Breath management

Always on my Instagram on breath management and ist consequences

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Yesterday Madame Farrell told in the videos I shared of words and breath management. In Belcanto singers you will find always the same manner of talking about breath and how to use and feel it. It is a way of feeling that you develop after years of practice and at a certain point it manifests itself in the terms they talk about. In Garcia and Lamperti you will find some difference in this as a possibility, and I have the opinion that it is because they had more experience as teachers. To develop it you will not be always in the possibility of doing directly Tetrazzini breath exercises. Take note also that the freedom of well pronounced words and the freedom in working on them as Madame Farrell says is a consequence of this breath management. In all the situations in which you are not at the point of being able of working directly on it the regressive strategies are what will bring there (if your structure or musical temperament and path needs to get it) or that will substitute the perfect breath management gaining to your voice effectiveness. Seth Riggs copertura, some Estill exercises, some #cossumethod positions are example of this. If your path brings to this perfect form at a certain point you will have to choose to leave behind regressive strategies and step into the progression ones and you will rely on new different feelings and sensations, you will enter the same kind of support of Caruso’s and Marchesi’s and Tetrazzini’s and Farrell’s words and of their example. . . . . . . . #voiceteacher #vocaltechnique ###singing #vocalcoaching #luciacossu #cossumethod #vocaltechniqueforprofessionals #manuelgarcia #italianbelcantotechnique #singingteacher #voice #voiceform #vocalgesture #breath #breathing #tongue #italianbelcanto #belcantotechnique #belcanto #eileenfarrell #enricocaruso #luisatetrazzini #mathildemarchesi #breathmanagement

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In Belcanto we never allow too soon to develop all the colour, intensity and weight if positions are correct not to have to build back positions and confusion into the breath management as he had to do. If not perfect the positions the internal energy presents itself as pushing and it is very confusing and long to surmount and correct it. During the correction doubts arise because at first in this period the voice will not sound, sometimes it will even not seem our proper voice. To avoid this risk we do prefer and often choose a slight lighter voice production for the first two/three years of the training (if really we have to structure a classical or technical voice can be also five entire years with never exceptions), so to structure the breath management and its emotional and creative energy into the tunnel that leads to the one or two changes of positions and to the sound that will last a life. . To have a tenor example of correct position listen to this on YouTube by tenor Carlo Bergonzi, the example he first does is a typical example of correct position versus low position with breath all sustain versus pushing https://youtu.be/ehRabLL1X6k . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #voiceteacher #vocaltechnique #functionalvoice #functionalsinging #singing #vocalcoaching #luciacossu #cossumethod #vocaltechniqueforprofessionals #professionalsvoices #voixprofessionels #careofprofessionalvoices #techniquechanteurs #italianbelcantotechnique #vocalteacher #singingteacher #voice #voiceform #vocalgesture #breath #breathing #tongue #italianbelcanto #belcantotechnique #belcanto #franciscoaraiza #helenamatheopoulos #irmagonzález #irmagonzalez

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These are well known tools of Belcanto: 1. if you put colour forcing, this forcing will appear in lack of intonation and impossibility of the correct tessitura (extension can still be quite enough, but it is tessitura that says if technique is correct. Tessitura being the extension in which you can sing effectively and not just emit sounds), you correct it by creating the segment of posture (call it breath management or soffio if you want); 2. to obtain the tessitura you have to create a sort of tunnel in which horizontal and vertical structure of breathing will shape in their interrelation of forces. Larynx has components that work in vertical and horizontal and any kind of deformation below and above will have a pull or push in some parts of larynx (or vocal tract if you want to have a larger point of view). This tunnel is very effective in getting back balance of forces into the complex work of the instrument and when well connected and shaped will allow some stylistic deformations without losing the effectiveness and health of the voice. —- Said that I will make researches to learn of those special (and certainly fantastic and precious) vocalisations of this amazing teacher that was Dame Irma González. . . . . . . #voiceteacher #vocaltechnique #functionalvoice #functionalsinging #singing #vocalcoaching #luciacossu #cossumethod #vocaltechniqueforprofessionals #professionalsvoices #voixprofessionels #careofprofessionalvoices #techniquechanteurs #italianbelcantotechnique #vocalteacher #singingteacher #voice #voiceform #vocalgesture #breath #breathing #italianbelcanto #belcantotechnique #belcanto #franciscoaraiza #helenamatheopoulos #irmagonzález #irmagonzalez

