Monday, January 23, 2012

Singing Tips - Part 1 Diaphragm

Yea, Yea, I know... I am not a "Great" singer, more like a Good singer of a large variety of different styles of music. If I was a Great singer, I would have made my millions while I was much younger. I do however have fun singing, and do my best to make it un-painful for my audiences. So why am I giving advice, being the novice that I am. Well I hang out with a lot of novice singers. We have good voices, and through this Karaoke jam that we have created we have found that we get a little applause now and then, and it kinda feels good, and hearing ourselves over a nice sound system kinda adds to our presentation over singing in the car or the shower.

I am no expert here, so take my suggestions how you want. I have learned a few techniques over the years that are certainly worth passing on. While breathing is very important for holding those notes, more important is the use of your diaphragm. No not that one, the one that exists in your body just below the center of your ribcage. When you sing, you actually should not be using massive amounts of air from your lungs to push the notes out. If you use your diaphragm correctly while singing you should be able to project your voice at its most powerful state without blowing out a candle six inches from your mouth.

Now don't catch your hair on fire trying this, but it is absolutely true. Try it. First lets see how to find and use your diaphragm. There are some actual exercises that you can do to enhance the use of your diaphragm. Place your hand at the center of your rib cage and make the che che che sound. You will feel this muscle tightening up, that is your diaphragm. If you tighten that muscle while you are singing you will project your voice rather than blow your voice out with air. Like any other muscle, if you don't use it, you lose it. To prepare your body to start using this muscle, you need to exercise it. Try this:

1. Make the Che Che Che sound, (like the little engine that could)  but thrust it as hard as you can 20 times

2. Then do the same saying Pa Pa Pa, with emphasis on the consonants, almost holding your breath before you release each sound, 20 times again.

3. Then the same with The The The.

by now your diaphragm will feel like you have been pumping iron if you are doing it correctly. Now try singing with the candle in front of you holding your diaphragm tight and you wont blow out the candle.

If you can exercise this little muscle enough, and then remember to use it to sing with rather than a volume of air, you will be able to hit notes better, project them and not ruin your throat, and also hold notes for as long as you can hold your breath. This doesn't work for every style of singing, sometimes you need to use some air too, but it is one more tool in your arsenal.

I will have other tips for singing soon, like shaping your mouth, position of your chin cool little tricks that allow us to hear the finest part of your human instrument. See you at my shows!


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