How To Find Your Natural Singing Voice

Avoid Vocal Abuse

Teaching young children to find their natural singing voice.  A needed principle to avoid vocal abuse.
Teaching young children to find their natural singing voice. A needed principle to avoid vocal abuse. | Source

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.

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 accomplishes three things:

1. Introduces air into your lungs needed to sustain a tone.

2. Completely relaxes the entire vocal instrument which is your body.

3. 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.

Before you begin, drink room temperature water to hydrate your throat.

Step 1 Good Singing Posture

Step 1. Stand with legs shoulder width apart.  Unlock the knees.
Step 1. Stand with legs shoulder width apart. Unlock the knees.
Step 2. As you inhale, lift your arms out.
Step 2. As you inhale, lift your arms out.
Bring your arms straight up and over your head. Reach to the sky. Continue to hold your breath.
Bring your arms straight up and over your head. Reach to the sky. Continue to hold your breath.

Part 1-The Half-Windmill Position

There are 2 parts to the exercise that will lead you to finding 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.

About The Rag Doll Exercise

The following exercise is a relaxation exercise known as The Rag Doll, 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 Rag Doll position will allow vibrations to be felt in the face while in the dropped position. Some call this 'singing upside down.'

This body position involves the following sections of your spine.

  • The Cervical vertebrae which is the neck.
  • The Thoracic vertebrae which is the middle of your back.
  • The Lumbar vertebrae which is the lower back.

If you're ready, you are about to unhinge these 3 sections.

Beginning the Rag Doll Exercise

Roll your spine slowly as you tuck your chin to your chest.
Roll your spine slowly as you tuck your chin to your chest.
Bringing your shoulders forward helps to touch your chin to your chest. If you can't do this, just allow your head to 'hand loose.'
Bringing your shoulders forward helps to touch your chin to your chest. If you can't do this, just allow your head to 'hand loose.'
Continue to roll your spine down keeping your arms loose.
Continue to roll your spine down keeping your arms loose.

How To Do The Rag Doll Exercise

  1. First, standing with good posture, unlock the knees. Legs will be shoulder width apart.
  2. Next, roll your spine (cervical - neck) slowly until your chin is tucked into your chest.
  3. Bringing your shoulders forward will help with touching your chin to the chest.
  4. 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
  5. 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. Arms should be loose. Avoid tension by trying to touch your toes.
  6. Remain in this position for about 5-10 seconds releasing all the tension in your body.

Note: Remember to keep your knees unlocked the entire time you are doing this exercise.

Completing The Rag Doll

Remain in this position for about 10 to 15 seconds releasing all body tension.  Notice how the knees are still slightly bent.
Remain in this position for about 10 to 15 seconds releasing all body tension. Notice how the knees are still slightly bent.
  1. Now slowly roll back up, one vertebra at a time, (counting 15-20) until you are upright and reaching for the sky.
  2. 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 Rag Doll position.

Anyone Can Sing - Vocal Lessons For All

Adding a Hissing Sound To The Windmill And The Rag Doll

Beginning with the windmill exercise as shown above in part 1 ~

  1. As you stretch your arms overhead, inhale deeply and hold your breath until your chin is tucked into your chest.
  2. 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.

Be sure to release your air as slow as possible. This air must last throughout the hissing.

3. Release all of your air, then roll your body back up slowly.

When your body is completely stretched upward, let your arms slowly fall to the side.

Adding The Sound of 'ing' to the Rag Doll

To help you to feel the your own singing vibrations, repeat the above windmill and rag doll 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.
  • Make very sure you sing this 'ing' on 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 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 rag doll, 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 sometime 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.

The Five Primary Singing Vowels

The five primary vowels to sing while rehearsing the above exercises.
The five primary vowels to sing while rehearsing the above exercises.

Summary

Singers use the entire body as they sing. Combining natural talent and skill will bring a good result.

Tension is an enemy to the singer. Most tension lurks in the neck, back and face. The windmill exercise combined with the rag doll position helps to release tension. Because the body itself is the singer's instrument, the singer must treat the body like any good musical instrument.

