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Summertime - sokhna-dior & shawn (Billie holiday/Ella Fitzgerald Cover

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BlackieJane
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So this is my 2nd recording. After doing 'The Nearness of You', I had a friend who's had quite a bit of training come over and teach me some exercises. I didn't really know about diaphragmic stuff until a few weeks ago, so I've been working on that to strengthen my support. In critiquing myself, I think that because I've become so conscious about breathing, I'm doing it too much when I don't need to. So I keep inhaling when I'm not doing parts that need the extra support, making the less intense parts too airy and uncontrolled. How do I find that balance? Will it just work itself out once I have more practice and the diaphragmic breathing becomes more of a reflex and less of a conscious effort?

Anyway, have a listen and your feedback is very much appreciated!

Thanks

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I love your voice and love your style! It's ironic that you're asking about breathing because you seem to have such great control over the long phrases. There were only maybe 2 times where it seemed like you were running out of air.

A few thoughts that I've learned over the years about breathing, including some of the most recent tips:

1. Don't take in too deep of a breath. Take in a comfortable breath. If you take in too deep of a breath, you'll get tension in other areas of your singing mechanism, mainly the upper chest and throat. Also, when you take too deep of a breath, there is inevitable loss of breath before you even sing. It's the same idea as when you fill up a balloon with too much air, some air escapes before you have a chance to tie it off. This is probably the sensation you have when you're singing sections of your song that don't require too much breath, which is probably why those sections are too airy and uncontrolled.

2. The idea of trying to control the diaphragm is nebulous and confusing for most people. While you can control it by slowing down your breath, the idea of controlling it for breath release while singing is hard for most people to grasp because the muscle is on the inside. It helps me to think more about working on controlling the more external of the breathing muscles - abs, lower back, lower ribs. When you inhale, you should get fat. You should feel expansion in all of those areas As you sing, you should try to stay fat. Imagine coating the inside of your hands with glue, blowing up a balloon and holding the sides of the balloon with your sticky hands. As the air escapes the balloon, keep your hands pulling outwards. Fun tip: hiccups are the result of your diaphragm having muscle spasms. To stop hiccups, take low deep, slow inhales and exhales. :)

3. Over many years of teaching, I have done the typical breathing exercises of inhaling and then hissing over measured time to demonstrate the slow release of air. It has just occurred to me that the problem with this exercise is that there is wind resistance in the hissing which helps control the release of air. When you're singing, there is no such resistance. Lately, with my students, I have them inhale through an open throat and exhale over measured time through the same open throat. It's much harder to control the release of air when there's no resistance. In my opinion, it forces them to think a little bit more about the utilizing the lower breathing mechanism to control the release of air.

That's probably too much information, but some red flags went off in my head when you started talking about diaphragmatic breathing. It's not a bad concept that people teach, it's just confusing. I hope I didn't muddy the waters even more.

So, to get back to your questions. Just as you've already discovered, you're probably taking in too much breath for the times when you don't need that much air.

Since you claim to be a newbie vocalist who has just started to work on your singing technique, you're probably entering into the phase of "learning and overthinking." That's normal. You do so many things so naturally that there comes a point where too much instruction can get in the way.

Keep up the good work. I look forward to hearing more!

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The tone of your voice and pronunciation reminds me of Roberta Flack and your vocal line in this reminds me of Sarah Vaughan.

Well done. This is the kind of torch song you hear in a club while peering through cigar smoke and nursing a scotch.

I know that it was a big hit for Billie. I have one of her early albums pressed on ceramic.

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Thanks ronws! That's awesome to hear Robert Flack and Sarah Vaughan even mentioned near my post. They're both amazing. I like how Peggy Lee sets up that same kind of scene you described, so lately I've been trying to listen to her a bit more. I'm glad she's rubbing off on me. I just started working on "Black Coffee" and if all goes well, I may have an upright bass and trombone player get in on it too.

And thank you for fixing the embed...I haven't been able to figure it out lol :o)

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