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Pure Endurance Exercises

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I am not asking for someone to say "get a teacher" or other generic advice... simply what exercises and mindsets will allow me to sing for LONGER. Maybe even hours...

For example... if I hold an AAAAAAH for maybe 5 - 10 seconds its okay. But I am not exaclty learning to hold it for longer. But if I close my mouth and go AH - AH - AHHHHHHH then open it again and go AH - AH - AAAAAAH the note holds for much longer.

I do not even care about bridging passaggio... I simply want to sing phrases for longer. What are the most simple and effective exercises to accomplish this? Note that when I open my jaw... unfortunately extra air releases as well. Since I cannot "see" support... if I can sing 1/6 of my favorite song in ONE breath... then I am happy.

That's all folks. Pure endurance... nothing fancy. Hope someone can offer USEFUL advice! ;)

- JayMC

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I agree with Jens. Songs are the key. And I'm a guy who likes vocal exercises and warmups and does them religiously. Exercises have their place, but Songs introduce so many vowels and consonants and dynamics that exercises can never do. Plus it is truly the act of singing.

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My question was what is the correct technique to sing songs for long periods of time? You are telling me that SINGING more songs... is the way to go?

So Caruso and Maria Callas simply sang a bunch of songs 10 times a day to have that extreme endurance? Oh alright. I'm sure you guys are right :rolleyes:

I disagree with both of you completely. As it is obvious you have been practising vocalizes for years, and now you believe that singing songs is the key. Even Robert would disagree with you on that one, that is the FINAL step.

Let me put it this way... you are telling me that if you cannot hummm for 30 seconds, you can sing for 30 seconds? Geno... you even state that you like to use an "Ng" slide up to head voice. You are APPLYING that skill DIRECTLY to your vocal endurance.

Jens... you must have held the "EE" vowel in head voice for DAYS...which takes closure, support, ENDURANCE... now you are telling me you just sing songs?

Thanks for trying guys :lol: Maybe someone else can help out here.

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I 3rd that advice. Fire up a playlist and sing along as if you were performing live and your life depended on it.

At first you may only last 5 or 6 tunes and you may feel weak or exhausted, but that's fine, just keep at it daily and there's no other choice but to build stamina and endurance. It really is just like any other physical workout, put in the effort and time and you will get the results.

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My question was what is the correct technique to sing songs for long periods of time? You are telling me that SINGING more songs... is the way to go?

So Caruso and Maria Callas simply sang a bunch of songs 10 times a day to have that extreme endurance? Oh alright. I'm sure you guys are right :rolleyes:

I disagree with both of you completely. As it is obvious you have been practising vocalizes for years, and now you believe that singing songs is the key. Even Robert would disagree with you on that one, that is the FINAL step.

Let me put it this way... you are telling me that if you cannot hummm for 30 seconds, you can sing for 30 seconds? Geno... you even state that you like to use an "Ng" slide up to head voice. You are APPLYING that skill DIRECTLY to your vocal endurance.

Jens... you must have held the "EE" vowel in head voice for DAYS...which takes closure, support, ENDURANCE... now you are telling me you just sing songs?

Thanks for trying guys :lol: Maybe someone else can help out here.

Im telling the truth, and Robert would agree with me! :) i was writing on a phone so i realise it may have sounded snotty, was not my intent :P

One of the keys in pillars is actual singing and thats how you get the most out of the program and setteling what the exercises teaches you into actual singing.

Cauruso and Callas sang probably alot more than 10 arias aday :P but still that doesnt matter, i dare you to try out my(and many others) approach to this.

Try singing the album Signs of life by poets of the fall, it's a great album and range is very suiting for training as it only goes up to around E4-F4# but still in ways that it forces vowelmods, good support, breathmanagement(finding spots to relax and breathe) and loads of other skills are needed to get trough.

A great way to add and get more experienced with all the tools and techniques offered in pillars.

Try it for a month 5 times a week and i promise youll see results, hook me up on skype i you feel doubt and il help you through.

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you can work on your ability to manage air by doing some breathing exercises......if you learn to strengthen the lower core muscles and shift the focus of singing to down below, the top gets relieved.....you sing in a more let's say "economical" way in terms of wear and tear.......the work is still there, but it's below, while above will be less tense...when you sing less tense, you will be more resonant......and you have relief from jaw tension, tongue tension, throat tension, all of it.....

these exercises are readily available and can be done anywhere, anytime (except after eating).

