Conditioning

Eric Arceneaux
A free video tutorial from Eric Arceneaux
Professional Vocal Coach & Recording Artist
4.8 instructor rating • 3 courses • 48,332 students

Learn more from the full course

Phase 2 - Becoming A Natural Singer

Advanced vocal training for experienced singers who are ready to take their skills to the next level.

02:04:51 of on-demand video • Updated December 2015

  • Discover how to make your singing feel effortless
  • Eliminate throat tension for good
  • Strengthen your diaphragm with an ancient breathing secret
  • Develop advanced vocal control
English [Auto] Our first technique is a respiratory resistance exercise. So basically it's a breathing technique so we can strengthen our ability to inhale more freely and we're also going to strengthen our Bies ability to support the voice and we're going to use our vocal folds to also train the muscle memory and the strength of our inner edges. At the same time when my favorite techniques. So to start off with. And let me just say before I get into this you can of course use your warm up that's in the section across here. You can use your warmups to just go right into the practice would do with me the first few times just to make sure that you're getting the most out of it. So we're going to inhale with a glottal fry sound. So I'm just going to check my larynx and just an I feel it moved down I make that crackly sound. Now this is the key. This is where a lot of people go wrong. They go and they get locked up here. Don't take your ban by now having done phase one. You know what it means to let the breath come all the way down to your root to your paramecium to the Cossacks to the anus you know. Well it sounds weird but we want to let it come all the way down to the root to that runway area. Some of you call it and we want to start down there. It's this is our indication our indicator used to see that is that the stream is coming in nice and refined but you want to feel that kind of start with that anchoring in the root and then work its way up so it's inhaling. I'm not just going in not doing that but I'm on the study here the better with the crackle. I feel it reach my room. Then I feel my lower back kind of extend and release then I feel my lower Riverside ribs open. I feel my chest broadened and my shoulders release and less violent. A little bit more actually. And so now I'm up I've been decompressed with this breath. OK. Now you can do the same without stopping of course I was starting to kind of narrate the process. But if she could hold off and do it again without stopping then it might look something like this. And I had a Darth Vader exhale also known as the Zhai Magi's just that audible inhale resulting from that you know pressurized or refined breath stream that gives us some sounds that involves our cords a little bit. So that being said in phase 1 we were kind of taught this kind of you know low body break your stomach insides and that what you're going to find as we get more advanced is that the breathing attains much more of a shape to the body. Some people we call it the eagle you know tail out chest out. Some people think of it as a greyhound effect. The racing dogs though it is raising dogs. The dogs that race Greyhound. And we also have the cobra head and we're about to get into that now. So this is like an old Swedish Italian school kind of idea and it's shared in some other disciplines. But oh my inhale. Opened up on my exhale as the breath leaves my body my support muscles engage. So your support muscles on your respiratory muscles are your be all risk for everything is support muscles your respiratory muscles are your posture muscles and they also help to compress the breath to support your voice on the exhale. So what happens is when I make the vocal fry steading is I intend to make it really steady controlling that pressure. Summons for my dramatic way of saying it is someone's for my support muscles to wear my transverse abdominals and gauges and my posting here unchaining engages to kind of lift me and give me even more height and you'll see my body shape change a little bit so I'm going to relax and I'm going to need so I don't know how much of that you can see but my transforms the dominance the way they work. They're bringing me in but also a little bit up at the lower abdomen and my back is also lifted me up a little bit in our cage kind of swings backward as it flares out a bit. Give me a cobra head kind of feeling. So we go from Eagle inhale to like a cobra. Exhale. OK. And how much of this you feel depends on your current level of strength. If you're someone who's internally weak don't take it personally that's not a judgment just an assessment. If someone's internally weak you can feel this happening at all. And that's OK. You have to build the strength up a little bit. If you're someone who's stronger you might feel some of that happening but not all of it. And so we measure strength diaphragm strength in three ways through activity. Number one what muscles can you feel working what muscles are active to a sensitivity and three is responsiveness. So when I'm inhaling and I feel my parents