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#1 2011-04-11 14:20:08

Billy Budapest
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Rib Expansion and Posture

I'm really trying to master lateral rib expansion. I know that when I try and do this, my posture can get funky, almost like I'm leaning over and forward a bit. I know that it makes my shoulders come up too, which is a no no.

How have you guys mastered this?

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#2 2011-04-11 18:40:28

VIDEOHERE
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Re: Rib Expansion and Posture

bill, what's the goal?

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#3 2011-04-11 19:00:17

stew503
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Re: Rib Expansion and Posture

hi,

I will go into no technical here.  try this simple exercise.
Go find a .... wall .. stand back to the wall and breath as normal. Arms by side.

your breathing is likely felt lower front chest and abdominal region.
you will likely find your lower back is touching the wall about 7 inch down from the bottom neck .. this being the 1st "bumpy" part of the neck.  Likely you will find your shoulders a bit forward in your posture.

I want you to then curve your upper back upwards a bit and closer to the wall, so the lower to mid / top scapula is touching the wall, shoulders slightly back (closer to the wall) so the sternum raises, so there is NOW about 4 to 5 inch from the "bumpy" part. ... again hands by side.

Now breath in and breath a little deeper and "hopefully", you will now start feeling lateral movement in the ribs.

Look up noble posture, look up "look at your posture" site, look at vocal posture ... there is plenty of information available.

Stew

Hope it helps.  I have not gone into any depth and this is a very common fault, this along with the face raising up to the sky as you sing up the scale.

I see the lower post by voicewisdom, so will append to this post ... It's a very good post, I could add .. to raise hands up in the air, breath in, then put hands down before the breath out (step.3), you will feel the lateral extension.  I won't post underneath as the post deserves to be named by Alexander on the "last post"

Last edited by stew503 (2011-04-11 21:25:04)

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#4 2011-04-11 21:04:01

voicewisdom
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Re: Rib Expansion and Posture

1. Make sure you you keep the BACK of your neck nice and long.

2. As you inhale, gently float your arms up to horizontal out to your left and right. This will gently open up the rib cage (or 'rib accordion', a nice phrase I learned from Frankie Armstrong, Natural Voice Practitioner in the UK)

3. Keep your arms out to your sides as you exhale. You should feel your ribs stay more open. If your ribs stay open, you may well feel your abdominal muscles do more 'work' on the exhalation.

4. Do 1 & 2 again. This time, when breathing out, purse your lips fairly tightly together, as though you are trying to blow up an air bed or resistant balloon (ie using your lips to deliberately create resistance to the escaping air). Again, you may feel the abdominals doing a bit more, as the ribs are being partly held more open while your arms are horizontal.


Alexander Massey (Oxford, UK)

http://www.OxfordSingingLessons.co.uk/resources.html - free tips and articles
http://www.youtube.com/voicewisdom - singing training techniques demonstrated

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#5 2011-04-12 14:50:42

Billy Budapest
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Re: Rib Expansion and Posture

VIDEOHERE wrote:

bill, what's the goal?

The goal is, if you expand your ribs laterally, that gives you more room to fill up your lungs and gives more space for the diaphragm. It takes stress off of your throat and makes helps you to not squeeze your notes. It also, at least from my experience of stumbling in and out of this, gives your tone much more richness.
I've done it in the past, but it's very difficult for me to ... "find". I know that a lot of teachers and singers alike mention this as part of proper singing breath.

Last edited by Billy Budapest (2011-04-12 14:56:41)

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#6 2011-04-12 14:55:26

Billy Budapest
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Re: Rib Expansion and Posture

voicewisdom wrote:

1. Make sure you you keep the BACK of your neck nice and long.

2. As you inhale, gently float your arms up to horizontal out to your left and right. This will gently open up the rib cage (or 'rib accordion', a nice phrase I learned from Frankie Armstrong, Natural Voice Practitioner in the UK)

3. Keep your arms out to your sides as you exhale. You should feel your ribs stay more open. If your ribs stay open, you may well feel your abdominal muscles do more 'work' on the exhalation.

4. Do 1 & 2 again. This time, when breathing out, purse your lips fairly tightly together, as though you are trying to blow up an air bed or resistant balloon (ie using your lips to deliberately create resistance to the escaping air). Again, you may feel the abdominals doing a bit more, as the ribs are being partly held more open while your arms are horizontal.

