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how can I improve breath control

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GUEST,frnaces 21 Dec 03 - 06:12 PM
Little Hawk 21 Dec 03 - 06:46 PM
s&r 21 Dec 03 - 06:56 PM
Fred Miller 21 Dec 03 - 07:49 PM
Charley Noble 21 Dec 03 - 08:40 PM
Little Hawk 21 Dec 03 - 08:47 PM
Rapparee 21 Dec 03 - 08:50 PM
Uncle_DaveO 21 Dec 03 - 09:22 PM
Alaska Mike 21 Dec 03 - 09:28 PM
JR 21 Dec 03 - 11:19 PM
open mike 22 Dec 03 - 02:46 AM
The Fooles Troupe 22 Dec 03 - 03:05 AM
The Fooles Troupe 22 Dec 03 - 03:25 AM
GUEST,Frank 22 Dec 03 - 01:10 PM
open mike 22 Dec 03 - 01:48 PM
open mike 22 Dec 03 - 01:59 PM
GUEST,Claire 22 Dec 03 - 03:43 PM
open mike 22 Dec 03 - 06:19 PM
ossonflags 23 Dec 03 - 11:17 AM
Little Hawk 23 Dec 03 - 11:22 AM
Kim C 23 Dec 03 - 11:24 AM
ossonflags 23 Dec 03 - 12:28 PM
GUEST 23 Dec 03 - 01:04 PM
Alice 23 Dec 03 - 10:23 PM
Dave Bryant 24 Dec 03 - 08:36 AM
GUEST,nick 07 Jul 04 - 11:38 AM
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Subject: BS: how can I improve breath controll
From: GUEST,frnaces
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 06:12 PM

Hi folks,
Can any one advise me how to improve my singing with better breath control. I have a strong voice and would like to sing longer passages without pausing for a breath. Is there any exercises I could practice?
Hoping to hear great advise,
Frances


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Subject: RE: BS: how can I improve breath controll
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 06:46 PM

Hi Frances,

Here's an exercise: Practice breathing in a very slow and relaxed manner...deep into the dan tien (that is the area between the navel and the pubic bone). Imagine you are filling up a round ball (like a small soccer ball) down there, and your stomach moves out as the ball fills. It happens easily, without effort, but deep in the stomach area. The slower the better (within reason). Let the breath rest in there for awhile, as your body makes full use of the oxygen, instead of breathing back out right away. (slow count of 4) Now exhale slowly without forcing anything...should happen naturally. Do that for a few minutes a couple of times a day. Do it before you start singing as a warmup. The lungs are just a reservoir...it's the stomach muscles that should do your breathing.

It's a Qi Kong exercise. Get any good book on Chinese Traditional Medicine or Qi Kong (Qui Gong) for a more complete description of how it works.

Sing some scales before you start singing songs in order to warm up.

Resist the temptation to push the top end of your voice too hard when reaching for high notes...it's not good for your vocal chords.

Then, when you are singing songs, don't overuse your breath early in a phrase, but just use as much air as you need and no more, and bring it slowly from the deep diaphragm. Don't sing out of the throat and mouth, sing out of your gut. If you husband the air supply wisely, you will still have enough left at the end to handle the whole phrase. Tighten in your butt muscles for an extra boost of air right at the end, if you're running out.

With Qi Gong, you can learn how to breathe only 3 to 5 slow deep, breaths a minute and with very good long term health results. Sick or frightened people breathe fast and shallowly and get a lot less oxygen for their efforts. Healthy people breathe deeply, smoothly, and slowly.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: how can I improve breath controll
From: s&r
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 06:56 PM

Don't fill your lugs too full; unless you have excellent control most of your breath comes out in a rush


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Subject: RE: BS: how can I improve breath controll
From: Fred Miller
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 07:49 PM

Noodle out tunes on a harmonica, especially while walking. And especially the lower keys, like g. Has helped me a bit, and it's fun.


