Recently I watched a program where they showed on of the best male vocalists in the world lying on his back singing.
The reason was according to them it helped re train his breathing tecniques so he would brethe from the bottom of his lungs.. I put it to all of you is there any truth in this?
I tried it and could not feel any significant gain.. so either I breathe correctly already and it's not effective on me or it's just a myth.. whats your thoughts. I know how you breathe is extremely important.
even how you open your mouth... my old instructor years ago use to push me into opening my mouth beyond what he called the click point.. That's the point where you hear your ears sorta click...he said you must let the sound out!
If you lie down in the correct position your body is in correct alignment and your breath will work naturally.
The correct position is to lie on the floor with your knees up, and with a book about 2 to 2-1/2 inches underneath your head, where the base of the head is. Relax your neck, and then go through your body, relaxing one joint at a time. Relax the neck in between each of the other joints. So, for example, relax your left wrist, then relax your neck. Relax your right wrist, relax your neck. You should lie there for at least 15 minutes. Get up slowly, by relaxing your neck, then rolling to your side. Then relax your neck and sit up. Relax your neck and get up on one knee, etc. When you are standing, relax your neck and look for the same sense of alignment you had when on the floor. This is some basic Alexander Technique.
If you lie on the floor for 15 minutes on a daily basis (preferably before warm-up/lessons/practice) for 3 months, you will feel a difference. You will feel looser, freer, etc.
So will lying on the floor improve your breathing? It depends. In my studio, I find different things work for different people. Always the approach must be adjusted to accomodate the needs of the student. If there is a lot of tension present, I may ask a student to lie on the floor.
In terms of opening the mouth past the click point - I only use that method for a short time IF there is a considerable amount of tension in the jaw. Then I work with the student to gently move the jaw in some specific exercises that allow them to feel the difference when they are "open". Once the voice is released, then the vowel shapes are refined to be 'open' but not extreme (not going past the click point). A vowel that is too open looses focus, and therefore invites a breathy tone or a lack of brightness, and because of the lack of focus, the tone has less "mass"... which could inadvertently lead to pushing for 'power'.
Hope that makes sense. You asked a simple question... you got a complicated answer
If you watched AI when David Foster and Andrea Bocelli were on... Andrea was lying on the floor singing in one clip
I am not a vocal teacher (really) but it seems to me that it would help to train students to use their diaphragm more effectively and make it stronger to support the singing because when lying on the back the diaphragm has to fight gravity. If you already use your diaphragm to support your singing, it would make sense that the diaphragm is already strong and you wouldn't notice any difference.
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I am a voice teacher. I majored in vocal music and taught quite a bit, both classes and private lessons.
Vikki's info is always impeccable. Jean is also, as usual, correct, lying on your back forces you into proper diaphragmatic breathing. When you are on your back on the floor, it's harder to use costal (ribcage) breathing or shoulder breathing. it makes you breathe by pushing out your tummy...that's diaphragmatic breathing. Here's another way to achieve it: sit down, put your elbows on your knees, but your chin in your hands, now breathe deeply. That's what proper diaphragmatic breathing should feel like, use both that and lying on the floor to develop "muscle memory" or "sense memory" as to how you should properly breathe.
When opening your jaw, you have to be careful you are not constricting the voice box, it's easy to do. You don't want to push your jaw out too far either. That's why it's hard for one to teach themselves voice out of a book or on the web...a real live teacher is much better. Without going into specific detail, open your mouth wide without forcing it, in a relaxed manner, like your comfortably yawning. Yawning also opens the vocal structure and creates a "bell" shape like a trumpet in the throat area.
Here's my favorite vocal trick. If you want to brighten your sound and add an appealing quality, then you should put a smile in your voice. You do this...by smiling. Try it. Sing while frowning, then sing with a neutral mouth position, then sing while smiling. You'll hear your voice brighten up immediately, and you'll make more friends. It's an old radio announcer's trick, a lot of singers use it. For sad songs, smile, but frown with your eyes in a wistful manner so you don't look innapropriate.
All the Best, Mike
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