One way to do this, is to make sure all tension is released from the body before singing. The rag doll 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' vibrational locations, 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 'rag doll' 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.

I wish you joy as you sing.

All images are the property of Audrey Hunt and protected by copyright. 7.2014

What's Your Answer?

Have You Done The Rag Doll Exercise?

  • Yes, I'm a singer.
  • Yes, I do yoga.
  • Yes, I do this for relaxation.
  • No, I've never done this but I'm going to.
  • No, I've never done this and probably never will.
See results without voting

© 2014 Audrey Hunt

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Comments 46 comments

Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Hi Dear Audrey,

So ironic that I was just about to shutdown my computer and head off to be when your hub popped in, and the reason I say it is ironic is that LadyFiddler just popped in one of her singing videos too. You have provided great insight as to finding our natural singing voice. How interesting are the windmill exercise and rag doll position. I know I have much tension in my neck, but I am afraid if I try that rag doll position, I would not be able to get back into the upright position. Who am I kidding, not sure I could all the way down to touching the ground : )

I will try though, as I do love singing and one can always improve in all areas of our lives. I will pass this on to my daughter!

Voted up +++ tweeting and pinning

Blessings always


LadyFiddler profile image

LadyFiddler 2 years ago from Somewhere in the West

Good morning vocalcoach very interesting hub about singing. I love singing so much and its even more ironic as faith said i just answered a comment to a song video i did lastnight and i saw this so it drew my attention. You can hub over and listen if you like you won't regret its my latest hub :).

Thanks again for sharing these techniques a bless sunday to you.


Susan Zutautas profile image

Susan Zutautas 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Sharing your hub with my son who insists on singing with a forced voice. I really think he needs to second this his decision to do so.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

The "voice" of experience. What a pro you are. If I had a child I would send him/her to you in a heartbeat. Wonderful suggestions and tips from a wonderful human being. What could be better?

love from Olympia coming your way

bill


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida

Interesting Audrey. I makes sense to limber up before singing. Athletes do it. I wouldn't have thought about exercising before singing had I not read this. Thank you!


always exploring profile image

always exploring 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

I went through all the exercises and enjoyed doing it. I was able to touch my toes with my knees bent, i'm sure i could not do it with locked knees, due to an L5 disk herniation. This was interesting and useful and a totally new technique to me. Thank you Audrey....


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hello Audrey you are brilliant. Your work makes the world a better place.

Me not singing makes the world a better place.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Faith Reaper

Divine intervention? :) Thank you for being my first visitor and for the great comments. I suggest that you go slow at trying to touch your toes. Begin by just going half-way down. Then little-by-little stretch a bit more. The important thing is to relax your neck, back, arms and face.

Thank you dear Faith for the generous votes and for sharing this with your daughter. Live with joy ~ Audrey


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

LadyFiddler

I will be sure to 'tune in' to your latest video. I think what you're doing is just wonderful. Thanks for being here and appreciate your comments. - Audrey

Susan -

Glad to hear that you are forwarding this hub on to your son. If he continues to 'force' his voice, he will run the risk of losing it altogether. Thanks.


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

Wonderful suggestions and exercising tips to sing in a soulful voice!

I agree, the entire body is involved while singing and anxiety or tension has no place.

Very useful advice for prospective singers. Thanks for sharing your expertise! Voted up and shared on HP!


DealForALiving profile image

DealForALiving 2 years ago from Earth

I can't wait to practice this. I've been thinking about my natural voice as I just joined a choir and I seem to jump between voices.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Hi Bill,

I'm all lit up like a Christmas Tree after reading your comments. I love writing about singing. Which reminds me - it's time for me to give you a call. :)

Sending love and hugs,

Audrey


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

It is impossible to sing beautifully and be uptight! Just the other day, I was at a wedding doing prelude and postlude music. As the time got later, I was worried I wouldn't be able to sing the last number. The more worried I was, the tighter my voice became. I had to concentrate on relaxing in order to allow the sound to come through. It was a testament to what you are teaching here!


