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ArtistWorks Vocal School Lessons: Resolving Traditional Confusions

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I've mentioned a little bit earlier in our
lessons that there are some traditional
confusions about singing and breathing and
you may have heard quite a number of them.
Or you may have had some teacher passing
onto you,
some of these traditional ways of
Which actually never got fully, we'll call
it, exposed to the light.
[LAUGH] And matched up with physiological
We're gonna do that now.
Here are a few of the key confusions that
I've heard floating around.
So the first is huh, breathing into the
The way to breathe is breathe into your
stomach or fill your stomach with air.
You ever hear that?
Now that you've gone through the
physiology of the voice with me earlier,
you know, that you can't breathe into the
that's where your intestines are, and air
only goes into your lungs, not your belly.
We've also cleared up why it is that the
stomach does move forward a bit when
you inhale, which of course has to do with
the lowering diaphragm
squishing the organs underneath it.
That's it, doesn't fill with air.
How about this?
You ever been told to sing from the
Often, that direction does not get, you
don't get told where the diaphragm is?
How it works?
What it has to do with anything?
And so you're left going oh, I'm supposed
to sing from my diaphragm.
I've had so many singers say, now I know
I'm supposed to sing from my diaphragm,
and that's what I really need help with.
And you know, in a way they're right.
But, unfortunately that direction and
that idea is coming from a, a weird angle
on it.
We now, I've, we've gone through what that
really means which is
putting the diaphragm in its active state
and position so
that it can automatically regulate the air
for you.
Normally, that direction of singing from
the diaphragm does not mean that, and
it means something else that everyone's
left scratching their head about.
So, now we've hopefully cleared that part
out for you.
Another is breathing into the diaphragm.
That has nothing to do with nothing, and
how about how about this,
have you ever been classified as a certain
kind of singer,
like you are a soprano, you are an alto,
you are a tenor, you are a baritone.
There's a mixed message there.
I remember when I first started attempting
to study singing,
I went to one teacher who told me that I
was an alto.
And that I could only train my voice from
this one note to this other note.
Which actually isn't that wide of a, of a
span of notes and
I was like, yeah, but what about all the
other notes?
I wanna have a wide range.
And she was like, no, no, you're an alto
these are the notes that you need to
And so I didn't go back and
I went to another teacher who said, let me
hear you sing.
Okay, you're a soprano.
I'm like, well yeah, but I was just told I
was an alto.
No, no, no, that's not correct.
You're a soprano, and notes that you need
to train are from here to here.
And I'm like yeah, but what about all
these other notes?
No, no, no, you're a soprano.
This all comes from a really old
traditional way of viewing the voice,
and it has to to with choral singing.
Which was some of the first, shall we say,
legitimatized ways of singing.
In choral singing, if you're a choral, if
you've ever sung in a chorus,
you know this, how this works.
Voices are categorized because there's
many parts.
And the parts, like an orchestra, need to
work together.
So each part has a certain span of notes
that's appropriate for
that aspect of arrangement in the music.
And then the next category takes care of
certain other notes.
As well, back in the day, when voice first
started becoming
a growing concern as a category of
training and, and what not.
And we're talking a few hundred years ago.
They were looking for certain sort of
innate tonal
qualities that went with each
categorization of voice.
So if you were a baritone, you had to
sound a certain way, not only sing
a certain portion of notes, you had to
have a certain quality of voice.
Voices were being matched up with orches,
orchestral instruments,
which is kinda strange, because really the
voice was the first instrument.
But it was actually banned from use in
public concerts and
displays for quite awhile and
finally it was sanctioned as something
that could be done and it was okay, to do.
And there's some weird history into all of
that which I won't get into right now.
But the point is that, if you've ever
heard the phrase,
you're either a born singer or you're not,
this is where it comes from.
The technology of training a singer back
in the early days, of course,
was not a developed area.
And nor was it, ever really developed for
many, many, many years.
Because there was no means by which to
view what was happening inside the body
when one is saying.
So it was all opinion and conjecture, and
no one really knew how to cultivate a
As a result, they were looking for
people who somehow naturally had a certain
sound and could sing a certain range.
Conveniently for them, the f, the
expression and
belief that either you're born a singer or
you're not kind
of justified the fact that they couldn't
just help anybody.
Fortunately, you've found the place where
anybody can be helped and
your voice can be cultivated and expanded.
So, I have never met a singer who didn't
have at least three octaves.
We're gonna get into, if you don't know
what an octave is, it's basically a series
of eight notes that comprise, make up a
uh,what's considered to be a Major scale.
We're gonna get into that once I sit down
at the piano and
start leading you through various
You'll find out exactly what that means
and for, if you know more about music and
you've been working with your voice more
you probably do already know that.
So we're gonna work on widening your range
and all the other factors that's you know,
sometimes when you have these weird ideas
about what's possible and what's not?
Though the idea itself can act as a
barrier against which you fight.
So that's why I'm taking a little moment
here to expose some of
these traditional confusions.
There's one other whi, two others
actually, which one of which is
if you've ever heard, well, you know, the
problem is you just sang too much.
And the other is if you wanna sing any
form of contemporary music,
if you wanna be a rock singer, you'll ruin
your voice.
So both of those are weird.
If you, if you've worked your voice well
enough, you develop proper stamina.
That I don't mean so much in terms of
singing songs, but
through exercises, which we will be
getting into.
Is developing that stamina of muscle
action so that you can ask your voice to
work for you aggressively if it is, or not
aggressively but over a length
of period of time and it will get stronger
as you go along not weaker.
So we've, we've actually have two aspects,
which I've named.
The thing of longevity of singing.
And that ultimately if you work your voice
right, if you develop your voice
correctly, it will last for you over hours
of singing and there won't be any
such thing as you've sung too long, and
that's why you're having a problem.
It's more how you're singing, that gives
the problem.
And the other is style.
And if you've ever heard any, if anyone
said to you directly
that the style of music you wanna sing is
gonna wreck your voice,
that individual just simply doesn't have
the know how on the way that you need to
develop your voice so that you can sing
the style or styles that you want to sing.
And, you won't wreck your voice.
So again, it's how you're singing,
not what you're singing, I've found to be
Good news, eh?