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Vocal Tips #1

Julie JD
November 16, 2011

Welcome back to another post of my blog. I've come back this week to give you some more tips, only this time it might not be interesting for all of you, only some. But I suggest that everyone read it, because being a musician, you'll have to sing at least once. There are many styles of singing. Classic, rock, screaming, rapping. This is all included. Yes even rap. Just because it may be partially spoken, there are still notes you need to follow, you just don't realize it because it's usually done subconsciously.

My first tip qualifies for every genre of singing, and that is proper breathing. When you're singing, you're supposed to be singing from your diaphragm. A diaphragm is a large band like muscle that is pretty much around your stomach region. When you breathe it expands with air. Why do we use this muscle? Well it can hold more air, and since it's pure muscle you have more control. So how do you fill this giant muscle with air? When people breathe naturally it is from this spot, only throughout the centuries, we've trained ourselves to breathe mostly in the chest. So, to make sure you're breathing correctly, stand in front of a mirror, place one hand on the front of your stomach and one on the back. Take a deep breathe and imagine the air going towards your stomach. If your shoulders move you're not doing it right. You're hands need to move with your expanding stomach. When your shoulders move it means you're still breathing from chest. So how do you prevent it?

By not gasping for air. When you're breathing into your lungs, the back of your throat opens up and a bunch of air just flows in. To aim for your diaphragm you need to concentrate your intake. What? Imagine you're breathing in air through a straw. Or better yet you're drawing a drag from a cigarette (which, as a singer you shouldn't be doing) imagine doing either of those things, and notice how much more air you take in when you're sucking a straw or cigarette compared to just taking a breathe. This will fill your diaphragm more, so for practice sake, breathe as if you're sucking on a straw for air with your mouth in a small 'o' shape. Later, when you can do it without thinking you won't have to look as ridiculous.

I know it seems like I spent forever talking on how to breathe, but it just goes to show you how important it is to have something as simple as breathing down. With the proper air support, you have more control to keep your voice in tune, hold notes longer, sing certain notes louder and have the stamina to sing longer. So this week practice on proper breathing and I'll come next week to give you some tips on how to use your breathe wisely. But if you want to get a head start there is an event hosted by Metalworks Institute in Toronto. On November 20th they have vocal day, Which is free from 11am to 4pm and there will be educational vocal clinics. So maybe you'll see me there.