Can you get any better as a singer if you have already taken and completed all the basic singing lessons? Of cause you can.
Like all other skills, your singing ability can be improved, enhanced or supplemented by new techniques. Read on and find out how to get a better singing voice.
Unless you have been declared as the singing industry’s latest icon, you would want to discover new and unique ways of how to improve your singing ability regardless of whether you’re already a professional singer, someone whose passion has always been singing, or an amateur who is waiting for that big break to come.
Whether it’s eliminating nasality, increasing voice volume or strengthening vocal tone, learning how to sing properly should be your goal. Improvement of a skill such as singing is actually a work in progress and it takes determination to make changes. Like correcting your posture, for instance, because correct posture is necessary for proper breathing when singing.
The Right Kind of Posture: What It Will Do for Your Singing
Posture has a lot to do with singing. Why so? Well, let’s take a look at posture from the point of view of breathing. Breath travels directly from the lungs to the mouth and any obstruction of air flow caused by blockage of its passage can affect the way you sing. Stand straight with your legs apart at shoulder width, your chest lifted to hold up your lungs, and shoulders relaxed and stretched back.
This kind of posture ensures that we breathe correctly, considering that your vocals are dependent primarily on how well you are breathing when you sing. But that isn’t all there is to it because you still need to train your muscles when you breathe. Babies are a concrete example of how to breathe correctly and you just have to look at babies to see what proper breathing is.
Babies breathe using only their stomachs as they move while they inhale and exhale. Notice how, as babies get older, other factors interfere with the natural breathing process. As children of school age, we start learning how to slouch, for instance, which doesn’t allow for proper air circulation in our bodies. By the time we have become adults, our breathing is typically characterized by shortness of it.
Water and Stress: The Link to Poor Singing
Drinking plenty of water helps us with how to get better at singing mainly because doing so affects singing ability. How does this happen? Singing is related to the state of your mucous membranes which function optimally when your body is sufficiently hydrated. Without an adequate water supply, your voice will sound nasally and make it difficult for you to hit the higher notes.
Weak resonance and inferior tone will characterize your voice as a singer who is tense. This usually means that your muscles and throat have tightened up and, as a result, less air passes through to the mouth. Tension builds up when you are stressed like getting nervous at the thought of performing before an audience. Relax by practicing how to sing well in front of the mirror.
The All-Important Warm-Up
A warm-up is necessary before you start working out at the gym and it is the same when it comes to singing: you stretch your throat, neck, and other intercostal muscles – muscle groups running between your rib that form and move your chest wall – which you need for breathing’s mechanical aspect. Intercostal muscles shrink and expand your chest cavity size as you breathe.
The best way of how to improve your singing is by warming up your voice is to increase your singing range and volume gradually and then singing one song which is less challenging for you. This will give you ample time in preparing to stretch as well as get in your comfort zone for singing before you perform more intensive material that will demand more from you.
The Most Important Feedback Comes from YOU
This may sound silly but the most important feedback that you can have about your singing will actually come from you. You may not feel comfortable about recording your singing and hearing yourself sing but you have to get used to it so you can critique yourself as objectively as possible. This, in turn, can help you identify the areas in which you need changes or improvement and can help you to target how to improve your singing voice.
Recording your singing is an excellent way to keep track of your progress. Taking a video of yourself while performing is even better. How many singing superstars do we have today who started out in videos uploaded on YouTube?
- Justin Bieber: is considered to be the most successful musician to be discovered through YouTube.
- Marie Digby: she did an acoustic cover on YouTube of “Umbrella,” the song that Rihanna made popular, and soon after rose to fame to star on “The Hills.”
- Arnel Pineda: he uploaded videos featuring himself singing songs of Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith and landed the frontman position for the popular band Journey.
- Charice Pempengco: her soulful approach to singing and awesome vocal range led to international recognition when a fan uploaded her performance videos.
- Esme Denters: she posted videos of her singing which Justin Timberlake saw and led Timberlake to sign the talented singer to his label Tennman Records.
Don’t Strain Yourself
Singing should never put you, or any other singer for that matter, in any kind of vocal pain because if it does, it can only mean that you are singing well out of your vocal range. Pain that you may experience from singing loudly, for instance, may be caused by lack of voice support that occurs through improper breathing. Pain that accompanies very low or high notes means your vocal cords are strained.
Your tongue’s position has a big role in ensuring that your vocal tone comes out all right. By bringing your tongue in a forward position and making sure that its tip is touching the bottom of your teeth, you allow more space for air to produce more resonant- and vibrant-sounding quality to your voice. You also create a deeper and darker voice when you pull your tongue downwards to your throat.
