How to Keep Your Singing Voice in Shape
Sing Often and Properly
Most of us have heard the phrase "use it or lose it" as it applies to the body and mind. But do you know that there is another reason for paying attention to this saying? Well, there is, and it has to do with your singing voice. That's right. To put it bluntly, if you don't sing regularly, in time, your voice will become weaker and your singing will lose its luster.
You can be born with the most beautiful voice in the world but if you stop singing for any length of time your vocal stamina will suffer. You'll begin to notice how you can't quite reach those high notes as easily as you once did. Maybe your singing doesn't sound as controlled as the last time you sang. There may be any number of things about your voice that need fixing. Because you haven't been singing regularly, you'll need to work hard to bring your voice up to par.
The message is clear: Singers can't afford to rest on their laurels. Taking a vocal vacation may not be a good idea.
14 Tips for Singing Correctly
But keeping that voice beautiful, consistently, isn't just about singing often—it's also about singing correctly. If you practice a song or a vocal exercise incorrectly, you will be repeating a bad habit that will soon become ingrained and take longer to correct. So, make sure when you use your voice, you use it the right way:
- Breathe the right way always. Stop using your chest to inhale and start using your diaphragmatic muscle which is responsible for 70% of your breathing. If you need a quick lesson on this, click here.
- Use the correct vocal register as you sing. Feel for vibrations that occur in these resonating areas.
- Always warm up your voice for 10 to 20 minutes before singing or practicing.
- Keep your neck and shoulders quiet and relaxed as you sing.
- Avoid straining as you reach for higher notes. Do not over-sing.
- Record your practice sessions to make sure you sing on key and to correct other vocal techniques such as diction and tone quality.
- Control your tone at all times. Avoid a wobbly sound and be sure you don't run out of air as you sing.
- Check your diction as you sing, opening all vowel sounds, and completing consonants by slightly exaggerating the final consonant on words .
- Sing with expression and emotion. To convey the message of the song you must feel the emotion and breathe life into each word.
- Use a smooth, gentle, tonal attack. Avoid scooping the tone or attacking the sound too harshly.
- Concentrate on building your technique continually. This must be your primary focus.
- Your choice of songs must be within your vocal range. If the music is too high or too low, have someone transpose it into your key.
- Use both soft tones and medium to loud dynamics when singing. This helps with expression.
- Control your vibrato. If yours is too fast or too slow, check your breath support which ultimately controls all vibrato.
Remember, your entire body is your vocal instrument. Singing is movement. Take walks, dance or go for a bike ride each day. Do something that you enjoy to keep your body physically active. We are designed to move.
8 Vocal Techniques for Better Singing
Singers focus the most on how their voice sounds. Then, if they aren't satisfied with the sound, they simply keep on repeating the same thing over and over again. This usually brings dismal results. So when putting the phrase "use it or lose it" into action it's crucial to sing with good vocal technique.
Your body, being your vocal instrument, houses all singing tools. I'm telling you that you already have everything you need right inside of you. You were born with every single tool that is needed to sing with a beautiful sound. The only thing that's required of you is the desire to sing and a comittment to learn how to use these tools by studying the voice, practicing techniques, and being consistent about it all.
I've listed a few things for you to focus on as you work on developing your present vocal sound:
- Breath Control. When taking a breath, just before attacking the tone, be absolutely sure you're using your diaphragmatic muscle and not your chest. How to Inhale Using the Diaphragm.
- Sing on Key. Be careful with your pitch. Sing in the very center of the tone, not on the edges which result in singing sharp or flat. Breathing correctly, by avoiding the chest area and focusing on the abdominal area, helps tremendously to sing on key.
- Record your voice and listen carefully for a well-balanced tone.
- Your body houses resonating areas, also known as chest, middle and head voice. Study these placements for tone beautification and learn to concentrate on the natural vibrations that occur in these areas.
- Posture. Because the whole body contributes to how you sound when vocalizing, always use good posture and make sure the knees are unlocked. Avoid tension in the neck and shoulders.
- The mind. Attitude is everything. Stop being overcritical and judgemental with your singing. Enjoy the entire process, especially your strenghts.