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Voice is biologically related to: 1. close the passage to lungs of other than air; 2. scream the hell out in presence of danger. So not only it is not biologically wired to music and singing but also is based on constrictive and hyperarousal systems. If the shape of breathing (call it posture if you prefer) is not the optimal this means that all the structure has to be shaped better (also the fascia that will be the basis of your breath management). To do that we need to protect vocal chords and larynx from the excess and the hyper constriction that a not perfectly trained voice will regularly produce. Other way is to work on relaxation and very low and controlled energy. They are both interesting solutions, being the second risky in the medium and long term because it gets artificially separated from music energy production and not conditioning; it is well known the deficits and often the strain this exclusively second choice bring to a singer, and also it puts in the singer the fear of a arousing energy that can be absolutely safe (not to talk artistically necessary to music). How you choose this is the logic of the two step process: create safe conditions to train and shape. Safe conditions are an absolute since there is a huge disproportion between the forces versus vocal chords. To train and shape means that we create and develop what was not before. In the time being of development you are not the one you will be after the proper tone and flexibility, reactivity, power and relaxations are obtained. This is why you have always the impression to go to the opposite, and then changing of direction and having what is the direct correct gesture, when you study singing properly. . . . . . . . . #voiceteacher #vocaltechnique #functionalvoice #functionalsinging #singing #vocalcoaching #luciacossu #cossumethod #vocaltechniqueforprofessionals #professionalsvoices #voixprofessionels #careofprofessionalvoices #techniquechanteurs #italianbelcantotechnique #vocalteacher #singingteacher #voice #voiceform #vocalgesture #breath #breathing #tongue #italianbelcanto #belcantotechnique #belcanto #franciscoaraiza #irmagonzález #irmagonzalez #bravo #helenamatheopoulos

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BREATH MANAGEMENT . This is how it looks the Belcanto prescription of the air out pushing toward the chest. As you can see it does not present head, jaw or neck and shoulders stiffness. It is a gentle forcing toward the sternum with a complete relaxation of constrictive muscles of neck and jaw (also in the low back and under the pelvic floor this pushing presents the same gentle pushing with no stiffness) that we gain by practice and practice and patient practice to surmount the biological responses of closing and stiffening and rendering impossible the contemporary work of horizontal structures. We gain a pushing out with the vertical forces that does not become a stiffness of the structure or of the joints with the horizontal ones remaining with enough flexibility and relaxation and contract capacity to pronounce and make rhythm and colours. Being the fascia the one which makes this transmission and oppositions of different levels of flexibility and contractions possible and balanced. This takes time and especially different phases before this synthesis is possible. . . . . . . . . . . #voiceteacher #vocaltechnique #functionalvoice #functionalsinging #singing #vocalcoaching #luciacossu #cossumethod #vocaltechniqueforprofessionals #professionalsvoices #voixprofessionels #careofprofessionalvoices #techniquechanteurs #italianbelcantotechnique #vocalteacher #singingteacher #voice #voiceform #vocalgesture #breath #breathing #italianbelcanto #belcantotechnique #belcanto #breathmanagement #franciscoaraiza #luisatetrazzini #katiaricciarelli #lillilehmann #annesophievonotter

