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So, I'm reading the CVT book. And so far, I've managed to get myself pretty confused.

When it says "add support" or that you need "more support" or a "higher support value" - does that mean that you need to basically let breath out slower or faster?

I've understood support to be preventing air from escaping too fast - essentially controlling air flow. However, when MORE support is called for, I'm confused as to what this means - does it mean try even harder to slow breath out flow?

Not sure the CVT book is for me at this point.

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Support is a broad term in singing technique. You can "support" your respiration, you can "support" your phonation with intrinsic anchoring, you can "support" your extrinsic anchoring on the outside with your posture and so on... So, know that.

I presume you are talking about support of respiration. My educated guess on what the book is suggesting is that you add more respiration volume and velocity... so its telling you more, not less.

If you have any other questions about your singing, Im here to help you... let me know.

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So, I'm reading the CVT book. And so far, I've managed to get myself pretty confused.

When it says "add support" or that you need "more support" or a "higher support value" - does that mean that you need to basically let breath out slower or faster?

I've understood support to be preventing air from escaping too fast - essentially controlling air flow. However, when MORE support is called for, I'm confused as to what this means - does it mean try even harder to slow breath out flow?

Not sure the CVT book is for me at this point.

yes, they are most likely asking you to more strongly resist exhalation coupled with more breath pressure. it can feel like you're holding back the air so that very little air is used yet it's under greater pressure. the key is to keep all of this down below where it belongs, rather than in the throat. you may feel a leaning sensation against your sternum....support can be very physically demanding.

in general, (i had to learn this) ironically, you don't need a lot of air to sing, and you never want to release it too quickly or force the air.

hope this helps. bob

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Rob and Raphael, I think you're wrong. Supporting more = use less air. And it takes more effort (in the abdominal region) to use less air. You don't want to overblow your vocal cords with air. And the higher the pitch and the higher the volume, the less air your want to blow through your vocal cords. Unless you desire vocal damage.

Folks, there are several old and good threads here about support. Use the search feature.

But basically the answer to this question is that more support is equal to letting air out slower.

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Thanks for the answers. Seems I was thinking the right thing. I particularly like jonpalls explanation - basically more support means more effort. And, it makes a great deal of sense that the higher the note the less air. This helps me to understand better than to say "the higher the note the greater the support value" (which is a rough quote, but I didn't actually look it up, from the CVT book.

Yeah, I dunno about the CVT book. Possibly if you had a teacher to guide you through it, it would be good. sometimes just one sentence has so much information in it that you could spend a week learning that sentence. So if you read a chapter, that is pretty much a waste of time. You can't just read the CVT book.

Thanks for the suggestion to look at the search facility. I will do that. Need some support excersises to better tie support to breath flow. Sure, I can hold my breath but I can't currently pulse the sound using support - there is some sort of disconnection there.

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Why confused?

Guys, you have that explained on several pages.

First, take a diagram - support is: holding back the air - is done by:keeping the diaphragm low -is done by: keeping the ribs expanded is done by......

Then you have explained what is natural support vs the active support and all - Support values? Well as the support is HOLDING BACK THE AIR, what you really expect to be "give more support"?

After all, everything is written in black and white and in very simple language. Do you really have read this book??

Regards!

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Hey, Daug - explain to me exactly, and I do mean exactly, how you "hold the diaphragm low." It's one thing to say it, it is another to actually explain it. And use as many scientific terms or terms of anatomy, if you need to. That is, it's okay to get really technical. I've seen this instruction a few times elsewhere, even in classical sources but never an actual mechanical explanation of how one controls the diaphragm.

So, go ahead and control your diaphragm and tell me how you did that.

Ahhhh, I can't wait. The diaphragm is an autonomic muscle. It is not controlled by conscious thought. It operates on reflex as an inhalation muscle only. And the way it operates is that you allow your abdomen to relax and it automatically flexes to draw in air. You exhale with abdominals and intercostals, which have nothing to do with the diaphragm.

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Hey, Daug - explain to me exactly, and I do mean exactly, how you "hold the diaphragm low." It's one thing to say it, it is another to actually explain it. And use as many scientific terms or terms of anatomy, if you need to. That is, it's okay to get really technical. I've seen this instruction a few times elsewhere, even in classical sources but never an actual mechanical explanation of how one controls the diaphragm.

So, go ahead and control your diaphragm and tell me how you did that.

Ahhhh, I can't wait. The diaphragm is an autonomic muscle. It is not controlled by conscious thought. It operates on reflex as an inhalation muscle only. And the way it operates is that you allow your abdomen to relax and it automatically flexes to draw in air. You exhale with abdominals and intercostals, which have nothing to do with the diaphragm.

Hey man!

I Know that diaphragm is autonomic muscle:)

Sory - you understood me wrong.

support is: holding back the air - is done by:keeping the diaphragm low -is done by: keeping the ribs expanded is done by......

I left ellipssis, couse I did not wonna bring hole book quote (after all, they have the book) . However rest of diagram that I quoted is:"is done by: - pulling in the abdomen araund the navel -Tightening the muscles of the back -pulling in the lumbar region..."