iam. Do you feel that. Are you active there. If you're not and you have some work to do tomorrow back lengthen and then I feel these reps come out. Those three things can you feel that if you can work on that before you move on. It's just really unwise to try to press forward without having a solid foundation. And at this point I know that we're impatient and want to be better now and we to go onto the next thing. It's the good stuff but this is so important in in really mastering your instrument. So you really want to have that awareness. The second thing though is the sensitivity. So not only do the muscles need to be working but how clearly Can you feel them. You might be one of those people who go and kind of feel it. But I'm not I don't know I kind of do. That's fun and that's valid. You may be feeling them in a more subtle way. The thing about atrophy is that not only do the muscles get weak but our ability to feel sensation in those areas also weakens. So as we strengthen these muscles your ability to feel them literally to sense them to feel sensation in these parts of your body will go up and you go from. And if my students to work for for while I know this to be very true Yoko from my kind of feel it too. Oh there it is. And that is a whole different thing. So when you're at the point we are like whoa that's my parenting right there or Whoa I feel my age is the really weird thing to say but you'll know it when you feel it and you're like oh Eric wasn't crazy. He was telling the truth and you really feel your body respond. That lets you know you're getting stronger the responsiveness part is how fast is a kick in. Sometimes people don't feel it and to the point of national inflation like when you're almost completely full and then you're like oh now I feel it. Or to the point of breath exhaustion when you're almost completely empty to these extremes. Sometimes people are excellent. Oh I felt it then. You know if you feel it at the extremes only then your responsiveness score is kind of low. But if you can feel your body react as soon as you start if I'm exhaling a vocal fry I can feel my body start to engage immediately. That means I'm internally strong. It's not about talent it's not even about intelligence. It's just about conditioning. Have you been doing it. So what I mean is it's repetition. It's healthy repetition of the proper techniques to strengthen these muscles. OK this is the foundation for pretty much everything that we do from here on out. So it's very important that you really get down. I know it can be kind of like. I just want to move on to the next thing but try to be as patient as possible to really make sure that you're clearly feeling what I'm talking about. If you're not sure if you're feeling everything when I'm talking about then you're not. So like I said before when you'd know for certain that's when your sensitivity is where we want it to be and you can say Oh I definitely feel a little bit of pressure on the inhale. Expanding my paramecium by Kocsis area even I feel the release of my lower back. I feel the opening of my rib cage and that what I call a panoramic chest the chest opening up in the shoulders releasing when you know you feel that then you're ready. OK. So with the vocal fry which you might be finding out is that with the vocal portion inhaling it it may feel easier at first but it's a lot less strange kind of pressure on the vocal folds so when you inhale an you feel like you're getting creak around all day. You know whatever. But when you do the exhale part you might feel like they might feel tight. So what we want to do is disengaged the gastric muscle. So that's the muscle of the knee here. It's really kind of like a combo attack of a couple attacks in any videogames. It's a combination of this whole kind of one two under the chin if you think of this whole area flash up on the screen. So what we want to do is not to get it to stop working for ever but just to kind of get it out of the way when we vocalize just long enough to let the vocal folds know that they can vibrate without these muscles working. So I'm going to brace my chin with my index finger and then then on a push up with my thumb very firmly like as much as I can without hurting myself I'm going to really push up. Now I'm like kind of pushing my tongue out from underneath. And now I'm going to fry some set up. I'm going to and I'm moving my thumb around and I'm pushing the muscle up as strong as the the gastric muscle is. Thankfully our hands our thumbs are stronger and so we can push up and disengage long enough to get the vocal foot to give the vocal a chance to do stuff on their own. And the really cool thing about your body is that if you give the vocals a chance to do something more efficiently they're really inclined to remember that and hold on to that kind of coordination and that kind of behavior. So I'm just going to let the breath come down to my room. I'm going to be really nagging you about that a lot and I'll let it open up my body. My body retains more of that kind of V-shape ish feel. I may not be perfect the shape but it has more that kind of feel as opposed to the belly