- Sing within your comfortable vocal range. Avoid straining which can cause vocal problems such as vocal nodules.
- Always spend a few minutes warming up the body and the voice before a practice session.
Nine Opportunities for Singing
There are plenty of opportunities available out there for singers to share their voices. And when you anticipate a performance coming up, you'll be more inclined to practice and use your voice. After all, you want to be prepared and that means singing those songs repeatedly.
I've spent my life singing for every event possible. Here are a few events that I've enjoyed and you may want to try these too:
- Cruise lines. Have a demo and promo package ready when you apply. This is a great way to meet fun people.
- Hook up with a local band. Check out the local music scene and when appropriate hand your demo to the leader of the band.
- Get an agent. Some of the most enjoyable gigs I've had were through an agent.
- Community Events. Offer to do charity work or apply to sing for up-coming events.
- Community Theater. Audition for singing roles in musicals. Here's how to prepare for an audition.
- Assisted Living For Seniors. I owe a large part of my singing career to entertaining facilities for seniors. This is a great way to learn the ropes for more extensive entertaining gigs.
- Children's Hospitals. Brush up on songs that kids like, depending on the age-group, and visit local hospitals to help bring joy and smiles to these children.
- Family Night. Make it a priority to meet with the entire family once a week. Invite members to prepare a song to sing. Print out lyrics to familiar songs for the whole family to sing together. Share only encouraging remarks.
- Sing children to sleep at bedtime. They love this (no matter how you sound) and it relaxes them immediately.
Sing While You Play an Instrument
More Fun Ways to Sing More Often
Do you play a musical instrument?
- Whether you're a beginner or accomplished musician, whether you play the piano, guitar or ukulele, sing along as you play your instrument. I knew a famous drummer who even made it a practice to hum or sing syllables as he practiced his drums. My son is a professional bassist and often sings as he works on particular techniques and material for gigs.
- Join a community or church choir. This is a fun and rewarding atmosphere for using your vocal skills as you blend your voice with others.
- Audition for a local musical theater production. I've been training singers for years who are involved in musical theater. I can't begin to tell you the progress I've witnessed with voices of singers busily engaged in this media.
- Volunteer for organizations needing moms and dads to rock and sing to infants and small children. Some of these babies were born addicted to drugs.
Audition for a Musical Theater Production
Work With a Qualified Singing Teacher to Improve Your Voice
Benefits of Vocal Lessons
Last, but not least, sign up with a qualified vocal teacher for a series of lessons. You'll be seeing her, or him, at least once a week, sometime more often, which assures you of honest feedback about how you're progressing.
Most singing teachers and vocal coaches have plenty of experience listening to hundreds of singers and know exactly what is lacking in terms of technique. This includes breath support, singing on key, proper diction, using resonating areas, vibrato, posture and relaxation.
A beautiful singing voice requires a balance of all vocal techniques and not just two or three. As your technique becomes solid and automatic your voice will improve drastically.
You'll also be given specific assignments to practice from week to week. These assignments can either be in the form of specific vocal techniques you need to work on or you might be given a new song to learn.
Singing lessons can also help to develop your musical ear and performance techniques. Lessons may also help to reduce or even eliminate fear of public performance.
As you study with a qualified vocal coach you will receive encouragement as you progress. This, along with your vocal progression is bound to increase your self-confidence. This new degree of confidence only makes you sound better in the long run.
I highly recommend it!
How to Form the Mouth to Sing the Vowel "Ah"
Singing Is Not Just For a Privileged Few
Whether you're a shower singer or have a desire to sing on stage, know this—singing is meant for everyone—not just a privileged few. You were born to sing and so was I.
The only difference between a singer you admire and yourself is this: You have the very same singing tools placed in your wonderful body. The difference is simple. You haven't learned how to use your ingrained tools. Do whatever it takes to explore the mechanics of singing.
Once you do, sit back and enjoy your beautiful voice! You have a song within you. Do not let it waste away, don't let it die inside you.
If I cannot fly, let me sing.
© 2019 Audrey Hunt