Support, Breathing and Phonation – Part 5

Circular breathing

Once the control of both coordinations is coming along well, its time to put things back together. There are many forms to do this, I believe this is one of the easier ways to do it, and also develops a more intuitive control.

This will be already setting the stage for phonation, so before doing it, we will make sure that there are no constrictions happening from the neck up, go in front of a mirror and:

– Slide down your hands on your cheeks, as if your face were melting down, let your jaw hang loose while you do it;
– After your jaw is relaxed, plug your ears with both hands;
– Breath a few times, and notice if you can hear any sound while doing it. Most likely, you will hear your breathing in your head, a rasping, kind of like the Darth Vader sound;
– Slowly move on the direction of a yawn, keeping everything relaxed, literally find a way to make it silent;
– Map this very well so that you can do at will.

Notice that by doing this previous step, you will already move on the direction of the first exercise on inhaling.

Now, for the really fun part.

Your goal is to inhale and exhale at a steady pace, but. Make it continuous. Don’t let the coordination stop to then continue, think of circular motion.

Only now, while exhaling, DON’T use any sounds, no sibilance.

You will:
– Inhale at a steady pace until a comfortable capacity is reached;
– Immediately start exhaling in a release motion;
– Keep exhaling for nearly the same amount of time you took to inhale;
– Keep exhaling at a constant rate (this will require you to regulate how much air is going out);
– Exhale the normal comfortable capacity completely, you must release the same amount you inhaled.

After you can do this well, and there are no flips or hiccups when going from inhale to exhale (think of a circular motion, a pendulum, you can even wave your hand from side to side to help you getting the idea):

– Let your jaw hang;
– Plug your ears;
– Repeat the process making all the breathing silent;

Now you will notice the coordination becomes much more difficult without constrictions to help, and that without producing unnecessary sounds, its much more difficult to gauge the amount of air going out.

Finally, you will place the metronome at 60 bpm, and will do this exercise taking 4 beats to inhale and 4 beats to exhale, repeating it in a cycle. You can then vary the amount of time and the proportions, 5/5, 7/7, 9/9, 4/3, 3/4, etc…

Keeping it circular, and keeping it totally silent (ears plugged).

You will probably also notice that MANY of the sensations we normally associate with breathing, have nothing to do with the fundamental coordination, but instead with the habitual constrictions that allow us to feel the flow of air.

So the goal here is:
– Letting go of these habits that are totally unnecessary;
– Training the coordination to work in a much more efficient and independent manner;
– Replicate it at will.

Notice that now we are moving towards the idea of support, it’s already a regulated release of air. But in the manner we are doing now, the pressure we can use depends on the length we want to sustain. Not that useful.

About Felipe Carvalho

Singer and voice teacher in São Paulo - Brasil
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