I will definitely try this, thanks. I've been doing the thing where you place your hands on the sides of the ribs, push them out, leave them out and sing. I can do this-- in my house, but once I go live, I have a tough time doing it. I notice that my jaw can get real tight (not just from trying this, but as a norm) and also when I try to push my ribs out, I tend to kind of hunch over slightly to do it. I don't want to do this, but I find myself doing it when I try to assume this posture.

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#7 2011-04-12 17:26:19

voicewisdom
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Re: Rib Expansion and Posture

Billy Budapest wrote:

I will definitely try this, thanks. I've been doing the thing where you place your hands on the sides of the ribs, push them out, leave them out and sing. I can do this-- in my house, but once I go live, I have a tough time doing it. I notice that my jaw can get real tight (not just from trying this, but as a norm) and also when I try to push my ribs out, I tend to kind of hunch over slightly to do it. I don't want to do this, but I find myself doing it when I try to assume this posture.

To counter the tipping forwards, do the rib exercises standing with your back to a wall. Place a book behind your head, and do the breathing and vocalising exercises. You will notice immediately if you are leaning forwards, or bringing your head forward.


Alexander Massey (Oxford, UK)

http://www.OxfordSingingLessons.co.uk/resources.html - free tips and articles
http://www.youtube.com/voicewisdom - singing training techniques demonstrated

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#8 2011-04-12 17:32:50

Billy Budapest
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Re: Rib Expansion and Posture

Will try this. Thanks Alexander.

By the way Alexander- I just checked out your video on neck and jaw tension. I struggle with this and your video was super helpful. Also subscribed, thanks.

Looking back over my posts in here, I've been struggling a lot this year. Sometimes I wonder if it would be better to just just toss all the instruction and JUST SING. I can't help but wonder if trying to do this, that, and the other is getting in the way sometimes.

Last edited by Billy Budapest (2011-04-12 17:40:22)

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#9 2011-04-12 23:09:50

VIDEOHERE
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Re: Rib Expansion and Posture

Billy Budapest wrote:

VIDEOHERE wrote:

bill, what's the goal?

The goal is, if you expand your ribs laterally, that gives you more room to fill up your lungs and gives more space for the diaphragm. It takes stress off of your throat and makes helps you to not squeeze your notes. It also, at least from my experience of stumbling in and out of this, gives your tone much more richness.
I've done it in the past, but it's very difficult for me to ... "find". I know that a lot of teachers and singers alike mention this as part of proper singing breath.

bill, i followed (not to the letter) the workout laid out in jaime vendera's "ultimate breathing workout" and never regretted it. i can only recommend it highly. i do these fast "ha's" and dog pants has by belly bouncing around and it has done wonders for me.

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#10 2011-04-13 03:08:03

Billy Budapest
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Re: Rib Expansion and Posture

Thanks Bob, I have that (Jaime's book) and have been reviewing it for the past few weeks. I think that most of Jaime's stuff is right on the money and I think he's a great guy too. I'm still going through it.  One thing that I kind of know, but it's getting reinforced, I SUCK at reading and execution when it comes to the voice. I NEED someone to work with. Videos and stuff are great, but it seems I actually do better with a person showing me what to do. :)

Tried the exercise with the book. REALLY difficult. I kept dropping the book.  It felt like I was pushing my head back against the wall, but I kept dropping it whenever I'd inhale, meaning my head was going forward. Something to work on for sure.

Last edited by Billy Budapest (2011-04-13 03:31:01)

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#11 2011-04-13 07:24:53

voicewisdom
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Re: Rib Expansion and Posture

Billy Budapest wrote:

Tried the exercise with the book. REALLY difficult. I kept dropping the book.  It felt like I was pushing my head back against the wall, but I kept dropping it whenever I'd inhale, meaning my head was going forward. Something to work on for sure.

I'm glad you tried the book exercise. It's a very quick and clear way to discover at which point the singer moves their neck/head unnecessarily, whether on inhalation, onset, on changing pitch, or the longer a note / phrase lasts.

Yes, you will feel that you have to push your head back. This is absolutely fine. The muscles that do this should not interfere at all with the muscles of phonation. If you look at my video on aligning the neck, I think I give a short explanation of why this is so helpful.



Basically, when the neck is drawn back and up into a proper vertical line with the spine (releasing superior, middle and inferior constrictor muscles), a) the larynx drops, giving it a chance to do a better job of note production (onset, pitch change, high notes etc), and lengthening the resonating tract, b) the diameter of the resonating tract increases, c) the back of the mouth opens up (enlarging resonating tract).

