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SURVEY:
What do you want to know about breathing? Answered in our newsletter

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Singing and Speaking

Unless you have some kind of congenital deformity or surgical alteration, If you know how to breathe you can sing; sooner than later.  A client told me " Michael, when I sing, nearby plants die".  Cute but I had him singing the national anthem in full voice in two days. Singing is a God given ability that most have lost due to trauma, unlearning and social conditioning in that they have been convinced they can not sing. "Don't give up your day job" is not funny. It is deeply insulting. The voice is one's second face. You would never insult someone's face would you.  

To learn to use our voice and its relevant vibrations and internal sensing as a bridge between our body, brain, and nervous system we must break up, break through, and reconstruct years of bad habits, stress, retentive fear and/or repressed anger. The result of this enables us to focus our attention and express feelings, thoughts, and actions in an awareness that is free of constraint and connected to our deepest being. When we are no longer choked up by the past, the present is fully experienced
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Our breathing development program involves creating and re-establishing new muscular coordination and nervous system circuitry in the body and brain which in turn gives us access to new experiences of breathing/vocal function and fuller body awareness. Through this process, one completely faces and functions from the source of one's creative self, having cleared and eclipsed past ways of being and doing. One is unable to regress back into negative behaviors because these aspects are no longer a part of oneself. They no longer feel right. 

Our system creates a permanent bridge to the source of one's natural creative self, resulting in an entirely new experience and expression of life. Our program requires no leap of faith, belief systems, philosophy, or practice. This work produces fundamental and permanent change by awakening your senses to a full range of expressions. Hidden talents and creative thoughts emerge.

Our system is unequaled anywhere in the world because it combines elements of touch and non touch approaches. We actually physically restructure the singing body. This program is not a similar or revised edition of another program. It is a totally unique system. 

The following Singing and Voice Problems email typifies a problem often overlooked by classical trained voice teachers. The teacher, no matter how well intended, rarely takes the student beyond where the teacher has gone him/herself. If you breathe you can sing. If you can sing, you do not necessarily know how to breathe. Trust me on this. It is an axiom of the breath. 

SINGING & VOICE PROBLEMS

Dear Mike,

Hello! I have been looking at your web site for the past two days, I looked and read every single page, I found it so interesting, touching the particular issues I was looking for on the internet, the web site is also very well designed, I was really happy to find it. Telling you a little about myself, my name is Benjamin I am 22 years old, I go to voice training it’s been exactly a year from now since I started, I luckily found a great voice teacher that devoted himself literally (our relationship is far more than between any regular teacher and student), I started with a  small little voice very nasal, today I am a tenor (Lyrico- spinto) with a range of a little less than 3 octaves, we’ve progressed tremendously in such a short time, I can already sing most of Pavarotti’s repertoire, and Jewish Cantorial. All the credit go to my teacher, but we are both determined to continue on improving, developing the vocal potential. My teacher never put any special emphasis about the proper way of breathing as other voice methods would, "we were born with the natural best way of breathing" he says, he himself was a terrific world known Opera singer, "I always had enough breath", his career was cut short due to a pneumonia, he couldn’t perform anymore, feeling that he wasn’t able to sustain an opera anymore (before that he used to be a real lion on stage), since then he stopped and much later he began giving voice lessons. That is actually the purpose of me writing to you, in the beginning of my voice, training, singing Arias felt physically very hard, after half an hour singing I felt how the diaphragm was getting tired, especially at the higher registered, although being within my vocal range ability, I was unable to continue singing, my teacher kept saying that it’s normal for someone that just begins singing, and taught me how to approach it lighter. We did special scale exercises for that, to built the flexibility and make the diaphragm stronger, now it is really different, I can sing for much longer, but I still feel that same feeling, in a smaller way of course, I also run out of breath sometimes especially singing in the high register, that’s why I would like to have your opinion on that, if your method for breathing improvement may be able to help me, I would surely buy it, my teacher agrees that improving the "natural" breathing can only be helpful for a singer. (I read your reply to the opera singer in the "FAQ" section, but I felt the need to tell you about myself, in order for you to help me better).

Reading about how your method can cure or reduce stuttering, arose my interest as well, I do not have a severe stutter, but I hesitate when I speak, sometimes for a long time, it is usually ok, but I wish to work on that too. I thank you very much for taking your time reading this long letter Mike, I wish you a lot of success in your projects, by helping people breathing correctly and optimally, I look forward hearing from you.

Your truly.   B

PS: Feel free to put my letter in your web site for other people, that need the same kind of help, I would just ask you to take out the personal things, thanks. 

From Mike.  

Well done Benjamin:

You have uncovered the key to a lasting, free and easy singing voice. Optimal breathing.

I am pretty sure that if your teacher had seen me he would not have had to quit the business. I would love to work with you BOTH. Your teacher is WRONG about everyone breathing normally.

Many develop breathing blocks due to trauma, emotional suppression, forcing the breath or gasping during other exertions. Technique alone will not sustain the singing voice and will often sound like technically perfect but slightly unreal communication. when it needs to use the power of classical song.

It would be an honor to work with you but you must come to North Carolina for a few days.

I could put you in touch with a classical voice breathing student of mine in California who sang Carnegie Hall in July 1999. Prior to that she was losing her highs and was very troubled abut that. We got them back plus lengthened her low note sustains by about double. It took three sessions. 

