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Diaphragmatic breathing

I've been trying to understand support for a long time from Ken and other youtube coaches but I keep on lacking something and I don't know what.
Ken has said to try sit-ups to understand support properly but silly me still doesn't get it. So is there any other exercises that I can try besides sit-ups to understand diaphragmatic breathing properly and how can make sure that I'm using proper support?

Best Answer

  • WigsWigs Moderator, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 5,042
    Answer ✓
    You have to relax your support between phrases, if you keep it bound up then you lose strength and the tension transfers towards other areas we dont want it. Holding back the breath and using compression is actually not really taught until volume 3 in the course. To start you want to create a ping in your voice. This is done with good breath management but you dont need to fully hold back your breath to achieve it. Once you ping then you can begin to understand how to conserve air and go to the next level of compression, otherwise its very likely you just tense up as you have described because the foundational mechanics are not yet there.

    If you find it hard to do this by what you are feeling regarding support and breath management, go with how it sounds. Find a good open sound that pings, then take note of what you feel and work from there.


  • user125user125 2.0 PRO Posts: 7
    edited July 2021
    Correct me if I am wrong folks, but the sit-up exercise is mostly to get the sensation of what diaphragmatic support feels like. Mostly in the solar plexus area. I don't want to call it tension because that'll give the wrong impression that you need to just tense up that area to get that support. Rather you're using that area or diaphragm to support the sound. I remember one video mentioning when you try to try to lift something heavy (from a standing position) you could also get that sensation. So if you're lifting a table for example, you can feel your voice being stronger/fuller and that you're engaging your core which is similar to the sensation of singing while doing the sit ups. Fyi, I'm not an expert and I myself and still trying to be more consistent w/ this skill. It comes and goes where one day (perhaps my condition is better that day) where I can feel my core engaged and singing becomes more effortless, vibrato is much easier, my voice is more fuller, and then suddenly the feeling drops off. So I feel, once you know how to engage those muscles or the diaphragm intentionally it'll click inside you and you'll know what to do. Until then, don't give up!
  • AyushAyush Member Posts: 30
    @user125 I totally get you brother, but It does feel tense in the stomach and eventually you start locking-in or being bound up in the stomach. Singing should not feel tight(or at least that's what everyone says), whenever I feel I'm locking-in the stomach, my throat instantly becomes tight and I find myself pushing to get the notes.
    I've seen many video's of Ken where he states "hold your breath like you're talking underwater". So my question is how can you hold your breath and shouldn't be bound up in the stomach?
  • user125user125 2.0 PRO Posts: 7
    I know what you mean with the tension, especially when your throat gets tight (This happens even more so as I go higher up in vocal range) But when I get the sensation down and I'm singing for that brief moment properly, there is no tension in my throat. That tension in the stomach and singing from the diaphragm is a very nuanced feeling. There is some tension because you're using that muscle but it shouldn't feel bunched up and I think that's the problem in explaining it. It's one of those things you have to be very in tune with your body and how it sounds. When it clicks you'll know but until it's very confusing and feels forced. So when I can feel that the sound is coming from just my throat, I stop, check my posture, check to make sure I'm breathing correctly, that my rib cage is expanded. I'll massage my face, jaw and throat to release any tension. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't but I feel like learning to sing is a process and if you keep training, you'll have that aha! moment and know exactly what Ken is talking about.
  • Klaus_TKlaus_T Moderator, 2.0 PRO Posts: 2,405
    edited July 2021
    it is hard to explain and hard to learn. i thought i "got it" several times, only to then later figure out it still wasn't fully there. it was a process that took months (if not years) to get to a point where now i think i get it, but then i also have the impression i am still making progress in that area, which might be just building stamina or more powerful support, not sure, maybe it means i am still not fully there. the important thing is to remain patient and not give up. the more stuff you read about it on the forum here, the better, because some day, one of these seemingly meaningless pieces of the puzzle might just bring you that "aha" experience (along with your own experiments).

    the tightening up in the throat is quite likely a sign that it's not proper support, because proper support takes the strain away from the throat.

    regarding the talking underwater, it will definitely feel like muscular work, the stomach is not super relaxed when you do it right. on the other hand, a bound-up stomach is not proof that it is good support, it could just be "bad" tension that does not help you support better. what i suggest, you lie on your back, do a few breaths into your stomach, breathe out fully, then breathe in fully, and try to hold that load of air inside. if you imagine your stomach area to be a bouncy castle that you are trying to keep from collapsing, you might get a hint at which muscles and structures are at work with support. notice you can hold back the air with your lips (by closing them), but you can also keep the air in with an open mouth, if you use the "talk under water" technique, and counteract the collapsing with the support structures. imagine keeping the "breathing in" muscles engaged, in order to not breathe out.

    the situp exercise is really more to show you the amount of strength needed for support, but more as an analogy. it is not the same muscles nor does it feel that similar. it is an approximation.
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