I would like to know how much emphasis is put on silent breathing exercises by this school. I’m eagerly waiting for Mr. Jones’ book, but it was not published yet.
I came up with another doubt. I perceive that somehow many singers take the admonition of suspending the breath too far and sing in apnea, I mean, not allowing the airflow to come out in a controlled way, naturally, attempting to sing with a minimal breath. It causes a sort of muscular struggle, too much effort around the neck, veins visible, the larynx unstable… My question is: should the singer focus on the air flowing through the open larynx(under the control of the muscles of the torso)or should he focus on the opening of the ribs? I suppose the latter is conducive to hyperextension…am I wrong? I think that there lies the importance of silent breath exercises. You have the mechanics, so it happens automatically, only in difficult passages your attention to the intake of air is called for, and you can sing freely. Sadly, I notice teachers claiming it is unecessary to practice silent breath exercises because the coordination is only obtained through vocalizing…I think they take the teaching of Richard Miller too far, because even Miller mentioned and prescribed the famous Farinelli exercise. And if he wanted, he couldn’t deny it and still claim any fidelity with the teaching of the old italian school.

These are good questions and I don’t know if I can give definitive answers. But I can give you my view. This school of training does agree that the breath should be silent. That was something that was stated clearly by Lamperti and it was recognized by the Swedish practitioners. It is easy to see why this is recommended, when we can hear the inhalation it tells us that the airway is constricted. This is a closed throat and will have a negative influence on the resonance and freedom of the phonation. I agree that it is possible to take the concept of suspending the breath too far. We can take any concept too far. That is why I try to frequently remind people that we are after balance. The purpose is not to suspend the breath as much as we can. It is to suspend the breath to the necessary degree that allows our voice to vibrate without the release of excess, unvocalized breath. You are correct that there should not be muscular effort around the neck. We suspend the breath to avoid the struggle around the neck. That is a response by the body attempting to compensate by closing the throat, restricting the breath from escaping too fast because it isn’t being coordinated by the body. Another important part of this coordination is the adjustment of the vocal folds and the glottal opening. The more naturally the glottis closes the less difficulty there is in suspending the breath appropriately and the more open the throat will stay. Joseph Hislop once told Allan Lindquest to let the glottis control the breath. In other words let the vibration control the emission of the breath. This makes a lot of sense since this is what our purpose is, to phonate and sing. So everything we do needs to be in relation to our ultimate purpose, to sing. So I would say we should never have air flowing through an open larynx. The larynx needs to be closed to provide a pure vibration. The airway/pharynx above the larynx should be open to provide an effective resonator to amplify the vibration sound created by the larynx. Silent breathing exercises are helpful for sensitizing our body and for keeping the airway open when we inhale. They also help to reinforce the coordination of the torso for the preparation to sing. But only through singing do you really develop the coordination to sing because singing is not about suspending the breath. That is only the preparation. The breath must be suspended so we can allow the glottis to close and then use the abdomen to provide a compression of breath to cause and continue a vibration of the vocal folds. What I observe happening usually is people trying to sing while exhaling, which is contradictory. You either breath or you sing, but you can’t do both at the same time. At least not very well. This may be new for some readers, but it is a fact of nature. We have to stop breathing and then sing. This is because the glottis opens when we breath, which weakens the vibration. The body then reacts by using the root of the tongue to try and control the breath. Making sure the glottis closes is the most important part of having an open throat as well as providing a clean vibration.

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