There is dozen of pages in CVT book on "support". There is no talking obout CONTROLING THE DIAPHRAM - there is however an advice how to left a space for it to expand ...and simply how to controle the breath.

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Well, good for you Daug that it seems so inexplicably straight forward. The rest of us must sure be dumb bastar*s. :) For me, I find that "pulling in the abdomen in around the navel" reduces the lung space that I have. It seems to me the same as sucking your tummy in - which puts more pressure on my lungs. In my training so far I've been encouraged to relax lower abdominal and even pelvic floor muscles on the inhale to make more room. Now I'm being told to suck my belly in. And to look for a bulge under the sternum which just does not exist on me. I can't make that bluge at all. Sure I can make my belly bulge - but higher closer to my rib cage I have very good muscle tone and there aint no bulging going on there. Perhaps my problem is that the training I get from my teacher is not the same as what is happening in the CVT book - and that causes a lot of confusion. So, I'll rely on my teacher for now because she has got me a long way, and she actually gets to see me, listen to me sing and tailor her advice accordingly.

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The rest of us must sure be dumb bastar*s. :)

oh no. Sorry man! I did not mean that!. I just had an impression that your confuse is out of unfinished reading. For me that simple sentence did not work immedietly too.

There is an importent clause, that you should use active support only when the natural support is not enaught. And in fact I believe - when you get rid sort of tensed/streined action on simple notes, it should be easier to find active support 'couse it realy chould not be soooo complicated and far from this natural.

Regards!

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Sure, no worries. I've read the whole support chapter several times, read the first aid part at the end of the book and the chapters on neutral, curbing and the part at the beginning about the principles.

Different things work for different people, in my opinion at a psychological level rather than at a physical level. and for me, CVT is so full of information that I have a hard time trying to controll all the things I might learn about in half an hour worth of reading, all at once. I guess, because I am very time poor, I'd rather have my learning directed quite specifically so that I may make the best of the time I have to invest in singing. The idea of quietly reading a book at night about technique while putting children to sleep seemed nice, but the information is too intense. You need to be reading and singing, reading and singing.

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Inhale = completely relax your body and LET (don't force) the air in. Your stomach will go out on its own. Don't raise your shoulders and completely relax your throat with a slight yawn/lazy sensation. Doing this will make your voice MUCH more prepared to really deliver the next line you're going to sing and do it well.

Sing = Just sing like a kid who is playing a game of speaking while holding your breath back. First try if that simply works for you and don't try to complicate it anymore than that. A person who is singing or talking with very, very little air coming out of the mouth is making sure that the rib cage doesn't go down during singing. So you could also look at it like this: Sing = keep your rib cage up. Here's the interesting part: The muscles that keep your rib cage up are your abs, side abs and lower back. But I believe it's better not to target those muscles directly with your thoughts, but rather just regularly remind yourself to not drop your rib cage. My focus point in breath support is my solar plexus. I want to keep it out during singing and I notice that when I do it, my abs just gradually go in - on their own. I don't "suck it in" - I let it happen. And actually, during the high, loud notes, if I focus on keeping my solar plexus out (in a "proud" posture with your chest forward), it feels to me like my abs are getting "sucked in" or even "sucked downwards", like it was going down a drain. Jamie Vendera talks about downwards energy. My abs are working fairly hard at that moment, but it's still doing so indirectly because I'm thinking of my solar plexus. By doing this my abs kind of figure out on their own the exact right pressure for the given pitch, volume and vowel. If I were to directly think of contracting my abs, I'd risk overcontracting them or not contracting hard enough. Mark Baxter says that you shouldn't "police" you abs but rather think of the sound you want and let the larynx kind of run the boat and your abs will respond with the appropriate energy.

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Mark Baxter says that you shouldn't "police" you abs but rather think of the sound you want

have to say that listening to the sound rather than feeling it works better for me. e.g. feel that youre not doing weird shit in your throat, an then concentrate primarily on whether the note you produce sounds clear, full, felaxed and good or not. Going by ear calibrates mistakes in real time for me, better than going by feel.

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Jonpall, I think that the sing while holding your breath back is the thought that helps me. I did a one on one lesson with a lady with a phd in contemporary voice, and I was all pleased with my ability to hold my rib cage up and she got me to lower it and said I could get more air if I relaxed my body, and allowed the rib cage to move..... So I'm confused. Perhaps I was holding it too high. Certainly, I sang more easily once she had changed the way I was doing things.

So, when it says "add more support" do you think that really means, sing it again with more support - plan it better to have support where you need it, rather than react and add support in the middle of the phrase? This idea of adding support when you feel you need it - how do you know you need it? I know when I run out of breath and lose control. Surely you must be able to know before then, if you are expected to be able to monitor your support level and adjust as necessary.

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Thanks Dante, I certainly have questions. Everything that you just wrote, to me, meant support is blowing out hard against resistance, and that the resistance is your vocal cords.

But, support is holding air in isn't it? And making sure you don't blast your vocal chords with too much air. Resisting the urge to blow out. I can feel the lower ribs at the back expand when I breathe in. I can somewhat control this. I can sing the alphabet, to V, doing one letter per second.

