Sustain Perfectly

Sustaining perfectly the reservoir of air is the greatest desideratum

in using the voice. Acquiring ability to do so is a puzzle often to

students. The reason is in the fact that no muscles which are directly

under the control of the will can be caused to act upon the air column.

The chief organ of respiration is the diaphragm, and as years of

teaching bring experience which is definite in results, we find that the

hragm is the only muscle which holds the air column in check. That

muscle situated within the body cannot be held by any visible power. The

thought of holding it still will make us hold our breath. Trying to

assist such holding by muscles of the chest, abdomen or throat, only

defeats our purpose and makes the diaphragm give way. That large muscle

will do the whole work if we will let it. The thought, as said above, is

what will make it remain quiet. That thought may take various forms.

What assists one does not appeal to another. But here is an assisting

thought which does much good to the majority of students. Of course when

the breath is taken the diaphragm is down and the waist is spread. Then

the chest, bronchial tubes, windpipe and mouth are full of air. Now

allow that air to be as still as the air of the room. Practise

sustaining tone with any vowel, preceding each effort by taking position

suggested above, and with the thought of keeping the air in the body

just the same as, and a part of, the outer air. Then allow tone to float

in the air, permitting no force whatever.