“There’s nothing more beautiful than the human voice, when it’s beautiful” Laure Conan
Having a beautiful singing voice is an amazing thing in itself. It’s an innate gift and not everyone’s got it especially not to the extent they could show it off. However, it would be a massive waste to not use these talents. You should do your utmost to foster these gifts with the appropriate training, singing lessons online, and learning how to sing properly.
Broadening your repertoire of songs, increasing your range, improving both your head voice and chest voice, and doing breathing exercises: there are plenty of ways for anyone to improve their voice, learn to sing, and increase their chances of becoming a professional singer.
In this article, we’re going to do a bit of vocal coaching and provide you with some singing tips to ensure that your voice improves.
Vocal Techniques: The Top 10 Singing Exercises
Even a really gifted singer shouldn’t rest on their laurels. A few vocal exercises are always going to be necessary. In order to perfect your voice, it doesn’t matter whether you work on these singing techniques under the supervision of a vocal coach or voice teacher in your own home or in a music school.
While every singing teacher has their own preferred ways when it comes to improving your singing, here are 10 of our favourite ones. When it comes to vocal training, there’s one word that you’ll hear a lot: repeat. Of course, don’t overdo as you’ll run the risk of losing your voice.
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Let’s have a look at some of the most effective ways to tame your voice and avoid hitting false notes.
You can never avoid warming up your voice. If you don’t warm up, you may damage your voice, lose it, or end up tensing your throat when it comes to performing in public. Warm up exercises are mainly for your vocal cords, the main part of the instrument that is the voice. Sing your entire range, with your mouth closed in order to avoid overexerting, starting with a low pitch and move towards the high notes (making sure that you're doing so in tune). Beginners can use a keyboard or piano to check they're doing this correctly. Don’t forget that you need to relax all the muscles involved with the action of singing, too: glottis, larynx, pharynx, diaphragm, your entire body, really. You should also loosen up your cheeks and your lips and practise your elocution.
Breathing and abdominal muscles go hand in hand. Learn to breathe properly and focus on diaphragmatic breathing. The best way to do this (and improve your posture) is to lie on your back and put a book on your chest: you have to make sure that the book doesn’t fall as you do your breathing exercises.
Make yourself heard without shouting. While, this is important in all styles of music, it’s particularly important in opera singing. Your abs are going to be used to ensure that your voice carries as far as it can. The respiratory pressure allows you to increase volume without straining too much. Almost every type of vocal range can use this technique to help their voice go much further without the need for a microphone. The relaxing of the muscles used when vocalising naturally causes the human body to recuperate the air lost during the process.
Be aware of your nasal cavity and where the air is flowing when you sing. Try singing different vowels while pinching your nose. This can help you become aware of when you’re singing nasally.
The beginning is just as important as the end when it comes to singing any song. The same can be said for every note you make. This is what seperates the men from the boys. You need to take the time to physiologically analyse every sound you make and the attack. You should focus on how each sound starts, which muscles are involved, what position your tongue is in, etc. A private singing tutor can also go over these with you to ensure that you’re not picking up any bad habits.
Managing stress can help you free up your voice. This can be done by focusing on your cervical spine. By moving your head around with your nose as a pivot point, you can relax a number of the smaller muscles you didn’t even know you had.
In order to sing in key, you should take the time to think about your piece before you perform it. You should be aware of the melody in your head before your vocal cords have to perform it.
Too many singers forget about articulation and elocution. Just like public speaking, when you learn how to sing, practising elocution is really important. By working on this, you’ll also help to improve your self-confidence and alleviate stage fright
Vowels are at the heart of every vocalisation and you should be practising them. Use a variety of vowel sounds in order to relax your pharynx and larynx and work on your vocal precision without ever overexerting yourself.
Focus on the positioning of your tongue which tends to be too high. Pay particular attention to where it is when you make different sounds.
How Can You Expand Your Vocal Range?
Does the word tessitura sound foreign to you? Firstly, that’s because it is. However, it’s a word that’s really important for singers to know. Put simply, tessitura refers to the natural range of a voice (or an instrument in certain cases) in their chest voice. This is why female singers are referred to contraltos, mezzo-sopranos, or sopranos, for example.
Your tessitura is generally innate and will vary depending on your gender and age. Other factors such as puberty and menopause can also change your tessitura, effectively removing the higher notes of your range. It’s very rare for singers to drastically change their tessitura and it's even harder to teach someone to sing a song during their voice lessons if pieces isn't usually sang in their range.
However, with effective training, the singer can shift and expand their range. In fact, there are plenty of exercises for those wanting to do this and singing teachers can help choose the right ones for you.
You should always master the lower and middle notes of your tessitura before focusing on broadening it. As a general rule, a high note will be mastered using a head voice before it can be performed using a chest voice.
Rather than being something you learn, this is something that you physically improve yourself to be able to do. This is a workout for your vocal cords and makes them more flexible and able to create frequencies that you previously couldn’t. Of course, this involves a lot of trial and error and it’s very difficult to do this without the help of a professional. A private singing tutor, for example, will ensure that you’re doing it right.
Of course, there are a number of singers like di Stefano, Callas, Pavarotti, Alagna, and Dessay who seem to break all the rules.
Learn How to Improve Your Vocal Timbre
Your vocal timbre is different to your vocal range. Timbre is the quality of the sound rather than the notes it can produce. Vocal timbre is what makes us able to differentiate one person’s voice from another’s. It’s also what makes us able to tell the difference between a recorder and a guitar as well as the differences in quality between the best instruments and some cheap rubbish you found in a second-hand shop.
Learning about your timbre is a way to learn more about yourself and your vocal personality. This is where we need to speak a bit musically. Just like your vocal range, you can work on your vocal timbre. However, just like your vocal range, you shouldn’t expect to be able to drastically change it. Additionally, just like changing your vocal range, changing your vocal timbre takes a lot of time and effort.
We often forget that breathing plays a large role in your vocal timbre, it makes your voice carry better, more constant, and also allows you to perform vocal techniques such as vibrato. Once all the different aspects of the human voice have been explored and optimised, your vocal cords will be ready to show off their best qualities to an audience. That doesn’t mean you have to stop singing in the shower, though!
How Can You Work on Your Voice Every Day?
Of course, singing in the shower isn’t going to make you an overnight pop sensation! Did you know that you can improve your singing with online singing tutorials?
Working on your voice is something that you have to do everyday if you want to improve. There are some things that you’ll need to know in order to avoid damaging your instrument, though.
Remember that you need 6 to 7 hours of rest in order to fully recover after singing. Thus, if you don’t want to damage your vocal cords in the long term (which would be terrible for your career), you can’t overwork them. Even though surgery has made huge steps, it’s probably better to avoid it altogether rather than running the risk.
Take care of your throat by avoiding things that can harm it like fizzy drinks, dairy products, tobacco, and alcohol. If you want to become a professional singer, you should consider using some (or all) of the top 10 vocal exercises we mentioned earlier in the article. These will help you improve your singing physically and mentally.
You should pay attention to the detail, too. Consider furthering your career by using and consulting social media, taking extra classes, or even doing a degree, masters, or doctorate in music!
Find a voice coach to help you learn to sing:
- Voice coach London
- Voice coach Birmingham