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ArtistWorks Vocal School Lessons: Rib Cage Exercise 1

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In this lesson we're gonna focus on
the very first exercise that will begin
what the body needs to do as part of the
breathing process when you're singing.
I'm gonna bring on someone, Novi.
Say hi.
>> Hi.
>> [LAUGH] And I'm gonna use her to
demonstrate it so
you actually have a visual on the steps of
the exercise.
So the first thing we'll do is just go
through the overall form.
And then I'll give you details about it.
And then I'll coach you through a number
of repetitions.
And then we'll go through some other
details so
that you can get the best out of your own
Okay, first is, make sure that your head
is essentially level.
I don't want you to be looking up, which
will stretch these muscles and
make some tension in your throat.
Nor dipping down, which ends up,
you can try it when you do this, you feel
like a pressure in here.
So we wanna keep the chin giving enough
distance here,
you know, in your throat, so that the
muscles remain relaxed.
The other thing, is to stand on both feet
So your legs are gonna come straight down
from your hips, rather than, go wide,
rather than that, or just standing on like
one leg with your knee bent.
You need to have stable base for
this exercise so, again, legs come
straight down from your hips.
'Kay, now open your mouth.
'Kay, palms come forward.
Notice they're gonna stay facing forward
as you go through this, and
you're gonna be stretching your arms out
from your body.
And as you do this,
you're using your arms like ropes that are
pulling open your ribs.
Don't do it from down here, just use the
arms in a full stretch, and
then they come closed with palms flat
At this point do not breathe.
Silent count to six.
We're about at four, five, six, turn your
palms outward, arms come down.
And as you bring your arms down, the ribs
are released,
which push out air essentially, and you
exhale naturally as the arms come down.
That's the overall form, and that's one
So now let's go through this again, and
maybe this time you'll want to mirror what
Novi is doing as I'm directing.
Okay, let's try this out.
Okay stand on both feet, head is level,
open your mouth.
Okay, now turn your palms forward.
Let them remain forward and
begin stretching your fingers out as far
from your body as you can.
Take it slow.
Mirror her and how, what the speed is that
she's using.
Now close the arc, palms come flat
Good stretch, two, three.
Feel that stretch in the back.
Five, six, don't breathe.
Okay, arm palms out.
That's right.
Bring it down, air naturally exhales.
'Kay, so when you brought your arms up,
did you feel that air inhale?
Make sure that it's, you're not helping
In other words, you use that stretch, that
pulls air in.
You don't have to additionally, hah, gulp
a big breathe.
That's gonna be way too much and it will
be uncomfortable.
We're going for a natural pulling in of
which will be accomplished by pulling the
ribs open.
So as long as you're stretching well
enough, that will occur.
Again, when you're here, and your arms are
straight there,
now I'm gonna move you sideways.
Notice the angle here.
This is, maybe you can think of it as by
your nose.
And this is a stretch from the shoulder
straight through the arm, and right out
the fingers.
Consider that the energy is being released
out your fingers.
In this stretch, your stomach should
remain relaxed, and you don't breathe.
Okay, and then bringing it down.
And you can bring your arms down faster
than when you raised them,
because you don't care about using them to
pull open your ribs,
they're letting your ribs naturally come
All right, here's a few other details.
The shoulders are designed on each of our
bodies maybe a little differently,
but essentially it's a slight forward
So instead of it being like, straight out
from the neck, it's slightly forward.
And if you do this, try it out yourself.
Like, put your palm forward but push out
your arm and try to raise it.
You'll feel a lot of tension maybe, in the
chest [LAUGH] and
in the back and, and it'll start pinching
you in the back of the neck.
That would be an incorrect position.
Instead, what we wanna do is keep your arm
aligned with your shoulder.
These are the little details that make the
exercise feel easier to do, and
you get the best result from it.
There we go.
Now, another thing I mentioned earlier is
to try to keep that stomach relaxed.
At first, when you're going through the
exercise you might find,
on thinking of it, that your stomach gets
kinda tight and
as you're stretching up, you've, have it
pulled in.
If you notice that, please do let it go.
We're not trying to crunch in there, we
need to keep that stomach relaxed.
Each of these details, you'll get better
You know, you wanna just kinda get
familiar with it and
go through it a number of times and,
with each repetition it gets better and
you feel more comfortable with it.
I believe that's, that's the basic
Okay, now I'm gonna coach you through a
few of these repetitions.
And then I'll give you some other details
that are pertinent to when you
practice that.
I'm gonna itemize the key elements
of importance in this exercise.
Again, it's simple, but the better that
you pay attention to these details,
the more result you'll get, of course.
So first is, keep your mouth open.
It's really easy to forget this, but if
you close it while you're stretching,
most likely you won't let any air inhale
you'll try to breath through your nose
which is a very indirect route.
So that's number one, keep the mouth open.
[LAUGH] It doesn't have to be very much.
Two, palms forward.
Keep them forward.
Don't bring them up, keep them forward so
that this muscle can help you.
If your palm goes up, you're twisting it
in the shoulder socket.
And it's easy to rip the deltoid muscle,
which is right here.
So keep it forward.
Three, keep your arm aligned in your
Don't hyper-extend it.
Hyper means too much, so it would be
pushing and tensing.
Keep it aligned in the shoulder.
Next, palms flat together,
that gives you a little extra umph from
the back, which is what we want.
Keep that stomach relaxed.
Then, keep the mouth open, don't breathe,
bring the arms down.
