A singer wants first to master diaphragmatic breathing or "abdominal breathing," as well as intercostal breathing and back breathing to improve the voice. This becomes much easier to do if we begin by learning what the diaphragm looks like and how it functions. The diaphragm is a large muscle sheath that stretches across the bottom of the ribcage, nearly cutting the body in half, separating the lower organs from the heart and lungs. During normal breathing, the diaphragm automatically flexes and contracts bringing air in and out of the lungs. "Supporting the voice" and "singing from the diaphragm"means flexing the diaphragm more deeply than during functional breathing and maintaining the diaphragm in a flexed position in order to control the small amount of air used to sing with a larger amount of air kept in the lungs.
There are many deep breathing exercises you can learn to strengthen the intercostal muscles, abdominal wall muscles and lower back muscles which will all enable you to keep your diaphragm in a flexed position. A flexed diaphragm gives the singer the control of a resistant, steady breath necessary for effortless singing techniques. The air maintained in the lungs is the force and power underneath the breath released for sound.
If you think of a balloon filled with air, and the sound you can make by squeezing the top, it is only a small amount of air being released that makes a sound. It is the large amount of air maintained underneath it that gives the small amount of airits force. A large amount of air supports the small amount - that is the definition of breath support. When the balloon has lost too much air, the pitch falls, the sound wavers and dwindles until there is no sound.
The same is true of the voice.In order to learn to sing better, the most important of singing tips you can hear is this - Singing Begins And Ends With The Breath. Make sure you always do your breathing exercises and pay attention to the flow of your breath during your singing lessons and during your vocal warm-up exercises.
While practicing your vocal warm-up exercises, if the lower half of the rib cage is kept wide and the intercostal and lateral muscles are held in position, the resulting flattened diaphragm will support the breath. The abdominal wall muscles will expand as the ribs widen, andengage as the air is released to assist in this expansion. Allow yourself to have a "fat belly." Do not push the belly out, but let it expand as you widen in your lower core, and once expanded, keep your abdomen comfortably round, and your lower ribcage comfortably wide.
The most common of breathing problems singers have is releasing the diaphragm from the first note, and thus giving the air away at the very top of the phrase. Try putting your finger right on your lips and singing the first five notes of a simple scale up and down on "oooh." Do you feel wind blow against your finger? If so, you are losing your air. Your goal should be warmth, but no wind.
Try again, and notice this time, if you feel wind at the end of the scale, as well. A vocal coach should be working with you from your very first singing lesson on how to parcel out your air for proper breath support, so you don't throw away half of it on your first note and give up what is left on your last. Try pretending you are singing under water and you want to stay under as long as you can. Conserve your air.
Work with the right amount of air, so it feels natural and comfortable. If you take in more air than you are prepared to control, your impulse will be to give it away. Try holding your breath between two or three phrases of your vocal warm-up exercises. Notice that if you do not breathe in or out in between phrases, you are less likely to give away air on the first note of the second phrase.
The singer is holding the air in the body, not pushing air out or bearing down. During higher notes, and belting, the singer will feel the pressure of the air down into the abdomen, a similar feeling to playing a trumpet.
Make a fist, press your lips right up against it and blow, as if you were playing a trumpet. Notice the feeling of the air pressure pushing back down into the body. Slowly blow the whole breath into your fist, giving as much resistance with your fist as you can until you feel your abdominal muscles engage. The feeling of the air pressure slightly pushing back is the only feeling of pressure you should feel as a singer. You should never feel any kind of pain or pushing, just some slight pressure of the air on long phrases or higher notes.
To improve your singing voice, you want to train the whole core for proper diaphragmatic breathing, meaning not only the techniques of abdominal breathing, but also intercostal breathing and back breathing will all assist you in supporting your voice. Look at photos, drawings and videos of the diaphragm, so you can see what is happening on the inside of your body as the diaphragm flexes and contracts. Knowing what it looks like inside will help you do what works on the outside.
Article Source: http://www.abcarticledirectory.com
Ruth Gerson is the creator of The Singingbelt and an acclaimed vocal coach who has taught singing and songwriting at Princeton University, The Blue Bear School of Music and The Music Center in San Francisco. The founder of San Francisco Vocal Coaching, she has been a singing teacher for eighteen years in NYC and the S.F..
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