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BREATH MANAGEMENT 2 . Are they in the pushing of the air toward the chest of Belcanto so different? I yet talked about this in a post of a couple of days ago, now I go further in putting on purpose different styles and also with a shoulders coming or dropping forward that could seem a different sternum (call it chest if you prefer) management. No, if you look with attention you will see that it is exactly the same pushing and never collapsing. The shoulders are a part that is important t not to be stiff, and can managed with a correct and effective voice production even when coming forward and almost dropped forward. In the time very often this dropping gets less accentuated in the years since the breath management underlined in its constant use with the voice do correct it. What happens in excellent singer if for some reasons sternum starts not being in this correct pushing out? In this link of Freddie Mercury singing Who wants to live forever in 1986 you can see that when the voice loses clarity and vocal chords adduction is when the sternum closes (those considerations are in the only intent of clarify mechanisms, not musicality or judgments on the singers. We work and analyse mechanisms but we do not lose ourselves in minutiae. Mechanisms are very important for artistic singing, as the absolute respect and gratitude toward all singers who actually do sing and did sing for us and for other humans, be smart in taking in the correct way my considerations 😊✨) https://youtu.be/Z1waL65aMOQ . . . . . . . #voiceteacher #vocaltechnique #functionalvoice #functionalsinging #singing #vocalcoaching #michaelbuble #judygarland #vocaltechniqueforprofessionals #freddiemercury #brucespringsteen #billieholiday #arethafranklin #italianbelcantotechnique #vocalteacher #singingteacher #voice #voiceform #vocalgesture #breath #breathing #italianbelcanto #belcantotechnique #belcanto #breathmanagement #peggylee #luisatetrazzini #katiaricciarelli #annesophievonotter

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Madame Lehmann main exercise: the great scale

On Instagram I am doing a series on this great exercise of Madame Lilli Lehmann. Here the links to Madame Lehmann How to Sing and to the series.

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This is a great exercise, and really as she says if you just can learn and practice this you will have most of what is necessary for a voice and with one only tool. Said that can anyone start practicing it with certainty of success? In my experience no, for two main order of different reasons: 1. attitude; 2. lack of at least few notes with sufficient correct voice production. Attitude: yes it if fundamental, always and always in voice production. In means if you can have access to the correct motor control system for singing. This means that as I said in the post of yesterday you do not fall into the screaming or the constrictive patterns governed by your vagal and sympathetic/parasympathetic systems (flight-fight response especially mediated by an activation close to the sacral spine that takes away all possibility of support). Those patterns are strongly activated by mental attitude toward voice production, and many of the tools used in vocal technique as speed, legato/staccato vocalisations, accents, change of volume and intensity, using a lot of breath etc. are in the purpose of unblocking the singer stuck into those stiffening and stiff patterns. In some sort it is a forcing the system not to hyper control and find the spontaneous system (as defined by neurologists working in mirror neurons field as Rizzolatti), and for the anxious to experiment that beyond the flight-fight you fly as Dumbo (and not crush and die and suffer, no: you enjoy and fly and find sustain). For the second if breath can not activate at least some tones, you have nothing to start working on. In this case anything slow will create more gap than filling it, slow requires a structure; so it is mandatory to build a structure. Strategies as for point 1 can be used, as many other tools (usually in regression and with an initial bad sound outcome even when successful and effective, the slow will refine the sound 😉 ) to create the sufficient body structure; the typical case of those singers that some months after a period of training find developed things we did not work together or they thought were not worked. Those are valid for all the slow vocalises. #lillilehmanngreatscale

