Breath Control playing/singing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Solar Bell, Oct 18, 2005.

  1. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

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    I have a question regarding breath control.
    I do not seem to have any problems playing my horn. I can play long passages or phrases with no problem. I take very large breaths, as in inhale the whole room. When I have to sing on the mic I also have no problems. However, when I am signing my parts while practicing or just singing for enjoyment, etc, I find that I cannot sing for more than a couple of measures at best. Also, when I sing, I am constantly yawning. (maybe I bore myself)
    Any thoughts, Manny?

    -cw-
     
  2. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

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    Chuck,

    At the risk of stepping on ML's toes, maybe I can add some insight.

    First off, let me say how similar the proper mechanics are for singing as they are for playing the trumpet. Manny actually pointed this out to me and now that I have reflected I see he was right on the money.

    First, the proper posture for singing is as Manny describes for trumpet playing: keep the spine straight from head to foot but do not allow tension to exist in your body. Think of that imaginary string running up your spine and out the top of your head - it holds you up straight, but the limbs and jaw are relaxed. You will get the proper support you need to breath in and out, but you will not tense up the abdomen.

    Second, breathing - again, similar to ML's concept - always take deep, full, purposeful breaths, not franticly like a drowning man and not too slowly like in a deep sleep. Always use the stomach to fill the lungs up deeply, but not to the point of discomfort. Only stress the lungs at max volume when doing exercises, not during performing.

    Third, the placement of the tongue in the mouth. Do not artificaially increase the volume of the oral cavity to get a deeper tone. This is caused by forcing the back of the tongue downward, also known as singing in your throat.

    Also, do NOT arch the tongue upwardly - this produces a nasal, unpleasant tone - singing through your nose. Let the tongue relax into a nice natural position by singing long "oo" sounds like "LOO" or "MOO".

    Another way to visualize proper singing I was taught by a voice instructor was to imagine the sound coming out of your mouth in a large open pipe and forming out in front of you by about an arm's length.

    The mouth is like a valve if you are singing in your nose or throat you have the valve partially closed and you do not get the full resonance out of your vocal instrument.

    If that valve is wide open - proper posture, relaxed tongue and open mouth then you get maximum projection and your best tone.

    Fourth, as you are learning to sing do what I did - listen for oustanding singers and imitate what they are doing. Once you are able to do that then you can more easily see what you need to correct in your own singing.

    I was lucky - I learned by imitating a very talented and well trained cantor at a large Catholic Church I attended in Texas. Everybody raved at the man's voice so, I just learned to copy it. Well, it also didn't hurt being married to a trained Soprano either! :D

    I hope this helps,

    Greg

    PS - I know you can do it, singing is so much easier than playing the trumpet! ;-)
     
  3. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Y'know...

    I actually made Greg sing when he came over to the house recently... the boy got pipes, seriously!

    I echo what he said. Now I'll add a little something that might be useful if you're doing signing with the band. Very simply and frankly, we older cats have a habit of, when we breathe to sing, of not ALLOWING our gut to do what it wants to do naturally. That is, we need to grant our abs to go soft and flabby when we take an expansive breath. I'll bet you do what I used to do and that is to subconsciously tighten up a bit while trying to inhale.

    Go ahead and let the abs move outward. Don't MAKE it happen. Rather, LET it happen and you'll notice right away that you'll have more fuel for the song. Give it a go.

    ML
     
  4. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

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    ML,

    Thanks, that means a lot coming from you! :oops:

    GZ
     
  5. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks Manny & Greg

    Manny, Greg must be a good student, it sounds like he LISTENED!

    I will work on the suggestions. They don't let me sign with the big band, something about not wanting the big bands to die again, but with the little group I'll work on it.

    I thought that's why I wear a girdl..cummerbund!

    Again,

    ¡Gracias mucho!

    -cw-
     

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