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First of all thanks to all of you who take the time to read this.

I started to learn singing by doing exercises and so on like... 8 months ago. I haven't used one vocal training specifically but I've been going around the internet getting a lot of information, from this forum, from singing succes, and a bunch of "online vocal teachers". I managed to start taking actual singing lessons 4 months ago but I can only afford 1 hour a week and I still have this problem that I cannot solve, and my teacher isn't helping that much. I can hit F5 G5 with relative ease, and exercices like la la la or ah ah ah on different scales are easy but when it comes to singing I cant. I'm very comfortable singing from A2 to E4 but when it gets higher my voice suddenly becomes the most unstable thing, offten breaking, and I don't really know how to attack notes between E4 and A4 and when holding an F4 (that's my nemesis) my tone is weak shaky (not like when I do sirens).

And this is my guess : Huge problem with support. I sense some tension in the neck/jaw when going around that area (at least when trying to attack F4 G4) and tend to raise shuolders. I do not breathe to the chest, I do lower my diaphragm, but I cant control my exhalation, it's like the air just leaves and I produce tone while the air is escaping, I feel tension start to build up and larynx raising and then or, A, I shift and loosen up all the tension but my voice sounds weak or, B, I flip to falsetto. I also do have head and pharyngeal resonance, or else I think I wouldn't be capable of hitting C5 with full voice. Tried to work on support and, this is my biggest issue (which is mostly psycological) I don't know how to exhale. What I mean is I don't know how to connect that low breath with tone production and this issue which limits my voice and has taken away the joy of singing really makes me wanna quit, since I do not seem capable of solving it. That's why I decided to write and ask for help.

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breath management should always be engaged. Don't worry about the extreme ends of range. Make the pesky middle thing managable and sound easy. That is where the work is.

Breath management is not just holding back the breath. It is about being mobile and agile.

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Try to engage more the inhalation muscles. Try to sustain the same feeling you have when you inhale when you are doing sound. It will be weird because at the same time you will try to release some air to make the folds vibrate, but the cool thing is that doing that neutralizes most of the pressure the folds are exposed to and is much healthier and sounds a lot better. Practice this on your medium range and in time it will become second nature. :)

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Your issues are very typical, you just need a better coach to help you.

I would highly recommend, for your specific issues, dropping all your SLS studying and going with a more classical/bel canto approach. A LOT of people find that SLS tends to not fix the problems you're experiencing or even makes them worse. The same is true with cheap "classical" coaches you don't really know what they're talking about.

Some great coaches that hang around this forum (or are commonly talked about here) that I would recommend YOU specifically look into and pick one to take some skype lessons with:

Phil Moufarrege

Robert Lunte

Marnell Sample (Dante)

Ken Tamplin

Felipe Carvalho

Kevin Richards

Daniel Formica

Jaime Vendera

Make sure you do your research and pick ONE whose teaching style best resonates with the way you learn.

Any of those folks should be able to fix the problems you're having. But purely "SLS" or SS folks, they just won't be able to teach you the correct way of supporting and usage of full voice musculature that you need to stop this kind of instability

Also worth noting: Usually, when there are problems applying what you do well in exercises over to songs, the problem is usually that you are not modifying your vowels and consonants, so the lyrics are tripping you up. Or that you're not sure what intensity to use/not sure how to achieve the intensity and tone you want

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Tried to work on support and, this is my biggest issue (which is mostly psycological) I don't know how to exhale.

it's really not a psychological issue, its just something that involves coordination and a lot of practice even after you figure out the correct way to do it. and if your trying to figure it out on your own it's a lot harder to figure out. if you take me for example i would say ive been working on support since about late last fall/december by singing and doing exercises whenever i can and trying to figure it out, probably about an hour a day while singing on top of all the breathing exercises. i also probably tried like at least several different ways some of them literally hurting where i couldn't sing for the rest of the day, and constantly going back and forth between all those differnet ways at the same time listening for sounded better and had better control of the breath. and only recently have i been starting to figure it out and still have practice to do. in other words, without a couch is usually hard to figure out (at least for me), with a coach a shitload easier and quicker.

so don't expect to get it down all at once, even with a coach i imagine, but expect a quite a bit of time without one if your experience turns out like mine. ive been revising like constantly, like taking singing notes in my phone and writing down what i do and revising it. im not an expert, but this is what i do. expand the lower ribs sideways, the upper stomach(right under sternum) outward, the back on opposite out. then on the exhale i focus on keeping the chest up, ribs out, and the area under the sternum outward with some amount of effort so that it moves in constantly but fairly slow manner. i used to push there and squeeze there, but i find if i just focus on holding it out but not so much so that it doesn't go in, tension naturally gets put there and increases as you sing and i hold it out a little more strongly for higher notes and louder volume.

now is this right, i dont know but i can sustain notes longer than ever and my singing improved somewhat at least in the sense it's much more controlled as well as more compression. but im certainly still working on it.

but first thing, get the inhale down first. i feel like i wasted time assuming i didn't need to work on the inhale and focused on the exhale for a while. but when i finally worked on the inhale it made things easier.

practice just expanding the ribs( i think right at the bottom of the rib cage) without singing just to get familiar with it. then do frontwards expansion then the back. also pay attention to whether your throat is closing up while singing/breathing. then practice doing hissing but without using your teeth to much. try sustaining vowels for some period of time.

above all patience and singing a lot and pay attention to exactly what your doing with your body when trying to slow the breath (focusing on sensation and exactly what was going on helped me instead of focusing only on the breath coming out of the mouth).

edit: just saw you said your taking lessons. has your coach at least been trying to get you proper support? if not i would try someone else, with plenty of knowledgeable vocal coaches on this forum.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks a lot for your answers they were very useful. Now that I invested some time on breathing and took a look to bel canto and such I've found another problem, which is related with this one. I Started screaming before singing (singing deathcore) and my problem now is, when I had to scream high I would "put my sound" in my nose. Now I've found that I still do that and a lot of air comes out of my nose, in fact I can control my voice a lot better with my nose plugged. My teacher told me I can fix this by doing ng exercises and placing my voice more backwards, like in the middle of my ears instead of forward in my nose. So I'm asking for your advice, what should I do to fix this problem? (I will also of course keep working on the breathing and such)

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