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Jay - I writing from personal experience. I guess I would say that exercises are good for build great coordination. And for that reason it can probably help with endurance. But when I sing a new challenging song it seems all my exercises didn't prepare me for that song / from an endurance standpoint. I can get tired out fast on the song. Now, if I make exercises from that specific song, then yes those exercises, which are tailored to that song, help me.

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Learning where and how to breath is a big part of endurance. The strategy may change from song to song. That is why singing more songs help with the endurance. You learn from different songs different strategies.

Taking too many breaths is just as bad as not taking enough. You may have to learn how to take a quick breath even where it does not make sense in the song.

In the middle of a phrase take a quick inhale without letting old air out first. Keep the ribs expanded so you do not let go of your support. At the end of a phrase, when you have more time, let the old air fully escape and renew your air supply.

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I agree with Jens. While learning technique helped me to better control sound and also provide a less taxing effort on the folds (no Bob, I am not talking about the need for effort but let's face, training should make the voice more enduring), I think the practice of having a rotating set list of 5 to 10 songs I can run through any day and doing that for decades has helped.

How did I do that? At first, just learning songs, I might have spent 2 hours with 2 songs. Anyway, so, over time, as more songs become "memorized," then it doesn't take so long.

Let me equate to golf. You can spend days and weeks, as I had done, at the driving range, marveling at how you can fly 150 yards with a 5 iron (great technique, thank you very much.) But when you play an actual game, it is different, in some way. And I stunk, the first time I played an entire 18 holes. Par for the course was 74. I shot 133. I guess I should have figured that par 74 was not just for the first 9 holes. :lol:

But I had a lot of fun, in the meantime. And if I spent more time playing whole games, I could get better. And did, at some point. I can go through a short 9 hole course in the time it took to play that first game.

As Daniel has said in his video, you get better at singing songs by singing songs. And think "better" includes endurance.

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What Phil said, which I have said before, as well. It's not how many scales or for how long you are doing them, it is HOW you are doing them that is important.

And the advantage of learning to do something that may actually be 60% lighter and only sound 10 - 20 % lighter is that you can beat yourself up with recrimination because you did this thing that sounded effortful but wasn't and how dare you train so that singing is easier, rather than harder. How dare you! :lol:

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Good vocal technique will allow you to sing for longer because you will be using the most economic way to hit notes. So yes....get a teacher...

learning how to take micro breaths is what is going to help you. pick a song that has very little rest time between phrases. what you do is work through the song, when you feel the tension coming up to your neck and shoulders because you're running out of steam, pause the track for 5 seconds, relax take a breath again and unpause it. the focus is on keeping and maintaing as relaxed as possible singing. as you get better those pause rest times go down and down until you can hit the song without it. another part of this though has to do with getting into a more economical way of singing the song technique wise, as well as singing in a thinner coordination but finding the balance so that it doesn't SOUND thinner but it is definitely saving you about 40% effort wise. this goes into technique as well.

other than that, working songs like weightlifting. sets and reps. over work the songs, take phrases and literally sing them back 20-30 times, rest 1 minute and do it another 20-30 times before moving onto the next phrase..

do things like putting on an entire album and singing the entire album back as if you were doing a live performance.

none of that will really help though if your technique is wrong because you'll just be getting better at doing wrong things. thsoe things improve stamina the best but if your technique is off you will be severley limited in terms of your stamina.

a good teacher will have you building a foundation of technique then beginning to show you how to carry it over into songs. eventually when your tehcnique is excellent on scales the scales just become the warmup and the real training is done in songs, working your tehcnique there.

I haven't suggested any strange or weird exercises and I'm guesing you might just pass off my advice when really I indeed gave you the absolute truthful factual answer on building what you just asked. And I believe that would be because I didn't mention any fancy exercises.