I'll be off line for nearly a week while I go to Townsville, starting tomorrow.

Cheers

SH

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Don't try to actually "lift" the rib cage. It will go up slightly on it's own when air gets sucked into your lungs during inhalation. But after you've inhaled and are singing a phrase, don't let the rib cage drop. So your rib cage will be slightly elevated but not too much, because that can cause constriction. Only have it as high as the inhalation process lets it be.

Increased support will happen kind of automatically with this method. You'll "think" of a higher, more powerful note and in order to keep your solar plexus still, your abs HAVE to contract a bit harder.

I also suggest that you try to be really aware of how much (or little) air is coming out of your mouth when you sing. One way is to just sense it in your mouth. Another is to put a hand in front of your mouth and try to feel only heat and not wind.

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There are a lot of strategies and imagery available for proper breathing. The one that works well for me is this: Energize the rib cage (don't over do it at all, just keep it energized). Breath in low - your belly moves out / down when you breath in. Don't try to breath in as much air as possible, maybe only 1/2 way depending on how long the phrase is. When you start to sing / exhale, press down on your diaphram. Don't pull up.

The "holding the breath" while you breath image is helping to create glottil compression. When you compress the air below your folds it makes the folds work more efficiently. You need less air for the same volume (loudness). Watch that you don't start activating your constricters though.

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Thank you all for three very useful answers, which finally do start to deal with my confusion. Dante, your explanation of WHY those excerises help you to feel the feeling of support was particularly useful. I think I understand quite a bit more now. I've very very little control over that solar plexus thingy so perhaps that is a good place to start. I'm going to be away and probably off line for a week. Lots of fun singing - jazz vocal workhop and I'm the masterclass guinea pig! Yay! Thanks again.

SH

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And if you blow out with the intention of keeping the area above the navel outwards, you won't blast the cords. That's why I emphasized that aspect of the exercises. Try it for yourself. Try blowing out air in such a way that the abdomen totally caves inwards, then try it again while attempting to keep the solar plexus area expanded, and you tell me which one causes your air to go out the fastest.

Thanks for this CunoDante, it helped. Just to test my understanding, could we say that support is finding the optimum amount of air flow, which is neither tiny nor huge, but in the middle somewhere, and can be found by keeping the expansion but also exhaling steadily?

Not sure the CVT book is for me at this point.

It's not for everyone. Lots of people don't like the modes. I like the modes a lot, but like you, found the support section confusing.

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may i offer another great way to engage (feel) support?

...and receive an adjunct benefit of exercising the muscles involved.

remember to avoid tension in the throat, jaw, & tongue! everything happens to you below.

take any verse of a song.... let's use this one for example....

"so now i come to you with open arms"...etc. (journey)...any verse will do.

now sing the phrase with a breath inserted between every word in a stacatto fashion...

so (breath) now (breath) i (breath) come (breath) to (breath) you (breath)...and so on.

feel the support muscles engaging and notice how the air just draws in without any effort or need to pull it in?

once you get the hang of it, try it on longer phrases or sing it faster.

feel the support?

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Well Haloooo...

I had a great time at the workshop. Was pushed and pulled in all sorts of different directions to help me learn about improvisation and creativity within jazz. Had an absolute ball, and it was quite a small workshop so it wasn't too daunting doing all that learning in front of everyone else.

So, also, had an hour long face to face lesson with my teacher and we tackled support in depth. Essentially my confusion is because I'm trying to fix something that isn't broken. She looked at the CVT book with me and pointed out why it is the same as what she is teaching me, just the language is different. She reckons I do hold out the solar plexus and showed me while I was singing - just it doesn't BULGE outwards - but I do sustain it and it certainly doesn't sink. So, my support is good, though perhaps could remain more fully engaged during stacato, rather than kind of turning off and on.

It seems the word "Bulge" as applied to solar plexus is just the wrong word for me, for my anatomy. My support is very good, though not terribly deliberate. I'm not holding this here and that there, I'm just managing breath and creating space - those are my thought processes. And I have strong muscles, so it works well. Definetley there is room for refinement, but I'm using an image that just came to me, that seems to be working at the moment. As I need more support, I'm imagining an equilateral triangle, in my abdoment, pointing downwards. As I reach for the higher note, the point of the triangle stretches further downward in a very elastic manner. Pulling the elastic tighter and further downward correlates with applying more physical strength in the support. I'm pleased with this because I've found myself really working those muscles for the first time, using that imager. It just sort of popped into my head one time when I was doing a support excercise and felt that I was really achieving the aim.

Probably a really good example of how you can get yourself into trouble trying to work through tutorial type stuff without a teacher. In no time at all my teacher had repaired my technique and made me realise there was nothing wrong with my support. It helps a lot when you teacher is there, able to touch you to help explain and test things like posture and support.

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Cool. But if you check the book you'll see that it actually lists several different images that people can use to find support, because different images may work better for different people, as you said. And this also applies to pretty much all vocal techniques, not just support.

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