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breath... (what, again?)

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Billy Budapest
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So I've been going through all I can on breathing. I'm REALLY thinking that's where my issues mostly are.

In trying to find "the secret" to the whole thing, I did the old "Sit in a chair. have your thighs, knees level. Lean forward and breath. Feel it in your lower back."

I haven't done this for years. When I did it yesterday- it was frigging amazing. I sang a high C# without anything in my neck or throat bugging me at all. That's full voice, not head voice.

My question is... I obviously cannot walk around singing like this...

HOW can you train yourself to take your breath in that spot (lower back, filling out). It was really an iOpener. (me trying to be all Apple with my words there!)

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So I've been going through all I can on breathing. I'm REALLY thinking that's where my issues mostly are.

In trying to find "the secret" to the whole thing, I did the old "Sit in a chair. have your thighs, knees level. Lean forward and breath. Feel it in your lower back."

I haven't done this for years. When I did it yesterday- it was frigging amazing. I sang a high C# without anything in my neck or throat bugging me at all. That's full voice, not head voice.

My question is... I obviously cannot walk around singing like this...

HOW can you train yourself to take your breath in that spot (lower back, filling out). It was really an iOpener. (me trying to be all Apple with my words there!)

congrats billy! i'm telling ya, breathing has so much to do with it.

here's one i like...bend over a counter...like when you're in a diner or coffee shop and you're sitting down slumped over at the table.... take a slow deep breath and feel your back and sides expanding....now while your fully expanded, try to quickly inhale and expand again 2 or possibly 3 more times trying to expand even further....hold the expansion for a few seconds then begin to exhale with pursed lips forcefully till you you completely empty out of air....then when you think you're empty...exhale more till you expell every last ounce or air.....repeat this 10 times. at the end of the llast exhalation you'll feel yourself automatically fill back up...!

you can also instead of forcefully expelling the air, you can hiss it out ever so slowly while key goal: trying to keep the back and sides of you expanded....

they're tough to do, but man they work.....got this from an opera singer in my neck of the woods...lol!!!

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Sorry I have no answer but I'm curious. How can your lower back expand? I know in CVT part of supporting is expanding your sides like when coughing.

It's not working for me though. What exactly is having your thighs, knees level? Just slightly raising them?

Morid: This engages abdominal muscle groups.

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The books always tell you to stand up straight, but in my (brief) career as a frontline singer, I liked to bend over slightly for all these reasons. I liked to feel my diaphragm push against my belt, otherwise I'd sorta "lose track" of it. And my back push out.. I didn't learn much head voice in my first round of lessons, but I did learn to breathe. It's still easier for me sitting at the drums than standing up straight legit style.

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Hey, Billy. Forget the Mick Jagger Chicken Walk posture. What's important is that the tension (not strain) belongs in the abdomen, not the throat. That's why you hit that note easily. You were singing with your gut, not your throat. To many people sing with their throat. Especially some screamo singers. But it happens to pop singers, too, especially in trying to get some rasp or "edge" to their voice. I've heard others talk about the lower back expanding. What I remember is to allow the diaphragm to do it's inhale thingy (the diaphragm is an inhalation muscle and that is cold, hard, phsyiogical fact regardless of what anyone every tells you otherwise, so help me god, if I have to find a medical doctor and bring him here ...) But normal breathing exhalation is caused by the diaphragm relaxing. By controlling exhalation with your abdomen, you reduce excess pressure on the vocal folds, which are not free to vibrate as they need to, resonating in the right spaces in your head and providing somewhat of a balance of pressure above and below the vocal folds.

Anyway, congratulations on your breakthrough and insight.

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Billy - That's great that you found that. I think there a lot of variations out there. The trick is to have this kind of breathing be completely automatic so it is 2nd nature and you don't have to think about it. You know what they say - it takes 28 days for something to become a "habit".

This may help when standing: as you breath in, do not let your rib cage expand - keep them neutral. Put you hand on your chest to make sure. This will force abdominal breathing. Think of breathing as low as you can. As you breath out while singing - energize your abdominal muscles so they are tight and push down. I used to "pull up" with the abdominal muscles, but after reading a post on this forum, I now think of pushing down and it has helped me develop a more consistent breath resulting in a more consistent tone.

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HOW can you train yourself to take your breath in that spot (lower back, filling out). It was really an iOpener. (me trying to be all Apple with my words there!)

Billy Budapest: Training is just deliberate doing. If you want to make this sort of breathing habit, just do it. Imagine that the inhalation does not go just downward, but downward and backward. Stand with your back to a wall, heels 4" out, and flatten your lower back against the wall by taking that breath.

Once the sensations are more familiar, you will be able to breathe that way whenever you wish, and with repetition, it will become second nature.

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This may help when standing: as you breath in, do not let your rib cage expand - keep them neutral. Put you hand on your chest to make sure. This will force abdominal breathing.

This is how I used to breathe, but I've had better success letting the rib cage expand, and even sometimes engaging the muscles of the back, as long as my shoulders are not moving up in the slightest.

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Well, the rib cage needs to go out sideways, but with this leaning over thing, it's the first time that I've really FELT it the way it should feel. I've known this exercise forever, but I must've been doing it incorrectly. Yeah, Ronws I know what you mean about tightening the gut, but when I do this, usually, I feel tension in my throat. Bending over and doing it, I felt absolutely no tension. So now, I can at least know what to shoot for.

Steven: What you're talking about (standing on the wall) is another one that I've known forever... but could never get right.

Carol: yeah, I also play drums and have noticed this too, but never realized why.

Hopefully, this will lead to more things. It does seem to allow me to sing quieter, which is also good.

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I was never much for "sing like you speak" or "speach level singing" because every single singing program starts out with teaching you how to breath for singing, which is different than how we breath to speak. But, one of the things I have worked on is breathing for singing during the day, without singing. Just to get in the habit of proper breathing support. So that when I do sing, I don't have to think so much about breathing. So, in a reversed way, I guess, I have learned how to breath for "singing level speach," which sounds non-sensical. But, essentially, the more the proper breathing becomes a habit, the less attention one has to pay toward it. Allowing to then build on habits of resonance and fold adduction.

It's almost like building a house, if I can use a corny analogy. First, you form and pour a foundation. Then you add flooring and framing. Finally, you put a roof on it. After a while, you can add gingerbread trim, but it's gilding after the fact, on top of the foundation. Even reading that, it sounds maudlin. Oh well...

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