing I love most about this forum is being able to communicate with people who can help you to validate your own thoughts and beliefs which helps you to stay on the right track. I am a very deep thinker and I like to surround myself with people who can challenge and push me. Now I wish I wouldn't have waited 6 months before making my first post LOL

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See this baffles me.

I can hiss for 45-50 seconds each time. I do and don't feel a great deal of support. When it comes to the last 10 seconds I feel a cold sensation of air rushing in through my nose, no idea what that could be. It's a weird sensation.

When it comes to singing, I end up straining my voice out, shouting, blowing too much air, feel all my neck lock up as I sing then my voice tires out.

I really can't get that feeling back when I hiss. I sing a sustained La for 18-20 seconds as well.

So to counteract the blowing out, i forcibly push down on my abs, I feel a pulling feeling downwards but it seriously does nothing.

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See this baffles me.

I can hiss for 45-50 seconds each time. I do and don't feel a great deal of support. When it comes to the last 10 seconds I feel a cold sensation of air rushing in through my nose, no idea what that could be. It's a weird sensation.

When it comes to singing, I end up straining my voice out, shouting, blowing too much air, feel all my neck lock up as I sing then my voice tires out.

I really can't get that feeling back when I hiss. I sing a sustained La for 18-20 seconds as well.

So to counteract the blowing out, i forcibly push down on my abs, I feel a pulling feeling downwards but it seriously does nothing.

You shouldn't be forcibly doing anything. You should take a breath and maintain that open posture that you felt at the beginning of the breath. As you start to improve you will feel more sensations in your lower back than your abs. If you are hissing for that long just try to maintain the feeling of the hiss throughout your singing.

Also tension is not going to go away overnight...It took years and years to build tension so you have to understand that it won't be as easy as breathing correctly. All we can do as singers is setup the correct conditions and stick to them even if they are not giving us results right away. As long as they are correct we will gain progress.

You have to also remember that when learning to sing you are really training your muscles to do something that they don't normally do, so of course there will be tension. When I first started working out I could only bench press 185lbs but now that would be a very relaxed lifting session as I can now bench press over 300lbs. The voice works the same way just keep practicing and your voice will grow.

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D. Starr - have you tried the "smokers breath" thing that CVT advocates? It's a great way to prevent yourself from over-blowing. I don't know if you've ever been a smoker, but if you've ever been holding in a lungful of smoke and had to speak (like "hey man, don't bogart that jazz cigarette"), you probably were speaking with great support without even realizing it. It took me a while to realize this too, because I tend to bellow when I speak - it often feels like I'm sending my words out in front of me. Part of learning to sing is learning to hold back that excess air.

Also, for what it's worth, I was confused for a while by the notion that you're supposed to hold the breath back with your body. For me, that wasn't a helpful thing to think about - my body would engage correctly as long as I didn't sabotage it by pushing the sound forward out of my mouth. If you're a guy with a deep, rough speaking voice - whether from habits, genetics, whatever - step one has got to be learning to sing while holding your breath ALMOST completely.

Great post and great example!

Technically you should feel like you are holding your breath while you sing. It should almost feel like you are not exhaling at all. As soon as you feel like you are exhaling you are really pushing. Teachers rarely tell you this as a beginner because they don't want you to hold the breath with the glottis.

When you sing it should feel like you are holding your breath with your lower body and making sound not exhaling.

Just Breathe in hold the breath and make sound...Of course you can't really hold the breath while singing, but the amount of breath that is needed to make a sound is barely perceptible by us. Any attempt to feel the breath being exhaled slowly will be detrimental to performance.

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d,

it took my a while to get this (phyically and mentally)

you are probably "actively" inhaling to sing. when you assist the inhale, you will tend to tank up (overfill).

now if you insist on doing that, you're overfull and your body basically says "oh, what do i do with all this air he just sent me." and everything tenses up and gets out of balance...you are overfull. you do not need a lot of air to sing.

try not inhaling, but simply expand the lower sides and back....don't draw or suck in air!

if you feel very little has gone in by doing what i say, you've got the right amt. of air. now, because your not overfull the body doesn't feel it has to clutch to hold it.

a portion of your breathing might still be clavicular and you don't realize it.

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Hmm not being a smoker I'm not sure of this smokers breath.

I've tried holding the breath back as I sing and feel a little expansion/clinching in the mid section under the ribs. Nothing pushing or pulling just feels right. I need to work with this as I go further up because I still choke a little more, but I do like this feeling of holding the breath back.

d,

it took my a while to get this (phyically and mentally)

you are probably "actively" inhaling to sing. when you assist the inhale, you will tend to tank up (overfill).

now if you insist on doing that, you're overfull and your body basically says "oh, what do i do with all this air he just sent me." and everything tenses up and gets out of balance...you are overfull. you do not need a lot of air to sing.

try not inhaling, but simply expand the lower sides and back....don't draw or suck in air!

if you feel very little has gone in by doing what i say, you've got the right amt. of air. now, because your not overfull the body doesn't feel it has to clutch to hold it.

a portion of your breathing might still be clavicular and you don't realize it.

