How to Find Your Natural Singing Voice
Connect With Nature as You Sing
Begin With This Exercise for Professional or Shower Singers
Is it really possible to find your natural singing voice? The answer is yes. Whether you are a professional singer or a shower singer you can actually hear and discover your natural singing voice.
When you sing, the sound you hear should be different than anyone else. There is not another you in this entire universe. While it's possible to find a direct look-alike, that person will not have your personality, thoughts, and feelings. So it is with your singing. Your desire must be to free your own sound, embracing every tone.
But to find your vocal sound you must be willing to complete the exercise I'm about to introduce to you. This important group of steps will help you accomplish three things:
- Introduces air into your lungs needed to sustain a tone.
- Completely relaxes the entire vocal instrument, which is your body.
- Aligns significant areas of the body so that vibrations are felt in critical areas in the face.
Because the entire body is the singer's instrument, we will be using both the body and air to help place the vocal vibrations, which makes the sound, in just the right place. I urge you to refrain from judging your sound. It will no doubt be something you have not heard before and it may even be a sound you dislike.
Do not judge your singing. Avoid comparing your voice to any other voice. Refuse to listen to negative criticism directed at your singing voice. Your goal is to discover your authentic voice. It's there, right inside you, and it's time to claim it!
Before you begin, have a bottle of room temperature water ready to hydrate your throat. Avoid cold water during this lesson or anytime you sing as cold temperatures restrict the vocal cords.
Step 1 Good Singing Posture
Part 1: The Half-Windmill Position
There are 2 parts to the exercise that will lead you to find your natural voice. Here, you will learn part 1 which is called the half-windmill:
- Using good posture stand with the legs shoulder-width apart. Make sure the knees are unlocked. (This is important.)
- With arms at your side, take a deep breath as you lift your arms out and then straight up and above your head. As you lift your arms out, you will feel an expansion in the lung and upper ribcage area. This expansion is necessary to help you to take in more air.
- Next, lower your arms as you slowly exhale all of your air. Your arms are now at your side. Relax your neck muscles.
About the Ragdoll Exercise
The following exercise is a relaxation exercise known as "The Ragdoll", an Alexander Technique Method of relaxation. When you do this exercise you will experience an improvement in your posture and less tension and stress in the upper body and even the back area.
For singers, The Ragdoll position will allow vibrations to be felt in the face while in the dropped position. Some call this 'singing upside down.' These vibrations act as resonating speakers for the voice.
This body position involves the following sections of your spine.
- The Cervical vertebrae which are the neck.
- The Thoracic vertebrae which are the middle of your back.
- The Lumbar vertebrae which are the lower back.
If you're ready, you are about to unhinge these 3 sections.
Beginning the Ragdoll Exercise
How to Do the Ragdoll Exercise
- First, standing with good posture, unlock the knees. Legs will be shoulder width apart.
- Next, roll your spine (cervical—neck) slowly until your chin is tucked into your chest.
- Bringing your shoulders forward will help with touching your chin to the chest.
- Now, you will roll the thoracic or middle back area slightly forward like you are doing a cat stretch. Allow your arms to loosely dangle at your side.
- Keeping the chin tucked into the chest, roll the lower part of your spine, the lumbar region, down until you touch your toes or as close to your feet as possible. Keep the knees unlocked and the arms loose in a dangling position. Avoid tension by trying to touch your toes.
- Remain in this position for about 5-10 seconds releasing all the tension in your body.
- Don't forget to breathe through your nose as you release the tension.
Note: Remember to keep your knees unlocked the entire time you are doing this exercise.
Completing the Ragdoll Exercise
- Now slowly roll back up, one vertebra at a time, (counting 15-20) until you are upright and reaching for the sky.
- You now have an up-stretched body alignment, ready for singing.
At this point, you have learned exactly what to do with your body to prepare it for finding your singing voice. And now you're ready to add sound to the Ragdoll position.
Adding a Hissing Sound to the Windmill and the Ragdoll
Beginning with the windmill exercise as shown above in part 1—
- As you stretch your arms overhead, inhale deeply and hold your breath until your chin is tucked into your chest.
- Then very slowly begin to release your air while you make a hissing sound (like a flat tire.) Continue rolling your spine downward toward your toes and keep hissing for 5-10 seconds in a bent-over position. Keep the knees relaxed.
Be sure to release your air as slow as possible. This air must last throughout the hissing. You are now learning how to control your air as you sing. This is a very important point for a better sounding voice.
3. Release all of your air, then roll your body back up slowly.
4. When your body is completely stretched upward, let your arms slowly fall to the side.
Adding the Sound of 'ing' to the Ragdoll
To help you to feel your own singing vibrations, repeat the above windmill and ragdoll exercise replacing the hissing with an 'ng'. Here's how to do this:
- Produce the sound of 'ing' as in the word sing.
- After initiating the "ee" sound, hold on to the "ng" by allowing the back of the tongue to make contact with the hard palate (roof of the mouth.)
- This position brings the tone forward allowing the singer to feel the vibrations of sound resonating (vibrating) in the face. This is known as "the mask."
- Make sure you sing this 'ing' in a comfortable tone, not high and not low.
