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Don't hold back your breath or hold your breath

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Thank you so much. This is a really tricky issue. The thing CVT calls curbing, they call it 'the hold.' Lots of words are used like 'restrain.'

 

The problem basically is the first thing a beginner will do is hold their breath. I have a friend who was straining some and I helped her get rid of some of that. She isn't a perfect singer and I'm not a perfect teacher, but when she encountered this concept she wants to go right into straining again. I told her to drop it. Get rid of any strain, sing freely, and approach from a different angle.

 

I've helped her to find it a bit with supervision, but only after going back to a free voice. And that's maybe the best advice I could give. Is always go back ot a free feeling voice as a baseline, train freedom, cause if you lose that baseline that's going to cause a lot of trouble. 

 

As voice teachers, I'd imagine you've seen this a lot, and that's why not putting the cart before the horse is so important.

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       Thanks Daniel, Good stuff.

     The trouble with singing and learning to sing better is that we tend to explain things from a feeling point of view. A lot of times that feeling is from the result not the cause. Even when giving specifics of an action the effect is a result of something unrelated to the action given. Example : Twang, the cause is a narrowing of the epiglottic funnel, the action has been described as the tip of tongue on the bottom front teeth and back of tongue on top molars, The result is a feeling in the mask and a brighter more forward sound.  A lot of people on the internet would just say "Sing into the Mask". No explanation other than use a witchy sound.

    So you end up  doing all kinds of crazy things trying to get that feeling in the "MasK" and a witchy sound. Normally that will just end up being too nasal then you get all kinds of advice about cutting the nasality in your voice which leads again to lack of twang or brightness.  A continuous circle........

   The problem to begin with most likely is not enough air moving the folds...........

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Interestingly, the CVT program is very much based on holding back the air, although it discusses various approaches to support in some detail. Generally, it is suggested that when singing gets difficult, you should use more effort. Now, this really means that you should use more effort in two ways simultaneously: 1. Hold back the air more, 2. Push out the air more. To be sure, this is not an economical approach, but it seems to be considered useful when learning difficult things, such as high belting or long notes etc. So it is not necessarily intended to be the end result.

It is also added that your should be very aware that this muscular effort does not lead to unwanted tensions in the throat.

 

Best regards

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Daniel's a great singer and super generous with sharing his knowledge.

If the guy in the video SEES Daniel, tell him Thanks!
 

I have no idea who this short haired cat in the video is...

 

Also, turns out Tom Petty did an instructional video on holding your breath, but I think he was talking about a spliff, so you MIGHT face some copyright infringement problems.

 

;)

 

Doing videos on a phone is tough. Easier with an iPad or a Mac if you got it. iMovie is SUPER fast, just the phone's pretty small to see for editing.

 

On the subject matter: Some of the others posted about [parphrasing] "it's not the best to go by feel" - man, that could be my problem because I'm always looking at how things feel when I think I've done them right and then I try replicating that feel. If I do it by 'sound' I find that I miss more often than not. With feeling, it just is a better guide for me. All the 'terms' can get a bit much because there are multiple terms used for the same things.

 

I think that I might be a breath holder. In fact, I'm fairly certain. There are times when I just 'let it out' and it feels somewhat effortless. For the most part though, I find myself trying to kind of manipulate things and that involves holding the breath at times. When I catch myself doing it, I'll stop and kind of realign myself, but during shows, I'm probably doing it and don't realize. I've thought about just going through each song that's in my bag and just kind of relearning how to sing them without holding my breath, pushing, etc. But there are some songs that I seemingly have to do all that stuff with, or it just doesn't come out.

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Awesome video, awesome stuff.

 

Sometime ago, maybe half a year or along those lines in the old forum there was a discussion on this topic, and after reading what you said about holding back the air then I've pretty much lost all constriction and pushing in my singing while the tone has gotten more solid or "beefy."

 

So to take what you said and make it poetical:

 

Why would you hold the air back?

The air is the power behind the vibration.

The vibration is the source of the sound.

Why would you hold the air back?

 

It is true, though, that the folds do hold the air back! It's a passive wall! So in essence I believe that "holding the air back" switches the focus rather than actually holds the air back on the diaphragm-level. So basically instead of singing "with your diaphragm" you switch the focus and sing "with your vocal folds." The latter, of course, being more constricted and clunky.

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Of course if you are holding your breath the vocal folds can't vibrate. But holding back your breath by slowing down the exhale is used all the time and depends on your lung volume (how much air you've inhaled) and the specific sound you are aiming for.

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Of course if you are holding your breath the vocal folds can't vibrate. But holding back your breath by slowing down the exhale is used all the time and depends on your lung volume (how much air you've inhaled) and the specific sound you are aiming for.

Interesting. I percieved this video alot different. I tought what he is saying essentially is when u are learning how to sing that you shouldnt use a strong compression, but later on when your technique grows, you are free to explore advanced breath managment.

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Interesting. I percieved this video alot different. I tought what he is saying essentially is when u are learning how to sing that you shouldnt use a strong compression, but later on when your technique grows, you are free to explore advanced breath managment.

    I think Daniels reasoning is that beginners always hear about holding back the breath to prevent the air drying out the folds and that people tend to equate support with holding back the air. So.....Beginners like myself (Singing for 40 years still a beginner) hold back too much air as in No air flow. All this stuff about singing and holding a mirror under your nose and stuff. Sing into a candle and do not let the candle flicker......... BUT the candle trick is actually to have the Flame bend steadily and not flicker (maintain air flow).....Not "Do not let the flame move". Confusing when no one finishes the directions.

   Air moving through the folds closes them. Closed folds holds back the air. Steady air flow actually does the Holding back of the air.......Self regulation.

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It's important to note, that holding back the air should be done by the exhalation muscles and not the vocal folds when phonating to ensure a healthy coordination.

 

In phonation the breathing mechanism works as bellows and not as an inflated balloon.

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How about using the word metering.....yes you arent "holding" the breath. However you arent blowing it all like a freight train. Just maintaining the proper compression for the desired sound. If everything is aligned properly nothing really is noticed anywhere. Its when the balance is lost, thats when you really start noticing tension somewhere or have to "control" the "support".

I think the big thing daniel is after, that noobies could really screw themselves up if they take to far the "holding" back the breath. Or take it completely literal

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I respect Daniel highly, he's a great singer and teacher, but for me and how I want to sound (at times) I have to agree with Martin.

 

A singer needs to be conditioned in the lower core to be able to have (if need be) an "active" or intentional control of exhalation. It isn't always just "smooth flowing" exhalation, flow can very well change from line to line, word to word, even syllable to syllable! 

 

You don't want the vocal folds bombarded by pressure, but you want to have the strength to apply varying degrees of it, yet keep the folds able to adjust wherever they need to for pitch.  Sometimes you need to withdraw pressure to achieve a certain sound or dynamic contrast. Sometimes you need to add pressure to swell a tone or light up a resonating pocket beyond normal.

 

(I just know this last sentence will bring Dan running, lol!!!)

 

To me every singer should be doing some kind of exercise daily which develops his ability to control his exhalation.

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