The Open Umbrella Sensation (Part 3)

So now that you are “belly breathing” we need to take you into the sensation of breath support. This is a biggy.

What is actually happening is the muscles all around your body (back, ribs, stomach) are engaging to “hold back”, ¬†“suspend” and control your breath. Again, this can be very tricky because I don’t want you to totally hold your breath, and in fact, that may cause a lot of wrong tension in the throat and neck area. Remember you should feel relaxed from the shoulders and up. The effort and energy is felt below. This is where visualizations will help you find the correct sensation.

Remember you are breathing from the bottom up now.

Now imagine there is an open umbrella (or parachute?) sitting in your belly. The bottom part (the handle) is at the groin area and this can represent the straw sensation as you are breathing in. Imagine the air you breath in is coming up under your ribs and upper stomach area and expanding the umbrella. Now, remember the umbrella is not rigid and non-flexible like a real umbrella that would lock into being fully open. But, rather your “belly” umbrella is more like a strong, flexible, thick, moving, flowing, and engaging umbrella that expands to its fullest under your ribs and around your back when you inhale for singing, and then relaxes a bit when you exhale….but NEVER collapses. It is always there when you are breathing….while you are talking….and while you are simply existing! This open, moving umbrella sensation is now an everyday part of your new sense of breathing. This umbrella does not need to be huge. If you feel imbalance or get lightheaded, then you are over-doing these sensations. Regroup, relax, and start over. It should start to feel normal in small, manageable steps.

Stay tuned as put these sensations into the correct coordination for singing.

 

Visualizations

One way to improve your singing technique is by thinking about images or visualizations that help to put the body into the most efficient coordination.

There are many images that can help with breath support and breathing. Try this one.

Imagine you have an open umbrella in your abdomen. The handle is located near your groin, and the collapsible part is open and engaged under your rib cage. The part under your rib cage is firm, yet flexible. It can expand and open bigger (wider) as you inhale, and go back to the regular open umbrella sensation when you exhale.

Don’t think about your breathing too much. You will simply breath when you need to breath. “Feel” how your upper abdomen, rib cage, and back muscles are engaged as you breath. If you feel uncomfortable, then don’t inhale quite as much air, or don’t imagine your umbrella so big. Start with a visualization that feels manageable, controllable, and flexible.

This is a great place to start to improve your breathing and breath support when you’re singing. Make sure you are sitting or standing properly with good posture. (Chest slighly out and head anchored back like someone is pulling on your hair). ¬†Close your eyes and take the time to allow this sensation. Don’t force it. Allow your body to rhythmically be engaged in this way with your breath. Learn to live with it. Learn to memorize it and engage it all day long.

What do you think? Can you sing like this? Do you notice how your throat is very relaxed? It should be. You should only feel this interesting energy in the area of the image — your abdomen!

Notice how it puts prospective into how loud you can sing.. Notice the control you feel when you don’t sing loud. This is the essence of great singing….to be able to sing at a low to moderate volume with great control and intensity.

You may feel that you can’t inhale very deeply. Don’t worry about that right now. It’s now necessarily about how much air you are able to get it. It’s absolutely about how you are able to control the air that you use when you sing.

Question? Thoughts? Please leave it below.

Get that sound out of the back of your throat

I know how it feels. I know you want to control it. I know it’s uncomfortable.

But, if you want to take your singing to the next level, you need to be willing to let it go.

That’s right, let go. Stop relying on the inside of your throat, tongue and jaw area to help you control your sound, and let the sound go. I know it’s breathy. That’s OK. Experience it. Let’ go of it and start in the correct places to get control of it.

Control start deep down….way down. When you breath in, visualize your entire belly and groin area expanding to allow your breath to go low and deep. Allow your abdomen to rhythmically expand and relax with the timing of your breathing.

Be sure to allow your body to maintain that bouyancy sensation of your ribs and abdomen slightly expanding as you breath in, and slightly returning as you exhale. But, don’t let this spongy, bouyancy feeling of breathing in your body leave you. You can control it. You can go about your daily chores and activities with this sensation all day long. It may be uncomfortable. It may feel like you are expanding your rib cage and your back, and your upper belly in an unusual way. Learn to welcome it, learn to engage it, learn to live with it. You are re-learning how to breath like you did when you were born….diaphragmatic breathing.

Next, is learning how to take in a quick, small sip of air that will accompany your breath support when you go to sing. Notice I said small. At this point, that’s all you really need to sing your phrases. However, if you need a little more, your body will tell you. Typically it’s not the amount of air you take in that matters right now, it’s how you are taking it in, and how well your body is controlling it. It’s the quick, rhythmic intake that sets you up for that first onset of making great sound happen.

Spend some time getting to know your breath. Your singing will thank you for it. It may not feel exactly like mentioned above, but if you allow yourself to get in touch with your own breath, amazing things can happen!