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Who Actually Does Breathing Exercises

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Hey all,

Sometimes I feel like I have some type of minor asthma meaning that sense of "urgency" triggers quicker for me than most people and I breath heavier when doing sport/lifting etc. This is detrimental to my singing.

I know a lot of people on here are strictly about the voiced exercises but honestly I have felt a NOTICEABLE change when working on relaxed breathing exercises. Literally sometimes I feel like my throat is thanking me ;)

What I started doing is slowly triggering that "urgency" reflex but not too much. For example I won't practicing holding my breath or whatever or inhaling super slow for longer than 10-30 minutes a day.

Dr.Karin Wettig who is the author of the book "Singing Like Caruso and Callas" recommended for me not to practice breathing exercises for more than 30 minutes a day as it can alter your consciousness.

What is your opinion on breathing exercises? Why is it that if I inhale slow (maybe 10-20 seconds) there is a noticeable improvement in my singing?

If someone reading this has found a breathing exercise that has helped them sing better please post it in this thread. This is a very controversial topic as most modern pop singers don't even mention breathing :)

Some people state that breathing exercises are unnecessary for singers for example the vowel "oo" already has a relatively closed embouchure which somewhat already activates breath support imo.

For people that are against breathing exercises or do not see their value please state why. I think there are certain breathing exercises that activate "body connection" more-so than others and if anyone has some that work, please share lol!

- JayMC

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Everyone always says breathing is important, no one ever gives concrete ways to improve it.

Yes they do. You're just not interpreting them as concrete when, in fact, specific instructions are given...in vocal lessons, vocal programs, vocal books even on youtube vocal tip vids there are some that show a specific way to train breathing. The key is you have to actually pay attention to and follow the teacher's instructions instead of making up your own.

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I would have to challenge you on that. Most teachers that I have been to give arbitrary instruction on breath.

Saying breath low or use the diaphgram. Wtf does that mean lol? Others truly help. For example Felipe would say "inhale like you are smelling a rose" that actually helps me. Although is seems quite "airy fairy" it legitimately helps me SING better.

Owen, there are people on this forum that can hiss for a minute, yet cant sustain a note for even half that period of time. Meaning either that have to hiss for 2 minutes or find another way to control the breath.

In real life I have experienced this, for example I can hiss for 30seconds - 1 minute but as soon as the jaw drops its as if the air leaks out. One cannot even feel how much air they are losing because habitually we are not stingy enough with air (most singers).

Personally I feel a "panic" after 10seconds of clear phonation, I do not believe it is the cords that are failing me. I think it is the way I am managing the breath. You can call me an "over-breather."

Take it from someone that lives in a colder-climate and can physically see how much air is being used lol :lol:

Owen if you can hold a note for 20 seconds above lets say C4. Then I would definitely admit you are far beyond me and I am willing to hear you out.

Let's get more specific here: one day I was sitting in my car (warming up) and I just hissed for 40 seconds, I could see the air leave very slowly in small amounts. It was not very hard.

Yet when I open my mouth to SING I saw sooo much air being wasted. I had to re-inhale probably 10-15 seconds in. That is when I truly realized how horrible I am at breath management :cool:

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Hello Jay, one thing that has really helped me was keeping my tongue down so the air can flow more freely when hissing. Before I was unaware that my tongue was high and it was constricting my airflow making it seem easier to sustain a long hiss. When I first tried lowering my tongue all the air would rush out that's when I realized I was doing it wrong.

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Hello Jay, one thing that has really helped me was keeping my tongue down so the air can flow more freely when hissing. Before I was unaware that my tongue was high and it was constricting my airflow making it seem easier to sustain a long hiss. When I first tried lowering my tongue all the air would rush out that's when I realized I was doing it wrong.

Thanks gruemanticus I think experimenting with different tongue positions during hissing is cool.

@Phil I think you are a great teacher but when you say "just cut back the air" I can't do it lol it works for you and that's awesome.

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one thing that helps to cut back the air is to imagine your exhaling from the back of your mouth. the hissing exercise works good to, but focus on holding back the air with your waist/lower ribs and maintaining a constant stream of air instead of trying to do it as long as possible. also you should check out my cvt and support thread a few below this one where phil, dan, and cuno give good tips.

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Also Jay singing isn't a competition of who can sustain an ss or even a phrase longer it's about who has better technique within the first 6 or so seconds of an exhale...that will serve 90% of their singing needs because it's rare for a phrase to be longer than that.

You shouldn't even be worrying about how long you can hold a note until you can produce it with good cord closure, support and twang, especially since that all of that will naturally extend how long you can sustain it.

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