By Robin Earl
Many singers have great abs and core strength. Many may also have great lung capacity, breath control, and be in great physical shape... But sometimes they are not connecting the breathing and support in such a way so that they work together when they are singing.
This is sometimes because of their mental vision of their 'voice' being in the throat or vocal cord area, and therefore they have created a vocal technique that uses throat muscles for singing, rather than using their core muscles for singing. A sign that a singer may be guilty of this is if they gesture to their throat when they speak about 'their voice.'
To check out the breath/support connection, I have them vocalize:
HoHoHo! HaHaHa! HeHeHe! and HooHooHoo! (I have written before about the 'Santa Claus' HoHoHo'! exercise being good for developing this control.)
If they can vocalize this in a 'staccato' manner, with sharp, fast, clear, loud tones, I know they have the breath/support connection going on (which can always be improved). If the connection is there, this exercise is easy. If the tone is breathy, difficult to do, or coming from the throat area, they just need training to learn this breathing/support connection. I train singers to repattern the singing muscles, and reframe the vision of 'voice' to include their entire body, especially the core, ribcage/lungs, vocal cords, resonating areas.