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Razzker
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Hi everyone.

I'm a 17 year old baritone (or at least I think I am a baritone -- can't get past G#4 in modal register). Recently, I've been trying to strengthen my head voice/falsetto. My vocal teacher said sometimes I use head voice, other times I use falsetto, so I'm still trying to learn separating the two. Anyway, whichever I use, I always have the same problem: I seem to run out of breath quickly. On notes higher than about B4, I can barely sustain 5 or 6 seconds. And don't get me started on the very high notes, like above C6 ... I'd be lucky if I could manage 3-4 seconds. Are there any techniques anyone could suggest or exercises I could do to stop me from running out of breath so quickly in falsetto/head voice? It's kind of frustrating, since my teacher says I've already got the correct "sound". I just want to learn how to sustain it.

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Try saying "ssssssssss" for as long as you can. Also, when singing, put a hand in front of your mouth and try to make only HEAT come out and not wind/air - or very, very little air - so little that if you put a candle in front of your mouth when singing it shouldn't go out. Doing this makes a big difference in the power of your voice, as well as your ability to sustain and control high notes.

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Actually, it would be interesting to hear you hit a C6. Especially since you or your teacher has typecasted you as a baritone. (That's the danger of early classification.)

Falsetto takes place, most often, in head voice. But it is not head voice, per se. It is a tone, a timbre. It is also a training tool. You can start a note in falsetto and increase its volume to full and back again (called messa di voce.) This is a phenomenal exercise I hope you try.

So, really, I think you are talking about falsetto tone versus full headvoice.

As far as losing air too fast in notes, especially around and above the passaggio, which is what you are talking about, once you learn to maintain adduction of the vocal folds (to quote Bob), you will find that less of a problem.

Per Dr. Fillebrown, the air in a high note is not more than a low note but is more pressurized and yet, controlled. That is, the escape velocity of the air is not so much greater but it is under a more consistent pressure. You are probably getting full adduction up top in spotty instances. For that, again, let me quote Bob, it will take time. It will get better, you just need patience. Also, you should be breathing from your lower belly, not your chest. And control the pressure with your abdominal muscles. Is it work? Hell yes. From the interviews I have read from the heavy rock singers, they are most tired in their gut after rehearsals begin, especially after an extended rest period where they didn't do much singing.

And the pros don't start out with the full set on the first day of rehearsals. They may do 3 songs. The next week, 10 songs. It might be a month of rehearsals before they are up to the full 2 hour show. And these are guys who have been singing longer than you have been alive. So, take a word from the pros, give yourself some time.

Time to develope proper adduction of the vocal folds, which I think happens throughout the range, with the cackle and quack, but especially in the high notes.

To me, the three key elements of singing are breath control (management,) fold adduction, and resonance. Of fold adduction, it will feel awkward at first to sound like a duck but that will warm up over time. Notice I said time. I have been working on my voice a long time and anyone here can tell you that I am still working on it.

Twang, live it, learn it, love it. Be thou not afraid of resonance nor of the classical method. For surely, though shall not be an opera singer (totally different head and aim of intent, as well as some natural structural things (and I will catch more heat for that, to some extent).) Work on a few things at a time. Verily, I say unto thee, experiment with the weirdest sounds you can make. Stay flexible.

And welcome to the brotherhood (and sisterhood) of singers. We are here to help as best we can and I probably "err" on the side of being supportive. An organism learns more from positive reinforcement than positive punishment (and that's a proven fact from how I trained my dog.) It is easier to lead someone to the right thing than it is to deter them from the wrong thing. (Please, don't make me whip out what I know of operant conditioning. I really will put you guys to sleep if that happens.)

Me, I'm just a giant biker-looking electrician from Texas and I offer what I know from my own "redneck engineering" approach. Your "mileage" may vary.

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In addition to the posts above, try doing all your warm up exercises -

no breathy tones - while walking.

You'll see that you'll run out of breath much faster than usually.

You will actually feel that a muscle about under your ribcage tends to go up

to release the air. Keep walking and try to resist that. Don't over-push or anything,

just do your normal warm up routine while walking and every day aim to be

able to have a steadier tone for longer. To me, it feels as if gently pushing downwards,

just holding breath so as not to release really fast. I aim for steady and gradual.

Head voice, falsetto, whatever it is you're going for, I can guarantee it does not require to force more

air. Incorporate those tones to your daily warm up after a couple of weeks of doing your regular warm up

as I explained above.

I know my explanations are a bit rough but I'm only an amateur myself and this is what works for me.

Regards,

Thanos

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Hi everyone.

