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2 cats in a dust bin

Strengthening The Diaphragm

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Hello there

Yesterday I took my first ever 1 to 1 singing lesson and at the very end of the lesson my teacher mention I need to build/ strengthen my diaphragm.

We did not go into detail about this as it was the end of the lesson but when I google "how to strengthen diaphragm for singing" one thing that comes up is a demonstration of the balloon exercise http://www.vocalliberation.com/articles/singing-breathing-exercises-the-balloon-squat/

 

What is the point to this exercise and how will it help improve my singing?

 

Thanks

2CIADB

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It's simply a misunderstanding. The diaphragm is an inhaling muscle, so it will not be strengthened by exhalation excercises (like blowing into a balloon). It is also debatable if the diaphragm even needs to be specifically strong for singing. You might want to refer to the other thread about the diaphragm that we had recently.

When people say "strengthen the diaphragm" in many cases they are actually referring to the exhalation muscles. And regarding those it is very important that they work freely and are able to "push" heavily when needed. These are the muscles you also train with the balloon excercise.

If you really want to put the diaphragm under some load you can try to put a finger in your mouth and suck as hard as you can :P

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2 hours ago, benny82 said:

so it will not be strengthened by exhalation excercises (like blowing into a balloon)

These are the muscles you also train with the balloon excercise.

You might want to refer to the other thread about the diaphragm that we had recently.

I am a bit confused as to weather or not you are saying that this balloon exercise will work or not?

I have had a quick look through the most recent threads and could not find the thread. Can you please post a link to the other thread regarding the diaphragm.

thanks

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40 minutes ago, 2 cats in a dust bin said:

I am a bit confused as to weather or not you are saying that this balloon exercise will work or not?

I have had a quick look through the most recent threads and could not find the thread. Can you please post a link to the other thread regarding the diaphragm.

thanks

He's saying it doesn't effect the diaphragm directly, and that what you're wanting to do has mrore to do with exhaling - which the baloon does help with. Although, I respectfully disagree about the diaphragm strengthening (which was addressed in a different thread), but concede that it's not as important to strengthen as a lot of people would have you think. I find it useful to strengthen because I lock down on the diaphragm to regulate breath support, especially for volume and appoggio. However, it's entirely correct that it's not an exhale muscle, even if it can help balance air pressure while you're exhaling - like a counterbalance. Also, the feeling of diaphragmal"lock down" is much more subtle than you would think.

Rather than the baloon, I've found it to be much more effective to build lung capacity, support balance, and exhale strength, among other things, to sing/hum into a cocktail straw while trying to stay relaxed. Not everyone can do that without coaching, however. So I often separate the different muscle groups to make things easier to do by yourself. Staccato, loud "Heh" a few times, followed by a sustained one, will build strength. A full breath, sustained and pushed "sss" sound will build lung capacity. Classical Messa di voce crescendos and appoggio exercises can help too. 

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9 hours ago, 2 cats in a dust bin said:

I think you mentioned the straw breathing exersise a few times before for warm up and to relive stress

I did however find this link on sand breathing and it dose make sence on how it will strengthen diaphragm

https://yogainternational.com/article/view/sandbag-breathing-30-days-to-a-stronger-diaphragm

Yes, as opposed to the balloon excercise, this one is really for the diaphragm. I remember Steven Fraser describing a similar excercise with a book on your stomach here.

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On 4/26/2017 at 3:03 PM, 2 cats in a dust bin said:

Hello there

Yesterday I took my first ever 1 to 1 singing lesson and at the very end of the lesson my teacher mention I need to build/ strengthen my diaphragm.

We did not go into detail about this as it was the end of the lesson but when I google "how to strengthen diaphragm for singing" one thing that comes up is a demonstration of the balloon exercise http://www.vocalliberation.com/articles/singing-breathing-exercises-the-balloon-squat/

 

What is the point to this exercise and how will it help improve my singing?

 

Thanks

2CIADB

 

Way to go, Cats. Be sure to join our challenges

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Nice job cats! To strengthen the diaphragm could be a bit of a vague statement because it isn't really the diaphragm that your strengthening. Most of what you need to do is build motor skills and coordination that engages many respiratory muscles, not just the diaphragm. Be sure to ask your new teacher specifically what you should do to "strengthen the diaphragm" in your next lesson. If you get another answer that sort of avoids giving you a real answer, then "red flag". I hope you do get a good answer. When you do, let us know so we can firm it up for you.

