One of the most powerful tools I give my clients is the permission to exhale. Its sounds silly but words like ‘support’ and ‘diaphragm’ (among others) can lead to very stiff and unnatural breathing. I’ve seen many variations of the right idea gone wrong for breathing, so I keep it as simple as possible. First of all, if it aint broke, don’t fix it! I rarely do breathing work as its own thing unless it’s clearly a problem. The breaths are all a part of the exercises. They start with detached 1/4 notes, (with 1/4 rests) leaving time to take a short breath when needed. In other words it establishes a ‘take only what you need’ policy. That’s the most common breathing problem I see among singers, I call it the inflate/deflate syndrome. It starts with a giant breath regardless of the upcoming phrase of music. Long story short, what comes in has to come out or your gonna be in a hold for the remaining air. They never really deflate because they didn’t need all that air to begin with. Now they become what I call a ‘high breather’. They’re taking in more air on top of the air they never let out from the first breath. You’ve seen it. You’ve done it, we all have.
While no correction is easy when you’ve been doing something a long time, the correction for this and many other vocal issues is SIMPLIFY. Take a breath appropriate to the phrase you’re about to sing. If you’re singing a slow legato ballad with long sustained notes then by all means take that giant breath and enjoy. But if you’ve got short, quick phrases with plenty of opportunity to breath throughout then start with a more proportionate breath.
Now, you would think that once you unlock all that tension from holding and manipulating the air, you would just walk right into a new released, relaxed tone. Unfortunately, the opposite occurs. Once you let go of all the ‘holding’ there a feeling of breathlessness, and the inability to get control. It ‘s just the first part of the transition and very soon you start feeling the match of the breath to the demands of the music.
Try lesson 4….its the toughest IMHO 😉
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