From Speaking to Singing in 5 Minutes: How to Initiate Your Sound
Your Voice Is Like a Gold Nugget
Is it even possible to go from a speaking sound to a full-on singing voice? Yes, it certainly is. You may not sound like Luciano Pavarotti or Beyoncé at first, however, you can release your singing voice and once this is done you can take it to the next level which is to develop a rich, pleasing sound.
Finding your own voice is like discovering gold:
- At first, you hear a sound emanating within you.
- Just like searching for a gold nugget, you see a small sparkle shining through the earth, (hear a strange sound), and you're not sure yet that this is real gold (your real voice.)
- So you carefully remove the debris from the nugget, (remove the doubt and fear of singing).
- Next you clean and polish the stone, (exercise and develop your voice).
- Then you know you've discovered gold, (your own unique singing tone).
Why would you hesitate to believe, even for a second, that your singing voice is an extension of your speaking voice supported by air? Maybe this notion just sounds too easy. Or perhaps you think that only a privileged few are 'born to sing' - you either have it or you don't. Hogwash!
While it's true many people come into this world with a beautiful and amazing voice (I'm not discounting this fact), it doesn't mean that the rest of us have to spend our lives just wishing we could sing. Singing is available to everyone. It's also a learned skill. This means the more you learn and apply singing techniques the better you will sound.
Singing should never be a struggle - it should feel easy and natural. Bring a little desire, dedication, and discipline to this lesson and I guarantee results.
Just to make it clear here, this lesson is for beginners (or the curious) to teach beginners how to initialize their singing voice. For those of you who have never sung before, this will be an easy way to get started. For the rest of you, if you're not too happy with how you sound when you do sing, follow along just for the heck of it. Who knows? Maybe this tutorial will show you a whole new way of releasing your tone. You might even learn that most of your vocal problems are based on lack of proper breathing.
And now grab a glass of room-temperature water and let's get started on releasing your singing voice.
The Vocal Cords Need Constant Moisture
Releasing Your Singing Voice in a Flash
The following exercise can be done in either a standing or sitting position. Use good posture to keep your spine straight because your breathing muscles and ribcage are connected to the spine. Feel for an openness in the chest area keeping it high and quiet. Avoid raising the chest and shoulders when taking a breath.
The sound you are about to make is much like chanting. It may even remind you of the ohm sound used in meditation. So if you like you can add an "m" to the word "huh" (hum) or even use ohm.
1. Using the word, huh or ohm (I will be referring to the huh) speak it 6 times. (huh, huh, huh, huh, huh, huh). Try to make each huh sound the same matching the previous sound as you repeat.
2. Repeat this exercise but this time hold the word huh by sustaining the "uh". (huuuuuuh). You'll find that more air will be needed to do this. So 'tank-up" by inhaling more air. Refrain from lifting your chest. Inflate around the waistline as you draw in your air. Let your air out sparingly.
3. Repeat once more holding the "uh" sound a bit longer. Be aware of any vibrations you may feel. If necessary keep repeating until you do feel vibrations. They are mostly noticed in the area of the nose or roof of the mouth (the hard palate). If you're using the word ohm vibrations will be felt in the lip area as well.
4. When you've completed this exercise hydrate your throat with plenty of room-temperature water. (Cold water restricts the vocal chords.)
Holding the sound of huh or any word or phrase is referred to as pitch. Pitch is the highness and lowness of sound. Depending on where you're speaking or singing from, the pitch you hear may be low or high. Imagine you are climbing a ladder with your voice.
The first step would be low, the second step is higher and the remaining steps continue to get higher as you climb up the ladder. This is how pitch works. It works the same way stepping down the ladder. Each step down becomes lower and lower.
Your sound resonates from three main areas: throat, mouth cavity, and nasal passages. These areas vibrate to produce your tone. Beginning singers usually ignore these vibrations but I'd like you to bring an awareness to these resonating areas.
One way to feel the nasal passage vibrations is to sing on a comfortable tone the word "sing". Sustain the "ng" and as you do this you will feel the vibrations in this area. Try it now.
You're doing great so let's move on.
Drop Your Chin to Project Your Voice
Let's Do it Again Concentrating on the Breath
Now, let's do this exercise once more holding the sound of huh for 5 - 10 seconds Notice that when you sustain (hold) the sound of huh you will need more air. The longer you hold the sound the more air you need. This is why you hear so much about the importance of breath control for singing. A pleasant, controlled voice is a voice that actually controls the amount of air needed for every phrase of music.
1. Check your posture again. As I said earlier, your singing muscles are attached to the spine which is why your posture is so important. At the same time, be sure to release any tension you may be holding in your neck and shoulders. Releasing tension will give you a better singing sound.
When you go from speaking to singing your singing sound rides on the breath. So you need plenty of air to sustain the sound. This air is executed upon inhalation. When you take a breath in, you are inhaling air (inhalation).
This air doesn't come from your chest, it comes from your belly known as the diaphragm. The belly breath provides you with plenty of needed air for holding on to the sound you produce. The more air, the better the sound. The more you know about breath control and how to use it during singing the better your sound will be.
2. Repeat the same exercise only this time direct your breathing to inhaling followed by exhaling (releasing the air). Release the air slowly to help sustain the sound longer.
3. Now it's time to sing the first three words of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat". Notice that the sound of "Row, Row, Row" are all on the same pitch...they all sound the same.
4. Be aware of your breathing. Inhale plenty of air before singing and let your air out slowly as you repeat each "Row".
5. How did it feel? Did you have enough air to sing through all three "row's"? Don't worry about your sound. We'll get to that later. For now, concentrate on your breathing.
Points to remember:
- When you go from speaking to singing your singing sound rides on the breath. So you need plenty of air to sustain the sound. This air is executed upon inhalation. When you take a breath in, you are inhaling air (inhalation).
