Sunday, October 20, 2019

Diaphragmatic Support? Ha!

I just saw a video done by a top vocal coach. He sells lots of his courses online. He has over 300 videos of himself and his students on YouTube. Isn’t he wonderful? I think he thinks that he is. He even makes a statement about our checking the sources of people who teach singing. Let’s check his a little. 

Why? Well, he mixes truth with fiction. This doesn’t help anyone, but it makes him sound clever to the ignorant, people who just do not know science. How do I know it is fiction? I took the time and money and used the part of my mind, which professionally has done architecture and structural engineering. If you haven’t known such types of analytical thinking, you might not easily think in a strictly analytical way (if and when necessary). I cannot unhear what I hear, and I cannot unknow what I know. Why not mix fiction with facts? Do you put poop in your soup? There ya go. 

My sources for anatomy have been Gray’s Anatomy, The Structure of Singing, by Richard Miller, two speech therapists, and eight physicians from several disciplines, one of whom was an ENT. Since many singing professors spout the same old myths, why Richard Miller? He was the exception and actually studied anatomy and was even an adjunct of the Cleveland Clinic’s Department or Otolaryngology. 

 Gray’s Anatomy is an actual book that’s about three inches thick and in it you can discover what doctors all the way back to the 1700s have known about the diaphragm. Gray’s Anatomy isn’t that old but in the 1700s, the physicians knew that the diaphragm was the inhale muscle, not the muscle of forced expiration. Those are: the oblique and transverse abdominal muscles, the triangularis sterni, the rectus abdominus and the internal intercostals. These are facts. These are proven. These come from verifiable and reliable sources and are known by the top medical professionals. Never let a vocal coach perform surgery on you, unless he or she is licensed and certified to do that. Do you understand? 

It gets worse. The man talks about “diaphragmatic support”. The diaphragm lacks proprioceptive nerves and is essentially numb. You cannot feel it and you cannot know its precise location. That being true, how would that impact or assist a singer if some one tells you to have diaphragmatic support? It turns the singer into a believer of something which is simply not true. This is dangerous. It sets up a cult mentality. It strips the singer of critical thinking because the singer will not go out and research the structure and function of breathing. The singer is told to manipulate something that cannot be felt and, also to use that (the diaphragm) in a way which is literally impossible. Boxers throw jabs with the shoulder and the triceps. They throw hooks with the shoulder, pecs, and biceps. It is stupid and ignorant to expect a muscle to do what it cannot do. There is structure and function and it acts and reacts the same all the time. Sorry. Singing and teaching singing is not a religion; it is an art and a science. You don’t paint fine lines with truck tires and you don’t do brain surgery with chewing gum.