It's not what scales or exercises you do, but HOW you do them that is the big "secret" or golden piece to singing development. It's just about doing things correctly that's it! the more you can do something correct the faster and more consistent the voice grows.

this is probably too far for you but just to give you an idea of where it goes...another way that technique helps is that if you have fully grown the mixed voice you can easily back off on the thickness and get into a lighter mix that feels say 60% lighter yet the sound is only 10% lighter and you can get more bang for your buck. pushing harder will give you a bigger sound up until a certain point and you will find a diminishing returns where the effort keeps going up but the sound quality doesn't change. finding your bang for buck in terms of economy without losing the desired quality in the sound will really take you far stamina wise.

this also goes into the idea of pacing yoruself for live perfromances, finding the most economical way with the least effect on your desired sound so that you can give great consistent quality on the entire gig rather than going all out and starting to wane and run out of steam near the end.

all of what I said will only help you about 20% of what it could though. I tried the whole "grabbing everyones advice on forums and youtube and trying to pile it together". tried that for years. the "breakthroughs" i thought i was making in years of self study should only take 3-4 lessons with a good teacher though. once i got with a good teacher my voice unlocked in months.

100% the truth. Print this and hang it on your fridge!

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I am not asking for someone to say "get a teacher" or other generic advice... simply what exercises and mindsets will allow me to sing for LONGER. Maybe even hours...

For example... if I hold an AAAAAAH for maybe 5 - 10 seconds its okay. But I am not exaclty learning to hold it for longer. But if I close my mouth and go AH - AH - AHHHHHHH then open it again and go AH - AH - AAAAAAH the note holds for much longer.

I do not even care about bridging passaggio... I simply want to sing phrases for longer. What are the most simple and effective exercises to accomplish this? Note that when I open my jaw... unfortunately extra air releases as well. Since I cannot "see" support... if I can sing 1/6 of my favorite song in ONE breath... then I am happy.

That's all folks. Pure endurance... nothing fancy. Hope someone can offer USEFUL advice! ;)

- JayMC

Jay - Maybe I misinterpreted you. If you want to be able to sing phrases for longer you need to learn glottal compression. By increasing the amount of time the folds are in contact with each other verses opened and letting air through (closed quotient) you can sing a note much longer. You use less air to produce the same tone, enabling you to sing a note much longer on the same breath. Your "mouth closed" example is probably increasing compression.

There are many ways to add compression - pretending you are "holding your breath" while singing is one. You can make up some exercises to do this. If your closed mouth "ah" is working, expand on that. You have to be careful as you don't want to increase tension while doing this which will give you another set of problems. This is where a teacher can help.

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is it okay with you folks to be the only guy on the forum who is an advocate of lower core strengthening exercises?

staccato hah's, sustained leaky tires, note holding, breath holding, pumping, whatever........

in addition to exercises and singing songs?

hey, thanks a lot.

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@Videohere thanks for that but it helps to note that most women for example (my sister) they do not feel like they use any support sometimes. "Effortless" highnotes... so why would it be SO forceful for males to do the same?

Maybe at the beginning... but after a while doesn't supporting higher notes feel "less" strainful ... almost as if they come out of the sky. It is a struggle to balance it all lol and very confusing at times.

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ah, yes!!! some notes do feel that way, no question....but not always..... and again it really depends on how you want to sound, or what sound and intensity level you are going for...meaning do you want to rip paper off the walls with some songs?

maybe you want a rich, cry and consistent ring to exude passion and emotion...

maybe, maybe not.......

and it depends where the notes are, are they f4 through a4, or c5 and up? powering and/or sitting on g4 can be much more difficult to hold on to and balance than some f5's ever will.......

didn't you ever listen to a song and the singer is blistering powerful and sounds like he's soaring and then you come to realize he was only singing a g4?

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Even though singing should never be thought of as a physical thing while doing it (I believe that leads to tension and over-exertion) the clear reality is that it is a VERY physical thing! You need to build the strength and stamina of the muscles used for support in the torso, which takes a lot of time, effort, focus, and some experimentation to find which exercises really do work for you.

There are always new levels of "understanding."

"Ssss" worked for me for a while, then it didn't. I used staccato "aa" on an 1-3-5-8-5-3-1 scale but then I started tensing too much to get the onset so I moved to "haa" but then I started getting too breathy and... You see where I'm going with this. Endurance and stamina are mainly linked to support which is the coordination of the breathing muscles and the vocal folds, and it can either be the easiest thing in the world for a natural born "talent" or it can be the main thing we need to work on for most of us.

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