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Demystifying Breath Support

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

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Why You Have Tension & Strain When You Sing (and other reasons high notes are hard)

The Holy Grail for singers is the ability to sing without strain and tension throughout the entire expanse of your range while finding a free, powerful, resonant and vulnerable sound. Simple right???? I’m rolling my eyes right now – you probably are too. I feel you. I mean, if singing like that were simple, you’d be doing it by now. You would never strain going for high notes, you would never tense up at the end of a long phrase, you’d never feel anxious about what sound was going to come out – it would be amazing! The thing is, there’s a really good reason you’re frustrated, and guess what? It’s not your fault. Odds are, nobody ever told you about The Negative Feedback Loop Of Tension! I was reminded of The Negative Feedback Loop Of Tension recently when I got this message from a member of my virtual voice studio named Frankie. He writes:  “Just found your Chanel and I am hooked so far. I do need help with one thing. I have so much strain and tension and it will not go. I have watched hundreds of videos, honestly if not near thousands. When I push more and

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A Tip To Find Effortless Singing

It’s so awkward being at a show and watching a singer work really, really hard. You see their neck veins pop out, their breaths are gasping and labored as they push and squeeze the phrases out. They have no idea how to sing without strain and it’s exhausting to watch. Have you seen a singer like this? Nothing is worse. Well, I take that back. . . .there is something worse. . . . . BEING that singer who’s pushing, squeezing and otherwise working  waaaaaay too hard. Not only does it alienate your audience, it just doesn’t feel good to sing that way. The truth is, your body wants to sing without strain. If singing doesn’t feel good, that’s your body telling you that you’re not doing it right.  With efficient technique, singing feels effortless. It doesn’t feel like work. In fact, it hardly feels like anything at all . . . . except really, really great! If it feels like a whole lot of work, your body is signaling that you haven’t quite found the sweet spot of efficiency yet. But have no fear! Finding the sweet spot of efficiency is not as elusive as it sounds. One of

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What To Do If You Are Running Out Of Breath When Singing A Long Phrase

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

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Improve Your Breath Support With These Two Singing Hacks

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

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A Tip To Reduce Tension & Increase Vocal Range

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

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Achieving Lasting Breath Support The Italian Way

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

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Two Breath Support Myths Dispelled with a Before & After Video

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,

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Breathing For Singing, A Tip: Don’t Ignore What’s Behind You!!

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 . . .

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This Technique Boosting Habit Will Improve Your Singing

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