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How do I control airflow with diaphragm? throat is doing all the work

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nariza77
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I have been incorrectly singing the whole time, using my larynx to control the pitch when I sing. I keep hearing about singing with the diaphragm, but I cant tell if im using my throat or diaphragm to control the air. Mainly feels like my throat is cutting air off, but if i try to not use my throat, the air just releases so fast like im pushing it out. How do I focus on letting my diaphragm control airflow?

Also without controlling my larynx directly, I cannot change the pitch of a sound. I would sing one note out and push my stomach to get the feel of changing pitch with the diaphragm, but without that pushing of the stomach, i cannot change the air pressure with my diaphragm to change the pitch of my singing. I am guessing correct singing technique is to slowly let out consistent air and change air pressure with the diaphragm to change the note, not by using the larynx at all. is that correct? How do I go about letting my diaphragm control air pressure to change the pitch?

Sorry for the confusing explanations.

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nariza, get away from the idea that the diaphagm is related to pitch. the vocal folds are responsible for pitch and function best when they are free from extraneous tension. they need to onset well, adduct and flex.

the diaphram helps balance and dynamically control exhalation.

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Sounds like you have wrong breathing that leads to no support at all. I think that's your biggest problem now.

1. When you breathe in, extend 360 degrees of your whole stomach area. That should actually expand your rib cage and your back and the sides of your stomach.

2. That ribcage should NOT collapse at all while your singing. Pushing your stomach in is wrong. Pushing it out is correct, but this should not be forced, should be natural.

3. Expand ribcage, and only take small breaths. When you sing higher and higher you need less and less air or you'll crack. Do not ever collapse the ribcage, this is why you are having problems with your airflow because you are practically depriving yourself from it by not making any room for it to flow.

4. The more you sing longer or higher, the more pressure should be felt in these areas since you are letting air go out from you And that whole section would naturally try to collapse or close in on you. There should be pressure applied here to fight that stomach from closing in and that should be the grip kind of feeling you get from your sides and your back.

5. Tension or pressure should be felt in these areas and not in the throat or you'll never be able to change pitch without cracking and straining or the very least have an abrupt pitch change which is not good.

6. When taking a breath, try to breathe in like your pushing your diaphragm down. It's a sensation you need to feel. It will rise up eventually, what you do is try to slow that pace that is why you need to give it room around your stomach,sides and back.

6. Mastering this should bring you one step closer to seamless transitions.

If you're learning this on your own, you will need a lot of patience. This is practically muscle memory, which means your body needs to get used to it. Which means, it would take time. It took me around 2 months or more I think.

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I'll second what people have said. Simply put you need to take deep and low breaths without rising your shoulders or chest. Once you have that you need to be able to control the exhale (breath out) And the slower the better. Nothing should be rigid, like you said, you want a controlled and consistant flow of air. Using a 'sss' sound breathing out can help. Imagine a leaking tyre!! The air doesn't all rush out at once, It slowly and consistently comes out.

The diaphragm isn't responsable for pitch. Once you can deliver the air from your diaphragm to your vocal cords it's your vocal cords that will worry about pitch by stretching - Imagine the different pitches you get from an elastic band if you pull it lighter or let it loose

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in addition to all the great advice, here's one i do....especially if you are wanting to sing powerfully or operatically.

create the sensation of bearing down (just the exact same way you would if you were going to relieve yourself of solid waste).

don't go overboard!, bear down and out just to the degree of sensing the body's behavior of expanding.

before you read further, be sure when you bear down and expand down below, make certain you have a relaxed throat!!

this exercise is both useless and harmful if you involve the throat or feel undue pressure in the vocal tract.

your training yourself to retard exhalation, (hold back the breath pressure) so it's "applied" to the vocal folds rather than slapped against them.

hold that expanded positon below for 10 seconds, relax, another 10 seconds, relax...do it 5 times. each day go for an increase in seconds held expanded. work up to 30 or more seconds. one set of 10.

remember the key to this exercise is to focus on the expansion while keeping the vocal tract relaxed.

when you get stronger, you can also practise this exercise by maintaining the expansion (as explained above) while slowly breathing in and out.

remember, if you find yourself grunting, or constricting the vocal tract/tract muscles, or you feel like the vocal folds are needed to hold back the air, you are doing it wrong!!

you must keep aware of this. this is a hell of an exercise, but it will condition you to control exhalation.

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when you get stronger, you can also practise this exercise by maintaining the expansion (as explained above) while slowly breathing in and out.

This is a very interesting topic to me. How slowly do u suggest the breathing to be when one is able to hold the expansion steady (no movement) for half a minute? Also, I'm certain that the closure of the folds is of utmost importance once able to control the exhalation... What level of exhalation force (time to exhale, speed, etc.) should one use that would transfer over to a firm (not overly loud but not quiet) speaking voice? Loud singing voice (tenor high G or A?

Of course dynamics, vowels and such make it tough to suggest exact answers to these questions, but using exhalation time as a baseline for exhalation force, can we more or less link the two, exhalation time and type of phonation?

Hope this makes sense... If not please let me know.

Thanks,

Erik

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You kind of answer your own question by holding expansion steady for 1/2 minute. None of us can prescribe an exact amount of time. And we cannot feel the pressure you have in your throat.

Would it make things easier if someone said 1/2 litre of air in a minute (just pulling a number out of thin air)? That way, you have no liability and if it doesn't work, you can blame whoever said 1/2 liter per minute for the failure.

Let the quality and beauty of tone be your guide. Singing is something you do by ear. It's not like playing a guitar. A guitar is external, can be tuned with a digital tuner. And you know you will have exactly an A 440 if playing 1st string at the 5th fret. You don't do that with the voice. You have to hear the note and feel the note to know you are making, for example, an A 440.

The idea behind breath support or breath management is that you control the exhale, and that your needs can change depending on where you are in a scale or a song. That the throat, specifically the larynx only has to generate a tone.

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