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Subject: RE: BS: how can I improve breath controll
From: Charley Noble
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 08:40 PM

Or learn how to spell..."control"

Sorry, the proofer kicked in.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: BS: how can I improve breath controll
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 08:47 PM

Yeah, don't overfill the lungs. That means you're straining too much with the upper chest to breathe, and it's not the right way to go about it. Fill the bottom end reasonably and comfortably and keep the chest muscles relaxed.

Never try to sound like Whitney Houston without a microphone. She doesn't sound like that without a microphone. Either sing in a room where you can really hear yourself well, or use a microphone, and then you will learn how to get the most expression out of your voice without overdoing it.

Come to think of it, never try to sound like Whitney Houston at all, unless you're into killing gnats with a sledge hammer. :-)

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: how can I improve breath controll
From: Rapparee
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 08:50 PM

Take up the trumpet. There aren't enough folk trumpeters in the world.

I found that truly opening the mouth when singing, instead of sort of mumbling along Dylan style, helps. You get more volume (I've spoken to an audience of 500+ without a PA system) and, with practice, good breath control.

The crack about the trumpet is serious -- but any breath-actuated instrument (Highland pipes, harmonica, tuba, Sousaphone, saxophone, etc.) will help.


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Subject: RE: BS: how can I improve breath controll
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 09:22 PM

Plan your breathing points BEFOREHAND! Don't leave it up to instinct or gut feel of how it feels as you sing.

Exercise: Sing a line (if that's what it is) up to the breathing point. Stop. Breathe out, then quickly open your mouth and positively expand your abdomen and diaphragm to breathe in through mouth and nose. Breathing in has nothing to do with expanding your chest; it has to do with making room for the lungs to open and fill by the ambient air pressure. Then sing the next line. Stop. Breathe out, then in in the same way. And so on through the song. Before you breathe in, you exhaust whatever is still in your lungs, so that you can take a full breath.


The purpose of this exercise is to drum into your consciousness (a) the right points to breathe; (b) the right breathing technique; and (c) the husbanding of air smoothly through the sung line. It gives you the feel of the sung line when you DO have the full breath, too, so that when you are singing "for real" you know how it should go, and how your air expenditure should proceed through the sung line.

Now, another exercise: Put on a recording of yourself singing the song. Then you do what I call "huffing" along with the playback of the song. That is, you take your breath at the planned place, and then softly and smoothly, with mouth rounded into an "O", not pinched, blow out the air through the line up to the next breathing point in the recorded song. Be sure you are not expanding the rib cage when you breathe! It's done with the abdomen/diaphragm, and any enlargement of the rib cage is purely incidental.

Another exercise: Sing, on one pitch, "Hooooooooo", smoothly and at a medium volume, as long as you can without running out of air. Take that sudden fill of air (with diaphragm, remember) and immediately sing "Hooooo" through another "line" until you are NEARLY about to run out of air. You should never actually get to the absolute end of your air, or even to the place where you feel strained to maintain the tone, in this exercise. Keep the pitch and volume steady. Do this at various pitches throughout your range. Do this for maybe five minutes at a time, two or three times a day.

AS A GENERAL MATTER, don't breathe in the middle of a line. There are times when it's necessary, but it should be a planned breath, not an emergency breath.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: how can I improve breath controll
From: Alaska Mike
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 09:28 PM

Whistle.   Whistle in your car, whistle as you clean house, whistle along with the songs on the radio or CD, whistle when you walk the dog, just whistle. Even if you are a lousy whisler, this will help you learn to control your breathing and will also increase your stamina for singing. You might even become a better whistler.


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Subject: RE: how can I improve breath controll
From: JR
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 11:19 PM

Albuterol


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Subject: RE: how can I improve breath controll
From: open mike
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 02:46 AM

THE LA MAZ
childbirth method has an exercise for sustained breathing,
meant to help with concentration during labor, of imaginging
that you are blowing out a candle....so you blow a tiny stream
of air at a candle which you imagine to be a foot in front
of you.

come to think of it i am not sure what that has to do with
having babies, but might help in controlling breath.

and the whistling deal might help in controlling birth,
also, cuz every one will stay away from you !!


