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Managing breath pressure while avoiding "yelling"

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Mr Bounce
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Hey guys. I have been reading a lot here, and posting now and then, but I have been "teaching myself to sing" for about 3 years now. Before I started, I sounded like the worst thing you can imagine. Now, I am on the journey, and with the help of a lot of good advice from the wise posters on this forum, I have been progressing.

I have just recently being focusing on "support" and properly providing that breath pressure. I have noticed that my voice is a lot stronger and sounds better when I consciously push with my core muscles, however there is a tendency to "yell," or overdrive/pull chest/whatever people will call it. I like "pop" music, so you can see why this is a problem.

How does a singer/vocalist maintain that steady push from the body, so that there is no unpleasant feeling of tension in the throat, yet still "blend" smoothly between the chest and head registers?

Here's a recording of myself singing and playing a bit of You Raise Me Up, be kind ;)

http://www.soundclick.com/tomgee

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That sounds good. when you go above e4 is where you would make the choice of pulling chest or overdrive verses typical passagio "curbing". To me the f4 and g4 did not sound like yelling at all. Sounds like you are doing a good job in that passagio area. No matter what it will feel more strenuous in this area of the voice. Unless you sing in neutral it is going to be more intense. But the more you work at it in a healthy way the easier it will be. Sounds like you are on the right track.

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I used to call it the gut punch or getting your gut into it. But I think I was talking about using abdominals to exert a more consistent air pressure, especially in the upper range. It is what theater actors do to project their voice without having boom mics. I got pretty good at it and then I was using it on everything, and learned there were times I could back off that air pressure just a little, depending on the song and how I was recording it.

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Apply your breathing technique to other physical activities so as when you go to the gym (if you do) to develop correct breathing and sending the breath pressure down independently of what is happening with the rest of your body; i.e.; don't tense your neck, face, balance side to side, or other movements that are signs of tension...

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  • 3 weeks later...

It's like sighing or blowing candles on a birthday cake. You don't really need more than that on attacking a note. Even on high note. Towards the end of a singing sentence, you will feel your support muscles burning and you will need to work harder to resist the urge of letting your support go.

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If you practice singing short phrases after taking only a tiny little breath in you will learn to better manage your air output. Now when I sing I almost hold my breath so none is wasted except for exactly what is needed to hit the notes. Sounds silly but it works.

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And I learned that taking in a large gulp of air is counter-productive, at least for me. Too much means there is over pressure to get out. Some air is better and I can control pressure with abdominals. And yeah, it's almost like holding breath but really, one is just applying constant pressure without trying to force it all out. That, too, is very subtle. That's why, in Bob's thread about the five things a coach could teach you, which would be the most important, I chose breath support AND resonance. If you have those two things, you will get the rest, in time.

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Hey guys. I have been reading a lot here, and posting now and then, but I have been "teaching myself to sing" for about 3 years now. Before I started, I sounded like the worst thing you can imagine. Now, I am on the journey, and with the help of a lot of good advice from the wise posters on this forum, I have been progressing.

I have just recently being focusing on "support" and properly providing that breath pressure. I have noticed that my voice is a lot stronger and sounds better when I consciously push with my core muscles, however there is a tendency to "yell," or overdrive/pull chest/whatever people will call it. I like "pop" music, so you can see why this is a problem.

How does a singer/vocalist maintain that steady push from the body, so that there is no unpleasant feeling of tension in the throat, yet still "blend" smoothly between the chest and head registers?

Here's a recording of myself singing and playing a bit of You Raise Me Up, be kind ;)

http://www.soundclick.com/tomgee

mr. b, let's say it's a full-voiced high note... maybe this will help. look at it like your "placing" pressurized air rather than blowing out pressurized air.

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If you practice singing short phrases after taking only a tiny little breath in you will learn to better manage your air output. Now when I sing I almost hold my breath so none is wasted except for exactly what is needed to hit the notes. Sounds silly but it works.

That's interesting. I'm experimenting with this, and it's a very different feeling having say, half full lungs and singing a phrase! It's hard to get volume but in a way it feels like I'm straining less.

And I learned that taking in a large gulp of air is counter-productive, at least for me. Too much means there is over pressure to get out. Some air is better and I can control pressure with abdominals. And yeah, it's almost like holding breath but really, one is just applying constant pressure without trying to force it all out. That, too, is very subtle. That's why, in Bob's thread about the five things a coach could teach you, which would be the most important, I chose breath support AND resonance. If you have those two things, you will get the rest, in time.

Focusing on these two concepts has helped me the most, I admit. Should pull my finger out and get some lessons heh.

mr. b, let's say it's a full-voiced high note... maybe this will help. look at it like your "placing" pressurized air rather than blowing out pressurized air.

Placing it? Placing it where? Sort of like, imagining that I am creating it somewhere other than the throat?

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That's interesting. I'm experimenting with this, and it's a very different feeling having say, half full lungs and singing a phrase! It's hard to get volume but in a way it feels like I'm straining less.

Focusing on these two concepts has helped me the most, I admit. Should pull my finger out and get some lessons heh.

Placing it? Placing it where? Sort of like, imagining that I am creating it somewhere other than the throat?

it's basically a visualization technique. i used to grab this huge gulp of air, then, because i was so full, i was struggling with just keeping the air from blowing out with force, so i'd strain and tense to retain the air and get all f&^% up. now i take a quick micro breath, expand the back, keep the chest anchored and visualize bringing the pressuized air under control to the chords. i'm sorry if i confused you. it's like mike said, you'll find you need very little air to sing high notes.

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it's basically a visualization technique. i used to grab this huge gulp of air, then, because i was so full, i was struggling with just keeping the air from blowing out with force, so i'd strain and tense to retain the air and get all f&^% up. now i take a quick micro breath, expand the back, keep the chest anchored and visualize bringing the pressuized air under control to the chords. i'm sorry if i confused you. it's like mike said, you'll find you need very little air to sing high notes.

Yes, no I see what you mean, I think I'm slowly getting it. You don't use a whole lot of air. It's funny because there is a lot of pressure (compared to the speaking voice), but not so much air being blown. Good stuff!

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Yes, no I see what you mean, I think I'm slowly getting it. You don't use a whole lot of air. It's funny because there is a lot of pressure (compared to the speaking voice), but not so much air being blown. Good stuff!

if you put a lit candle in front of your lips about 4 inches apart and sing a high note, if you are singing this way, you'll hardly distort the candle flame. air blowing through without control or metering is what you want to avoid.

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