Your voice has the potential to be an amazing instrument. You don’t need to pack it in a bag, load it in a van, or worry about it falling offstage. The greatest instrument in the world is sitting right inside you. Want to know what it takes to improve your singing voice?
Being able to sing is a beautiful gift, but many people misunderstand it and consider singing well out of their reach. Generally, people think that a broad vocal range or being pitch perfect is something you are born with.
Hence, many people think that singing is a talent that only some enjoy. Fortunately, we are going to let you in on a little secret: you can learn how to improve your singing voice. A beautiful voice is not a gift given to only a few. Breathtaking sounds, ideal vocal tones, perfect pitch and strong vocal muscles aren’t always something you are born with. But they are something you can learn to build with practice.
Everyone is born with a different voice and vocal range, they just need to engage with it well. The art of learning how to sing and how to improve your individual singing voice is learning how to work with the tools you already have in your toolbox. Working to improve your singing voice takes a mix of ingredients: balance, coordination, and the right exercises. Practice does make perfect and it also takes time. Set up a nice space for singing (music studio anyone?) and get to work on the concepts below.
First, you need to understand what makes a good singer. Breaking it down and understanding what works (or what sends an audience ducking for cover) can be advantageous. To improve your singing voice, it is essential to be able to pick apart the components of a killer singing voice and unravel that singer’s vocal technique.
1. Controlling Pitch
One of the most important aspects of being able to sing is getting your pitch under control. Warbling off key, getting carried away, or faltering and losing your footing on some notes are all considered loss of vocal control and a telltale sign of an unsophisticated singer. Once you start to gain control over your voice, you begin to win the battle of developing your best voice.
2. Strong Support
Imagine your vocal cord support as being the foundation on which you build a brilliant singing voice. Weak supports mean that a singer’s house will collapse under the weight. You can learn to strengthen your vocal support and sing better through breathing techniques, muscle and throat exercises, and consistent vocal practice. When the voice is working well, the vocal cords act as a breath regulator; and the voice is well-supported through the balance of pressure and resistance. A wise teacher once said, “Don’t think of it so much as ‘breath support’ because it’s more like ‘breath management’ when the registration is setup.”
3. Volume and Style
Someone who can sing will always be aware of the volume and style their sound makes. Mumbling your vocals or singing every note loudly without thinking is the sign of a non-professional singer. A good singer doesn’t smash into a song or steamroll over it but finds a volume and style that works, both for the song and the vocal fold, or vocal cords.
A good singer doesn’t just belt out a song regardless of whether they are in tune or not. When you are consistently aware of your singing voice, you will be more attuned to knowing if you are able to hit the right notes, produce the right pitch, and just have a better idea as to how you sound.
With a little education, you will also be able to tell if you are damaging your throat muscles. In all cases, if your throat hurts, stop what you are doing. If you tend to lose your voice or can’t sing or speak for days after singing, seek out a professional voice teacher to help diagnose the problem and create an exercise routine to get your voice on the right track.
5. Using Your Voice
Bob Dylan doesn’t sing like Beyoncé – they each have a different set of vocals, and each singer has learned to use the voice they have.
Know your vocal range and stay within it; and, above all else, listen to yourself. Use your ears along with your voice when you sing, and you will have a clearer picture of your strengths and shortcomings.
Now that you understand what makes a good singer, you can start to work on those pressure points.
Learning how to improve your singing voice is not a quick fix solution; however, with personalized vocal exercises for your registration within the environmental elements of pitch, vowel, and intensity, you can start the journey to hitting those high notes perfectly.
Let’s look at some basic tips to help improve your singing voice:
1. Pick Your Weak Spots
• A great way to get to know how you sing is to record yourself singing a song that you already know. This doesn’t have to be an expert recording. Just hit record on your smartphone or computer to get a recording that will suffice.
• Afterwards, compare your version with the version of the original singer.
• Jot down all your mistakes – Was your vocal range too weak? Did you hit the wrong notes? Was your breath too short?
Knowing your weaknesses will help you identify problem areas you need to work on when learning how to improve your singing voice.
2. Daily Practice
Let’s go back to the basics for a moment. It’s an old cliché that “practice makes perfect,” but it’s a phrase that has stood the test of time for a reason. A daily workout for your voice will strengthen your vocal cords, improve your vocal range, and develop a better vocal tone.
You should practice singing for at least thirty minutes a day (making sure you do your warm-ups first).
If you don’t have a daily routine, work with your vocal coach to create one for you.
3. Vocal Warm-Ups
Speaking of vocal warm-ups – this is one of the most important tips when it comes to caring for your throat and mouth muscles before singing. Remember, your singing voice is a muscle; and like any muscle, it needs warming up before being put through the paces. There are a ton of vocal warm-up exercises you can take advantage of for vocal training.
Practicing scales, improving your tongue-soft palate coordination, repeating tongue and lip trills and simply humming are a few fabulous little warm-up exercises to get your vocal cords loose and ready for business.