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What you will find when you practice it correctly is 1. the internal shaping of the fascia that singing can do when well and scrupulously practised (no wonder of postural changes if you use well singing tools, as happened also during #cossumethod program); 2. the access to this point of stillness in which your breath out is a contraction before the note production, something very special and amazing in the sound you find and physical and mind connection it creates (and also its consequences in how it changes ideas on music and pitch and vibrations, as a deep meditation that opens to doors of different point of view). And it does this by finding the perfect contraction before the sound and then this slight movement into the fascia or the ulterior contraction and concentration in the front of the larynx and of throat muscles or in other styles just the opening of the jaw that are the starting point of perfect sounds. You can feel as drunk when you find them, and are refreshing as she says many times. Regressions as I was saying yesterday are mandatory if you have not enough capacity of hips and larynx to extend while remaining with a physiological placement of diaphragm during sound production, because you will compensate and deform the system (usually by hyper using lumbar back and pelvic pavement and eventually a direct anus contraction and some other legs muscles at the place of correct forces, so better wait and correct the system enough to get to use this perfect tool). PRACTICAL: if you do not have a teacher that understand how to solve your structure by use of regressions and regressive logic and you cannot use my lessons of help is a work with a strength and conditioning coach in the line of work of Coach Michael Boyle and an assessment of your movement and patterns with Gray Cook method. Then for us it is of direct help to work on: glutes bridges, deadlifts, split squats and all the unilateral squats variations, the chin up assisted. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #voiceteacher #vocaltechnique #functionalvoice #belcanto #singing #vocalcoaching #luciacossu #lillilehmanngreatscale

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The great scale is the perfect breath management exercise; and breath in singing and most refined ways of thinking is a deep fascia thing. Life changes fascia: movements, emotions, a virulent and wild flu, walking, what we eat, drinking, surgeries, the shoes we use, travels, sitting habits, sport, ageing, health conditions etc. Some norms and prescriptions we find often in books and among singers are in the sense of avoiding the excesses in this changes or to take back some issues (as dietary prescriptions that can affect inflammation in some in unbearable levels as for high oxalates foods that many singers have traditionally reported as problematic). As great technical singers know one of the best way is to gain back and work technically on it every single day, and this is the line of advice of Lilli Lehman. Practice it to gain the fascia changement that do build the voice, and practice it to have basically no major changes in your voice or contain and slow down them. This also is the logic and path to follow to understand why we have to patiently build back or build when something of traumatic has happened. Also the reason why as singers we often do well with the assistance of figures and practices specialised on fascia health. . . . . . . . . . . . . . #voiceteacher #vocaltechnique #functionalvoice #functionalsinging #singing #vocalcoaching #luciacossu #cossumethod #vocaltechniqueforprofessionals #professionalsvoices #voixprofessionels #careofprofessionalvoices #techniquechanteurs #italianbelcantotechnique #vocalteacher #singingteacher #voice #voiceform #vocalgesture #breath #breathing #tongue #italianbelcanto #belcantotechnique #belcanto #lillilehmanngreatscale #greatscale #fascia #fasciacounts

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Madame Lehmann prescriptions on how to execute the scale points it on the fifth grade of the scale, in her prescription is perfectly balanced on the fifth grade. By perfectly balanced I mean that it is not done at the expenses of sustain brilliancy or of voice colour. Often it is asked where to make this turn, and as in the great scale if appropriately executed it will be a segment in the middle of the tessitura, all the fifths of the two octaves extension are the segment of tessitura with this turning. The turn is the movement that brings a required and precise capacity of putting the voice relaxed but not without colour, a sort of copertura that will not deprive the tone from true brilliant sustain. It is exactly what she asks when she says of the palatal sensations and the movement in pronounciation of the fifth grade (going up or coming back down). The fifth is the turned sound that will enlarge the compass, if well executed will create that segment additional with no loss of coulour and stenght that do shape correctly breath and fascia. On the fifth it is easier to make it clearly correct since: 1. the pitch and the vibration of correct pitch on the fifth is correct or wrong in a more clear way that on other tones; 2. it is first forced point of changing larynx position, this meaning that if you can incorrectly force tones in a fourth in the same position (as you can do sometimes for some stylistic requirements or with beginners who have not acquired the flexibility of changing correctly positions) you cannot do that for a fifth, you are forced to change position. In others Belcanto styles this turn can be exaggerated (as in many XXth century opera singers, as shows the great soprano Katia Ricciarelli in her stylistic evolution; swipe for examples of this on YouTube) or taken to the minimum physiological required not to strain the voice as in Nellie Melba or Tetrazzini Belcanto concept. #lillilehmanngreatscale

