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Proven Methods For Support

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Hey everyone, I feel like out of all the singing concepts support is the most "imaginary" and variant thing. Many singing teachers today think that support is not important however for me it has proven vital in unifying my vocal range.

Now there are tons of ways to look at support... the lift-up and pull back (the air) from pillars is really helpful. But let's just exclude all other concepts for a minute.

A lot of people say different things about support: Richard Miller suggests maintaining the position of inhale, TVS uses lift-up pull back, David Jones says breath to the lower back, others say fill up the torso like a glass....

However as a singer I really don't need complex explanations... I'd rather figure it out through exercise and experimentation.

Based off your total knowledge about singing and experience as a singer... what has been proven AND effective to increase support? What exercises and ideas have a history of actually WORKING to increase support?

I'm scheming hard to nail this support thing! Hope someone can help with a straightforward response =)

- JayMC

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All of the explanations above are kind of what I feel or understand as sensations now after I've had a teacher look at me during my tries of getting support and then tailoring exercises from that. The concept is not hard to understand, you control the air pressure with you inhalation and exhalation muscles in your torso to relieve that stress from the larynx. Its actually finding the sensation of this and practicing it that might be troublesome. For me, support gives me the sensation of "open throat"

good luck!

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jay, one of the very best things you can do (in my opinion) to not "increase" support, but develop it, is to learn how to divert tension away from the vocal apperatus to the lower core muscles. it's very physical and requires practise.

once you are strong enough to expand the lower core and hold it expanded, you will start to sense a transference of tension from the throat, and all the extraneous muscles you don't need to sing, down to the lower core. when tension gets diverted like this, it leaves the vocal folds free to do what they need to do, and enables isolation.

there are those who will not agree, but for me it was a milestone of gain.

one exercise (of many) that will help is this one:

inhale deep and low, expand the entire lower core, get it out, and while keeping the expansion, count from 1 to as high as possible. be sure the counts aren't pushed, just count like you would normally.

this will not be easy at first.

if you hear a strain or glottal grip in the voice as you count you're not expanding enough. the sound of the numbers must be clear and free.

you can also simply expand and hold, (hold your breath) but the counting helps you get aquainted with the relaxing that needs to take place to count.

this is not an easy exercise, but i promise you if you get to where you can hold the expansion, you are going to feel happening what i'm trying to convey here, and you voice will benefit greatly.

if you don't follow, ask another question...remember this is at first very physically challenging..you're keeping the body from collapsing without any help from the vocal folds or surrounding muscles.

it's an exercise i'm so glad to have found.

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I like things simple, too. And I must agree with Bob. I am powerless to stop myself from agreeing with him.:lol:

Although, I may call it breath management. the idea is that whatever strain there is to be had should be in the support musculature, not the throat. Bruce Dickinson said, in an interview, that when he rehearses with the band after a long time off of the road, he stages his training for live shows. He might only sing three songs at the first rehearsal. And his gut feels like someone hit him. But the throat feels fine. After about 4 to 6 weeks, he can make it through the whole set.

As Dr. Fillebrown said in his book, "singers are professional breathers."

I like to describe breath management as being mobile and agile. You may increase pressure, but not escape velocity. More simplification. Breath support supports the note. You have as much pressure and air speed as it takes to create the note, no more, no less. And I don't have exact measurements in milliliters of air per second, either. Just like there is no way for us to measure while were are singing how much "full adduction" we are doing. Imaging percentages is a mental image with no real thing to connect to.

The best method of breath support is that which allows the larynx to operate freely. What is that landmark? I don't know, maybe an average 2 hour set, which is not, I repeat not, 2 solid hours of phonation.

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one exercise (of many) that will help is this one:

inhale deep and low, expand the entire lower core, get it out, and while keeping the expansion, count from 1 to as high as possible. be sure the counts aren't pushed, just count like you would normally.

this will not be easy at first.

if you hear a strain or glottal grip in the voice as you count you're not expanding enough. the sound of the numbers must be clear and free.

you can also simply expand and hold, (hold your breath) but the counting helps you get aquainted with the relaxing that needs to take place to count.

this is not an easy exercise, but i promise you if you get to where you can hold the expansion, you are going to feel happening what i'm trying to convey here, and you voice will benefit greatly.

I have been practicing for a few months now, and haven't really gotten any better. And I've always wondered what I was doing wrong. I was starting to think about giving up, as singing is just another hobby not a career for me, then I read this post. THe one thing that stood out at me was "while keeping the expansion". I have never read that before in any of the exercises. In Pillars, the same exercise is listed, but there is no direction (from what I remember anyway) to keep the expansion, just breathe out all the air - which are different in my mind.

So, with a renewed vigor, I am going to try this exercise and see if it makes a difference for me. I've never been able to achieve that mystical head voice:) - I always flip into falsetto. I have never been able to yell the "woo-hoo" at a football game with any kind oh higher pitch! LOL

You mentioned there wee other exercises - I'd love to hear them if you have the time!

Thanks!!!

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but willise, just remember...it's an exercise that is very demanding if you aren't used to it.

here's another that will really condition the muscles.....without actively breathing, key to this exercise, don't hold your breath, don't actively draw a breath, quickly draw your ab muscles back and up as if you were trying to touch your back, (like if you thought you were going to get punched in the stomach, and couldn't move out of the way)..... when you have drawn back as far as you can, hold that setup for 5 seconds, then exhale into a full expansion.

got it? start slow, because you might be sore the next day.

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I like the exercise where you just breathe out silently (if there is noise as you breathe out your throat is closed) as slow as you can. If you put your hand infront of your mouth (about an inch away). you should feel the moist, warm air gently touching your hand, very slowly. To do this you have to have support, this is a great exercise to feel that 'breath suspension' or call it what you like. Once you can do this with steady control try and say a quiet vowel half way through the exhale. The idea is 1. to keep the same feeling in your throat and 2. keep the same feeling down low, the tendency is for all the air to rush out and to lose the support. I found this one really helpful

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I have been practicing for a few months now, and haven't really gotten any better. And I've always wondered what I was doing wrong. I was starting to think about giving up, as singing is just another hobby not a career for me, then I read this post. THe one thing that stood out at me was "while keeping the expansion". I have never read that before in any of the exercises. In Pillars, the same exercise is listed, but there is no direction (from what I remember anyway) to keep the expansion, just breathe out all the air - which are different in my mind.

So, with a renewed vigor, I am going to try this exercise and see if it makes a difference for me. I've never been able to achieve that mystical head voice:) - I always flip into falsetto. I have never been able to yell the "woo-hoo" at a football game with any kind oh higher pitch! LOL

You mentioned there wee other exercises - I'd love to hear them if you have the time!

Thanks!!!

Well, I've tried the exercise for a couple of days now, and it is hard to keep the expansion while pushing out the air. However, I've also been trying Alexander Massey tutorials (I've seen them linked here before), and I think I can see minute progress.

It is by no means an unconscious effort to keep everything expanded, but I think I may have found that elusive "head voice" buzzing feeling. Mind you, I have to really concentrate on keeping the expansion, so hopefully it will become second nature after a while.

Thanks again!!:)

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