Positioning Your Larynx
Your larynx will constantly move up and down while you are singing but will be relaxed and stabilized when you are speaking. The thing in how to sing really good is to learn how your larynx is positioned. Ideally, your larynx should be stable during the beginning of your singing career. As you progress, you should be able to control the laryngeal position.
This position should be capable of getting lowered or raised to the level you desire or the song you are singing requires. This can only be done through consistent and constant practice. But singing often doesn’t necessarily overworking your vocal cords. Always follow the proper form (posture) and technique (breathing) mentioned when singing.
Studying Other Performers
Imitating the way other performers sing may be your idea of how to sing good and while this is true to some extent, there is a whale of a difference between studying the way other singers perform and imitating them. Having a style with a distinctive sound describes the former while the latter is merely an echo of the original sound.
There is nothing wrong with mimicking the performances of other singers for as long as you don’t remain a mimic all throughout your singing career. Notice how some singers sound alike when you initially listen to them separately yet you will soon distinguish what and how makes one different from the other. Fiona Apple and Norah Jones do sound alike and yet not entirely the same.
Smile, Smile, Smile
Unless you are singing opera, you should think of smiling more often when singing, especially if you are going to hit a high note. Smiling actually opens up the mouth and helps to produce more air to enter the flow in the lungs. That’s why hitting those high pitches with a smile is not merely just for show but for getting more supply of air for your lungs.
Cooling Down After Practice
When there is warming up of the vocal cords, it follows that there is a cooling down as well. Spending five to ten minutes of doing simple vocal exercises can help reduce any vocal fatigue which may wear your vocal cords down. The rule of thumb here is: don’t do cool down exercises that will require you to sing high notes or shift from various vocal registers.
Warm-ups prepare your voice for singing and cool-downs stretches your vocal cords out into their original position again. Cool-downs should preferably be descending in order so your vocal cords can calm down after a singing workout. Cool-downs should not take too long as they are required only to get your singing voice back into speaking voice mode.
Try Something Unconventional
There are many methods of how to practice singing and how to improve your singing voice, just as there are for meditation. Combining singing and meditation is unconventional because you don’t have to be in that state of thoughtlessness and silence when you do it. You don’t have to do this regularly but you will find out how practicing this can set your mood to do much better the next time you sing. Here are the steps:
- Choose a song that you feel a connection to; this alone can make you sing it with heart and soul.
- You don’t have to sound melodious, you need to sing like you feel it.
- Select a song that from a genre that can prove to be soothing such as Avril Lavigne’s “Innocence” or “Dreams on Fire” from the film “Slumdog Millionaire.”
- If you tend to be emotional, choose a song that can make you cry it out. This can also be therapeutic for you emotionally.
- Sing in a room that has sufficient lighting to make you more aware of the existing energy in it.
- With eyes closed, take a deep, long breath and then exhale it while you sing the song. This breath doesn’t even have to be exhaled separately because it will just exit on its own.
- Inhale whenever you finish a phrase or line or whenever you feel like it.
- Think about what the song’s lyrics say while you are singing and find some relevance in your situational context.
- Although not all people do this, closing the eyes can prevent you from being distracted by other thoughts which may be spinning in your head.
- You may have been studying and learning how to get a better singing voice for an audience but this time, sing for yourself without thinking of people who you might imagine are listening to you.
Taking Care of Your Vocal Health
While your consistent and constant practice, admittedly is, what can make or break your potential for success as a singer, don’t forget about taking care of your vocal health. It doesn’t seem very logical to practice regularly but not take care of your voice, right? Here are some vocal health tips which you may find helpful in maintaining the quality of your voice (in no particular order):
As mentioned previously, drinking plenty of water is a must for singers. Here we explain it more extensively. Your vocal cords require lubrication from their thin mucous membranes in order for them to vibrate well. According to world-renowned Dr. Van Lawrence, you should drink until your urine is a pale color which could be translated to drinking, at least two quarts of water daily.
Caffeine, as well as alcohol, can cause the depletion of the much-needed lubrication which your vocal cords needs. Small amounts of coffee, tea, soda, and other beverages that contain caffeine are acceptable for ingestion but you should counterbalance this by drinking more of water instead of the other way around.
Another factor which can deplete lubrication is an environment of dry air which can develop from air conditioning, climates with low air moisture, and gas furnaces. If you have an environment like any of these, use a humidifier in the evening so you can compensate for the extreme dryness that it may cause you during the day.
Lawrence recommended a gargle recipe that you can make to relieve throat dryness and/or irritation. Mix half a teaspoon each of baking soda, corn syrup and salt with six ounces of distilled, warmed water. Gargle this preparation for two minutes. Don’t rinse it out and use it as often as necessary. You may also use a throat spray called Entertainer’s Secret to help moisturize your vocal cords.
