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How can I maintain singng from the diaphragm (base)?

Hi All,
Any good tips on maintaining singing from the diaphragm and avoid it creeping to the neck. I start off with good intentions but sometimes I forget my posture.


  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,346
    Start thinking of the engine that drives your voice as being low down in the diaphragm. When you want to go up to a high note, push down towards the pelvic floor. The higher the note, the more you emphasize the feeling down low. Transfer the energy you are presently focusing on your larynx to the diaphragmatic floor. Instead of pushing at the throat, push down low on your insides.

    You will also feel a need to stabilize the breath diaphragmatically on your low notes, but down low, it is more a steadying of the breath. In the case of low notes, you use a downward push that helps to release the air in a steadier stream, without any wobble. This will help with your pitch, both high and low.

    Keeping your posture intact and your support always active will help you to avoid placing undue emphasis on trying to control tension in the neck and throat. If your throat remains relaxed because you are relying on good support rather than neck tension to hit your notes accurately, you can find it much easier to relax, knowing that the notes will all be right where they are supposed to be. No need to tense up for easy notes.

    All the Best!

  • josephinejosephine Pro Posts: 30
    Thank you so so so much for your words of wisdom. This all makes sense. To be honest, I was getting so many conflicting feedback from vocal coaches about singing it was driving me nuts. For example, sing like how you speak. What is that all about?? To me that does not sound quite right.
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,346
    Sing like you speak would be good for someone who narrates instead of singing, but ridiculous for someone who wants to actually sing. There are so many differences in singing and speaking that it makes you wonder how someone who tells you that can even manage to collect money for supposedly "teaching" students how to sing.

    Interestingly, these are often the same vocal coaches that have the students exercise on meow, meow, mum-mum-mum, and nay-nay-nay. I don't speak like that, nor do I sing like that.

    Speaking uses tons of emphasis on consonants and chopped up syllables.

    Singing, on the other hand, is mostly the sustained use of vowels, and the minimization of consonants. When we speak for conversation, we aren't very concerned about support. When singing, it's of the essence, our very sound rides on that support. It is interrupted by consonants. We maintain an open throat when singing. When we speak, we simply say words and vary the volume and pitch for emphasis. Singing involves a number of skills that simply don't happen for ordinary speech. Singing allows us to convey more feeling by manipulating and artistically modifying the delivery of lyrics that can have dramatic effect.

    There is a lot of contradiction and just plain nonsense being peddled as "singing courses". Thank goodness you found KTVA.

    All the Best!

  • vmalheirosvmalheiros Pro Posts: 105
    edited June 2016
    I was struggling a lot to understand support, what it does and why it is necessary. Then I read some posts here and watched the webinar, so I could get a grasp of it.
    I think I have finally understood how support works. I'm able to relax the chest, neck and throat and sustain notes only with abdominal strength. Unfortunately, every time I try to use that mechanism to support a high note such as A4, I get a pulsating headache for like 10 seconds. Then it goes away. That happens even in scales. I hope it goes away with training, because I want to sing rock n' roll.

  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,346
    I don't know what you are doing to cause the 10 second headaches, but my guess is that you're overdoing the intensity of the support, to the extent that it is causing issues. It's not meant to be done to that extreme. When we use "tons of support", we're applying that strength to the abdominal areas, and that cannot give you a headache. So you're adding something that doesn't belong. Next time you get that headache, stop and figure out what you are doing that could possibly cause you a headache. Eliminate that, whatever it is.

    The correct support will take the throat strain out of an A4, but it doesn't transfer that strain to your brain. It transmits it to your gut. There is no connection to support and headaches. You must be straining something above the shoulders. If anything, your head should feel relief of stress, not increase. You're doing something backwards, but, not being you, I can't tell you what that is from your description.

    I've been supporting for years, and never experienced a headache.

    Do you have high blood pressure? Perhaps you are overdoing your abdominal control and that is cascading into increase in blood pressure. You may need to see a doctor and demonstrate your support to him/her. Singing should not create pain or headaches.

    All the Best!

  • josephinejosephine Pro Posts: 30
    Hi Vnalheiros,
    I was diagnosed with hypertension, so I have to make sure when i do the exercises that do not hold my breath or tense up otherwise i do experience things like headaches. I would urge to see your doctor to make sure everything is ok.
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