I've had a little trouble trying this.

I can't feel any air come in as I expand my stomach and sides. I feel I have to slightly actively inhale.

I can however let air in without breathing by bending at my sides. Very hard to describe but I feel the air drawn in by my side muscles.

I don't gulp in loads of air, just a quick gasp.

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Can you actively expand and contract your belly? I mean just control the muscles without breathing by just pumping the belly in and out. I can. I can breath out all my air completely then expand my belly (diaphragm) and then breath out a little more. Very little at that point grant you but it's the muscle control/control of the diaphragm I'm addressing here. If you can expand the diaphragm at will it will automatically draw in air. Physics at work :)

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Can you actively expand and contract your belly? I mean just control the muscles without breathing by just pumping the belly in and out. I can. I can breath out all my air completely then expand my belly (diaphragm) and then breath out a little more. Very little at that point grant you but it's the muscle control/control of the diaphragm I'm addressing here. If you can expand the diaphragm at will it will automatically draw in air. Physics at work :)

I can only expand my belly fully out sat down, stood up it feels as iff my stomach is contracted but it isn't. My belly will be soft but if I try to expand my belly it won't. It's hard to describe. If I try to expand my belly stood up I get pains in my stomach, like I'm pushing it too much.

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There are many stages on breathing and support development, and without it working VERY well, only very light voices would sound as if they are connected on passagio. And I mean just sound (but its still detectable), because the break will be there.

At first, the work is done simply to lower the breathing pattern. Which is not done expanding the stomach out, or just thinking "low low low" and hoping that magic will work. Strong references must be found, which will vary depending on the individual, and then worked until a decent ammount of breath capacity is developed and not only the pattern is possible as its is completely referenced from sensations. You should just have to breath and it happen correctly.

On the same time, sensations on the oblique muscles that address the "suspension" feeling, meaning holding the breath without using the larynx for it. The same as before. Is not holding the air, its not a "surprise" sensation, its not a reference. Its a defined action of limiting the movement of the diaphragm deliberately that is achieved by using strong references that work for the individual. Trainned to the point where the action is linked to the end of a correct breath in. So yo do a low breath and immediately the obliques kick in. Again strong references of sensation to consolidate.

After a while, work on the intercostals, done slowly and steadly, developing resistance and control over time.

Then connecting all of this into exercises to control exhaling in a motion that is not pushed, but rather released and controled by the feeling of the obliques, this is the basic notion of support.

And then the problem arises. To use head voice and do the passagio properly, you need more pressure than just a simple release of this low breathing pattern can provide, so what you do? You train to link into the support sensation given by the obliques, the lateral and intercostal expansion of the ribcage creating potencial pressure to be released.

This is exercised to exhaustion, using varying dinamic levels, and control of inhaling and exhaling timings to the metronome.

Its this that eliminates that sensation of having to try to reach for a note, by just releasing this pressure, it is there.

Its not about just opening the back, nor inhaling to the back. Its not about pushing in/out with your abs, its not about just doing a proper inhaling. Its about doing all this at a very high level of performance without even trying that hard. The better it is, the easier everything else becomes.And trainned to a much higher degree of demand than what will be used when singing. Those muscles are strong, they can take it.

Expansion of breath capacity and control of negative movement of the diaphragm is also possible, although almost useless on pop music.

Without support, even chest voice is strenous for the larynx. In fact, if we take chest and head by their definitions, its not even it, its just voice used some other way.

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I can only expand my belly fully out sat down, stood up it feels as iff my stomach is contracted but it isn't. My belly will be soft but if I try to expand my belly it won't. It's hard to describe. If I try to expand my belly stood up I get pains in my stomach, like I'm pushing it too much.

Honestly I believe you are already breathing correctly. Just because you breath correctly doesn't mean you are going to improve instantly. We all have a tough time singing in the passagio, but as the muscles of the larynx get stronger and more coordinated it becomes easier.

Stop confusing yourself and just practice. You can discover more about your voice by vocalizing everyday not confusing yourself with nonsense. Takes everyone's advice and do it to the best of your ability until you can get with a vocal technician. I believe you are over-analyzing and just have the same problems we all had to get through with practice.

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Honestly I believe you are already breathing correctly. Just because you breath correctly doesn't mean you are going to improve instantly. We all have a tough time singing in the passagio, but as the muscles of the larynx get stronger and more coordinated it becomes easier.

Stop confusing yourself and just practice. You can discover more about your voice by vocalizing everyday not confusing yourself with nonsense. Takes everyone's advice and do it to the best of your ability until you can get with a vocal technician. I believe you are over-analyzing and just have the same problems we all had to get through with practice.