Harsh Coughing and Throat Clearing
Do you that both harsh coughing and throat clearing are capable of traumatizing your vocal cords? A frequent cause for clearing the throat is the presence of too much mucus or thick mucus below or on the vocal cords. Clear your mucous membranes with a breathy gentle cough which has high airflow but little sound.
Take the deepest possible breath you can, momentarily hold that breath, and allow yourself to produce a silent but sharp sound of the letter “H” when you exhale the air. Or you can consider these other tips to eliminate causes of habitual throat clearing to decrease the wear and tear on your vocal cords without using pharmaceutical medications:
- Pant lightly and then swallow.
- Hum lightly.
- Laugh gently and then swallow.
- Talk through mucous since the vocal cords may rid their folds of the secretions through natural vibration.
- Vocalize on scales with five notes, slide up one octave, and crescendo.
Drugs and Other Medications
Taking drugs on a long-term basis can significantly affect your singing voice. These include antihistamines, mucolytic agents, progesterone, analgesics, and even local anesthetics which may all cause extreme dryness of the throat. Additionally, progesterone may cause virilization of the female singer’s larynx.
Maintaining Vocal Health
The typical tips for singers in the maintenance of their vocal health include exercising regularly, eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet, not smoking, getting adequate rest, and consuming alcohol in moderation.
There are, however, some little known do’s and don’ts in keeping your vocal cords healthy and in optimal working condition all the time and these include the following:
- Avoid artificially interior or dry climates.
- Avoid breathing polluted or smoggy air.
- Limit your voice use in airplanes, high-ceiling restaurants, noisy parties, and cars.
- Break the bad habit of yelling.
- Avoid hard “attacks” on the initial vowels in the words of a song.
- Breathe silently to activate muscles which support proper breathing.
- Reduce tension in the neck and shoulders while stationary.
- Give your vocal cords a rest by not talking for one whole day.
- Speak in short phrases instead of paragraphs.
- Breathe slowly before saying each phrase.
- Use sounds which are non-vocal – whistling, clapping or bells – to get the attention of people.
- Move closer to whomever you are speaking with so you don’t have to raise your voice to be heard.
- Reduce speaking time for a few hours each day after singing or doing vocal exercises.
- Use amplification if possible and/or as needed.
- Always practice diaphragmatic and/or abdominal breathing and/or support.
- Take the time to relax your jaw, neck, and face for a few minutes daily.
- Have good vocal inflection when you speak.
- Speak at a normal speed.
- Smoking is a no-no and it doesn’t just cover smoking cigarettes but other substances like marijuana.
Take Singing Lessons Online
All of the things mentioned in this article will help improve the way you sing, but, really, the best tips for singing will always include taking up singing lessons. If you find it difficult to find time to attend singing classes or your budget doesn’t have space for the costs involved in hiring a voice instructor, then, by all means take singing lessons online.
Online courses are actually a convenient way to learn how to become a good singer. You can take the lessons at your own pace and in the privacy and comfort of your home. You don’t have to commute or drive to any school or voice coach and you can go through the lessons over and over again without having to pay any additional fees.
Most beginners are shy to sing before an audience or feel uncomfortable being reprimanded for infractions, so taking lessons in a regular school may not be suitable for them. Online singing lessons for beginners will obviously eliminate that kind of pressure for beginners. Without the pressure, beginners will be motivated further.
How to Find Online Singing Courses
Online singing courses are typically downloaded from particular websites which offer singing lessons. If you travel a lot, this factor is in your favor. To ensure that you can give and receive feedback to and from your chosen online singing course provider, do some research on the company before signing up. Additionally, check if the materials for the lessons are updated.
One of the more effective ways to find a good online singing course is to read the customer reviews. Go to YouTube and search for providers of online singing courses and take a look at what they have got to show for their products. Video tutorials on YouTube usually come with a plethora of comments from people who bought, tried, and tested the online singing lessons.
Music is evolutionary and what might have been applicable years ago may not be applicable today. Not all singing lessons are equal, so you need to find out whether the provider is qualified, experienced, trained, and skilled to teach and provide you virtual singing lessons. Remember singing lessons on the web are as susceptible to scammers as other forms of internet transactions.
Don’t Underestimate Taking Singing Lessons
Unlike taking singing lessons in a classroom setting, taking them online will probably make you work harder. While they are more flexible than classroom lessons and can be customized, those who take singing lessons with an online vocal coach should bear in mind that flexibility does not translate to complacency. Setting goals and sticking to a schedule are required for lessons in singing to be effective.
Don’t underestimate singing lessons online even if you have been singing for a considerable length of time because these can help even professional singers to improve their skill and discover some of the newest and best singing techniques. Additionally, professional singers who have not performed for a time can benefit from online singing lessons as an ideal re-introduction to the singing world.
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