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I read a Fantastic answer on "How to have a penetrating voice?" talking about how air is pushed up from the lungs using the muscles around them. In my naive head that makes me think strengthening those muscles in turn strengthens the voice.

So what Muscles are involved in singing, and more importantly, does building them strengthen the voice?

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3 Answers 3

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When you sing, or speak, you unconsciously exercise extremely fine control over many different muscles. Everyone can do this. If you want to get some formal training, you can learn to be aware of certain muscles and how to control them even better.

I studied singing in college for four years. Singing is indeed an "athletic" activity, in that it involves toning and strengthening muscles, and developing stamina in using them (as well as learning how not to fatigue or damage those muscles). Knowing a bit about physiology plays a certain role, but the larger role is in singing and listening carefully to the sounds you are producing. If you are producing better and better sounds, with more and more ability to control those sounds, and to develop stamina and avoid fatigue, then you are improving your muscle strength.

The key to all this is to start out by taking regular lessons from a good professional voice teacher who can teach you how to improve your singing, and give you valuable feedback on correcting bad habits and building good habits. After you have studied for some time, you will learn how to do it by yourself, and be aware of whether you are singing at your best, or not.

Doing a certain set of warm-up singing exercises every day (you and your voice teacher will arrive at a regimen that works for you) is important to keeping your voice in its best condition. If you don't sing every day according to a certain regimen, you will find that it will take you several days to get your voice back into proper shape again. This is very much like daily training for athletes.

Singing well requires many different muscles. The diaphragm muscle in your abdomen is the largest and strongest muscle in the body. It is what enables you to breathe in and out with your lungs. There are also other "costal" muscles that are involved in taking a deep breath and controlling how your air is expelled while singing or speaking. Then there are the many small muscles in your larynx and throughout your mouth and sinuses that you learn to control in minute amounts to produce all the effects of speaking and singing. If you are untrained, you don't think much about these muscles at all. If you get some voice lessons, you learn to be aware of where these muscles are and how to manipulate them.

At first it is quite daunting to learn that in order to sing well, you have to be conscious of all of these different muscles and how to position them. But with continued practice, this becomes second nature.

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what do you think about the articles I mentioned about muscle conditioning,aerobics/flexibility training and cardio fitness having a positive impact on the voice? are they something you actively agree/disagree with? –  Alexander Troup Oct 23 '13 at 15:59
    
It's my opinion that cardio fitness is a good thing for everybody. But I think that, first, you would benefit from singing lessons so that you can learn to be aware of all the specific muscles you manipulate when you sing. Studying the technique of singing, specifically, is of much more benefit that cardio training in general if your goal is to learn to sing with more control and stamina. –  Wheat Williams Oct 23 '13 at 16:31
    
I know that technique is the primary way to get power and skill, but I'm interested in the other stuff that can compliment it. –  Alexander Troup Oct 23 '13 at 17:41
    
I'm afraid I can't get too precise or scientific about it. But I've found that when I'm in good health cardio-vascular-wise, with regular moderate aerobic exercise, that I do sing better. And I am a classically-trained singer although I am not a working professional singer these days. However, I know of no medical or scientific evidence for this. And nowhere in any of my classical training in singing was there any mention of cardiovascular exercise. Operatic singers have a reputation for being lax about physical health, and for tolerating obesity. I have no idea where this got started! –  Wheat Williams Oct 28 '13 at 11:45

I've Had a little search around the web, and it seems that there are at least a few places that advocate not only conditioning the muscles to improve vocal strength, but also:

Aerobics in order to maintain flexibility in the important areas like neck and back

CardioVascular exercises to keep air in the lungs flowing well, and holding more of it!

Here are some of the sites I've found so far

Blog article from a vocal coach

http://www.claudiafriedlander.com/the-liberated-voice/2013/06/build-stamina.html

What appears to be an informal paper on the subject

http://facweb.furman.edu/~bschoonmaker/Exer.html

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Perhaps an exploration into Bel Canto would be of great benefit. One needs simply to return to breathing as a baby does. They breathe like a bellows - breathe in, the belly expands - breathe out, the belly contracts. Simple really. All the other muscles will then do what they do NATURALLY !!!! The fitter and healthier you are the better you will be - AT EVERYTHING !!!! I've trained Martial Arts for decades and played the guitar for as long. I have been singing for longer - if I stopped breathing like a baby, I probably could not continue with these magic pursuits (I am 67 in December). Always try to B natural, or B sharp. don't get bogged down and B flat.

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Ah, I do love A sharp pun :D –  Alexander Troup Oct 28 '13 at 9:14
    
Thanx Alexander the Great - you are a real Trouper !!!! –  Mad Merlin Nov 2 '13 at 1:47
    
WHOOOOOAAAAAAAAOOOOOOoooooooOOOOOOOooooooh youtube.com/watch?v=dTaD9cd8hvw –  Alexander Troup Nov 2 '13 at 10:09
    
ahhh!!! the Maidens of Iron...fan...F#!@&6+=!!y5432...tastic!! Thanks for the mammeries. –  Mad Merlin Apr 29 at 9:29

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