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Proper Breathing Routines (Guitar Lesson)


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Mark Lincoln

Proper Breathing Routines

In this episode, Mark talks about proper breathing techniques and routines. He gives us eight points to work off of when singing and playing together.

Taught by Mark Lincoln in Guitar Performance seriesLength: 23:34Difficulty: 2.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (11:07) Proper Breathing Routines Review
Please review and practice the following before moving on.
1. Warm up the body.
2. Single note hum.
3. Three note hum.
4. Hum "me-me-me-me" to "mah-mah-mah-mah" to "me-ma-me-ma" to "mo-mo-mo-mo."
5. Wake up the breath with "sah-sah-sah" long and sustained then five times staccato.
6. "Sah" in five note descending scales then five note ascending scales.
7. Start softly with each then gradually get louder and louder, faster and faster until you reach the volume and speed that you feel you will be using during the performance.
8. Practice singing along with guitar rhythms that you’ve been using in the last few lessons or with material that you’ve discovered on your own and apply the above steps to your playing.
9. Relax and enjoy!
Please thoroughly review last week's lesson as we're going to use that as a jumping off point for today's lesson. We will also focus on developing your ability to breathe properly from the diaphragm, hence improving your overall ability to sing. Make sure though that you have warmed-up thoroughly and followed the above procedure so that you are fully prepared to do the exercises in this lesson. Everybody ready? Let’s go!

Last week we talked about the innate power that we all possess to "boom" or sing loudly and passionately when a particular point in a song demands it. But how do we make sure that we're singing from the diaphragm and maximizing our ability to sing, and avoid harming the vocal chords at the same time? The first step is to take some of the following advice.

These are the eight suggestions utilized by many professionals in order to maintain optimum posture for excellence in singing:
1. Feet slightly apart.
2. Knees bent.
3. Hips thrust slightly forward.
4. Spine straight.
5. Abdomen flat.
6. Chest comfortably raised.
7. Shoulders down and back.
8. Head straight ahead.
There is some degree of subjectivity when interpreting these rules especially for those singers who sit when they perform. Regardless, in order to maximize the full potential of your voice it is of the utmost importance that you maintain good posture or the breathing mechanism that you rely on to sing at your full potential will not function at its best.

Breathing from the Diaphragm
Many people talk about breathing from the diaphragm, but what does it mean exactly? Do you know how to locate the diaphragm? How will you know when you’re breathing from it? The following procedure can help you answer some of these mystical questions:
1. Sit or lie in a relaxed position.
2. Place one hand on your chest and one on your stomach.
3. Inhale slowly through your nose.
4. As you inhale, feel your stomach expand with your hand. If your chest expands try to relax a little more then try again. Chest breathing can be the result of stress and anxiousness in the body.
5. Slowly exhale through your lips to regulate the release of air.
6. Rest and repeat.
Awareness
Following the above posturing strategies and breathing from the diaphragm can help you maximize your singing potential, but it’s always important that you maintain an air of awareness. Strain on the neck and vocal chords are usually the main culprits when it comes to vocal problems. Hence, if you feel strain, then you are probably putting undue amounts of pressure on your vocal chords which may result in hoarseness, lack of endurance and possible vocal nodes. Many singers who have never developed an automatic (perhaps subconscious) repertoire of vocal skills and "proper" practices develop vocal problems after years of singing improperly, so be aware! Please, review lessons 1-5 of this series as well to remind you of some more helpful techniques and procedures that you may have forgotten, and make sure that you hydrate properly to give your body and voice the water your body needs.
Chapter 2: (05:50) Awareness For the next few exercises, we'll use the following chords: D ,C, G, A and E minor. Play each of the chords and get familiar with strumming each of them. Remember to relax your wrist and allow the pick to flow gently over the strings.

D major
E_2_
B_3_
G_2_
D_0_
A_x_
E_x_

C major
E_0_
B_1_
G_0_
D_2_
A_3_
E_x_

G major
E_3_
B_0_
G_0_
D_0_
A_2_
E_3_

A major
E_0_
B_2_
G_2_
D_2_
A_0_
E_x_

E minor
E_0_
B_0_
G_0_
D_2_
A_2_
E_0_

Exercise 1
Play the chords D, C and G in this order: D, C, G, C, G using the strum "down down-up-down." Watch me in the video for subtleties in the spacing as well as the rhythm. Think back to our discussion last week about the structure of a given song and how this song might fall into any number of different categories. How might this song balance the interplay between mellow and loud, and where do you think the "boom" might come into play?

Exercise 2
Play the chords C, A, and Em in this order: C, A, C, A, C, A and Em using the strum
"down down-up-down-up-down."
Chapter 3: (05:35) Playing Along with Lyrics Exercise 3
Now, play the same chords and strum pattern as you did in Exercise 1, but this time, accompany the chords with the lyrics.

"I swear I recognize your breath, memories like fingerprints are slowly raising,
you wouldn’t recall for I'm not my former,
it’s hard when you’re stuck upon the shelf."


When do you think you should draw your baby breath in for the "boom?" Watch me in the video for insight into this and how this tune should sound, especially from a vocal perspective. Just make sure that you keep your time signature straight when you start singing. Sing from your diaphragm and project at the "boom" point!

Exercise 4
Play the same chords and strum pattern as you did in Exercise 2, but this time, accompany the chords with the lyrics "I change by not changing at all, small town predicts my fate, perhaps that’s what no one wants to see."

Exercise 5
Combine the two exercises above together and make the pieces into a mini-song. Again, where do you see this song in a structural context? Can you feel the song build gradually and then climax at the point where the vocal says “I’m not my former?" Practice preparing and drawing in your super-breath before “for I’m not” in preparation for the boom. Make sure that you draw in enough breath to sing the "boom" long enough in duration. and have enough breath to finish the note strong. You don’t want to be out of breath by the word "former" or it will sound like you forgot the words!