Another started keeping up with Streisand with one session. Whether you are a Streisand fan or not you can bet this singer was delighted because it meant a radical shift in her ability as a singer and choir director. http://www.breathing.com/results.htm

Who told you not to be loud?  Have you swallowed your pride or eaten your words?  Ever heard "I hope you choke on those words"? See Emotions and breathing

From Eric:
At a young age I realized that I had a love and some talent for singing.  At the age of about 14 or 15,  I got really serious about it.  Believing that practice made perfect, I began singing for hours on end every day.  Of course, I soon developed vocal nodes.  I lost 1/2 of my range and my voice became quite raspy. 
    Luckily, I had a doctor who recognized the problem and realized it wasn't permanent.  He referred me to a voice teacher who helped rehabilitate me.  While taking voice lessons, I realized the great importance of proper breathing.  I improved dramatically.  However, the breathing exercises that my instructor had me doing involved repeatedly forcing air in and out. I didn't realize the harmful effects of this until nearly a year had passed. 
     One Sunday morning I stood up to sing a solo as I had nearly every Sunday in church.  The Musicians played the intro to "I Love the Lord", and I prepared to take my breath. I was startled to find that I couldn't get any air into my abdomen.  There was no expansion.  After several more attempts, I began to panic.  I ended up doing the worst rendition of the song that I'd ever done in my entire life.
     I tried to find a reason for what happened.  I thought that maybe it was stress or fatigue - maybe nervousness.  But it didn't go away.  All of my life I had worked so hard for my voice and now it was gone.  My breath was my voice. Singing had always been my main outlet for stress. Furthermore, I had made the decision to be a vocal music major in college( I'd auditioned earlier and was offered a scholarship).  But what use was a vocalist who couldn't use his diaphragm? I sank into a depression.    
     As a last resort for answers, I turned to the Internet and found your site.  It didn't take me long to realize that I had developed some serious breathing blocks.  The causes and effects listed described perfectly what had happened to me.  I decided to Order the Secrets of Optimal Natural Breathing. I received it within two days of ordering. 
    In the book I found the suggested breathing program for singers.  After the very first day of doing the exercises I noticed a vast improvement.  By the end of the week my voice was powerful but I still didn't have my full range ( I didn't have my back breath back yet).  By the middle of week two I was singing better than I ever had in my entire life.  Unlike before, I didn't have to concentrate on forcing the breath down wards.  The exercises were extremely easy.  The way I was breathing for singing was now the way I breathed for life. I have perfect breath.  For a singer it's very important to have expansion in the ribs, upper and lower abdomen, and the back, and I have this with ease now.  On the day I got my breath back I locked myself in my room and just sang my heart out.  I didn't realized how much I missed it, until I noticed that I was crying.  I now have a three octave range which impressed my college voice teacher,  and a lot of power ( I can just belt all day).  I want to tell all my friends about it, but at the same time I kinda want keep it as my little secret.  I thank god for allowing me to find your site.  You helped save my life.
     I give you full permission to use any of this in your site or books ( I know it's long).  You've changed my life, and I want everyone to know that this is really works.  I have not been paid to write this.  I just want to express my gratitude.  Thank you.
  Sincerely,   Eric 
 
Dear Mike: You can read as many books as you like, watch as many videos or read as many web sights as you can. It is the Realized knowledge that hits you in the back of the head when you least expect it that grabs you and changes your consciousness and understanding of any subject. As you know I have taken an interest in your breathing exercises (probably doing them wrong, but I'm doing them). I especially like the Tibetan Caffeine exercises. Any way, I was at work yesterday. I work for a large recently merged corporation where there is a dismal aspect of life due to many rifs (reduction in force layoffs). Lots of shallow breathing there! Not to mention lots of over-perfumed people to wreak havoc with those of us who have sensitivity to such airborne "solvents". One of my colleagues became extremely sick -sneezing and coughing wheezing etc. I could feel my own lungs tightening up too.
I went outside in the fresh air and did a series of your caffeine breaths (had to imagine the bowl strikes) 15 minutes later, I came back in to the office and started talking in what I thought would be my normal voice and out came the voice of a stronger -healthier and much "larger" man! -or so it seemed. I was truly amazed at the difference in my voice after this brief exercise session.
I was not sure that I could see the link between your questions about voice quality on your free breathing test but I do now. It is interesting to me to have rather inadvertently observed this correlation between quality, depth, rhythm of breath and voice sound.

Do not miss: Why We Sing and Why Doesn't Everyone? by Professor John Lennon

SINGING AND LIFE EXTENSION
Opera singers do not allow the rib cage to collapse in the first place which allows for more volume and ease of range and tone. Over time the rib cage stays larger allowing for less rib cage "squeezing the sponge". The diaphragm strength build up of an opera singer seems to make up for some of the sponge squeezing action needed for healthy lung maintaining but it can not replace entirely the rib expansion so the singer loses some benefits of singing/volume.
Note that the classical voice or opera singer does not live the longer life of a large volume person possibly due to "consumption/success breeds bad food choices"  type diet and  forced exhales causing stress and potential heart problems. 
Loss of rib cage flexing less makes food choices more relevant as the need for more lung and general body detox increases with poor food choices. The rib cage expansion techniques in the 176 Fundamentals video are quite helpful with all this as they help increase and maintain lung volume and rib cage expansion.

See also:
Singing For Health
Opera singing and Dmitri Hvorostovsky
They're Playing Your Song

Self Help:
Make sure you develop your breathing with the Singing and Speaking Program 

Group/individual Training:  www.breathing.com/school/obdspa.htm 

Severe speaking disorders such as spasmodic dysphonia and stuttering often need more personal guidance to overcome. more about

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The breathing improvement techniques, practices and products outlined in this publication are extremely gentle, and should, if carried out as described, be beneficial
to your overall physical and psychological health. If you have any serious medical or psychological problem, however, such as heart disease, high blood pressure,
cancer, mental illness, or recent abdominal or chest surgery, you should consult your health professional before undertaking these practices.

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