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Subject: RE: how can I improve breath controll
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 03:05 AM

When I was involved in Theatre, as well as diaphram control, I learned Intercostal Breathing. This is the trick to act dead on stage without your chest moving. It REALLY expands your capacity when you learn to do it unconciously, but you don't need to do it conciously while singing. And coupled with "breathing from your stomach" as the martial artists say, really works the diaphram.

With full lungs, you should be able, with good breath control, and without strain, to hold a note until "normal" people (who aren't doing it right) fall on the floor exhausted. With proper training, you should be able to hold a note for an enormous amount of time - and you don't need to force much more volume of air out to sing with more volume - it's called "Projection".

Used to play these "dare games" as a kid when singing with the social youth choir...

You DO need to warm up to get this mode "switched on" unless you have learned to breathe like this all the time!

That's the argument with all these nice Pop "breathy singers" - they always use the mike, so don't need to "sing properly". I was watching some "Carols in some big place" thing the other night and one of the "rave" female "pop-stars" was having to grab 2 or 3 breaths EACH LINE to sing simple carols - she was barely lasting 3 words per breath - and you could see that she was labouring. The other one was just ghosting along - she was breathing so well that you could hardly detect it.

And you shouldn't get what Little Hawk mentions if you are doing it properly - if you are getting what he mentions, then you are still breathing at the top end only of your lungs.

Robin


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Subject: RE: how can I improve breath controll
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 03:25 AM

"Singing For The Stars"
by Seth Riggs © 1985
Alfred Publishing Co Inc

Cassettes or possibly CD now available with it.

ISBN 0-88284-340-0


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Subject: RE: how can I improve breath controll
From: GUEST,Frank
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 01:10 PM

This is tricky. A kind of relaxation and tension is needed.
If you relax too much the walls of the breathing muscles
collapse.

The abdominal muscles have a minimal approach to breathing.
If you attempt to press the abdominal muscles out, you will
interfere with relaxed breathing.

If you attempt to force them in and up, it will have the same effect.

The intercostal muscles react involuntarilly. When freedom from tension in that area is lessened, they are more flexible and
can do their job without interference.

Relaxation and flexibility of the jaw, lips and tongue have a
direct bearing on allowing the intecostal muscles the freedom
to breathe.

Having strong intake of air does not mean good breathing for
vocal technique. The right amount of air pressure through the vocal folds produce the optimal sound.

Dan tien breathing in T'ai Chi Chuan is opposite to natural breating and can be inhibiting.

There is a device called a "Breath Builder" which consists of a plastic cylinder, a ping-pong ball and rubber tubing which is
helpful.

The rib-cage must be up in order for the breath support to take place. At no time should the breath be forced and at no time
should the muscles in the jaw, lips, cheeks and tongue be
"set". They should remain fluid and flexible. Any setting of any muscle will inhibit the breathing.

Breath control is the result of working with the above, facial flexibility, correct vowel placement (another can of worms), freedom from rigid setting, involuntary and free breathing and when this is
allowed, breaths can be taken at will.

Panting exercises are helpful to stimulate the intercostal area.

Some of this expansion is in the back as well as the front.

The diaphragm itself has little to do with the breathing mechansim. This is often confused with the action of the intercostals.

A good vocal teacher can help you enormously with this process.

Frank


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Subject: RE: how can I improve breath controll
From: open mike
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 01:48 PM

another way to become aware of your body, posture and
everything that goes into good breathing, singing, etc
is the Alexander Method. I have several friends who
teach this and it helps you be in touch with the most
efficient way to hold, move, etc. it is often taught to
actors, singers, and others. it also is helpful for
improving your body sense and can prevent injuries in
situations like working, playing and physical activities.
Alexander Technique
Ergonomics article


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Subject: RE: how can I improve breath controll
From: open mike
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 01:59 PM

another place with info on Alexander technique:
http://www.thezephyr.com/health/healtheg.htm


