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Understanding Vocal Support for Singers - Kinga Kreffta Vocal Coach - Ep. 1

Understanding Vocal Support for Singers: A Key to Powerful and Healthy Singing

If you've ever taken a singing lesson or even just sung along to your favourite songs, you might have heard the term "vocal support." But what exactly does it mean? Vocal support is a fundamental concept in singing that can greatly improve both your vocal power and the health of your voice. Here’s a breakdown of what vocal support is and how you can apply it to enhance your singing.

What Is Vocal Support?

Vocal support refers to the technique of using the muscles of your diaphragm, abdomen, upper back and sometimes lower back to control the airflow that passes through your vocal cords as you sing. This technique is crucial because it helps you maintain a steady, strong air pressure that’s necessary for producing clear and consistent sounds without straining your voice.

Why Is Vocal Support Important?

  1. Prevents Vocal Damage: Using proper support minimizes the strain on your vocal cords. Singers who don't support their voice adequately often push too much air through their vocal cords or strain their throat muscles, leading to potential vocal damage over time.

  2. Improves Tone Quality: Support helps you achieve a more controlled and even tone. It allows for better modulation and expression, which are essential for delivering powerful performances.

  3. Increases Stamina: Singers with good support can sing longer and more vigorously without fatigue. This is because the right technique reduces the workload on the vocal cords themselves by engaging the body more effectively.

How to Develop Vocal Support

  1. Posture: Good posture is essential for effective vocal support. Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. This stance allows your diaphragm to move freely, aiding better breath control.

  2. Breathing Exercises: Start with learning how to breathe deeply using your diaphragm. A good exercise is to stand in front of a mirror placing one hand on your lower ribs and the other one on your abdomen. Take a breath and notice how your ribs expanded keep them in this position and exhale slowly on sss sound while pulling in gently your abdomen and keeping your lower ribs expanded. Try to keep the exhalation for 1 minute.

  3. Practice Humming: Humming or making sound like zzzz, wrrr while you control your airflow with your ribs expanded while you gently pull in your abdomen- just like in a first exercise. It helps you feel where resonance should occur in your body, and feel the control of the sound It’s a gentle way to start engaging your support system without the added pressure of singing words.

  4. Gradual Increase in Difficulty: Once you're comfortable with basic exercises, start applying the concept of support to actual singing. Begin with simple scales on vowels like “eee” or “ah” or easy songs and gradually move to more challenging pieces as your control improves. Remember always to keep your ribs expanded and feel how much of a pulling in from the abdomen you need or engage the lower back or upper back. ( watch the video for a reference)

  5. Professional Guidance: If possible, work with a vocal coach who can provide feedback and guide you through the nuances of correct support. This personalized instruction can be invaluable.

In Summary

Vocal support is not just about having a powerful voice; it’s about singing efficiently and healthily. It’s an integral part of vocal technique that every singer should master, regardless of genre or experience level. By practising regularly and consciously applying these techniques, you’ll not only improve your singing but also protect your voice for many performances to come.

This foundational aspect of singing, if mastered, can transform an amateur into a formidable performer, making vocal support a topic worth exploring and understanding deeply. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced singer, continually refining your support technique is key to your growth and longevity in singing.

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