In the beginning singers were focused on the external muscles of vocal support. Back in the 30’s and 40’s teachers of the voice believed that if you trained abdominal, chest, back and intercostal muscles that your vocal support would be enhanced.
THEN- the prophet appeared! Doing studies with emphysema patients in military hospitals in the 50’s and 60’s Carl Stough changed our belief system FROM focus on the external muscles TO focus on the internal membrane of the diaphragm. Carl was an award winning choral director when he was asked by a pulmonologist to do this research. This seemingly small discovery changes what is possible for vocal development and achievement.
Singers have less body tension and vocal stress when training of the diaphragm is isolated. As a result, they can learn more quickly and safely and reduce the chance of injury. Today, disciples of Carl Stough are only beginning to see the positive effects of our new belief system.
While we are still a growing congregation, if you are interested in incorporating these beliefs into your teaching practice, try teaching your students to add just one exercise to their daily routine and see what the results are. Here is the most basic exercise one can do for diaphragm training.
b. Breathe through your open mouth – 10-20 breaths and notice that there is no tension in chest and abdomen restricting your organic breathing pattern.
c. For 5 breaths, use your exhale to passively produce a “la la la” sound.
d. Do the exercise again, breathe for 10-20, and la la la for 5-10. Then, get out of bed and go to work!
Steven Flam has perfected the training of your diaphragm for vocal power.
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