Support is a funny word for what it actually is or means in singing. I guess that’s why so many people think it means pushing. Support is actually quite the opposite of pushing. Pushing is done by increasing subglottal air pressure whereas support is achieved by reducing it.

Teachers often refer to ‘vocal support’ which is a misconception. Support actually relates to breath control. It does, however, change the quality of your voice. This change in quality is a result of support, not the support itself. Therefore ‘vocal support’ is a misnomer.

Support is how you withhold, reduce or control the amount of air going to your cords while they vibrate. Mastering the release of air involves maintaining the expansion made by the breath-in. It’s obtained by a unique application of the intercostal muscles (see Intercostals) and as a result, the cords can phonate more efficiently producing a purer tone. All of this reduces sub-glottal pressure making for a more effective use of breath. It’s an effort that you make especially during the vocal attack and continue thereafter (see Attack) and serves also to alleviate any feeling of undue stress in the throat.

With proper breath support and a free larynx a natural vibrato also enters your voice. For someone who has a natural vibrato, partially releasing support will allow you to straighten the tone. This is important to know for all styles of music, including classical.

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