Practice this entire exercise a few times, then proceed to the final stage to find and hear your true sound.
The Five Primary Singing Vowels
The Final Step to Finding Your Natural Singing Voice
Now you've come to the exciting part of this exercise. Providing you have followed the instruction up to this point, you will discover your natural singing voice. This is all that is left to do:
- Repeat the entire exercise, both the windmill and the ragdoll, replacing the 'ing' sound with the vowel 'ee.'
- If you are completely relaxed and rid of all tension, you will feel vibrations in the area of the hard palate, the nasal area, as well as under the eye sockets. This is sometimes referred to as the 'mask.'
- Be prepared to discover your true, natural singing voice.
Note: The vowel 'ee' is the easiest sound to produce so we begin with 'ee.'
But don't stop here. Experiment with each of the 5 basic vowels used in singing. These vowels are EE - EH - AH - OH - OO. How to Sing the 5 Basic Vowels
A Fun Way To Sing For The Whole Family
Are You Breathing Correctly?
In order to find your true, natural voice, you must be sure that you are breathing (inhaling) by expanding around your waistline. This is known as diaphragmatic breathing (belly breath). The sound you make when singing is determined to a large extent by air which acts as a cushion for the tone to ride on. This is what "vocal support" is all about.
As a world-wide vocal coach, I find that the number one reason for 90% of all vocal problems can be traced to insufficient air and the use of air.
Shallow, chest breathing does not provide the stamina needed for the tone to ride on. I can't state this enough. Singers must inhale and exhale using the diaphragm, thoracic, and costal areas. Need help? Here you go!
Proper Inhalation of Air Occurs in the Abdominal Area and Not in the Chest
Summary: Singing Is Your Birthright
Singers use the entire body as they sing. Combining natural talent, hard work, and skill will bring a good result and the more you exercise your voice, the better you will sound.
Tension is an enemy to the voice. Most tension lurks in the neck, back and face including the tongue. The windmill exercise combined with the ragdoll position helps to release tension. To release tension in the face, warm up with trill exercises for the tongue and use specific exercises for the lips.
Because the body itself is the singer's instrument, the singer must treat the body like any good musical instrument. Avoid screaming, smoking, alcohol and straining the vocal cords (bands) at all costs.
Another way to do reduce all tension from the body before singing is to practice the ragdoll exercise. This exercise also provides an easy method for the singer to 'feel' where the musical vibrations are located. In this case - the face and the chest.
Not only does this body position allow the singer to 'feel' the natural vibrational locations, but it also gives the singer a way to hear his own voice. This is the true, natural sound. If you are able to hold your ragdoll sound while you roll up into a standing position, you will be singing with what is known as a 'forward' sound.
Is this a good thing? You bet it is! As you progress to singing the five primary vowels, as shown above, your vocal sound will be rich and full. And when you sing, wake up to your emotions not only to kindle your own heart but the hearts of your listeners as well.
A voice is as unique as the person it belongs to. Those singers that we love and admire know this. They use their authentic vocal sound.
Your voice comes into this world supplied with power, dressed with individuality and uniqueness. It's not about having the perfect singing voice. You are music and singing is music that enters your body the minute you are born. You are the song itself and singing is your birthright.
Singing is your birthright. Embrace your natural, authentic voice.
I wish you joy as you sing.
If I cannot fly, let me sing.— Stephen Sondheim
What's Your Answer?
Have You Done The Rag Doll Exercise?
Questions & Answers
What pointers would you have for singing in a choir?
Choral singing and participation can be a wonderful experience. However, all choir conductors are not vocal experts so here are a couple of tips to remember. Always sing within your vocal range. If you're asked to be in the soprano section when you're an alto you can strain your voice and this holds true for baritones, tenor and bass. So, stick to your guns with this.
Never strain your voice and use a good vocal technique which means using diaphragmatic breathing, warming up your voice and using a comfortable tone. If you are ill, avoid singing. Also, drink plenty of water and make it room temperature.Helpful 1
When I use my natural voice, it is light and not heavy, unless I want to sound mature. My friends say that I have a cute voice, but I just hate it. What should I do to become a singer?
When you learn how to use your resonating system, your voice will take on a rich, mature, sound. This means that you must "place" your tone in the nasal area, called "the nasalpharangel" area.Helpful 17
Is breathing done through the nose and mouth when singing? I have found that it sounds nasaly when I breathe through my nose.
Good question! When you inhale, always breathe through your nose. Let the air out slowly as you are singing each word. Avoid breathing through the mouth as this will dry out your vocal cords and we need plenty of moisture as we sing.
Now, about the nasality, you're experiencing. When the back of the throat is closed, the sound goes into the nose. Practice lifting the soft palate as you sing to keep the throat open and the nasal sound will disappear.Helpful 7
What can I do to sound like a star when singing on stage?
I could write an entire book on this question and I may do just that. A “star” is a complete package consisting of ingredients like providing a unique singing style, a magical voice, and unbridled showmanship. The most important step to take is to make sure your voice is in top shape! Get professional feedback from a qualified vocal instructor and learn all you can about how the voice works. Learn vocal technics and develop a unique style using your natural voice.Helpful 2
© 2014 Audrey Hunt