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Multiple different methods of support?

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Adamblack
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Hi,

Just to give you some background I'm a total beginner singer but with a good knowledge of the science behind it.

I've been experimenting with support recently and came across a support sensation I had never felt before.

I was working on my posture and seeing how that affected my inhalation and exhalation and I felt a release/expansion in my lower back and sides. It was almost like an awareness. Don't get me wrong I know that the '360 expansion' is like the holy grail of support and I had been trying to achieve this feeling for a while but it just clicked at that point.

As I inhaled it felt like the air moved into this 'new' space (this is only imagery, I know air can only go into the lungs). I then started humming and my innermost core muscles almost felt like they were automatically adjusting each time I jumped to a different pitch. My previous attempts to support felt like they were using the surface layer muscles without much success (Strain Etc.) but this time the muscles felt very deep and it was as though I had no concious control at all. I just thought the note and my body adjusted.

I also felt a fair bit of pressure in my stomach but it was dynamic and kept changing. Almost like I had an inflatable ball in my stomach that was being pushed on but was resisting hence the pressure. Forgive me if this seems pretty basic to you guys!

Another thing that I noticed was that none of the larynx/throat tension I was used to getting was there any more. My voice seemed to be totally linked to the pressure in my stomach only. It was an amazing sense of release and everything seemed 1000x easier.

Re the title, a lot of people say that you have to consciously work to maintain that expansion to support. For me once I had the sides and back 'open/available' my body kind of took care of everything and I didn't have to think about 'down and out' or 'up and in' support.

My big problem now is that once I stopped experimenting I couldn't get back to that feeling. It was so foreign to my body that I'm not even sure where to begin. I've spent the last few weeks working on posture but so far nothing. I will know when it works and my back and sides suddenly 'click' and for lack of a better word become active or open up.

Really hoping someone's had a similar experience and can help me out!

Many thanks :)

Adam

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As I understand and how it has worked for me, is that the "continuos work on support" you describe is the continuos training to get the sensation you once had automatic. It's does not mean you need to constantly fight to be able to support (although it can be intense, it's not like going to the gym.... at least not for me) but more of getting your body to learn to always do the correct thing every single time.

Hope you find it again, it really gives ALOT of freedom.

Cheers!

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That makes a lot more sense! Just so frustrating that I finally get it then it completely disappears again :(

I will definitely keep working on it as it drastically changed the feel of singing for me from uncomfortable to totally natural.

Thanks for your help!

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Adam there are threads around with information on breathing and support, use the search and rejoice. But I must warn you. As you have described so well, it is a tricky thing to get a hang on how to control it, and as Mivke just pointed, it only begins with the mapping, you must train it to the point of not being worried about it in order for it to work. Dont worry because it can be learned, but well, its not exactly the most fun part of singing.

Many things can disrupt it, it may be the case that the sensations you describe came because of an ajustement you made on how you are producing your voice. A bit more forward or backwards is enough to affect it.

Support coordinations and strenght can be trainned appart from vocal production, but the trainning only takes effect when you connect a well ballanced emission with the coordination. Then you have a supported voice.

Are you working with a teacher currently?

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Support coordinations and strenght can be trainned appart from vocal production, but the trainning only takes effect when you connect a well ballanced emission with the coordination. Then you have a supported voice.

Couldn't agree more. Still surprises me how many singers and even teachers do isolated excercises on breath management when the most important thing is actually coordination of support and phonation. The muscle strength is already there, we often use techniques similar to support when coughing for example, it's all about the coordination.

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i'm one to disagree benny.....it all depends on how you want to sound. i really don't think you can miss with devoting time to developing those muscles in the lower core and improving breath capacity and management.

the benefits i've spelled out before, but to sum it all up in one word "variability."

i know a lot of folks don't agree and that's fine, but it helped me immeasurably.

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^ breath support is like steroids for singing. I feel like it fast-forwards my vocal progress, especially with undeveloped musculature. Nonetheless it must be continually worked... for long periods of time... until it doesn't become a "stress" anymore.

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you can't bridge...hymm.......may offer a few possible reasons:

support is one....

you "perceive" a bridge.....you anticipate the bridge.......treat it more as a resonance shift than a bridge...one voice.

you're inadvertently lightening and as a result the folds lose connection and you break apart

you begin too heavy, then you have too much to shed as you ascend

your throat may be closing up or your tongue might be getting in the way.

keep cognizant of not spreading the mouth.

hope this helps...anybody else want to help?

