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cerned, for it is the forced breath that causes the vocal cords to vibrate and produce sound.

Hence it is quite evident that if we would learn to control the voice, we must learn to control that which produces the voice_namely, the breath. Just as the violinist learns to control the muscles of fingers, hand, and arm that carry the bow, so must the vocalist learn to control the muscles of the diaphragm and of the lower chest, for these make and manipulate the voice-producing column of air.

4. Breath control. It must be remembered that breathing, when properly done, is done very largely with the bottom of the chest, not with the top. Any system of breathing that causes the chest to heave and the shoulders to rise and fall much, is a faulty system. The movements of chest and shoulders, even in forced breathing, should be slight and hardly perceptible.

To acquire the habit of deep, diaphragmatic breathing requires practice and thoughtful attention. Think always that the breath begins at the waist line, and try to fill the lungs, as you do a bottle, from the bottom up.

5. Exercise. Stand with the body erect but not rigid, feet a little apart, weight equally divided between them and thrown slightly forward, shoulders back, neck straight, chin slightly raised, arms hanging naturally, or hands resting lightly on hips.

Take this position when practicing breathing exercises, and later when practicing vocal exercises.

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6. Exercise. Inhale slowly and steadily until the lungs are filled. Try not to move the chest and shoulders. Note the tightening of the waist muscles and the pushing out and stiffening of the lower chest and the upper abdomen.

Hold the breath during a slow count of five. (Gradually, in subsequent trials, increase to twelve or fifteen counts.)

Exhale explosively and completely.
Repeat this whole exercise five to ten times.

7. Exercise. Inhale quickly and deeply, as you would between the phrases of a song. Try not to move the chest and shoulders.

Count as before.

Exhale slowly and steadily through a small opening in the lips.

A good way to control the exhalation is to whistle softly as long as the breath lasts, trying to make the sound even and steady. A constant effort should be made to restrain the outflow of breath and not to waste it.

Repeat five to ten times.
8. Exercise. Inhale slowly as before.
Count as before.
Exhale slowly as before.
Repeat five to ten times.
9. Exercise. Inhale quickly.

Open the mouth and make the sound n-n softly. Hold the sound as long as the breath lasts, trying to keep the tone even and steady.

Repeat five to ten times.

10. Exercise. Inhale quickly.

Open the mouth and make the sound ha-ha-haa-a-a-ah.

Be careful to bring out the h each time with a strong impulse and a clearly felt movement of the diaphragm. Prolong the third ha twice the time of the other two, and finish it with a distinct h. Do not inhale between repetitions. Repeat as long as the breath lasts, and try to make it last as long as possible.

Repeat five to ten times.
11. Exercise. Inhale quickly.

Read or repeat quietly, in a clear voice, and at an ordinary rate a passage with which you are familiar, trying to go as far in it as possible with one breath.

All these exercises may be taken when standing, as prescribed; or when lying flat on the back without a pillow; or when walking. If taken when walking allow the arms to swing freely.

Breathing exercises should be practiced as frequently each day as circumstances permit until the habit of deep, diaphragmatic breathing becomes fixed, and breath control is mastered.

12. Chest breathing. It is sometimes objected that the prescription not to move the chest and shoulders conflicts with the directions given by teachers of physical training. These urge their pupils to raise the chest and shoulders and to expand the chest to its utmost. This conflict is only apparent, for the two plans are in no way at

cross purposes. The physical training teacher endeavors to enlarge the capacity of the lungs and chest. By straightening the back and stretching the intercostal muscles, the physical culture exercises increase the number of cubic inches within the chest. That means more breath, better blood,

[graphic][merged small]

Showing the soft palate hanging naturally so as to permit sound

to pass into the upper resonators.

improved digestion, and a dozen other things of inestimable value. The aim of the vocal teacher, however, is different. While he may, and does, enlarge the chest, his primary purpose is to teach the pupil to use what chest space he has, and to use it in the way that will best produce the voice. High chest breathing is useful for expanding the

chest, but it is incompatible with proper voice production.

13. The windpipe and the vocal cords. The windpipe is a tube of rigid cartilage connecting with the tubes leading from the lungs and extending upward in the throat to a point about

[graphic][merged small]

Showing the soft palate acting as a damper to shut sound out of

the upper resonators and cause it all to pass out of the mouth.

half way between the body and the chin. It terminates in a triangular box, also of cartilage, called the larynx. One angle of the larynx is in front and forms a slight protrusion, commonly called the “Adam's apple.” Within the larynx and stretched horizontally across it from front to rear are two tape-like strips of yellowish mem

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