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HI, I'M JORGELINA
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In this blog post I talk about how to learn breath control for singing! This is a topic often discussed by singers and singing teachers, which often results in agitated debates. While singing teachers have different ideas about what the best ways to work on breath support for singing are, there are certain things that we all agree on. Watch the video or read the transcript to find out!
Are you ready to take your singing to the next level? Good, because today I’m going to show you how to develop breath control to make your singing much better. We’re going to talk about what breath support is, what the benefits of it are, and how to get to work with them starting today.
My name is Jorgelina, I am a vocal coach, singer, and songwriter, and I specialize in teaching adults how to sing contemporary music from a holistic and integral approach. I want to start by talking about the different ideas about breath support.
There are a lot of different ideas about breath support and breath control for singing. some people think that breath support means tightening the belly very strongly when they sing, to hold the breath from the belly very strongly. And some teachers talk about letting the diaphragm do its thing. Some people talk about the inspiratory tendency. There are a lot of different ideas about it.
And as I always say, it is a matter of you finding what works for you. I am not a teacher who likes to criticize other teachers and other methods, so I’m not going to do that. I’m just going to tell you about what worked for me.
I’ve worked with a lot of different methods as a singer myself, and some of them were not too useful when it came to breath support. What works for me when it comes to breath support is something that is divided into two parts.
Number one: what happens with breath support in the vocal cords?
There are two possible ways to look at breath support from the vocal cords. Firstly, how you manage the airflow that causes you to close the vocal cords to sound. The other approach is: can you make your vocal cords send the instruction of how much air to send? So that one is my favorite one. It is possible to develop that ability. And of course, it takes a lot of training in body awareness and sensation training.
Of course, the other part about breath support is how you organize your body to connect that airflow with the vocal cords functioning.
When we’re talking about breath support, regardless of the terminology we use the method that we use or our ideas about it, it’s always about how you control the airflow when you are singing.
Now, how you control that airflow is where the different opinions come in. Now, what worked best for me was the ability to breathe in and inhale with the ribs, not only the ribs that are here (demonstrates) but also the higher ribs from the fifth rib and below, to be able to inhale opening the ribs to the sides, and then letting the ribs there to exhale (demonstrates). Now, normally what would happen is you breathe in with your ribs expanding, and then when you exhale, the ribs come back to the initial position.
For me, what helped was to learn to inhale, using the inhaling muscles within the ribs (the external intercostals), and then keeping the inhaling muscles engaged when you are exhaling. And what that does is you are inhaling, you are expanding your ribs and the diaphragm has space. And then when you exhale, you are not helping the diaphragm. You are not bringing your ribs in and that makes the diaphragm have much more control over the airflow. As a result, the airflow is going to be more controlled and your vocal cords are going to be able to work in a more differentiated way. We want to do this for healthy and highly skilled singing.
The benefits of breath support go well beyond holding notes for a long time. Yes, that is one of the main benefits, but it also allows you to, as I said before, have a very differentiated voice in which you have control of how you sound.
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