top of page

Beginner Singing Technique - Support

singing lessons student singing with support

Learning to sing with support is the next step after getting a good inhale and suspending breath. To explain what support is, we're going to imagine a hose. You are holding the hose and can put your thumb over the top to make the water come out differently. Additionally, you can turn the nozzle on the hose to let more or less water come out. There are two control points, one at the end and one at the beginning. The end (your thumb in this scenario) will be your vocal folds, which can close at different thicknesses. The beginning is the support muscles.

If the goal in this metaphor was to get the water to leave the hose at a certain speed, there would be multiple ways of doing it. You would move your thumb differently or turn the hose nozzle. If you want to get the speed in a beautiful or more controlled/ideal way, you would need to adjust both. Similarly, when talking about support the feelings will always change because it works in tandem with the vocal folds. For now though, I'm going to ignore the vocal folds.

The goal of flexing your support muscles, is actually to flex both inhaling and exhaling muscles simultaneously in order to create pressure in your lungs. This pressure allows you to better control the speed of the air leaving your lungs. Where we will focus in this article, is on feeling the diaphragm. The diaphragm is located just under your sternum. If you follow your sternum down with your finger until you feel the bone end and the softer place beneath, you can cough and feel it flex. The diaphragm is technically an inhaling muscle, but we will be talking about it as though we are using it to exhale for simplicity.

First, we want to gain control of the diaphragm. Make your lips into an "oo" and breath out slowly. Steadily increase the speed of your air until you are blowing aggressively on an "oo" and then slow down again. Repeat this process and notice the diaphragm engaging to increase the air speed. Try singing an easy note and doing this same thing. As you increase the speed the note will become somewhat of a wheeze, but please try anyway. Now you can flex this muscle intentionally. Do the same thing, but slowly increase the speed while moving to higher and higher notes. The wheeze shouldn't happen unless you increase the speed too quickly. Instead, the notes should become easier to hit. (NOTE: since we're ignoring the vocal folds, if you change them the support will also change. try to sing the same way throughout).

If you successfully did all of this, you at least can somewhat control support. A good way to practice support is by singing the letter "v." Try to keep the "v" buzzy and not hummy. This will usually give you a good indication of how much support you need to hit a note well. If you sing v-v-v-v vah-ah-ah or something similar up to higher notes and maintain the feelings from the "v" those notes should feel easier.

It gets more complicated than this, and I could and probably will write further articles on this idea, but this should be a solid intro to the idea of support. Being able to find and somewhat control the singing muscles is really an important first step. If you need additional help, sign up for singing lessons with me or leave a comment!

8 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page