Today I’m bringing you two short and sweet technical tips to help you achieve a more reliable breath support. To improve your breath support, it all begins with words. That’s right. . . . not the air, not your diaphragm, not your lungs. . . . words! The words we use to direct ourselves in our technique and around our support REALLY matter. Changing words shifts understanding. A new understanding shifts mindset. And a new mindset results in a new physical response which helps your body work for you instead of against you in accessing your most efficient singing technique. I love clever life hacks (who knew a balled up piece of tin foil makes a great substitute for steel wool??). Consider these breath support tips my version of clever singing hacks. They are achieved by merely changing a few words! Watch the video. And if you’d like a more in depth understanding of how to achieve proper breath support for singing, check out some of my earlier posts and accompanying videos on the topic: “How To Sing With Appoggio” has really good explanations and exercises for how to find and feel your support correctly in your body. Understanding and
As many of you know, I have a four year old daughter. One of the things I learned from parenting her throughout the toddler years (and now the preschool years) is the value of re-direction. Thank the lord for re-direction!!! I can not overstate how many times this tactic has saved me from being on the receiving end of a major fuss. And for singers, the value of re-direction is just as strong. Re-direction is a really powerful way to combat tension. My favorite re-direction tool is opposition. There are SO many useful applications for opposition in singing. The one I’m focusing on today is using opposition to help singers increase vocal range. In my experience, most singers have much more range then they’re currently able to access. The reason it’s so hard for many of you to make use of the upper reaches of your range is because too much tension builds up around your larynx as you rise in pitch and you get stuck. The idea of opposition can make all the difference in the world in reducing tension in singing to increase vocal range. Watch today’s Blog video to learn how to employ opposition to help you
Throughout history, there have been many, many things Italians have contributed to culture and society that we just wouldn’t want to live without. Think espresso, the jacuzzi, the Mona Lisa and jeans. (Yes, denim can be traced back to Genoa in the 17th century as being worn by sailors. Who knew?) But given what I do for a living and my creative passion, my favorite of all Italian exports is . . . . . . drumroll please: Appoggio What is Appoggio you ask??? Appoggio is an Italian concept of breath support for singing that has been used by centuries of opera singers to achieve a consistency and stability of breath and tone. You don’t have to be an opera singer to reap the benefits of incorporating the idea of Appoggio into your singing. And don’t worry, singing with Appoggio isn’t gong to make you sound like an opera singer if that’s not your bag. What it will do however, is bring you more freedom and power through stabling your breath support in each phrase. And THAT is what you want no matter what genre you sing. Are you curious to learn more about what Appoggio is and how to
Using Mindfulness to Improve Your Singing Technique I’m a huge fan of the Olympics, so as you can guess, I’m in hog heaven right now tuning in each night to see the latest from the Winter Games in South Korea. As I watched legendary snowboard champion Shaun White pull off a come-back to get the gold, it got me thinking, as I often do, about parallels to singing. It occurrs to me that training more like an Olympic athlete can help you improve your singing technique. Singing is an artistic endeavor, but in my view, it is also an athletic endeavor. It involves training your body to do the same thing over and over for a desired outcome just as any athlete does. Physically, it is no different then Shaun White training his body to do the mechanics of his amazing snowboard tricks so that when he gets into the competition, he achieves a peak performance that appears effortless. Just like any athlete, a singer’s body cannot do what her brain is sabotaging. While Olympians and pro athletes figured out a long time ago that in order to achieve success, training their mental game is just as important as training
Dispelling myths about breath support is like taking a sledgehammer to a cracked foundation. I think most architects would agree that when it comes to building a house, getting the foundation right is the most important part. Without it, the building will not stand (at least not for long!). In the very same way, our breath support is the foundation of our singing. It is from this support that our sound maintains stability. Yet it seems for SO many singers (even those who have had tons of training) a truly solid understanding of this foundation remains elusive. Unfortunately there’s a lot of misleading and contradictory information out there which only serves to confuse more. So in this blog post, I’m going to try to address what I find to be the two most common myths about breath support. Myth #1 – You should breathe into your belly. Noooooooo! When I see these words on paper this technique looks even more ridiculous. Breathe into my belly? I’m pretty sure I don’t have lungs in my belly. If you’ve heard this, it’s because someone has noticed you are taking shallow breaths which pull your chest and shoulders up. The things is,
Do you ever feel like your breathing for singing doesn’t work the way you want it to? Do you ever feel like you understand how your breath support is supposed to happen, but then it fails you when you get into a phrase? It could be that you are ignoring one VERY important element of your singing technique that could make all the difference in the world: Your back! In today’s blog video I explain why the back is so essential in breathing for singing and supporting your sound. Once I became aware of my back and understood how to use it when I sing, everything became easier. If you’ve never paid attention to this part of your body in your singing, hold onto your shirt cause everything is about to become a whole lot better! Watch now and learn: Exercises for how to access the full expansion of your back on the inhale Understanding why you shouldn’t focus on your front body when you breathe Exercises for how to employ your back to sing longer phrases without getting out of breath How using your back will help you achieve a clearer resonance And so much more . . .
Have you ever noticed that really great singers always seem to be smiling when they sing? (From top Left: Beyonce, Joan Sutherland, Pavarotti, Sam Smith, Audra McDonald, Placido Domingo, Sutton Foster) Are they all just perpetually happy? Are they smiling because their singing technique is so damn great? Au contraire mon frère – their singing technique is so damn great because they’re smiling!! It doesn’t matter if it’s Beyonce or Joan Southerland, great singers across the board know that the secret to great resonance has to do with “the smile”. Whether they’re opera singers, pop singers or musical theater performers, when the camera clicks mid-phrase, they all look the same, they’ve all got “the smile”. You too can improve your singing resonance by incorporating the idea of “the smile”. When a singer has “the smile”, it’s important to understand that it’s really not about showing off your pearly whites and saying cheese. It’s actually about the shape you achieve on of the inside of your mouth when the outside of your face appears to be smiling. It’s that shape which has the biggest effect on your ability to create an amazing, resonant sound easily. Do you want to know what the
The importance of ‘gratitude’ is often discussed this time of year, and I’ve found a way of using gratitude that can be even more powerful when linked to our singing technique. This isn’t just a “woo woo” theory. I use this idea in my studio and in my own singing technique year round and I can attest to the results. You’ll learn exactly what this is all about, and the four steps to implementing it into your singing technique in today’s blog video: Now I’d love to hear from you. After you’ve done the gratitude and awareness journaling exercise I outline in the video, in the comments below please share your discoveries to these questions: In what ways do I interfere with my body’s efficient design to make sound? (Think about your habits, tensions, ideas of control and manipulation of sound) What would happen if I stepped out of the way? (In what way can gratitude help me entrust my technique to my body’s sound making design?) What feelings come up when I think about the prospect of doing this? Remember, share as much detail as possible in your reply. So many singers come here each week