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Subject: RE: how can I improve breath controll
From: GUEST,Claire
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 03:43 PM

My list would include

Careful release of air
Planning your breaths
Learning to take very quick, deep breaths

People often emphasize abdominal breathing (drop your diaphram), but neglect the other areas that you can relax and expand. To get a really full breath, you need to open and relax all your muscles around your lungs. This means you will expand your ribcage (back breathing), lift your chest (not your shoulders), and drop your abdominal all in one. Knowing how to do it is difficult enough that it requires practice. Try thinking about each one, in turn, as you take and slowly release your breath. Then combine them. The hardest thing for me, is to keep my ribcage lifted and expanded after the air is gone. If you can keep it open, the next breath goes in very quickly and easily.

At any rate, breathing well is just hard to do, but very rewarding. If you have good air, you will be more on pitch too.

Claire


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Subject: RE: how can I improve breath controll
From: open mike
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 06:19 PM

ANOTHER reason for learning to control breath
is to be able to play a sustained tone on the
didgeridoo. this can be practised with a straw
and a glass of water. With circular breathing
you can continue to exhale, by holding air in
your mouth and pushing it out with tongue and
cheeks while drawing air in thru your nose. it
is possible to send a continuous stream of bubbles
out thru the straw if you are able to perfect this!


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Subject: RE: how can I improve breath controll
From: ossonflags
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 11:17 AM

Roll your cigarettes tighter.The added effort you need to keep them lit certainly improves your puff.


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Subject: RE: how can I improve breath controll
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 11:22 AM

And practice...and practice...you will improve.


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Subject: RE: how can I improve breath controll
From: Kim C
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 11:24 AM

Yoga.


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Subject: RE: how can I improve breath controll
From: ossonflags
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 12:28 PM

The more you practice,the better you get at rolling fags.


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Subject: RE: how can I improve breath controll
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 01:04 PM

Been following this with some interest - all of the above work well -

Rolling fags?? Hmmm- - isn't that a gay thing? OH!!! Cigarettes - I get it now -

I can not believe I typed that out loud -


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Subject: RE: how can I improve breath control
From: Alice
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 10:23 PM

Find a GOOD singing teacher. Get a teacher who understands the mechanics of the voice, not someone who is just an accompanist teaching songs. A good teacher will treat each student according to the student's unique strengths and weaknesses. Reading generalities about breathing can only go so far... you need a teacher who can watch what you are doing when you sing and guide you with the correct exercises to build up your breath control and use your breathing correctly. Contact your local musician's union or university to find a teacher.

Alice


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Subject: RE: how can I improve breath control
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 24 Dec 03 - 08:36 AM

As several people have said, plan your breaths beforehand. When I am singing classical music, especially solos, I will mark all my breath points on my score. Many of the best Musical Directors that I've worked with, will insist upon all chorus members marking the phrasing of awkward or critical passages in the same way.

Another way of helping your breath control is to try and use it as effectively as possible. Do open your mouth properly when you sing and push the sound in the best direction. Don't sing down at the floor - project the sound just over the heads of your audience. One of the tricks that a singer has to learn on an operatic stage is that of singing to the front, while apparently looking in another direction. A singer should also be able to feel the acoustics of a room and if you feel that it would be easier to sing from a slightly different position try and do so.

I have assumed that you are singing without a PA. Obviously if you are singing through a microphone, you will probably be tied to a specific spot, but then the amplification should be able to compensate for an unfavourable acoustic. When singing through a strange sound system, always try and get a sound check first, and take it easy, produce enough volume to make your voice work properly but don't overdo it. Do also ask the engineer about how far from the mic he would like you, and perhaps also let him hear the maximum volume that you are going to use so that he can make sure you're not "clipped" on a high dynamic.

Enjoy yourself - relax - but do make sure that you remember where those breaths are going.


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Subject: RE: how can I improve breath control
From: GUEST,nick
Date: 07 Jul 04 - 11:38 AM

buy a breath builder this products great for vocalist and windplayers,long phrases become easier.find it on the web


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