Who doesn’t want to be famous? Do you dream of being a famous singer or a Hollywood musical star?
In the age of television and social media, it seems that almost anyone can become a star if they’ve got the talent and a beautiful singing voice. Thanks to the internet, there are plenty of YouTubers who came from nothing and, with a bit of luck, became global superstars. Think about how many of today’s pop singers make use of social media and YouTube.
With TV shows like Britain’s Got Talent, The X Factor, and The Voice, there are so many famous singers now who were launched into the limelight following a nervy televised audition. However, there’s nothing more damaging than dreaming that you can become a famous singer by just wishing it and clicking your fingers.
On the contrary, as the saying goes: God helps those who help themselves. If you have clear goals, you’ll know exactly what you have to do to achieve each of these goals.
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While singing can be hugely enjoyable, it also requires that you put in a lot of work. However, how can you do this work on a daily basis?
How Can Having Singing Lessons Help You Improve Your Vocal Technique?
In most sporting and artistic activities, there’s no big secret to success. In fact, there’s just self-sacrifice, hard work, and perseverance. The same can be said for learning how to sing. There’s a time and place for everything and there’s a time for excelling and there’s a time for learning and practising.
Luciano Pavarotti, who was largely self taught, is a huge exception to this rule owing to his exceptional character and outstanding talent.
Furthermore, there’s nothing to say that somebody being taught couldn’t achieve the same abilities or, more importantly for some, the same levels of fame.
For mere mortals, singing well requires that they work largely on their vocal technique, improving their vocal range, and hitting the high notes. They should also spend a lot of time doing exercises.
This is where a vocal coach can be really helpful in making you aware of your range and showing you the progress that you’re making. If you don’t happen to live beside a music school, you can always work on your voice and vocal technique thanks to a private singing tutor who’ll come to your house to teach you.
If you want to become a professional singer either in classical or contemporary music, there are also a number of other skills you’ll need to work on: public speaking, stage presence, self-confidence, acting, etc. A private singing tutor can also put together a made-to-measure training programme for you!
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The Art of Singing: A Physical Activity Which Requires That You Look After Your Body
Singing requires that you be in excellent shape. You might think that being healthy isn’t tantamount to being a good singer with examples like Maria Callas, Amy Winehouse, and a plethora of rockers.
If you want to have a truly beautiful voice, you’ll need to pay attention to what you eat and drink. You’ll need to drink a lot of water and avoid dairy products whose acidity can cause problems for your throat.
Additionally, you need to be in good physical shape in order to maintain your posture and keep your back straight when you sing. There are singing exercises that will help you alleviate tension in the larynx and vocal warm ups to ensure you don't damage your throat. By paying attention to these details, you’ll soon see that it can make your life as a singer much easier.
Vocal Warmups: Key to Ensuring that You Sing Well
Overworking yourself on a daily basis is a quick way to lose your voice and end up having to make an appointment with a doctor or speech pathologist. This often happens to those who are trying to do too much in too little time and instead results in them doing even less than they were trying to do. You can’t force yourself to sing. It’s singing, not shouting, after all!
The first thing you can do to avoid compromising your voice is to warm up. Singing teachers highly recommend vocal warm up exercises for their students and while every singing teacher has their own favourites, they're an integral part of learning to sing.
You can have a bit of fun with this, too. There are a few easy ways that everyone can do:
- Warm up your head: nod and shake your head as well as circular movements as you would do before sport.
- Imitate chewing: Force yourself to yawn in an outrageous way. Blow as if you were trying to cool down food.
- Breathe in and out deeply while crossing your arms over your chest.
- Work on warming up your mouth and vocal chords by making the “choo-choo” noises of a train. Start off quietly before increasing the volume.
- Start with a deep manly voice before attempting a softer feminine voice. You can then complement these exercises with your scales.
There you go! You should be ready to start practising a few vocal pieces.
If you want to sing in key and get the most out of your vocal timbre, you have to correctly control your breathing.
Whether you’re bass, baritone, tenor, alto, mezzo-soprano, or soprano, breath control is hugely important for your singing and vocal health. Your breath is more important that you'd first think. After all, the act of breathing is essential when it comes to singing. If you don’t breathe, you don’t make a sound.
Whether you’re singing Verdi or a contemporary jazz piece, your voice teacher will recommend that you work on diaphragmatic breathing since the natural way we breathe doesn’t cut it when it’s time to sing. They'll also probably give you some breathing exercises and singing tips for when they're not there.
This allows you to keep a reserve of air which, with the right posture, will help you to sing better without harming your voice. The more you're controlling your breathing, the less you'll be straining your voice when you exhale.
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Working on your abdominal muscles is at least a minimum requirement. You need to breathe using your diaphragm in order to maintain pressure. Usually, like when you do when you’re running, you breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
In any case, it’s not necessary to inflate your lungs in an exaggerated manner. If you keep the importance of your abdominal muscles in mind, you’ll be able to maintain a relaxed posture when you sing. There are several exercises that can help you achieve this during your voice lessons.
Almost everyone can use the internet to get music lessons from a basic introduction to music theory to lessons on how to play the acoustic guitar, for example. You can find private tutors that give private singing tutorials over Skype or you can hire a private tutor who can come to your house and help you to record your music in your home studio.
Recording your voice is arguably one of the best ways to train. While arguably not one of the most efficient (as it takes twice the time).
Do You Need to Relax Your Vocal Cords?
We’ve already said that forcing yourself when you sing is a bad habit that should be avoided at all costs. So how you can expect to do any serious work on your voice if you never exert yourself?
There are a few principles that you’ll need to respect: it takes around 6 hours for your vocal cords to fully recover after an intensive session of singing. If you end up making yourself hoarse, you’ll need to rest for at least 3 days.
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There’s a special case in which your voice will require special attention, puberty. In order to improve your singing during puberty, you’ll have to take your time and only work on your voice every other day at the most.
You can also sing the odd aria when you’re in the shower since regular practice is key to becoming a better singer. After all, practice makes perfect.
Choose the Right Pieces to Work On
How can you learn to sing in key without traditional music theory education or getting help from a teacher or tutor?
Musically speaking, it can be really difficult to choose the right songs to sing and practice with. We’re often unaware of our own abilities, choose songs that are too difficult to sing, and subsequently end up demoralising ourselves when we try to sing them and inevitably struggle with them or make very little progress.
A private tutor is in the best position to help you. After all, they can put together their knowledge of music and their understanding of your voice in order to help you learn new pieces and work on your voice and techniques including your range, vibrato, etc.
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In this case, two heads are better than one if you want to become a famous singer!