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^ I don't know what you mean by throat.

I feel lots of air and muscles in the throat when singing, and they just resonate in the head.

I wonder if, Adam, you are stumbling across the same technique I use... Only, when I found it it never went away and I've been using it since.

Tell me what it sounds like when you go as high as you can using it, yea?

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Throat may be a misnomer. I got it from an opera singer who was popular in the early 20th century. "When I sing, I feel as if I have no throat at all."

It means no undue tension in the larynx or the elevators, intrinsic or extrinsic.

But hey, others like strain in that area and I just can stop them from liking it. It's easier to herd cats than stop others who enjoy strain.

To each his own.

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Owen, if you could describe a resonance shift, what would be the best way?

In practical life, what is a resonance shift, try describing it as something that you effectively do please.

The reason why I ask is because if a resonance shift seems to be linked with the larynx registration is that the resonance is probably not being ajusted well enough. So the ajustment tries to work, but since it does not happen with the precision required, the stress is too much and the larynx, very wisely, change from modal voice into the next register.

I promise I have a practical point that may help :).

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owen,

did you know your voice has ears, and listens to everything you say?

tell it it has a huge hurdle to get over and it will see to it you get your wish.

like i suggested before, narrow the vowel and thin, don't lighten. it's the vowel that takes you up. the voice needs the air pressure maintained as you ascend and the fold musculature needs to be strong enough to resist the pressure...

it's a balance.

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like i suggested before, narrow the vowel and thin, don't lighten. it's the vowel that takes you up. the voice needs the air pressure maintained as you ascend and the fold musculature needs to be strong enough to resist the pressure...

This is a really good advice. Try to grasp the difference between thinning and lightening. This is really something I confuse very often, too. A good thing to get this is really to try to go with really low mass.

There is that thread with the "popular singer's RAW voice"-title. In there is one of the first videos showing the singer of Gotthard and people wondered about the low volume. This is really the essence of low-mas singing. Try to go for that volume, but also try to NOT flip into falsetto for the high notes.

This also gives you a good impression of support, because singing a very high note with TA activity (= in M1) on a volume as low as possible is the configuration that requires the highest possible amount of support.

In another thread you wrote about how you try to modify everything towards 'uh', but that vowel also has its limits. At some point you need to thin out more and, like Robert suggests in his lessons, modify towards something like 'ay'.

I'm not willing to start an argument about voice types again, but I think lower voices need that modification earlier than higher voices.

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Hi,

Sorry for the late reply. I haven't had a chance to get online until now.

FelipeCarvalho - Thanks for your reply! I have looked at a vast array of threads on both breathing and support on this forum and others. A lot of the information has definitely helped me understand the process of support but not to achieve it for myself.

I'm fairly certain that my gain was triggered through posture alone. I say this because I felt this activation of my sides and back whilst adjusting my posture. At this point I had not started vocalising. Once I was in this 'activated' position literally all I had to do was start vocalising and my voice started working in a way completely different to how I had ever used it.

The point I'm trying to make is that once I was in this posture I didn't need to control anything. Not my Ribs, Diaphragm, Stomach muscles or anything else really. All I had to do was hear the note in my mind and my body worked totally independently of me.

I don't have a teacher at the moment. I realise that a lot of people on these boards take singing seriously enough to warrant teaching but for me I enjoy exploring the information out there and experimenting with applying it. It can be frustrating at times but also very interesting and fun! I'm not looking to have a career in singing and to be honest it could just be a temporary whim so I don't intend to get teaching for the moment.

Lord_Adōn - Unfortunately I never tested my range when it worked as I was scared I might lose/break whatever I had stumbled upon. The irony....

To everyone else -

I'm aware of the science behind singing. I used to spend much of my time trying to flare my ribs out and 'thin' my vocal folds out by sounding like a puppy (to little success). I can't believe that by temporarily learning to support I fixed so many issues that I had and finally found out what singing is 'supposed' to feel like. After reading on so many websites and forums that learning support is a long journey and only a small part of learning to sing I guess that I'm surprised about two things.

1. That for me supporting was as quick and easy as flipping a switch. I didn't have to mess about once it was working as the body kind of self-regulated it.

2. At how easy singing actually is when your not battering your folds with excess breath.

I realise this may come across as a bit arrogant because as I only had 5 minutes to experiment with my support I may have plenty to work on once I work out how to support again. Definitely not my intention so forgive me if it seems like it.