being out because now I'm breathing link into my body as well as my stomach is relaxed. I have a soft stomach right now. So let your stomach be soft but because I'm breathing it's in my parents name Omar root and I'm allowing my spine to kind of grow from that and to kind of lengthen from that in my chest and rib cage to lengthen it. It really opens me more up here than down here. OK. I just want to be clear with that. So now I'm going to push up before you can start vocalizing and then the slide down from my head was placed in the scanner. And I want you to seek out pain. I want to be clear here. I don't want you to hurt yourself on purpose but feel around for it. Any parts that might be tender like and I mean tender and a muscular tightness wave like if you were getting massage in the Masud finds a knot right here in my yoga. But they want to work it. That's what we're doing just under here. Find the nuts and work them out. OK. Don't be a wimp. You know I'm going to say Be a man because I have a lot of my female clients. Give him a lot tougher than some of my male clients. But just be tough whatever that means to you. And on like I know for me a part of my the gastric area that if I'm not careful can get tight. It's like right under on the right side of like the chin kind of here part like it here and go right under our really get under work that like this area. So my students might have like this side under here like are on. I had a student just the other day we realized that like right on the side of his larynx like like the windpipe trachea area we really wanted to dig in and work that Wahi vocal fry so we if it feels tight and feel sore work that if you're one of the lucky blessid ones who feels no soreness in relatively little to no tightness and just work everything anyway. OK. Just kind of get it all in and when you're done you should feel like your voice is noticeably freer for it. Like and I mean like immediately by the time you're done if you get it like a minute or two or three you know by the time you're done you should feel like oh this is better. So this. Another rule is that I'm not going to name names or bash coaches but I know that there are some coaches who really encourage ticket voted for as high as you can go. In my experience the long term effects of that are hazardous don't fight to hold on to vocal fry use. We use vocal with a approach as a weight dropping technique a clarity boosting technique. Yes but a weight trotting technique if you're vocal if you're vocal fry is not coming in easily. Then don't tense up. No you're not. So I use this to use some imagery here. To me if you're getting the vocal fry crackly sound you don't think doing wonderful things to build up your voice. But if you're squeezing for vocal fry It's like building a really amazing race car from scratch. It's really building up this really amazing race car while simultaneously building before it a brick wall. So you've got this great instrument this great vehicle that's going to have to go through this barrier to really get out and do anything is not worth strengthening your inner edges if you're also strengthening the muscles that are going to work to block the resonance and to block the sound from moving freely. So you're kind of solving one problem and creating another. Listen to your body. I've really faced phase. I want you to get a concept that's hard for a lot of people understand and that is balance. A lot of people think of a little bit as good then a whole lot is better. You know push it to the extreme. That's not the way this works. Your body operates on balance too much and it collapses too little and it collapses the singing mechanism desperately yearns for balance. And that's why we use the glottal sound. Luckily your body has mechanisms to teach you teach you better than I can or anybody else. Let your body show you a couple of things. By using search mechanism Salumi use Frei if we can hear those individual beats were good to figure this out. We're going to fast out of balance. If we're getting this individual beats pretty good if you get this you're out of balance. OK. Don't ignore these things. I guess we have students who say you know what I practiced it. I was doing that a lot but I just kept going. Or yeah it really hurt. But I just kept going don't do that. You're a phase 2 or now as an adult is I to come up with their names but you're a phase two student now. Listen to your body. If something doesn't feel right then it's not right now some stuff is just weird. I don't mean if you if it if it feels embarrassing but I mean if something feels painful or tight something is wrong. OK. So listen to your body. Let's review one more time. And we're going to inhale we're inhaling our larynx down temporarily is going to pop right back up to its resting position. Once you're done we're going to inhale the larynx down and open up our body with this inhale. We're going to lose my very refined kind of shy and you see I'm getting more and more of an eagle. So this is really doing wonderful things. These are the muscles that help to support your back as well. So if you're someone who suffers suffers