Step 04 - Diaphragm Support

The purpose of Step 04 is to connect the diaphragm to the full body breath, by increasing the diaphragm's strength and flexibility.

You see, the diaphragm is like the air traffic controller of your vocal machine. When utilized properly, it can easily help control the speed, the quality and the quantity of the air released. Having such complete control of the airflow means you will have complete control over your tone.

To get you started in the right direction, we are simply going to concentrate on strengthening the diaphragm and gaining more control over it's actions. Because it is both a voluntary and involuntary muscle, your body will trump your actions when needed for survival (like coughing), but otherwise you can control it like you control closing your eyes. You just have to become familiar with how it feels and repeat the actions so the muscle has the stamina to do the job when called upon.

In STEP 02 concept you learned how to lower and lift the diaphragm at will, now we are simply going to lift it over and over again, with a small bit of force and A LOT of repetition. The goal is to develop strength, flexibility and stamina in the diaphragm's muscle memory.

One of the most simple ways to accomplish this goal is to take a deep full breath. As you release a constant stream of air, you repeatedly lift punch the diaphragm on a syllable (choose from: Hah, Hee, Heh, Hoh, Hoo). Make sure you are not creating any tension in the throat as the syllable is created. Keep it free and easy, with the airflow continually moving until you run out of every last bit of breath. How many punches can you get on one breath? Do as many repetitions as you can, until you lack the stamina, strength or focus to continue.

I don't understand...?

An easy visualization for this strengthening exercise a paddle ball, the little wooden paddle with the ball attached by the string. Imagine you are watching a paddle ball being played, with the paddle horizontal (matching the position of your diaphragm). As the ball lifts, lift your diaphragm with great energy. Keep a constant moving airstream as you lift. Notice how the air is affected by the punch? In advanced training you really learn how to connect the dots!

IMPORTANT NOTE: Lift Punch Exercises (such as this) are important as they speed up your rate of development --- you get better, faster because the exercises isolate and strengthen the diaphragm muscle. However, the diaphragm would never work this hard or this forcefully when you sing, it would instead lift with energetic ease.

TAKE FURTHER ACTION

Once you have done a few sets, take a deep breath and SUSTAIN ONE NOTE on a COMFORTABLE MID-RANGE PITCH. Concentrate on what you have learned and lift the diaphragm as the air and the note leave your body.

Repeat entire process as many times as you can stand.

Ask Yourself:

Are you supporting and releasing a consistent-moving, focused airflow....or is the air just escaping?





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