I'm a 17 year old baritone (or at least I think I am a baritone -- can't get past G#4 in modal register). Recently, I've been trying to strengthen my head voice/falsetto. My vocal teacher said sometimes I use head voice, other times I use falsetto, so I'm still trying to learn separating the two. Anyway, whichever I use, I always have the same problem: I seem to run out of breath quickly. On notes higher than about B4, I can barely sustain 5 or 6 seconds. And don't get me started on the very high notes, like above C6 ... I'd be lucky if I could manage 3-4 seconds. Are there any techniques anyone could suggest or exercises I could do to stop me from running out of breath so quickly in falsetto/head voice? It's kind of frustrating, since my teacher says I've already got the correct "sound". I just want to learn how to sustain it.

i apologize, i sincerely apologize if i'm wrong, but from what i'm reading (and i feel this way about more than just you lately) are you really seeing a vocal instructor for formal singing lessons?

the reason i ask is if you really are, i truly believe you wouldn't be asking these kinds of questions. if i were an instructor, posture, relaxation, breathing and support would be first order of the day. you wouldn't even be going near these goals as a true beginner.

i (we) all love helping each other and supporting each other but at the same time i'm beginning to get the feeling some folks, are, shall we say "stretching the truth" about their actually going to a voice teacher or buying skype lessons as this can be an expensive endeavor.

the more honest and up front folks can be about this the better we can help them.

now to be perfectly blunt, here we go...no support, no "appropriately" adducted folds, no pressurized yet "controlled" air metering? no high notes. i didn't even touch on vowel modifications.

there are requisites for voice development just like there are requisites for any other skill. to bypass or attempt to circumvent these core requisite skills is (i.m.h.o.) a collossal waste of your time.

oh, before i forget..(although ron was good intentioned) i would not go anywhere near messa di voce right now.

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In addition to the posts above, try doing all your warm up exercises -

no breathy tones - while walking.

You'll see that you'll run out of breath much faster than usually.

Walking should be mandatory for singers. Every day 20+ mins of brisk walk.

Personally I'm not sure WHAT it is about it. I'm not sure if has something to do with the breath or if it has a relaxing effect on muscles in the throat/shoulders that would otherwise be tense but SOMETHING about walking just makes the voice slide straight into place without any real effort.

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i apologize, i sincerely apologize if i'm wrong, but from what i'm reading (and i feel this way about more than just you lately) are you really seeing a vocal instructor for formal singing lessons?

the reason i ask is if you really are, i truly believe you wouldn't be asking these kinds of questions. if i were an instructor, posture, relaxation, breathing and support would be first order of the day. you wouldn't even be going near these goals as a true beginner.

i (we) all love helping each other and supporting each other but at the same time i'm beginning to get the feeling some folks, are, shall we say "stretching the truth" about their actually going to a voice teacher or buying skype lessons as this can be an expensive endeavor.

the more honest and up front folks can be about this the better we can help them.

now to be perfectly blunt, here we go...no support, no "appropriately" adducted folds, no pressurized yet "controlled" air metering? no high notes. i didn't even touch on vowel modifications.

there are requisites for voice development just like there are requisites for any other skill. to bypass or attempt to circumvent these core requisite skills is (i.m.h.o.) a collossal waste of your time.

oh, before i forget..(although ron was good intentioned) i would not go anywhere near messa di voce right now.

Nope. I really am seeing a vocal instructor. :) And not to worry, I'm not taking a very expensive vocal class. I can hold my higher notes in modal register quite well, it's just for some reason, in head voice/falsetto, I run out of breath a lot quicker. I guess the reason why is because I don't sing in head voice/falsetto very often and I automatically force more air out as I get higher and higher in pitch. Which is why I came here, to ask for some tips as my vocal instructor is, like all human beings, not perfect and may not know every exercise/technique out there in the world that could possibly help me.

To the others above, thank you for the advice. I'll try the walking exercise thing. :D

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assuming you are controlling your breath release you will run out of air quicker if you are singing falsetto, because there is hardly any, to no fold closure. nothing to hold the air back. however, if you learn to adduct the folds better you can engage head voice which will (in time) give you the body and resonance you need.

here's a suggestion (i'm just starting to do) i learned from anthony frisell. sing strictly in head voice "ee" or "oo" (as in "keen" and "goof") on a

single note start with a4 and work downward.

another one, sing a decsending legato slide from your highest head voice notes to low lowest note but don't engage the chest as you lower..stay in head voice till the end.

do it soft at first, then increase the volume.

the "ee" should be the same open throat setup you would use for an "ah." don't close up the "ee" by speaking the "ee." Sing "ee" from the "ah" setup. same with "oo"..open in the back of the throat.

this exercise will force you to engage the head register while (temporarily) releasing chest involvement.

you will sound opera "ish" but you are building head register involvement. remember do not involve any chest, and "ee" and "oo" will keep you from doing that. if you send a sample, i can hear if you're doing it right.

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