If you persist with this new idea, it will change the way your voice sounds, which may be disorienting for a while. But it will give you greater freedom, and the listener will get a fuller sound from you.


Alexander Massey (Oxford, UK)

http://www.OxfordSingingLessons.co.uk/resources.html - free tips and articles
http://www.youtube.com/voicewisdom - singing training techniques demonstrated

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#12 2011-04-13 16:33:07

Billy Budapest
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Re: Rib Expansion and Posture

voicewisdom wrote:

I'm glad you tried the book exercise. It's a very quick and clear way to discover at which point the singer moves their neck/head unnecessarily, whether on inhalation, onset, on changing pitch, or the longer a note / phrase lasts.

Yes, you will feel that you have to push your head back. This is absolutely fine. The muscles that do this should not interfere at all with the muscles of phonation. If you look at my video on aligning the neck, I think I give a short explanation of why this is so helpful.



Basically, when the neck is drawn back and up into a proper vertical line with the spine (releasing superior, middle and inferior constrictor muscles), a) the larynx drops, giving it a chance to do a better job of note production (onset, pitch change, high notes etc), and lengthening the resonating tract, b) the diameter of the resonating tract increases, c) the back of the mouth opens up (enlarging resonating tract).

If you persist with this new idea, it will change the way your voice sounds, which may be disorienting for a while. But it will give you greater freedom, and the listener will get a fuller sound from you.

This video is the one I checked out yesterday. VERY informative stuff. When I'd drop the book, it was always on the inhale.

You had this video and also one about posture (unlocking the knees a bit, tilting the pelvis up a bit, etc.) then with the videos about neck and jaw placement- yes, I notice immediately that sound is more easily produced and fuller. What's disorienting is "letting go" of things. If we just GET OUT OF THE WAY of the vocal mechanism, things work so much better. Stop squeezing. Stop manipulating. I remember I had a gig last year where somehow, I was able to stay out of the way of things. The entire night was SO easy for me. High notes were full and there was now squeeze happening. The notes just came out with ease. I could never figure out what the heck I did differently, it just happened and it was awesome.

We've been told "Stand up Straight!" since we were kids and there are things there that're counter-productive to singing. Have good posture- yes. But don't lock everything up.

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#13 2011-04-13 17:21:59

VIDEOHERE
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Re: Rib Expansion and Posture

alex has a way with words..great videos alex!

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#14 2011-04-13 18:55:34

Billy Budapest
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Re: Rib Expansion and Posture

VIDEOHERE wrote:

alex has a way with words..great videos alex!

Totally he does. Quick and to the point and accurate.

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#15 2011-04-18 08:17:32

Fred
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Re: Rib Expansion and Posture

I was told by my vocal teacher to reach up as high and hard I could muster with my arms then gently let them down the sides and relax, the result a pretty good posture for singing (opera). It was one of those instant-clarification-of-truth moments. Also to check if you are breathing on all sides you can hold the BACK of your hands to your back and ribs. Using the back of the hands enables the shoulders to relax more. You only need to do this once though, after the first time you'll know what to feel. I tend to check up now and again just for kicks though.

Fred

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#16 2011-04-18 18:49:23

Billy Budapest
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Re: Rib Expansion and Posture

Leaning forward on a chair and breathing also helps with the back thing.
When I have time, hanging from something like a chin up bar really helps to loosen that up too.

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#17 2011-04-20 21:44:41

vocalpower
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Re: Rib Expansion and Posture

Excellent video Alex. Good demonstration and explanation of a very common problem. Especially, as you mentioned, for those used to using a mic. Very common affliction also for band members who sing backing vocals as they are usually leaning into the mic rather than adjusting it closer. Almost all students I come across exhibit the forward head placement you demonstrated and are amazed by the change in tonality once the resonating space is returned to size :)

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#18 2011-04-21 15:32:18

Billy Budapest
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Re: Rib Expansion and Posture

And bass players and keyboard players and guitar players. When I play any of these, I'm doing the leaning thing.
So much easier to just hold the mic or the mic/stand.

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#19 2011-04-21 22:34:41

vocalpower
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Re: Rib Expansion and Posture

Here, here Billy

But the most comically correct description for the bass (which I have had to play in past roles) is the 'tool of ignorance'. I will always find this hilarious - under current equal rights legislation I'm sure bassists are entitled to have at least 66% of their story heard :)

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