- This air doesn't come from your chest, it comes from your belly known as the diaphragm. The belly breath provides you with plenty of needed air for holding on to the sound you produce. The more air, the better the sound. The more you know about breath control and how to use it during singing the better your sound will be.
Don't Tell Me You Don't Want to Sing
I've spent the better part of my life teaching thousands to sing with flying colors. What I've learned from this is that anyone can sing as long as they have a desire to sing. And anyone who says they don't want to sing isn't being entirely truthful. It's like saying "I'm a flower but I want to remain a seed and never blossom or grow. Leave me here underground where I can hide. Don't water me, feed me or allow the sun's rays to bring me warmth. I'm safe here below the surface where I can't make a mistake or risk someone laughing at me."
Now it's time to vary the pitch. As you go through these exercises it's important never to continue the sound until you run out of breath. In other words, don't hold onto the tone until you're gasping for air.
The breath serves the thought and each thought (or phrase) has an intrinsic length. Each new thought has a new breath. Short thoughts have short breaths, a medium thought needs a medium amount of air and long thoughts require long breaths.
If you want to develop your voice as a musical intrument, (and this is what it is) you must work on diaphragmatic breathing until it becomes natural and you can manipulate it at will.
1. Sing the sound of huh again. It doesn't matter how it sounds at this point or whether you're sound is high or low. It is easier for beginning singers to place the sound more in the middle, not too high or to low. It should feel somewhat easy and comfortable.
2. Now sustain the huh sound as you previously did. Don't judge or criticize your new singing sound. Regardless of what you think about your voice, it will get better...and better with practice.
3. This time you will actually take-off, like a jet, using your voice. Keep your voice fairly soft throughout this exercise. This will keep your voice from cracking as you sing through the break.
4. Start on a low, deep tone (sound) and using the word E as in 'We' imagine you are a jet preparing for lift-off. You're about to maneuver your voice from the runway, climbing slowly into the sky.
5. The runway is where you prepare your singing engine for take-off. Think of breathing (inhalation) as your engine for sound. Get ready to take a big breath for takeoff by engaging your belly and filling it full of air.
6. Using the word E allow your sound to ride on air as you release your air a little bit at a time. As you climb higher and higher your pitch is climbing higher.
7. Now is the time to let your imagination come into play. Become a child again. Pull out all the stops as your singing voice duplicates the siren of a fire engine. Start down low and allow your free voice to climb all the way upward to a high sound (pitch). Once you reach the top of your vocal range, slide slowly back down to where it started down low.
The Seeds of Singing Are Like a Rose
You Have Everything You Need to Become a Singer
Inside your being, you have all the seeds planted right where they belong for singing. Let's look at the very seeds that are identified with singing - the vocal chords. Do you have a set of vocal chords? Sure you do or you wouldn't be able to speak? Do you have the seed of breath? Of course, you do otherwise you wouldn't be alive.
What about a resonating system? Once the seeds of tone are produced by the vibrating vocal cords, the vibrations go in and through the open resonating chambers: chest, mouth, nasal (or "mask"), and head. Once these seeds are exposed to correct and nurturing methods, the blossoms of singing come forth.
So there you are - you have it all right inside you.
The Siren Vocal Exercise
This siren exercise is much like the jet-singing you just practiced. It sounds much like a police siren. It's a great warm-up and helps singers with the following:
. Extends the vocal range, giving you a broader sound and more freedom to sing high notes. Because the singer is learning to take a deep enough breath to complete this exercise, the additional use of breath frees the tone to sweep higher than ever. This means the voice can hit higher notes with freedom and ease,
. Smooths out the vocal "break". If you've ever heard your own voice crack in the middle of a song you've experienced the natural break in the voice as it moves from one register to the next. The siren exercise provides just the right amount of ease and air to smooth out the break.
To begin the siren exercise:
1. Completely relax your entire body.
2. Beginning on a low note mimic the sound of a siren using the vowel "ee" or "oo".
3. Bring the note up (sliding every note) as high as you can singing through 'the break' and continuing into falsetto.
4. Stay up there in your highest sound for a second or two then slowly come back down to your starting note.
Use plenty of air for this exercise to prevent damage to the vocal chords and use a soft but supported sound. If the higher notes do not feel easy and comfortable refrain from going too high. As you build breath support the higher notes will come easily.
Wrapping it All Up
So, how did you do? Have you learned how to release your singing sound? Keep at it, day after day, and you'll continue to sound better. Keep experimenting with different vowels followed by words in a song and a variety of pitch.
Remember: Air is moved out of the lungs and towards the vocal folds (chords) by a coordinated action of the diaphragm (belly breath), abdominal muscles, chest muscles, and rib cage. Obviously posture is important. Keep the chest high and quiet. Correct inhalation involves stomach muscles, ribcage and even back muscles.
What you have learned in this lesson is how to free the natural voice. These lessons must be practiced daily, week after week and even month after month until voicing your sound becomes automatic.
You are a human instrument and as such need to develop and strengthen your voice. Liberate your natural sound first before applying proper vocal technique.
We live in a world of tension and reactions. This tension is carried in our shoulders, neck, and back. Tension is the enemy and diminishes the efficiency of the natural voice. We must first remove the blocks that inhibit the beauty of the natural voice.
We each have a kaleidoscope of possibilities when it comes to our singing voice. Physical awareness and relaxation are the first steps in releasing your natural sound. As you practice the exercises outlined in this tutorial begin to assess your progress by asking yourself "how does it feel"? instead of "how does it sound"?
We want to hear you, not your voice.
Sing with joy!
Being a singer is a natural gift. It means I'm using to the highest degree possible the gift that God gave me to use. I'm happy with that.
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© 2017 Audrey Hunt