My students strengthen their respiration muscles through a lesson and specific workouts that are inside The Four Pillars of Singing ... There is a video demonstration, video lecture and then there are mp3 files you use to train it.

 

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Great post Rob

I can now understand a little why she expects me to strengthen the diaphragm; because sometimes when I take a deep breath and then sing something or sometimes I run out of breath before being able to finish what I was doing (this is true for singing sirens)(or especilly just after I have eaten food)

So my next lesson is on tuesday and I will ask her what she means by it all

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yes do that and put on your BS radar.  That doesn't mean that the answer has to be perfectly correct or perfectly impressive, but you deserve to at least have an answer that is at least decent with an attempt to give you a real answer. Im not advising that you act disrespectful, but you deserve a real attempt.

If what you get is some sort of answer that avoids the answer, that is the red flag your not wanting to hear.

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On 4/28/2017 at 11:11 AM, 2 cats in a dust bin said:

???

I know you've seen the Challenge forum. We take on challenging songs in there. Now that you're doing lessons, it's another way to monitor progress. You will see how you improve right before your eyes.

 

http://www.themodernvocalistworld.com/forum/31-the-tmv-world-challenge/

 

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On 30/04/2017 at 6:20 AM, Gsoul82 said:

I know you've seen the Challenge forum. We take on challenging songs in there. Now that you're doing lessons, it's another way to monitor progress. You will see how you improve right before your eyes.

 

http://www.themodernvocalistworld.com/forum/31-the-tmv-world-challenge/

 

Yes I have seen the challenge forum before but I did not understand how it works.

So how dose it work? ow let me guess someone starts a thread and uploads a song of them singing/ covering it and then everyone ells uploads there own cover version. So who is the judge?

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15 hours ago, 2 cats in a dust bin said:

Yes I have seen the challenge forum before but I did not understand how it works.

So how dose it work? ow let me guess someone starts a thread and uploads a song of them singing/ covering it and then everyone ells uploads there own cover version. So who is the judge?

It is not supposed to be about judging between different singers but just challenging yourself and getting an idea about how others may interpret the songs different from each other. More about having fun than competing against each other.

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On 30/04/2017 at 2:20 AM, Robert Lunte said:

yes do that and put on your BS radar.  That doesn't mean that the answer has to be perfectly correct or perfectly impressive, but you deserve to at least have an answer that is at least decent with an attempt to give you a real answer. Im not advising that you act disrespectful, but you deserve a real attempt.

If what you get is some sort of answer that avoids the answer, that is the red flag your not wanting to hear.

I did ask her the question and to be honest I did not get a proper answer! and I am begining to think I need to ditch this teacher and find another one.

In the 2 lessons I have had with her apart from her saying very good all the time, the only 2 things I have picked up on is I need to slow down to improve my rhythm and work on my diction, making words sound clearer like the word "me" making sure the mouth is a round shape and not an oval shape when singing; and for which I have my doubts about this

 

And the only home work I was given was to go away and sing a different song; I asked her to chose a hard one and a song she knows well (i did mention a female vocalist) and she gave me "the verve bittersweet symphony" and this leads me to belive that she dose not have the ability to sing!

 

Sure there are plenty of teachers about but there is plenty of mickey mouse in that too! and fining a good one is a bit harder

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23 minutes ago, 2 cats in a dust bin said:

saying very good all the time

That doesn't seem to be a problem to me, unless it is TOTALLY not true, in which case, your being misled which will create confusion. But if your doing well for where you are at in your development, you can't fault any teacher for being positive and encouraging. Let's assume that your actually doing "great" by the standards both of you expect at this stage of your training.

25 minutes ago, 2 cats in a dust bin said:

slow down to improve my rhythm and work on my diction

That actually sounds like good advice. The challenge becomes how is she teaching you to do this. But as a general statement, I think it sounds very reasonable and a good coaching tip. 

26 minutes ago, 2 cats in a dust bin said:

making words sound clearer like the word "me"

We have gone over this a million times on this forum. It depends. Sometimes you want the vowel color to sound like a language vowel, but not always. There are some exceptions and it is important to understand when and why.

