Are you looking to improve your breath control and want a gadget to help visulaize your progress and also make it fun? Consider the Flow-ball!
It costs $12.50 and shipping is $6, so for a little under $20 you can have this children's toy tat doubles as a breath exerciser. You goal is to breath into the tube and float the styrofoam ball above the basket and keep it at an even height for as long as possible.
I think it's fun and inexpensive and can help you visually measure your progress. I personally have been enjoying using my Flow-ball for a few weeks now, and often bring it out in lessons to demonstrate to students a breath support concept.
So what is breath support, anyway? We can define it as the relationship between the muscles of inhalation and exhalation along with proper alignment. Primarily, I am concerned with the relationship of my diaphragm and my transversus abdominus- these work in muscular opposition to create appoggio and keep a lovely, expanded thoracic cavity. In other words, the breath is low, ribcage not collapsed, and easy. Breath control or management deals with the relationship between the vocal folds and breath support. Since you can sing into the tube of this tool, you could work on both breath support and breath control with the Flow-Ball, but I think it works best as designed to improve support.
We will continue to discuss breath work in further blog posts; stay tuned!