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About breath support

Hi, guys.

So I've been pondering about breath support. I think I'm getting the hang of "pushing down on diaphragm" though it's not as strong as it should be right now.

I have a question, however. I've been reading some posts here, and sometimes it is said that we have to keep that sensation of inhalation, thus pushing down on the diaphragm, but also I've read in some posts, the askers are told to pull in on the diaphragm, and Master Ken also says to bring in the stomach while singing.

Doesn't pushing out cut back the air, holding diaphragm in low position, while bringing in the stomach get more air across, raising the diaphragm?

I'm getting the thought that, maybe, "pushing out the stomach" isn't the only "step" in breath support. Could anyone clarify my confusion please? It'll be much appreciated!

Thank you


  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,625Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    You bring the stomach in very slowly. Your breath needs to last through the entire scale or phase of the song. You continue to push down on the diaphragm as the stomach slowly comes inward.
  • EnglishTea123EnglishTea123 Posts: 76Enrolled
    I see. And from what I understand about the body, the stomach still comes in regardless if we are pushing it out, right? When we exhale, it automatically comes in, so I'm guessing that means I don't have to purposefully pull in my stomach? Am I understanding it right???

    Thank you.
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,625Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    edited October 2015
    That is correct, if your stomach is coming in naturally as your phrase or scale continues, that would be right. It comes in very slowly, and lasts throughout your phrase or scale.
  • EnglishTea123EnglishTea123 Posts: 76Enrolled
    Thank you so much for clarifying that! :)
  • EnglishTea123EnglishTea123 Posts: 76Enrolled

    Bob, I apologize for repeating questions, but I think my mind is playing a trick on me.

    When we have proper breath support engaged, what changes can we see on our body when looking at a mirror? For me, I currently see my solar plexus expand outward as I start to sing scales. My lower abdominal slowly pulls in, though I am not pulling it inward. I've been reading Rene's post about Appoggio here on this forum again and again as well as other answers. I think I am doing it right, but my mind is playing a trick on me, so I just thought I'd better be certain about this.

    Bob. For you personally, when you start singing scales or songs and breath support is being engaged, what can you see your body do in the mirror? Kind of like when Ken pulls his shirt backward when demonstrating the diaphragmatic breathing.
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,625Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro

    The belly will slowly retract in direct proportion to the amount of air you are slowly releasing as you sing your scale or phrase. Your chest should remain expanded and not contract. The movement in in the abdomen. It is also happening all the way around, down low, including the lower sides and back, but they aren't nearly as visible as your belly, because your belly is soft and expandable and can also visibly contract more than your sides or back.

    You bear down on your guts when you are going for higher notes. Down from up above, and up from down below. To me, it feels as if I'm hunkering down on a beach ball when I push down on the diaphragm to go up to a high note.

  • EnglishTea123EnglishTea123 Posts: 76Enrolled
    Bob. I have been resting for a little and just got back to practicing. While resting, I continued working on my support and breath control. Today, while practicing, I noticed that when I make the sound bounce off my hard palate, I have this sensation similar to slowly and gently sighing as if fogging a window. What I mean is that, when you are trying to wipe your glasses, you blow on them, right? And when you blow the air lile that, warm air comes out of your mouth. That's the kind of exhalation I mean. Sighing, but not sighing with force; just gently and very slowly releasing a sigh.

    What I noticed today is that by blowing this "warm air" gently, I have more power and range. My throat doesn't feel tense, and it seems to be working my ribs, abs, and back as I feel the workload there.

    Is this "warm air" the proper way to exhale?
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,625Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    I suspect that the reason the air feels warm is because you are slowly releasing it, and it has been warmed inside your body. Support is a means of holding back the air and slowly releasing it in a more controlled manner. Support also makes a more tone-rich sound.

    Since you say you are noticing that you are working your ribs, abs, and back instead of your throat, you may be improving your support.

    Support is the resistance to letting your air come out on its own. Instead, you use your entire body to hold back the air and release it slowly.

    You are correct that well-supported release of your air will have that warm, clean-your-glasses-off-with-fog feeling in your throat. Usually we are too busy with the other tasks of singing to notice that.

  • EnglishTea123EnglishTea123 Posts: 76Enrolled
    Thanks! I will be posting up a video of my practice soon!
  • EnglishTea123EnglishTea123 Posts: 76Enrolled

    Hello, Bob!

    On my journey to strengthening my support, I finally think I felt what appoggio really is. When doing the breath exercises (the hissing one) and singing scales, I gently place my hands to the sides just below my ribs. Whenever I make a noise, I SEE in the mirror and FEEL the sides bounce out when I'm doing staccato exercises. So I place my hand on my solar plexus and it also gently expands. I place my hands on my back, it also gently expands there.

    So, this gentle outward expansion seems to happen all around my body, the 360 degree gentle outward expansion upon singing. My solar plexus slightly bulges outward, so does my back and sides just under the rib cage. Is this the right thing that I should see happening in the mirror when singing, and is this the proper feel of support that I should be feeling when singing? (I know this is just a bunch of words, but I just wanted to confirm that I've found the right thing. When you look in the mirror, would you say you see the same as described?)

    I will post a demo as soon as I get the chance. My phone is dying atm lol.
  • Sounds good: staccato exercises, helps control the movement of the stomach and to quantify the pressure, I guess.
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,625Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    Yes, EnglishTea123

    That all-the-way-around expansion is what you should see and feel. There is more to support than just that, but those are important components in support.
  • EnglishTea123EnglishTea123 Posts: 76Enrolled
    Bob, thank you for getting back to me. After I found this sensation, I've been working on connecting this to the sound production. I think it has been going well, but I'll post a video next week. I am so glad that I am one step closer to finding breath support. All thanks to Ken, you, and others!
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