Yeah I do think I'm over thinking things.

I've just seen so many people speaking of different things, especially using the lower abs for getting rid of tension in the neck which is something I struggle with as I get to G4 upwards.

I have a local singing teacher and me and him have been going through Chris Brown's Take you down and I used to really struggle with the song, we started singing it in December. I can know sing the A4 easily, but I start straining and we stop. I can say I can comfortably hit A4 on most days, but it's really loud and I want to soften the tone without straining and shouting.

Think a slight problem is I'm a baritone and going up in my range and trying to lighten and lose the weight is hard. My head voice is lacking as well.

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You are a baritone?

Do not take me wrongly, but until you could be used to sing a Baritone aria, no you are not. Just like Im not a Tenor.

Seriously, the chances of this classification being correct with regards to what your voice could be, are remote at best. Even if you are that lucky and your voice is this heavy, baritones are not heavy voiced persons, baritones are singers that can perform classical parts that requires baritones, outside the classical world, the expression is meaningless as songs are usually writen for/by an individual and not a voice type.

The concept of the original piece is retained within the recording, there is no use for such formalities. And with a microphone, you have enough freedom to almost ignore it when performing. The only use would be for trainning within the classical method.

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let me clear up a few things:

for singing using 100% diaphagmatic breathing, i am not avocating this big muscular expansion. in fact, quite the opposite. but with the way i suggested you breathe, you are likely to feel less air coming than if you drew air in.

this way could make you think you're not full, when in fact you are. you might be uncomfortable at first with an unfull feeling.

it's something you need to get used to. i promise you, if you get this right, you'll be singing your ass off.

hey, i'm just trying to help, that's all.

you have to get used to the sensation of very little air coming in. but in actuality you're getting an appropraite amount.

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let me clear up a few things:

for singing using 100% diaphagmatic breathing, i am not avocating this big muscular expansion. in fact, quite the opposite. but with the way i suggested you breathe, you are likely to feel less air coming than if you drew air in.

this way could make you think you're not full, when in fact you are. you might be uncomfortable at first with an unfull feeling.

.

Thanks for posting this! This bit of advice made an immediate improvement in my morning exercise routine. I'm unfortunate to suffer from asthma and rhinitis, so I have a tendency to force in too much air.. So being reminded to not drag in too much air really made the more uncomfortable notes in my range a lot less shaky than they sounded yesterday..

On a related note, do you any of you have any experience with breathing exercises helping alleviate allergy symptoms?

I have rhinitis, which means that my nasal cavities swell up and on a bad day can make nasal breathing near impossible... However after my breathing exercises I do get temporary relief of all symptoms. So I was wondering if perhaps they may eventually cure the problem??

I'm doing Robert's exercises from the four pillars system for around 30 minutes a day.

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Yeah I do think I'm over thinking things.

I've just seen so many people speaking of different things, especially using the lower abs for getting rid of tension in the neck which is something I struggle with as I get to G4 upwards.

I have a local singing teacher and me and him have been going through Chris Brown's Take you down and I used to really struggle with the song, we started singing it in December. I can know sing the A4 easily, but I start straining and we stop. I can say I can comfortably hit A4 on most days, but it's really loud and I want to soften the tone without straining and shouting.

Think a slight problem is I'm a baritone and going up in my range and trying to lighten and lose the weight is hard. My head voice is lacking as well.

Honestly I'm a tenor and I didn't believe I was a true tenor until I got to college. You do not not what you are or what your voice is capable of until you have been trained.

This past year was my first year of college and my first time being trained weekly by a great voice teacher. At the beginning of the school year I could on vocalize a chest dominant sound up to Bb4 at best and my head voice up to G5 on good days. As I started to learn about the TA and CT things became even more confusing and I would worry myself too much over what I was doing. I would read book after book, article after article, and forum post after forum post. Yet I was still confused!!! :-(

Towards the end of the year I really started to dedicate myself to practicing which I should have done before instead of confusing the hell out of myself. As soon as I started practicing daily I noticed huge improvements and began to learn more about technique while training my voice to become stronger. I started to get really serious around the beginning of may and now I can easily sing a E5 with a chest dominant sound/no break at all and I have gotten up to G6 in head voice.

The last paragraph should prove to you that you do not know what your are capable of until you consistently do it on a regular basis. The most important part about learning to sing is not the "technique" or "learning"-----The most important thing is doing or "TRAINING"---It doesn't matter how many books you have read or how much you know about vowel formants(Although this stuff does help, but isn't necessary) What matters is the time you put into TRAINING!

We don't learn to sing we TRAIN the muscles to get stronger and they just function in a more efficient way...Simple as that...TRAIN!!! LOL Good Luck!

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