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Italian Belcanto in its pure acceptation is different from other Belcanto styles in one precise thing: it wants and chooses the sustain component in the purest vertical force and never loses it in the vibration, not to gain colour or volume or expression that it is called void volume since it is done at the expenses of those vibrations that carry the sound and give this special vibrancy of Italian voices. In practical terms it means that it is centered on the development of positions and sustain to have pure head tones and overtones and never get to hyperturned or hypernasalised or worse intubated. Madame Lehmann is specially wise and prescribing to get to palatal sensations in the fifth of the scale and then getting into pure head tones going toward the octave she avoids the loss of this magic and wonderful vibration gaining at the same time what the voice can of warmth and nuances in the octave central the tessitura. You can note that when in this segment the notes are reached as the octave they will have a more head tones prevalence and when reached as the fifth the most coloured version of them; so in all the positions they will be found you are training this octave in all the flexibility and colour possible for the specific voice in the mixture of power-colour-vibration without risking the loss of the Italian Belcanto style magic vibration. In practical this vibration is a development of the structure, a strength development that can be fantastic and absolutely safe to develop as straining and dangerous if chased by violence and ignorance of how to protect vocal chords as the fascia system. *This development is a development of fascia, being the vibrations a material vibrating effect and not a only vocal chords thing as Tomatis found in some of its research. The sound is a sum of biological tissues vibrations and not just the effect of vocal chords exactly as a violin sound is not given by just the chord :). #lillilehmanngreatscale

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Here the link to Madame Lehmann How to sing free online copy http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/19116

What means in sound the proper diaphragm connection in yet good singer.

Singer since very young, it is twelve months she studies with me. You will hear that she is quite in order but there is a huge difference in bewteen the Dianne Reeves and Alicia Keys’s songs and Withney Houston’s one: this is the diaphragm connection that I long looked for her, not perfect yet in all the passages but connected and so it will be possible to train it and have those passages perfects just by using it and remaining connected. Enjoy!

Vocal technique fundamentals: what first? Copertura, sustain or appoggio?

One of the great questions this. One of the thing I find the most misunderstood is that without sufficient support  it will be useless to work on copertura and appoggio. With sustain intending not just a force created by transversus abdominis and diaphragm but jalso the simple posture in tonic relaxed attitude, ready to sing. I generally find too short and need to be developed to work properly with appoggio and copertura. So I will say before sustain, when there is enough to have the correct larynx position we start working with copertura and appoggio with exercises involving also sustain (so to be sure not to lack of it totally).

Vocal technique: some talks on fundamental questions.

My first two talks on some fundamental questions of vocale technique, often not so clear in students and singers and not clearly explained through their effects and consequencies so that they remain scary and refused in the first step. Often they are related as the fact that when you cover the sounds you will have in your sound not the effect of copertura but the disclosure of the state of your sustain and appoggio. I mean that not covered sounds have a different kind of pressure from the effective and true sustain (a true sustain always have a copertura effect), so you cover and the vocal folds do not respond anymore to the excess of pressure not correct. You will immediately hear how much the correct and true sustain is developed and the really good news is that with copertura it is safe and not tricky to develop the effective and true sustain. So if you refuse covering you will probably never develop a real and effective sustain, and this just because you were scared by the sound after copertura that was just the first step of the process and not the arriving point of the process. Many things in vocal technique present this two step process, I will try to clarify some of those for you on Istagram in my IGTV.
And the first is on copertura. 🙂

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Why you must not be scared by the covering of the sounds, the also called copertura and why if you initially feel of losing your sound it will just be a transitory phase and you will have back your sound but in a safe and healthy way. All the misunderstanding about why the sound get darker and with a lack of stamina in the first step. A series of technical talks on vocal fundamentals. I am a voice teacher specialised in technique and solutions for professional singers and future professionals. I come from a soloist career in classical music interrupted by a long septicaemia. I relate to Italian belcanto technique and some exercises I invented to make a step forward in the possibility of working on voices. I had results also in vocal issues organic and functional, called by their doctor, https://luciacossu.com/cossu-method-program/

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Vocal tips. Same word same notes: exactly the same?

