My name is Andrew Hawcroft, I'm 34 and currently living in Galway, Ireland. I am trying to make my break into the world of professional musical theatre at this age and I'm working hard at achieving my dream. In two weeks I have been offered a tour of Ireland singing musical theatre numbers in a cabaret show. At least it's a start. My dream role is the Phantom like so many other male singers, but I urgently need advice, and if it's not taking a liberty, I'd like to ask you.
To improve my ability to hold a long lyrical line, I have taken to holding my breath for as long as possible, maybe up to 2 minutes without undue strain, several times over throughout the day. Is this a wise thing to do? I feel I have better breath stores but I dearly wish I had a stronger feeling of 'compression' and I don't know how to acheive it. I am a serious weightlifter/powerlifter and I know this is frowned upon in the singing world, but its not going to change, it's part of who I am, but I wonder if this is unduly affecting me. I haven't that power and vocal strength I wish I had. Sometimes I get short of breath and feel I am breathing very shallow, even though I am a gym addict and am very strong and fit. Am I doing more harm than good? It feels like my 'bellows' are too expanded.
Sincerely, Andrew Hawcroft
- Imagine and try to sense that you are inhaling instead of exhaling as you hold a note. Of course you are exhaling, but hold back that air pressure so much that it feels like you're inhaling. While "inhaling" the note, try raising your eyebrows and relaxing your jaw and it should feel like no breath is going forward, but great resonance floats your tone out.
- Put the palm of your hand very close to your mouth. Now try holding a note, but letting as little breath as possible get on your hand.
- Imagine a mirror right at your mouth. Hold a note, but don't leave a breath mark on the mirror. (You don't need a real mirror for this, just imagine it.)
Ok, folks, chime in about holding notes out. How do these suggestions work for you? What else have you noticed about having enough breath for the vocal chore to be done?