April 28, 2024

About the Author: Urpi

Urpi teaches vocals at S&C singing in Dubai and loves helping her students excel and become the best singers they can be!

Earlier on, in “The Things I Need to Become a Good Singer Part 2”, we talked about the aspects of the singing technique that everyone who wants to master their voice must work on. Amongst those, we mentioned the famous words “Core Support”, which undoubtedly is crucial to singing properly if it is strong and the singer uses it correctly, it gives quality, power, and structure to the singer’s voice and allows the full richness of their voice to be shown. Sounds great! Isn’t it? But what do vocal coaches really mean by “Core Support”? Do not worry! Now, all these questions are going to be answered.

Core muscles

The Muscle Belt

First thing first, let’s define the word “Core” some people tend to think that it involves just the abdomen and just refers to the front part of the torso, and even some people say that the core is just the diaphragm when, indeed, it refers to the entire muscular area found in the central area of the trunk using all sides of the body, front and back.

The “muscle belt” in the body’s centre holds the whole body. The core includes all the abdominal muscles, including the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, internal and external obliques, diaphragm, psoas, quadratus lumborum, multifidus, and pelvic floor muscles. To a lesser extent, it also involves muscles like the paraspinal, trapezius, latissimus dorsi, and gluteus maximus.

In this way, learning to use the core when singing means paying attention to the muscles in the front corridor and the muscles on the back and sides of our bodies. As well as that, it is important to mention that when it comes to singing the core muscles are the “go” muscles and not the “show” muscles.

In other words, the abdominal muscles of singers do not have to look necessarily like the “six-pack” abdominals you develop working out in the gym.

Still, they definitely have to be incredibly strong.

The floor for the voice

The Floor for The Voice

Having defined the word “Core”, now it is time to explain why it is said to give “Support” to the singing voice. for this, imagine that you are walking over some big rocks whose base is not totally flat, making you stagger as soon as you set one foot on them.

You get the feeling of instability, right? Imagine the person walking over these unstable rocks is your voice, and the rocks form your core. Well, that is precisely what happens when singers do not use and train their core to support their voices; their singing voices become unstable, shaky and weak, and even fear can be projected.

Now, let’s imagine the opposite scene: the rocks have a stable base, and you walk without staggering; you walk firmly. You feel the stability, don’t you?

Imagine again the rocks form your core, and it is your voice, the one who is walking with confidence and comfort. That is exactly what happens when singers use and train their core to support their voices. This time, their singing becomes stable and strong, it gains personality, and of course, it gains and projects power, so high notes can be achieved easily.

Therefore, we can understand the “Core Support” as the “Floor for the voice”. Our voice needs some source of support to be emitted with presence, and that support will be provided by the core when our voice leans against it.

The ki of the voice

Enhancing the “Ki” of the Voice

Moreover, in singing, the concept of “leaning against” is also known as the famous word “Appoggio”, which in Italian means “to support”. However, there is an extensive debate surrounding this word as some vocal coaches claim the “Appoggio” not only refers to the core support to the muscle belt but goes beyond; it goes from the core to the feet, literally it involves the whole support of the body.

When the core is activated, energy is irradiated to the legs and feet, and when these are well integrated, the singer feels grounded on the floor, leading to a more structured sound.

As a Vocal Coach, I agree with this definition of “Appoggio” from the core to the feet, and personally, I extend it even more.

I think of it not only from the core to the feet but from the centre of the body up as if the core is activated; the singer can also hold a correct posture for singing. Hence, the “Appoggio” is a consequence of the activated core. If the “Ki” is activated in the centre of the body, this spreads through the body and the singing voice is enhanced.

Regulating the air pressure

Regulating the Air Pressure

Nonetheless, at this point, you may wonder how the core actually supports the voice, and the answer is that it does not work alone.

As a matter of fact, the core also works with air, which we already know is the fuel for singing. As we mentioned before in the lecture about “Breathing When Singing” in the second phase of breathing the inhaled air is retained and prepared to be exhaled with control and it is in this moment that the core support occurs.

The core must be activated once the air is retained to regulate the air pressure below the larynx.

Consequently, the emitted sound acquires certain traits such as clarity, power, and direction without requiring a major effort from the throat.

This is what we vocal coaches mean when we say a singer needs to train the core support. When activated, the core regulates air-irradiating energy and integrates the whole body to sing properly.

So, we invite you to read part 2 as you may have more questions about the “Core Support” for singing.

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