27 minutes ago, 2 cats in a dust bin said:

making sure the mouth is a round shape and not an oval shape when singing

This one, I don't like. It is vague and it seems to presume that for any vowel, on any pitch, with any level of intensity, for any style of singing, you would want a round embouchure. NO. The Embouchure is dynamic and needs to change according to a huge amount of variables at any given time. As a general rule, for more advanced singers, it is best to keep the embouchure static... horizontal. Not moving as much because great singers do a lot of the shaping of vowels in the upper vocal tract. I don't like the "round embouchure all the time" idea at all... and you are correct to have your doubts about it.

30 minutes ago, 2 cats in a dust bin said:

And the only home work I was given was to go away and sing a different song

That isn't necessarily bad homework, but I question why she didn't give you any workouts, exercise, techniques to train? You can't train a voice by ONLY singing songs if you are a beginner. NO. You need some onsets, vowel work, scales, things that work your muscles out. You need to train, not only sing. Especially as a beginner...

This is the sort of thing that I warned about. Why are you not being given techniques to train as a beginner? Is it because,... she doesn't have any techniques to show you or to give you? There is no product, book, files, etc... to offer you to practice with? My guess is the reason you're not getting any techniques assigned is because there are no techniques to assign. That is one of the "white elephants" in your room.

34 minutes ago, 2 cats in a dust bin said:

I asked her to chose a hard one and a song she knows well (i did mention a female vocalist) and she gave me "the verve bittersweet symphony" and this leads me to belive that she dose not have the ability to sing!

Apart from the fact that "bitter sweet symphony" is a kick ass song to sing for anyone, I don't see why this recommendation means that she doesn't have the ability to sing? I am completely lost on your logic here. The fact is, most beginners students ALWAYS choose songs that are out of their capability to sing. She may of just know there was no way you were going to be able to sing the song you suggested and wanted to steer you here. Which is fine. I don't get your logic on this. Sing that song, its totally great.

37 minutes ago, 2 cats in a dust bin said:

and fining a good one is a bit harder

Is it? Hello?! ... the irony of it all... 

:wavey: :wallbash:

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Just now, Robert Lunte said:

Apart from the fact that "bitter sweet symphony" is a kick ass song to sing for anyone, I don't see why this recommendation means that she doesn't have the ability to sing? I am completely lost on your logic here. The fact is, most beginners students ALWAYS choose songs that are out of their capability to sing. She may of just know there was no way you were going to be able to sing the song you suggested and wanted to steer you here. Which is fine. I don't get your logic on this. Sing that song, its totally great

Sorry I will try and explain myself better. if she is going to judge me on which songs I sing than I trought fining a really hard song that mybe is a little bit too much for me would mean she could find plenty of faults in it and know where I need to work on. I asked her for a song that she knows well because for one if she knew it off by hart then she could find my faults fairly easaly and second I would expect her to sing it with me as well and this would show me she has the ability to sing. when I asked her to pick a song for me and one that she knows well and the one she picked for me was "bitter sweet symphony" she did not give any demonstration on how to sing it.

I did mention adell and whitney houston but she seamed to think that would be a bit much for me. I presumed that she is a female and will more then likely sing female songs.

I have sang 3 songs to her "travis flowers in the window", "oasis champagne supernova" and "cold play speed of sound". she said the pitch and tone was all there but just the rhythm needed slowing down

 

Well I think I am going to practace "The Darkness - I Believe In A Thing Called Love" and when it is done post it in the challenge section. what do you think to that?

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On 5/1/2017 at 4:37 PM, 2 cats in a dust bin said:

Yes I have seen the challenge forum before but I did not understand how it works.

So how dose it work? ow let me guess someone starts a thread and uploads a song of them singing/ covering it and then everyone ells uploads there own cover version. So who is the judge?

 

We all decide on one song and then everybody attempts it. There is no judge, because the challenge is against yourself. It probably wouldn't be that fair if you had guys and girls who are just starting out and they were competing against people who had already been singing for years. You can sing the song how you would interpret it. You don't have to sing it exactly like the original.

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If you're not sure about the teacher, I would go and get yourself another one. Your coach doesn't need to have the best voice you ever heard, but she should at least have a good voice.

 

Mine was in his mid-seventies, and the guy was loud and powerful, but at the very minimum, he sounded good and could demonstrate whatever he wanted me to do.

Looking for somebody who specializes in the Rock technique is also something you want to look for.

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