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3 Terms You Should Know For Better Breathing

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

February 6, 2008

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The sound you make is just part of the process.

Have you spent any time thinking about breathing?

Hear from singing teacher Paul Kiesgen about the basics of breathing and discover 3 terms you should be familiar with as a vocal artist.

Over the years, I was a frequent visitor to the famous Music Library at UWO and gobbled up every morsel I could find on topics that interested me as a singer, including periodicals and journals with regard to vocal education and vocal health.

One of my favorite journals when I was in university was called the Journal of Singing.

Today, I'd like to share some knowledge from an article I read by Paul Kiesgen with you that spells out the basics of breathing. While it may not be written for voice actors, it is directly applicable as the same instrument (the human voice) is the subject of the matter with an emphasis on proper breathing.

Paul Kiesgen holds B.Mus and M.Mus degrees from Northwestern University School of Music. He is Professor of Voice at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music. In addition to studio voice, he teaches courses in vocal pedagogy for master of music and doctor of music students. He served as chairman of the voice department from 2001 to 2004 and his students have sung in major venues throughout the world.

According to Paul, the study of breath management has two purposes:

1. We must find and maintain the appropriate breath pressure to make the best possible tone on each pitch and for each volume.
2. We must recognize that control of the muscles of the breath has an indirect effect on the throat and thus influences the kind of tone we produce there.

I'm sure you've had your fair share of long form narration projects or cram-it-in commercial sessions that have demanded calculated phrasing on your part to achieve a successful take.

It takes more than just a great voice to swing through those!

What's needed is some serious jet fuel to carry you through each phrase and that fuel is your breath support. Once you are anchored to a solid foundation, you'll have the resources necessary to propel your phrasing and maintain tonality and composure.

There are 3 in particular that you should know about:

1. Support
2. Diaphragm
3. Intercostal Muscles

Thanks to the power of the Internet, I found Paul Kiesgen's website and am thrilled to be able to refer to you on to his full article. Just click on "Publication" when you get there to read his articles.

Best,

Stephanie

Related Topics: airflow, breath support, breathing, diaphragm, intercostal muscles, journal of singing, paul kiesgen, singing, throat, voice acting, voice overs


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