4. Begin with Breathing
Breathing exercises are an excellent start for those looking to improve their ability to sing. The better your breathing is, the stronger your singing voice will be. Breathing exercises are also used to lower stress and promote a healthy state of mind.
Many people don’t use their full lung capacity when it comes to breathing. This leaves much unused potential, sitting at the bottom of their diaphragm. Imagine the power you could have if you tapped into that potential.
As an awareness and relaxation exercise, practice keeping your shoulders low, your chest relaxed, and your breaths nice and deep. Holding an “ss” sound on exhale is also a great way to control your airflow. This method can easily be included into your singing practice. Another exercise is to inhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, and exhale for 4 counts.
5. Investing in Your Voice
If you want to start seeing your voice as your instrument, then it’s essential to care for it. You wouldn’t leave a guitar or trumpet out to gather dust or to get rusty. You shouldn’t leave your voice to chance.
Drinking eight glasses of water a day is an excellent way of keeping the vocal membranes hydrated and your voice healthy. It goes without saying that smoking, screaming or anything that puts undue strain on your voice is best avoided. Even second-hand smoke can contribute to a sore throat. Furthermore, a hoarse voice is going to stop your talent in its tracks.
6. Understanding Posture
Posture plays a significant role in developing a strong vocal range and learning how to improve your singing voice. A slumped back, sagging shoulders, hunched-over stance, and even a tilted head can all negatively impact pitch, tone, and the power of producing notes.
Air flows through your body when you are singing; so, by sitting or slouching, you are stopping your diaphragm from fully expanding. Good posture can keep the air moving fluidly, keep your throat open, and help you hold high notes longer. Good posture can also help you to project your voice more effectively.
The best singer stance for developing your vocal range is standing straight with knees unlocked and your feet placed shoulder-width apart. Try to keep your shoulders and abdomen relaxed. Tilting your chin down a little can help you to hit the high notes and can give your voice more power and better control.
A helpful way of practicing better posture when singing is to lie down. This singing exercise helps you to keep your body in a straight line which can then be imitated when you stand up.
7. The Art of Enunciation
There’s a rumor about a magical quick-fix to instantly improve your singing voice – perfecting the art of enunciation.
Standing in front of a mirror, take a good look at how your jaw moves when you pronounce the vowels, A-E-I-O-U. If your jaw closes when saying these letters, use your fingers or a cork to prop your jaw open about 2 inches. Keep repeating these vowels until you can say them while keeping your jaw open.
The more you practice this exercise, the more you will ingrain it into your muscle memory. If you can master this technique when you sing, your voice will sound louder and your notes clearer.
8. Flex Your Face
There are ten groups of muscles in your face and neck. It is important to exercise those muscles to keep them resilient and flexible to maintain control over them.
Imagine the muscles in your face and neck are like little streams feeding into the ocean of your singing voice. Stretching out those muscles on a regular basis will contribute to keeping your vocal cords primed for stronger singing techniques.
Some actions that can help keep these muscles loose and limber include: yawning, puckering your lips, smiling wide, rolling your eyes, arching your eyebrows.
9. Think Down
You may think that hitting those high notes is all about rising to the top of your pitch, but the experts say that you should resist the urge and think down. Adding a little weight and resistance to your vocal cords when it comes to the high notes will send your notes higher without the strain.
Learning the difference between your head voice and your chest voice can also help widen your singing range. If you do not know the difference, you can research it. Your vocal coach can help you use your head and chest voices effectively.
Another way to practice hitting those high notes is to fake crying while you are singing. This may, obviously, be a tip to practice at home rather than on the stage. Acting as though you are crying causes the thyroid to tilt which in turn helps you to reach those high notes. With enough practice, you will be able to hit those notes without the need to fake crying.
10. Add a Metronome
If you have difficulty keeping a steady beat or are unsure if you have a steady beat, a metronome may be the answer.
There are different kinds of metronomes, but they all can be set to different tempos to maintain a steady beat while you sing. Practicing singing with a metronome can help you keep a steady tempo until you learn how to find and maintain your timing naturally.
If you don’t already have one, you may want to consider buying a metronome. While it may be slightly more inconvenient, there are many apps you can download off the web that will also help you keep a steady beat.
11. Encourage Confidence
Confidence plays a significant role when learning how to improve your singing voice. If you don’t believe in your voice while singing, your lack of confidence will creep through. Unfortunately, you might encounter a cracking voice, failing notes, mumbling, dropping your pitch, and struggling with both breath and posture.
A confident voice rings true. It doesn’t need to overreach or undershoot. Confidence will also make you a better performer and much more enjoyable to watch. The key to singing with confidence is finding your own voice and not mimicking anyone.
Once you have found your voice, practice again and again until you become comfortable with it. Work on a few songs until you have mastered them, or work with a vocal coach and take a few singing lessons to learn more skills.
All these singing tips for how to improve your voice aren’t just for blossoming beginners learning how to sing. They are tips and exercises that you can carry through to a professional level. Breathing, good posture, vocal warm-ups, vocal exercises and the other little voice training tips and tricks will keep your vocal resonation bright and clear while tugging on the heartstrings of those who are lucky enough to hear you.