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It's all about the breath...or is it?

estill singing and breathing Oct 31, 2021

It’s all about the breath, or IS it?

Whenever I talk to strangers about what I do, the most common response I get is

“Oh, you’re a voice coach.  I took voice lessons and I learned all about breathing, and using my diaphragm.”

Perhaps, that was what I once did, about 30 years ago.  But seriously, times have changed!

I talked about air, before I met Jo Estill. 

Jo Estill “realized that practicing breath exercises in isolation led to masterful breathing, not masterful singing.    Because there is no pitch without vibrating true vocal folds…Estill developed a pedagogical system focusing on the neck up (larynx and vocal tract), not the neck down (lungs and diaphragm).  (Steinhauer et al., 2017)

So, for the last 25 years, I’ve  been focusing on what do singers do from the neck up. 

I’m not saying breath isn’t important.  After all, air is what sets the focal folds in motion.  But there is a WHOLE LOT MORE that happens after the air. 

When I learned about the changes that we could make in the structures of the larynx and throat, I became much more mindful in my practice and performance.  As a result, I began to do things I never dreamed were possible with my voice. 

Careful practice makes you aware of the tiny motions, the control that goes into singing “easily.” 

I loved how Jo Estill used to have an analogy that “singing is no more difficult that learning how to drive a car”.   

 I’m certain that there is some high-octane gasoline at the Indy 500.  But there is SO much more going on at the raceway than the gas that goes into the engine.  As a voice teacher and coach, I want to inspire people to move beyond just talking about the power of the instrument, and begin to experience the entire picture of what’s happening. 

You just might discover a whole new freedom in your singing!

 

To read more about Jo Estill and her research, consider reading “The Estill Voice Model Theory and Translation” by Kimberly Steinhauer, Mary McDonald Klimek, and Jo Estill.  https://store.estillvoice.com/collections/books-workbooks/products/the-estill-voice-model-theory-translation-book

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