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Building Vocal Endurance for Bar Band Doing Four Sets

Besides actually performing four sets live at gigs, what's another way I can build stamina in my voice?

My first go-round in gigging bar band, I just did the gigs and voice built up to it over time; starting a new project and will be gigging live soon and want to do first gigs without having to worry about wearing out.

Besides doing level 3/head workout alternating 5-6 days per week, anything else? One thought was doing workout, then going right to a set of songs, which would be 1:45 straight; when playing live, we will do 8-10 songs per 45 minute set with short breaks in between songs and 15 min between sets.

Thanks.

Bill

Comments

  • 9 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 10,652Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    Bill, you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned the pat-your-head/rub-your-tummy analogy. Because you need to coordinate yet another additional motion to the previously-mastered techniques when you add the cutting back of the air.

    Remember, support means holding back the breath by pushing down on the diaphragm, so actually that should assist your reduction of airflow.

    You do that overlaid on top of the inward belly breath. The inward exhalation motion of the belly is done slowly, not in an outward puff like in the ha-ha exercise. It's a slow inward motion, and the downward push of the diaphragm is done on top of that slow, inward stroke of the belly.

    The other thing to remember is that the ribcage expansion that also is a component of support keeps the ribcage suspended and expanded, and it is at the top of the chest where we are holding back the air from the glottis. In other words, we don't hold back the pressure so much at the closed vocal cords. Instead, we hold back the air at the base of the neck, at the junction of the chest. So keeping that expanded chest in place helps us to further cut back the escaping air pressure BEFORE it gets to the cords. That is key. You don't want to try to create a blast of pressure and hold it back at the cords. You use your entire body cavity to assist with the reduction of the tendency to blast out the notes.

    Expanded ribs (help keep the weight of the ribcage from squeezing out air).
    Pushing down on the diaphragm (helps reduce the tendency of the diaphragm to spring back and force out more air).
    Closed cords (help to keep the air from gushing out through loosely separated cords)
    Slowly moving the belly inward, slowing down the tendency to release too much air at once or too soon.

    We only use as much air pressure as we need to create a note. Some notes require more pressure, but it should be a well-regulated pressure, not just "more". We only use as much volume as is required to phonate on a note. Yes, we can vary the volume for dynamics, but in general, we want to be conservative, and default to the preservation of our voice. That said, if we then lean into the sound, we haven't already worn our voice out. If we sing at full blast all the time because the band won't turn down or our monitors are bad, we will wear our voice out.

    All the Best!

    Bob
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 10,652Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    Yes.
    At the base of the neck, it will be similar to how you can hold your breath with the mouth and cords open. You're actually holding it with the expansion of the chest.

  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 10,652Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    If you're making it through the volume 3 workout, alternating with the head voice workout, if you add songs to that, you are doing a lot. Just avoid oversinging whether in your practice time or in your band rehearsals and gigs, you should be good to go. You can do the stamina workouts that are in the Pro Videos, if you really want to muscle up, but it's important that you don't overdo it when trying to build endurance. Otherwise it will be three steps forward, two steps back. You want three steps forward, then three more steps forward.

    Avoid the setbacks. Know your vocal limitations and respect them. Let your voice grow gradually. Give yourself time to build the endurance and it will come on its own.

    DO what Ken says about cutting back the air in Volume 3. IT WILL SAVE YOUR VOCAL LIFE! I went "Yeah, right" and did my own thing. It wasn't until I had blown my voice out over and over again that I went back and listened to him again and actually DID what he SAID to do. It's very simple and very easy, but you have to retrain your brain. So DO it. You'll thank yourself again and again.

    All the Best Bill! ROCK ON!

    Bob
  • Thanks Bob. One thing I noticed was a challenge between holding the breath while singing and having good support/tight abs/good push from the gut and diaphragm.

    Last night at practice when I focused on the support, it felt like it was too much pressure for me to ALSO hold my breath, so I was singing too loudly/all chest/no mix, so my voice started to get tired and couldn't access higher range.

    But, when I focused on holding the breath, it was better but support wasn't as strong.

    It's like I'm doing the rub your tummy/pat your head drill and can't do it yet.

    I DO need to get consistent on 5-6 days per week no matter what-know that will help. If any other pointers, please let me know.

    Thanks again.

  • Bob, I'm going to re-read this many times as at first glance I don't get it (yet). Think I will also get another session with Ken to dial this in because to me, THIS is the key to that can unlock your voice to go wherever you want it when properly trained. Thanks again.
  • Bob, I have started playing with this in practice - and I know there probably is NOT a good way for you to explain this - but HOW do I:

    1. Get the full support from bottom to top
    2. Hold back the air and pressure at the base of my neck, NOT the vocal chords
    3. And still get the "HUT" for proper glottal compression so I can let 'er rip in the singing department?

    Like many of Ken's teachings (and my years and years of martial arts training and being a Sensei) I am assuming this is a "Feel" thing - I'll know I got it right when I "feel" it and the body does it?

    I know - tough one to answer:)

    Thanks.

    WH
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 10,652Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    You're right, Bill. It IS a feel thing. First you learn each component and learn what each component feels like. Then you learn to combine the components, a la "patting the head while rubbing the tummy".

    If you don't support, from low notes to the high notes, you will have no foundation for your voice. So you have to practice supporting from your lowest notes (noticing the "feel" of THAT support), through the mid voice and into the high voice, and continue to take note of (and learn to reproduce) the proper support for each location from low to high. All I'm saying about that is that the support varies as the note, and you learn that feel by doing, Sensai. There is no think, only do.

    You know how to hold your breath. Think about that feeling. Holding your breath when you have your mouth open, so you aren't using your closed mouth to hold back the breath. Now sing or speak, and hold back as much of your breath as you can while speaking or singing, and reducing the volume.

    It helps a lot to suspend the chest (ribcage expansion) and feel the breath being held in the lungs, rather than expelled. If you release the ribcage expansion, there is a tendency to want to release the whole breath. Instead, conserve the breath, and let a spare "reserve tank" of air remain in your upper lungs, that is not part of the breath that you release in the slowly-releasing belly breath.

    In other words, you can hold your breath without having your glottis closed, and without having your mouth closed. You just "hold your breath" instead of expelling it. You know what that feels like. We all do. We just aren't used to doing it AS we are singing.

    It's called inhalare de voce, drink the breath, appoggio... it has many names, but in the end, it's a feeling that you have to figure out and teach yourself as you practice trying, like when you learned to ride a bicycle. People could tell you what to do and run alongside you, but in the end, it wasn't until you had pedalled and finally done it that you learned what it feels like to balance a bicycle and not crash.

    You are close. You have all of the elements. Pedal and keep trying, Sensai! You'll get it!

    Bob
  • Okay Bob - let me know if thought process is correct:

    1. Support from the bottom to the top
    2. Make sure I feel the pressure/support at BASE OF NECK - NOT at the chords themselves
    3. Have the neck up towards chords as relaxed as possible
    4. Get the sensation of holding my breathe with my mouth OPEN
    5. Get the HUT feeling at the chords, but NOT all the PRESSURE and AIR right at the chords.
    6. Let the volume be whatever the volume is AS LONG AS you keep ALL THE ABOVE steady

    This sound right?

    Thanks.

    Bill
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