Audrey Hunt, author of "Anyone Can Sing," teaches us how to make the most of our voices in three vital steps.
Preparing Your Body to Sing
Do you know how to get your body ready to sing?
If you are habitually diving into a song without preparing first, your voice won't sound its best. Your entire body is your vocal instrument. Athletes and dancers warm up their bodies so they can perform at their optimum level, and so do professional singers.
Warming Up Is Essential
Warming up the voice can hugely impact the sound we make as singers, improving our vocal health and the positive benefits we reap from singing.
The following vital elements promise to take your singing voice to new heights. Whether an amateur or professional, following these steps will help you release a bigger, and better sound.
However, you must be willing to devote time to each critical point. Study until each step becomes easy and automatic.
If you're ready, let's begin!
The Importance of Vocal Control
Applying the following principles will teach you how to sing with a better voice. Controlled singing uses specific parts of the body to produce a beautiful, rich sound.
This means you will:
- Increase your range
- Sing expressively
- Control the breath
- Enhance the tone
- Sing on key
- Project the sound
- Free your voice
1. Diaphragmatic Breathing
If you're going to become a better, stronger singer, let's begin with the first step: controlling your breath.
Diaphragmatic breathing (abdominal breathing) is the engine for the voice. You can sing with a full tank of gas or running on empty. It depends on how you inhale, exhale, and manage your air as you sing. You, alone, control your voice based on how you use the air you inhale.
Your tone "rides" on air. A weak voice indicates you are inhaling air from the chest cavity instead of the diaphragmatic muscle. It is located beneath the ribcage and separates the heart and lungs from the abdominal cavity.
The breathing process is known as respiration; the diaphragm is the primary muscle. It involves inhaling deeply and slowly through the nose so that your lungs fill with air as your belly expands.
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Inhaling and Exhaling Correctly Is a Skill
Singers must have a complete understanding of diaphragmatic breathing. Be aware of every breath you take.
As you inhale, you want to take in the right amount of air. If you breathe too much air, you won't eliminate the excess in time to take the next breath needed. But if you take in too little air, you run the risk of running out of air before you finish the phrase.
Measure each phrase to determine whether you need a big or a little breath. Then as you sing, control how much air you release so you will have enough to last for the final word of the phrase. This technic takes practice.
Breathe Right to Sing Right
Since air is the power source for singing, I want to teach you how to breathe correctly. The following exercise will help you breathe using the diaphragm, not the chest. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- As you inhale, allow your belly to inflate around the waistline to a count of six. Stay relaxed.
- Once you reach six, pause for three counts, breathe out to the count of six and pause for one count.
- Repeat the exercise several times, standing, walking, sitting, and during meditation.
2. Preparing Your Body to Sing
The singers' biggest enemy is tension. Our job, as vocalists, is to prepare our voices to sing by releasing tension in certain areas. Before my students sing even one song, body stretches, and relaxation exercises are completed.
- The "Rag Doll," as shown above, releases body tension. Give it a try. Remember to breathe throughout the exercise.
- Move all the muscles in your face to remove tension and add to the flow of energy.
- Let your arms hang loosely.
- Humming is a relaxing warm-up for the voice. Keep the lips loose and relaxed.
- Stretch your throat by yawning.
- Avoid "swallowing" the tone.
- Our lips are terrific things, but they hold tension. The cure for this is the "lip roll." Begin by imitating a horse, blowing air through the lips. Keep the lip trill going for three to six counts.
- Tame your tongue by rolling an "r" or purring like a cat. Try different pitches.
- Using different vowels, gently sing up and down both major and minor scales. Stay within your vocal range to avoid damage to your vocal cords.
- Ten to twenty minutes should do the job for warming up the voice.
3. Resonators: The Generator for Sound
When you sing, the vocal cords vibrate. These vibrations are transmitted by the bones in your chest, face, head, and neck. These chambers are known as resonators. And resonance carries sound, resulting in projection.
Directing the tone into the mask (nose, sinuses, and cheeks) will significantly affect your singing for the better. These resonators generate the singer's distinct sound.
We are all different, and every voice will sound different.
Sing Better to Feel Better
One thing I enjoy most about my work is the opportunity to see how singing changes people. Students may walk into my studio feeling down, but after a half-hour of vocalizing, they're calm and happy.
One reason for such a change has to do with endorphins. Studies have shown that singing releases feel-good endorphins in your brain, which make you happy and uplifted.
Singing is Your Birthright
Allow yourself to explore the range of sound you are capable of making. Just remember you can do anything you set your mind to. Singing is your birthright. Your vocal instrument is quite miraculous. Explore the variety of sounds ready and waiting to be set free.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Audrey Hunt