When it comes to vocal technique, I think the thing singers struggle with the most is (drumroll please). . . . breath support! Would you agree?? That’s why regardless of if you’re a pro who’s been at this for a while or you’re a new singer just starting out, you can never have too many tools in your arsenal for good breath support. And of all the things you can do to improve your breath support, there’s one global idea you need to know to make all the other tools work. Watch this video to find out what it is and learn how to implement it!
Ever wonder if there’s one thing you could do to always sing well? Kind of like a secret weapon that would give you power & reliability every single time. Well, I happen to believe there actually is such a concept to sing well. And once you know it, it globally changes what your body does to make sound when you sing. I know your curious. . . . I call it a secret weapon because of the dramatic effect it has on eliminating strain and creating stability and reliability in your voice. So no matter what genre you sing or what level singer you are, your chances of maximizing your technique to sing well go WAAAAAY up when you understand this key concept. So what is it???? Drum roll please. . . . . OPPOSITION Yup. . . . That might sound totally esoteric to you, but I’m goin’ SUPER fundamental with this one. The concept of Opposition is a game changer. TRUST ME. And you know me, I’m in this for the long haul with you. While I enjoy giving you tips and tricks to sound better singing in the short term – my ultimate goal is to set you
My voice teacher in grad school would always say that unlike instrumentalists, singers are not able to objectively look at our instrument. So the development of our imagination is crucial to how we “play” it. If your goal is to play your instrument to it’s potential, then opening your imagination to conceive of your singing technique in new and different ways is essential. Today I’ve got a new image for you that will stabilize your breath support. If you are a singer who has ever struggled to get through a long phrase. . . . If you are a singer who has ever experienced tension and strain as pitch rises. . . . If you are a singer who has ever struggled with stamina. . . . This one’s for you!! You just need some better tools to stabilize your breath support. I bring you this image courtesy of two of the great vocalists of the last century. Thomas Hampson, one of the great baritone voices of the last 50yrs, and Richard Miller, a vocal pedagogy pioneer, voice teacher (at my alma mater) and author of the seminal book on singing technique “The Structure Of Singing”. Both Hampson and
Lately I’ve been noticing just how much confusion and frustration singers have around breath support and breathing for singing. Singers can get SO down on themselves when they don’t feel their breath is beneath them. Do you relate? You’re tired of the fear of not making it to the end of the phrase. You wonder why your high notes feel strained. You’re frustrated when you don’t consistently sing the way you want to. You start blaming yourself that it’s all your fault you don’t really have what it takes. You start wondering if you are talented enough to be on this path. The Inner Critic runs riot when, in reality. . . . . it’s not your fault! It ALL comes down to breath support. And you just haven’t been given the right tools to unlock the foundation of your support yet. In my 20 years of helping singers and being a professional singer myself, I’ve discovered this: The key to unlocking the foundation of good singing starts with getting under the hood to understand a few simple concepts about the physiology of breath support and sound. It’s a step that SO often gets skipped. But that stops today!! Now
Running out of breath when singing a long phrase is SO frustrating! No matter what genre you sing, I think most of us have had the experience. There’s always that one phrase in that one song that gets you every time. I remember a specific piece that used to give me so much anxiety because there was one long phrase I could never make it through no matter how hard I tried. Do you relate? I wish I knew then what I know now. I’ve come to understand that if I’m running out of breath when singing a long phrase, the issue is not what’s happening during the actual phrase. The problem usually lays in what’s happening with my breath and support BEFORE that phrase – often many, many bars before it. When I’m so laser focused on the actual long phrase, I fail to notice how my singing and breathing in the bars prior to it might be sabotaging my ability to sustain it once I get there. In today’s video, I work with a singer on getting present to why she’s running out of breath when singing a long phrase. Watch the transformation as she backs up, understands
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
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 . . .