Now air comes out.
The, that's it, those are the important
now it's your turn.
What I'd like you to do is mirror Novie as
I coach you and
her through the moves of the exercise.
So, stand on both feet.
Head level.
Open your mouth.
It doesn't have to be a lot.
Just comfortable, but keep it open.
Turn your palms forward.
All right.
Now begin your stretch and feel that
energy coming right out your fingertips.
You want to stretch those arms.
Every degree of this arc that you're
drawing around your body.
Close the arc, palms flat together, mouth
stays open, count to six silently.
Three, four, mouth still open, six.
Turn your palms out, bring your arms down
faster, air will naturally exhale.
How did that go?
All right?
All right, let's do it again.
Mouth open, palms forward.
Take it slow, keep your palms facing
forward and stretch out those arms.
Good, at this point, close the arc.
Palms come together, flat together, mouth
stays open.
Don't breathe, three, four, five, six,
turn palms out, arms down, air exhales.
Good, take a moment, breathe naturally.
[SOUND] Yeah.
All right, here comes another.
We're gonna do a total of five, by the
So that was two.
Okay, keep your mouth open.
Palms forward, take it slow.
Pretend that you are, your finger tips
have chalk on them, and
you're drawing an arc right around your
you want it to be as far out from your
body as possible.
Close the arc.
Don't breathe, mouth stays open, stomach
Three, feel that stretch in the back,
five, six, palms out, and down.
Air exhales, don't stop it.
If you feel like you're not exhaling,
you might have closed the opening of your
throat, so remember that.
Now I'm gonna take it from the side, but
still mirror this,
the I want you to take it as slow as she
is, okay?
Don't speed it up.
All right, mouth open.
Palms forward.
Take it slow, feel that stretch.
Go a little slower.
Stretch, stretch, stretch, stretch,
Okay, turn.
And close, don't breathe, stomach relaxed,
feel it in the back.
Six, palms out.
And air comes out of your open mouth.
You kept it open, didn't you?
>> Yes.
>> Okay.
Well, good.
And I hope everybody did.
All right.
Let's do it last time.
Mouth stays open.
Palms forward.
Take it slow and stretch.
Keep that shoulder blade aligned.
Your arm is aligned in the shoulder.
And stretch, air is naturally coming in.
Your open mouth, keep it open.
Palms flat.
Two, three, four.
Feel it in the back.
Six, palms out, air comes out of your open
All right.
I hope that went well.
Now, I'm gonna give you some
tips that will help your practicing.
First of all, this exercise is best done
with three
sets of ten repetitions per set.
So that's 30 altogether.
But you do ten, then sit down and rest for
about two minutes.
You can even watch the clock, cuz it
really doesn't have to be a long break,
but you need to let those muscles of your
back especially,
maybe your arms too if they have weak
muscles, you wanna let them relax,
because muscles develop after they've been
You might not have known that.
So, that's why, when you do exercises, you
do them in sets and you take a break, and
then you do another set of repetitions.
This exercise, again, is done three sets
of ten repetitions.
So, you do ten, sit, rest for two minutes,
do another ten.
Sit, rest for two minutes, do another ten,
and you're done.
As long as you don't watch TV, answer
telephones, or
dust your room in between each repetition,
it should take about 20 minutes.
And it's also best done in the morning if
you can.
Even prior to eating or something, I find
that when you've got exercises to do,
if you get them done early in the day, not
only is it a wonderful way to wake your
body up, and start the day, but anything
can happen during the day.
And you know, you've gotten them done.
Personally, I don't like exercising in
You may not either.
So find some nice music that you can play
while you're doing these exercises,
and it'll feel nicer.
Additionally this exercise can be done
anywhere from three days to two weeks.
There are going to be new exercises I'll
be giving you as we move forward
in this curriculum.
And this is the, kind of the introduction
to the next two exercises that I'll be
giving you in a little bit.
So you'll find that if you just stay,
look, you know like, go back to the
instructions in the prior lesson.
Let yourself learn as you do it.
And refer to the, to the directions that
I've given you,
watching Novi, pacing yourself with her.
You should do fine.
It's really not a complicated exercise but
like I said, there are details to it and
the more attention you pay to the those
details as you get more familiar with
the exercise, the better it will go, and
the more results you'll have.
Which of course is what we want.
One last thing for this exercise is you
actually find that your singing starts
improving just from doing this exercise.
All the exercises that I'll be giving you
in this curriculum will have an immediate
result, because when you exercise muscles
and then you use them for
the purpose that we have, which is
singing, there is a better result.
So I, I look forward to hearing your
So at this point, you might want to think
about sending me a video so
I can check out how you're doing with
these skills that I just taught you and
the exercises themselves.
I wanna make sure that you're applying
things well and, you know,
there's no confusions, you're getting the
most out of them.
Before you decide to actually record a
I'd like you also to check out the other
video exchanges.
And see what I've given as feedback and
coaching directions to
other students so that maybe some of
these, you know,
points will apply to you and you go, oh
yeah, I'm doing that.
Oh, okay, she said to this person, you
know, I should, oh, right and
then you can apply that and it gets even
better for you.
So when you feel ready, you feel like
you've practiced these enough and
you've gotten these other tips, then just
follow the instructions and
that you'll find on this site, and upload
a video to me so
that I can give you your personalized
Validate what you're doing, that's good,
that's right.
Make sure we're on the right track and
you're getting the most that you possibly