*Note-singing from the diaphragm and learning the preparation and process of singing passionately can take some time. Be prepared to listen actively to others (if you don’t already) and spend a considerable amount of time working on your technique.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on October 9th, 2009

Hey Cris thanks for writing in! I'm glas you're enjoying the voice and performance series and there are tips concerning warm-up (which is probably the most important aspect to avoid vocal problems down the road) as well as other ways to check if you're indeed doing things correctly and avoiding harm to the vocal chords. Great to hear from you! Mark

cris elstrocris elstro replied on October 6th, 2009

terrific. Didn't know you had a voice and performance series. Would like to know techniques to "save your voice" if there is such a thing so one doesn't wreck their voice.

Guitar Performance

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Performing live or in a studio situation is a goal of many aspiring guitarists. Vocal training and the ability to sing and play at the same time are skills that will help in this endeavor.



Lesson 1

Introduction to Singing

Mark introduces you to the wonderful world of singing.

Length: 15:12 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Vocal Exercises

Mark Lincoln guides you through stretches and vocal exercises to warm up the voice.

Length: 23:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

Vocal Vibrato

Mark continues to discuss vocal warm-ups and exercises. Then, he moves on to explain vibrato.

Length: 23:42 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 4

Warming the Breath

Mark covers some singing terms and teaches an exercise that is used to "warm the breath."

Length: 19:10 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

Singing and Guitar

Mark Lincoln talks more about vocal exercise and warm-up. Then, he moves on to discuss singing and playing at the same time.

Length: 26:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 6

Singing Exercises

Mark Lincoln provides more singing exercises to practice while playing your guitar.

Length: 26:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Singing and Playing Revisited

Mark returns to singing and playing. Mark teaches proper form while singing and playing, cognitive exercises, and chord progression basics.

Length: 17:54 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

Anatomy and Dynamics

Mark Lincoln discusses song dynamics and the anatomy of songs. He also explains more about singing and playing.

Length: 23:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Rhythm in Music

Mark Lincoln explains how rhythm is used in music.

Length: 15:16 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

Technique Applied

Mark Lincoln applies singing and playing techniques to the Doors song "Riders on the Storm."

Length: 17:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

Palm Muting and Separation

In lesson 11 of his performance series, Mark discusses the palm muting technique and how to separate your singing from your playing.

Length: 23:30 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 12

Picking Vs. Strumming

Mark discusses how alternating between arpeggios and strummed chords can add contrast and flair to your music.

Length: 15:02 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

Silence Is Golden

Mark discusses silence in music and how it can transform a piece. Additionally, he explains how to use silence effectively in your playing.

Length: 16:40 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 14

Warm-up and Practice

In this lesson, Mark Lincoln talks more about warming up your voice and walks you through a few exercises that will aid this process.

Length: 16:14 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Preparations for Playing Live

Mark provides a lecture on items you should do and think about to become a proficient live player.

Length: 20:57 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 16

Voice and Guitar

In this lesson, Mark delves into the concept of combining both your voice and guitar into one neat little package you can deliver to your listener.

Length: 21:47 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

A Day in the Life

Mark Brings us Lesson 17 today to explain the preparation that goes into a performance. Mark tracks back up to 36 hours in advance, and shows us some routines to prepare for a great show.

Length: 19:09 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

The Dynamics of a Song

In this lesson, Mark teaches all of the diverse parts to a song with regards to dynamics.

Length: 20:17 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

Proper Breathing Routines

In this episode, Mark talks about proper breathing techniques and routines. He gives us eight points to work off of when singing and playing together.

Length: 23:34 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 20

Play Along with Mark Lincoln

Mark Lincoln brings us a great play along opportunity. Mark provides lyrics as well as the chord progression for this play along. He also breaks down key elements such as palm muting, hammer-ons, bending,...

Length: 24:06 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 21

Palm Muting Technique

Lesson 21 is a repeat of lesson 20's content only with a whole new set of chords and techniques. The"chords de jour" will be a little simpler than lesson 20's and will also include a much more in depth...

Length: 20:05 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only

About Mark Lincoln View Full Biography Mark Lincoln was born in S. California but was raised near Portland Oregon in a town called Beaverton. When he was twelve years old, he began his journey into the realm of the creative by composing poetry and was later published in a journal called "In Dappled Sunlight." He wrote for four years until his older sister blessed him with his first guitar, an old beat-up nylon stringed classical guitar. Mark played that guitar for five years, continuing to compose his own lyrics and starting the process of matching his own words with chords that he was learning on the guitar. He learned to play chords from his friends and from music books that he both bought and borrowed. Mark cited his four biggest influences, at that point at least, as The Who, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, The Rolling Stones.

Mark cites his most current influences as Radiohead, U2, older music by REM, and Peter Gabriel amongst others. He performs with two acoustic guitars, one being a six-string M-36 Martin with a three-pieced back for increased bass response, and a Guild Twelve-string which is his most recent acquisition. Mark is fond of saying that the twelve-string guitar is better because you get two guitars for the price of one, but he still plays his Martin equally as much and with the same passion.

Mark ended up in Fort Collins Colorado where he currently lives, works as a Marriage and Family Therapist, and continues to write, teach and perform music. He currently performs with a group called "Black Nelson" as well as with a number of other seasoned professional musicians including his cousin David, a virtuoso lead-guitar player. Mark has performed in many of the smaller venues in Denver and Boulder, as well as some of the larger ones including the Fox Theatre, The Boulder Theatre, Herman's Hideaway, and also at The Soiled Dove where he opened for Jefferson Starship as a soloist. Some of Mark's originals are also available for your listening pleasure on MySpace.

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