If anyone could shed any light on why my posture might drastically affect my ability to support and particularly how to open up my sides + back again it would be appreciated (I've tried lying on my front to breath into my back and sides which works but doesn't bring about the same sensation).

Thanks :)

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Someone once pointed out (apologies, person, I cannot remember who it was) pointed out that it depends on how your pelvis is rotated. If it is pitched forward, you feel the expansion in the belly, as I do. If the pelvis is tilted back, you feel the expansion in your back, as others do.

Adam, When you stand, how is your pelvis pitched?

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I see Adam. Well, thing is, its mainly practical information.

Support is like a technique to improve swimming speed on the pool, or how to increase precision on a tennis service, or to improve the resulting power of a punch when you are fighting.

Its a reeducation of coordinations. And its not something that is "learned" as a complete pack, like move this and that and tada, there you have support. You will learn and improve, requires refinment and practical application. Sometimes the simple action of searching too much for a specific movement that you figured that was the "game changer" will disrupt the system.

Its a coordination with the goal of providing the power, and regulating the air flow without using your larynx for it.

Anyways if you are not really serious about learning, I advice against using these ideas, just inhale, and see what you can do best by relaxing and releasing the air. Can you breath low, with comfort and relaxed? Thats the most basic step on support and is actually possible to learn alone, something that is very neglected and that if done right will allow a lot of quality as long as you keep in mind that you cant go for power or loudness from it. Breath low and sing, aim for relaxation and quality.

GL

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I see Adam. Well, thing is, its mainly practical information.

Support is like a technique to improve swimming speed on the pool, or how to increase precision on a tennis service, or to improve the resulting power of a punch when you are fighting.

Its a reeducation of coordinations. And its not something that is "learned" as a complete pack, like move this and that and tada, there you have support. You will learn and improve, requires refinment and practical application. Sometimes the simple action of searching too much for a specific movement that you figured that was the "game changer" will disrupt the system.

Its a coordination with the goal of providing the power, and regulating the air flow without using your larynx for it.

Anyways if you are not really serious about learning, I advice against using these ideas, just inhale, and see what you can do best by relaxing and releasing the air. Can you breath low, with comfort and relaxed? Thats the most basic step on support and is actually possible to learn alone, something that is very neglected and that if done right will allow a lot of quality as long as you keep in mind that you cant go for power or loudness from it. Breath low and sing, aim for relaxation and quality.

GL

Amen! If you want to improve your singing you can achieve A LOT more by getting your placements and larynx configuration right. You can learn to sing really really well by just using what is called "intrinsic anchoring" to stabilize your singing, which basically consists of configurations around your larynx and your tongue.

Learning to actively support will improve your singing. But it doesn't really help you if your larynx configuration is sup-optimal. It is more of an advanced technique. To use Felipe's analogy: First learn how to do a technically correct tennis service, AFTER THAT try to improve in a way that let's you hit harder.

That said, it is absolutely possible that the sensation you got from changing posture actually was a sensation of "correct larynx configuration" and not of active support. For many people a good posture seems to be able to induce a better larynx configuration. For example, many people get the forward/backward-placement idea better when they are lying down on their back or assume an "anchored posture".

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Someone once pointed out (apologies, person, I cannot remember who it was) pointed out that it depends on how your pelvis is rotated. If it is pitched forward, you feel the expansion in the belly, as I do. If the pelvis is tilted back, you feel the expansion in your back, as others do.

Adam, When you stand, how is your pelvis pitched?

That was me lol...Thanks Ron

I made a video explaining it.

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Amen! If you want to improve your singing you can achieve A LOT more by getting your placements and larynx configuration right. You can learn to sing really really well by just using what is called "intrinsic anchoring" to stabilize your singing, which basically consists of configurations around your larynx and your tongue.

Learning to actively support will improve your singing. But it doesn't really help you if your larynx configuration is sup-optimal. It is more of an advanced technique. To use Felipe's analogy: First learn how to do a technically correct tennis service, AFTER THAT try to improve in a way that let's you hit harder.

That said, it is absolutely possible that the sensation you got from changing posture actually was a sensation of "correct larynx configuration" and not of active support. For many people a good posture seems to be able to induce a better larynx configuration. For example, many people get the forward/backward-placement idea better when they are lying down on their back or assume an "anchored posture".

benny,

for me it's the support that enables placements and larynx configurations. it's support that leaves the folds to do their job, it's the support that gives variability to the voice.

support is what leaves things upstairs free and adjustable.

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