When it happens that you ask a young singer on the same word that the song repeat two times one after the other with the same notes to change slightly vocal position, so slightly not to be really clearly perceived in the throat and nearly seeming the dream of changing position, and a change in overtones appears, a light, a light  into the word the second time, but not the first. And you have this movement of light that opens totally another consistence and horizon in the audience, as if the light of a precise nebulosa entered the song. And the singer looks at you without words, the same light in her eyes as she was audience.  And she is nearly 15 and she hears that, and she understands, and she understands that you understand and hear too. And we both know that those are the reasons they call her to sing, the reasons she sings and thought happened by casualty sometimes, the reasons you made music your life and they can be dreamt and chased and fixed.

* the song was Safe and Sound from Hunger Games and the word was gone in the second  Verse. Taylor Swift changed to change the sound, us to just have the same with this overtone that gave a sound into the note. The singer was MariaSofia Ferrante, not yet 15 then.

Songs the interpreter do not want to sing

She did not want to record this. We discussed a lot, her saying it did not represent her and that she wanted to to be represented by other songs, without yet realising that if she was pursuing a professional career it would be normal to sing some things not choosen by her. This scare of some interpreter is valid when they cannot choose nothing, but to have to sing a part of repertoire not choosen refine the interpreter personality and skills to be himself going  more in the comprehension and depth of what he is, and also discover sides and shades not suspected. Some says it is the better song of her demo, not sure about this for me that I love her peaks in intensity and energy but it is just subjective this. Enjoy!

Vocal tips

When my artists send to me something to hear in which they push intentions and do not find it in the voice. Very often they still think doing something on the moment to produce the note, they still think singing is when heard. Singing is doing some things with your body and your imagination and emotions put into the body, the sound heard will be just in certain moments as a part made heard of this doing and not a pressing all together just in the moment you want to produce a sound. You produce a sound and a phrase and a movement inside and you just make it heard on the outside: sometimes entirely, often just fragments of that.

Who am I

I am someone who can solve the reason why some people can’t be effective in a vocal technique or style, or when a professional can’t have the full or correct use of its instrument even with excellent teachers or coaches.  I was a soloist and being trained in Italian Belcanto technique. A chronic disease that affects my inflammation level in the body related to a medical malpractice made my career  last just three years during which I achieved goals I even had not dreamt about (further details https://luciacossu.com/about/).2012-09-28-13-15-24
I started then teaching,  vocal technique. Being frustrated by seeing some structural issues that made some singers think about them and never relax into a deeper dialog with music I tried to found ways to solve them forever with the same approach to sound I had when I was a soloist. So I invented some physical exercises and discovered in what they were useful to a wider range of persons, even if invented on someone specific. This became a corpus of exercises, some totally invented by me, some are yoga or dance exercises modified to be useful for voice muscular chains. I have so found some principles to work on the reason why some can’t have a proper vocal technique even with good teachers. I found the relation voice-muscular chains in a way not imagined by professionals and now also the way some Manuel Garcia vocalises were intended and why even my excellent belcanto teachers couldn’t use them correctly. . It is a very specific work, nothing to do with others body practises for singers, useful  but less precise for a vocal purpose.  To be sure that the results with my students were really appropriate I put some people with and without vocal problems under medical control before and after our work together and  it was confirmed the solution of their vocal problems in very short time, while a medical prevision of no improvement possible (https://luciacossu.com/cossu-method-program/ ) and those with no issues had confirmed an improvement in voice and posture.
When I say it is new I don’t mean that my work comes from nothing and goes to a new land, no. I mean that it is a step forward in what is the italian belcanto technique. I mean that it brings to the vocal land many that couldn’t previously reach it. And those who are yet there have a way to refine and obtain more.

That it is: a way to bring to voice (and voice styles and technique or even just natural voice) those who couldn’t before and to refine and find tools and expression for the advanced and the professionals.
It is a sort of way to put everybody to the zero point.