As most of you know, I have professionally studied voice for over a year, and I have learned a LOT in the process. Today I’m going to share my top five tips for better singing and sound.
*Disclaimer: I am currently using the Estill voice training method of which I believe is one of the best methods out there for voice. Because of this, most of my tips will be centered on techniques I have learned while studying this method.*
1. Practice makes progress. I find that if I don’t practice for a while, my voice gets out of condition. And this is probably true for you too – if you haven’t practiced recently, how does your voice sound? Practicing on a regular basis – say twice a week doing some exercises – is important to keep your voice healthy. It doesn’t matter if you’re taking voice lessons or not – if you want to sing well, you need to “condition” your voice, just as you would exercise if you were into sports. Half an hour two to three times a week is definitely a good start. (Though I would recommend, if you take lessons, fifteen minutes five-six times a week). Also, if you don’t practice frequently, don’t lengthen the practice times because it may stress out your voice if you aren’t used to it.
2. Breathe from your diaphragm. When you breathe through your diaphragm, you feel the air coming in your stomach (I know, weird, but true). This helps if you run out of air. Instead of taking shallow chest breaths and running out of air too quickly, take deep “stomach breaths”. I promise it works!
3. Anchor. Do you get breathy or wavery on high notes? This is super common. In fact, it was one of my biggest problems when I first started out. My teacher taught me this technique and I haven’t stopped using it yet. First, make sure you’re standing evenly on both your feet. Next, as you get to the troublesome note (s), tense your muscles. Choose the muscles you want to tense. You can grip something (such as a bead on your necklace), clench your hands, stretch your arms out and tense – the choices are limitless! This also is super helpful for belting. Don’t sing like a limp rag.
4. Quack like a duck. Another way to stop singing in a breathy voice is to bring in oral twang. In fact, many genres of music (Broadway, jazz, pop, country especially, even some opera) require twang. Twang also helps to bring up the audibility. The best ways to achieve twang are by 1) quacking like a duck and 2) imitating a Bugs Bunny/“character” voice. You will feel it behind your nose (or in your forehead) as the sound does not originate in your nose (if it is in your nose, that’s nasal twang and a no-no.) More here.
5. Keep the space open! Many people (and I’m including myself here!) have a tendency to clamp up when they’re singing, especially if they’re nervous. Keep your tongue against the back of your bottom teeth, open your mouth wider, relax and let the sound pass through.
So there you have it! My top five tips for singing. Do you sing? What are your top tips?
singing off (today you bet I’m really singing off 😉 ),