from lower back pain or sciatic pain or whatever this could be very beneficial for you. Have had many students who rave about oh my god this helped my back so much. So it's really great for that because it helps to gently tone the transfer of downness and helps to teach your body to lengthen. So yeah that lengthening the support reflex is also a lengthening reflex so you notice that on my exhale I'll sort of get a little wider here a little longer here is my body engaged to really kind of lengthen me and engage that breath. So it's really a whole bunch of good things in one. But feel free to get that extra attention to the vocal fry itself. The first film is free is it could massage the heck out of this. And like really disengage it as you fry. I don't really believe I knew a vocal coach from a prestigious university years ago when I still lived in New Orleans and taught just in size to the gastric muscle all day. And my experience is not so much beneficial because I feel like what really works the best understand the muscle memory of the whole force and how they work is to let the vocal folds work while you're massaging the vocables need to learn. If you're just massaging it quietly the vocals aren't learning anything from that. And that's the problem. So we want the vocal folds to be coming together. Exactly. But to be reopened and get to that vocal fry sound while you're disengaging that set the vocal folds learn hey we can do this on our own we don't need the gastric muscle. Same thing with the inhale. The hopefuls learn hey we can come together and we don't need the legs to shoot all the way up into the throat. We don't need this swallowing action to happen all the time. We can do this on our own with just us and the breath. Ma'am I don't know what I'm talking like this but hopefully you still get the point. All right let's move on. I want to do one more thing. OK. And that is what I want to do is show you how you can move this to your range of kind of playing with it already and you might have to. But we're going to do control Zhai. The reason why I say it and you might notice reverse nation is because Ujar like to give credit to the originators whenever I can. And who knows who did it before them. But I'd like to to to give credit to the yogis of of yesteryear because I'd also like to use Zhai because a lot of people think reverse nation they do this. I see it all the time from the people who know what diversification is. But. If you understand premium then you know that it's a full body thing it's a full body breath. And so we're working the vocal folds and the body at the same time. So if we move through our range. Well let me rewind a little bit. Most of when they move to their range they pitch. You can train the people you might want of those people where you can connect the but you're pinching for. We want to get that openness. What jai do up a wider pitch range does Ah I can open it up. Ah I get a full sound OK. And in the Muslim Clodius thing. But what I want you to try to do is regard your body healthcare gives give some concern to the body. And when you inhale noon I want you to move rearrange range like Ah but we're doing it with keeping in mind that we're still filling up. This was a lot to think about don't fall into this trap. We don't do that. Focus on the cleanest tone you can make if you can and try. That's fine if you don't then you don't. If you get some kind of squeaks some kind of fry so be it. But for now just trying to give me a really clear tone as you move on. Do you see I'm letting go of the fries that go up. Don't be afraid to do that. And if you're if you're someone who's really good and you can follow it through and it's easy for you then do that. But if it's if it's gone it's gone. And so just crackle where it feels absolutely comfortable. And if you can't crack or at least get a really clear song. Also understand that your tone might sound more something more like this. That's fine for a start but eventually in the clearer the better I shall look like an insane person right now so if you're not like dying laughing at the screen don't try it. Try it with me. And you know on some days you can go higher or lower than others. I know I can. And same for any person you're But your instrument is biological you're a human. And so only go as far as you can right now that if you got that down. Inhale tone exhale tone. You can also do this do this with songs it's on your practice thing that you can you know I don't know what that was. You can Mary had a little lamb you see inhale the melody and sail the melody. You get it. So where a verse on a regular phone me got it. OK good. Play with it. You know what to do if you have questions ask away on the message board. We will be there to help you also play with it with your warm up and at home. Yeah. Don't go to the next lesson until you get that Voegele writing down. Please like at least reasonably well and to be perfect but at least get a steady reasonably steady inhale crackle in a reasonably steady exhale cracker on crack cracker crackle on the continuum continual fry. OK. Play with that and I'll see you in the next lesson.