by ILana Martin
Guitar Girl Magazine
We’ve all heard how important the breath is for singing, but unfortunately many voice teachers don’t thoroughly explain it. Most instructors fall back on the same response – “breath from your diaphragm.” Problem is most singers simply don’t know how to do it. More specifically, unless you’re in the medical field and are highly in touch with your body, this comment isn’t going to help you at all! These tips are things ILana Martin checks for when working with her voice students. Applying these vocal tips will help singers better utilize the breath and come closer to singing their best.
Tip 1 – Singers Should Avoid High Chest Breathing
Also known as Clavicular Breathing, this is when the chest rises during inhalation. This is a very bad habit to have for singers and results in shortness of breath, vocal tension, and often a breathy tone. As an alternative, take relaxed breaths deep down in your stomach and lower back before singing. This should give you more control vocally.
Tip 2 – Singers Shouldn’t Breathe too Deeply
Many voice teachers tell their students to take deep breaths, but often times what they leave out is taking overly deep breaths before singing results in unwanted pressure underneath the vocal folds ultimately creating tension. To feel this, just take the deepest breath you possibly can, then hold it. Feel that strain in your neck and throat area? That’s bad. It’s bad because it puts extra pressure on the voice making it heavy and more difficult to sing. So breathe consciously and don’t take overly deep breaths before singing.
Tip 3 – Singers Should Avoid Grabbing While Inhaling
This is bad habit that many, many singers possess. Close your eyes and pay attention to your breathing for a moment. Feel how easy and effortless it is in the throat and neck area. Now, pick the bridge of a song you like to sing and sing it (typically the bridge is where the high notes are). Feel the same? Now do the same thing, just this time pay attention to your neck and throat area while breathing in. Odds are there are some muscles in your neck grabbing during the breath before you sing. This like any other tension you may feel is bad. So stay conscious of the breath while singing and make sure that your breath stays easy during the inhalation. This not only will help vocal stamina, but it will also lighten up your voice which in turn will open up your full range.
ABOUT LALANA MARTIN:
Also known as lLana Martin, LaLana has a specialty in training vocalists as the founder of Vocal Workout Singing School in NYC. She has trained P. Diddy, Sean Garret, and Dawn Richards, using a combination of a three-part ancient Yoruba breathing and tonal technique. With her training, independent artists have had vast opportunities, which include opening for artists such as India Aire, singing at President Obama’s inauguration, serving as the voice of Disney’s Lion King and winning the 2010 Budweiser Superfest contest.
People are traveling from all over Manhattan to attend Martin’s group workshops and day-long Master classes prior to pursuing their dreams of fame and fortune. With an average of 10,000 people auditioning in eight states for the top vocalist competition shows, hopefuls have minimal time to impress the judges to make it to the next round. Their hopes are that Martin’s experience and training techniques will give them the edge they need.
“I love working with people’s style, helping them to develop their ingenuity, their artistic sparks, and helping them to understand what it is the story tells,” Martin says.
Martin has worked across musical genres and can hear the difference between a good voice and Grammy Award-winning ranges. Most singers who work with her who already sing at the best part of their range, usually increase their range by up to one octave after working with Martin for a few months.
Regardless of Martin’s experience with the stars, Vocal Workout welcomes all. Whether they are newbies to music or want to refine their vocals, Martin knows what it takes to make it to the top. She, herself, started out as a background vocalist for Grammy-award entertainers Alicia Keys, Barry White and Patti LaBelle. Her experience also allows her to appreciate different voices and teaches her clients to appreciate their own voices.
“The human voice is like a snow flake,” said Martin. “There is nothing and no one that has the same voiceprint that you have,” – LaLana