If you want to learn to sing with a voice you’re proud of, then here are some of the techniques you’ll want to master:Learn to Sing Tip # 1First, avoid the temptation to sound “Pretty”Unless all you want to do is sing with a sweet little voice, then do not try to sound pretty in your practice sessions.Vocal workouts are designed to give you power, control and the ability to express a range of emotions with your singing.You need to discover how to bring the vocal chords together for a solid sound.You need to sing out in order to learn how to sing in tune and with style.This means that you have to learn to strengthen, isolate and coordinate certain muscle groups.You don’t get that by singing pretty.You get it with consistent practice in singing with your full voice even if it sounds awful at first.Singing Tip # 2Be Mindful of Your Vocal Health – But Don’t be ParanoidOne of my teachers had me convinced that I would utterly destroy my voice unless I sang only the songs she gave me.Four years later, guess what?I sounded EXACTLY the same as when I started!There’s no worse feeling than trying so hard but after years of hard work and practice you realize you’ve gotten nowhere.Now I know the only thing she was worried about wrecking was her monthly cash flow.If you want your voice to develop, you have to use your muscles.These days, I like to compare vocal training with gymnastics or ballet.If you wanted to train to be a gymnast, would a brisk walk around the block every day be an adequate workout to achieve that goal?No way!And let’s say you have a really good workout in your leg muscles, and the next day you feel it.Have you wrecked your legs?Of course not.The truth is that unless you have some pre-existing health condition it is simply not that easy to wreck your voice.You definitely want to be mindful of your health and safety. If you’re singing and it hurts, then you’re doing something wrong.But you’re not wrong to give it your all.Just like anything else, the reward you get for your efforts will reflect what you’ve put into it.
Learn to Sing Tip # 2Practice connecting your sound to your breath.Sound that is well supported and cushioned by your breath will give you more substance, more beauty and more power than if you just push the sound out like your speaking voice.When you sing or speak disconnected from your breath, you can sound abrasive and it gets uncomfortable and strained after a while.Start by relaxing with a few deep abdominal breaths and releasing your sound in a sighing sound,This will get your voice buoyant and effortless and ready for some more intensive training.Learn to Sing Tip # 3Maintain the vocal passagewayThink of the sound rising up from the larynx and filling up all of the empty spaces within your throat, your mouth and even into your sinuses.As you sing higher notes, you’ll likely feel some buzzing or resonance through your nose and even up into your forehead.This is a good thing.Elevating your voice like this and feeling the head resonance can be the precursor of truly awesome vocal power while at the same time alleviating strain from the voice.Learn to Sing Tip # 4Make sure you achieve vocal chord connectionI think this more than any other reason is why I was disappointed for so long with my progress even though I was putting in all of the time and effort required.If there is too much space between your vocal chords, then you sound breathy and weak.This is also known as falsetto.In the female voice it gives a sweet but thoroughly unimpressive sound.In the male voice it sounds emasculate.If you’re singing with space between the vocal chords and you try to gain power, you just sound shrill.Falsetto is great in training because it can help you find your high notes and alleviate strain and constriction, but it’s not something you want to get stuck with.If you really want to sing with gusto and power, then you’ve got to get your vocal chords to come right together.Start by humming comfortably low in the chest voice, and listen for a buzzing sound that indicates that your vocal chords have come together.This will NOT sound pretty!If it sounds pretty, you’re doing it wrong.Gradually sing up higher while still making sure your vocal chords are touching.Don’t go higher than what you feel comfortable. Eventually you’ll be able to open the sound and you’ll be amazed at what your voice can really do.Learn to Sing Tip #5Use Solfege to Train Your VoiceSolfege is perhaps one of the greatest things to happen to a singer. Even if you’re completely tone deaf right now, you can use it to quickly learn to sing in tune in just a few minutes a day.Solfege consists of the syllables DO RE MI FA SOL LA TI DO where each syllable represents a note on the major scale.The better you get to know these syllables, the more confidence you’ll have that you are singing perfectly in tune.And you’ll be able to riff like a star!A few minutes a day practicing different Solfege patterns is well worth the time.Singing Tip # 6Pay attention to Your VowelsI’ve spent a small fortune on singing books and programs over the years. So much that if I could get the money back I could probably take a well earned vacation!I’ve always found the sections on vowel modification to be boring and usually skipped over them.But that was before I realized how important and beneficial this aspect of singing is to your voice.As you sing higher, it becomes difficult to sing closed vowels like “Eee”, “Ooo” and “Eh”.But if you modify them with a little “Uh” (as in cook), then they don’t just sound better, it’s physically much easier and less strenuous to sing the notes!Listen carefully to some of your favourite singers, and chances are they modify most of their vowels to make them more appropriate for singing.”Eee” has hints of “Eh””Ooo” has hints of “Oh”Proper vowel modification is critical in helping you to shape the acoustic spaces inside your throat and mouth that allow the sound to resonate and ring with beauty and power.Singing Tip # 7 Let Your Subconscious Do the WorkIf I had to put percentages to it, I’d say that at least 90% of singing is a Subconscious activity.
You don’t really control the muscles in your larynx.You don’t consciously control your diaphragm either.Most of the muscle groups used in great singing operate outside of conscious awareness.But you can direct this Subconscious activity with your conscious mind.This is one of the most exciting aspects of learning to sing (or learning anything at all for that matter) I’ve ever discovered.Instead of believing that you were either blessed with talent or cursed with a voice that sounds like pulling a cat’s tail, you can decide!Through conscious imagery and focus, you can open up vast new potential within yourself.How can you do it?Start by learning as much as you can about what actually happens inside your body that produces certain types of sounds.The Subconscious responds to imagery, and the more you know about what goes on the more accurate pictures you can feed it.You don’t have to agonize or drive yourself crazy over any of the information.If any of the information confuses you or overwhelms you, no problem.Just have faith that your Subconscious is eating it all up and will eventually give it back to you in the form of a voice you can be proud of!For example, did you know that low notes are produced as the Thyroarytenoid muscles within the larynx shorten the vocal chords which causes them to vibrate slower?And that as you sing higher, the Cricothyroids stretch the vocal chords and make them vibrate faster?If you knew this, great! This knowledge helps you form accurate mental imagery, which in turns triggers the Subconscious to put together all of the pieces faster.On the other hand, if what I just said sounds like Greek, then don’t worry.Just relax and absorb the information anyway, because it’s going to pay off in the long run.It’s important that you don’t agonize over the information. Most of what happens when you sing is beyond your conscious control.By immersing yourself in vocal theory and understanding the anatomy involved in a calm and relaxed manner, the faster and better results you will get.
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