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

I love the ng--I use it all the time--both myself and with students--Happy Wednesday Audrey


Nancy Owens profile image

Nancy Owens 2 years ago from USA

I love this! When we were kids and there were no computers for gaming and television was still a treat instead of a necessity, we girls would sing the songs of the day including show tunes. Out there on the farm we would just belt it out with the animals for an audience. Once we made up a skit complete with Brownie the Cow as our elephant for the circus! Singing can make a heart glad. Thank you for sharing this.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 2 years ago from Dubai

Interesting and informative hub. Never knew about the rag doll exercise till now, will try it out. Thank you for sharing. Voted up.


Pawpawwrites profile image

Pawpawwrites 2 years ago from Kansas

Lots of great advice. I used to sing in a choir, but I finally decided it wasn't nice to punish innocent people, because I liked to sing.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 2 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

I felt calmer reading this...will practice these positions, sweet Audrey and maybe a warble or two. Love you, Maria


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

bravewarrior

Doing proper vocal warm-ups are important for good singing. I'ts like a tune-up for the car. In addition to vocal warm-ups, preparing the body to sing is also a good thing to do. Thanks for your comments Sha.

always exploring

I'm riding on a cloud to find that you've tried these exercises. Great!

Do be careful with your back. The main objective here is to rid the body of neck and back tension. What a good student you are Ruby. So proud of you!

mckbirdbks

Mike, you hilarious man. I'm still laughing at your comment. Thank you for you very kind words. Happy days to you. - Audrey


midget38 profile image

midget38 2 years ago from Singapore

Am going through this immediately!!


lambservant profile image

lambservant 2 years ago from Pacific Northwest

So glad I found this. I have been meaning to find out how to sing better. I can't afford lessons so I was going to go on Youtube or look it up on google. Thanks for posting this.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

I wish you were around when I was a child to learn these wonderful music lessons. I am always amazed at your methods of vocal exercise and your posts are so well written.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

ChitrangadaSharan

Thank you for finding my hub useful. Yes, the entire body is involved when we sing. Most singers do not realize this. Enjoy your day.

DealForALiving

I'm happy to see you here and learn that you will be using this exercise. We actually learn to sing correctly by 'feeling' techniques in the body. With that said, 'feel' for vibrations in the resonating areas - the face, the chest etc. Choir is a good place to practice singing!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

denise.w.anderson

I can't thank you enough for sharing your singing experience with us. I appreciate your confirming the dangers of tension to the vocalist. This is even more powerful coming from a professional like yourself.

AudreyHowitt

When you give me a 'thumb's up' on a vocal hub, it says volumes. With your knowledge, talent and experience with voice, I am honored.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Nancy Owens

Brownie the cow. How precious is that. What fun memories you now have and thanks for sharing. What a free feeling to be able to belt out your songs. I love the childhood you were blessed with. Thank you.

Vellur

The 'rag doll' is a great exercise for releasing any tension. We, as writers, hold way too much tension in our neck and back from sitting so long at the computer. Thank you my friend.

Pawpawwrites

Your comment made me chuckle. :) Thank you for being here and I like your hubs.

Marcoujor

Hello dear Maria. I love the sound of your voice, the color and texture of your tones. The 'rag doll' is one of my favorite exercises. I use it to relax my back when I sit too long at the computer as well as for singing.

I hope all is well in your world and I thank you for taking time to read this. Peace and much love to you.

Audrey


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Have you heard Lady Fiddler, Audrey?

http://hubpages.com/entertainment/If-youve-got-lea...


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

This is great Audrey, I do those exercises, well the rag doll one everyday anyway as part of my exercise warm up! so now to add the singing! I made myself laugh actually as I was reading this I was making the sounds too! lol! great hub as always, and if this can help me sing better then that's a great bonus too, nell


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

Came back for another read Audrey! Well done!


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 2 years ago from malang-indonesia

Very inspiring hub. Audrey, I love all your tips and you always be my singing teacher. Thanks for writing and sharing with us. Voted up!

Prasetio


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

I can imagine doing this so I can belt out my rendition of Frozen's "Let it go, let it go." Very useful for those of us who are just winging it through life singing here and there.


no body profile image

no body 2 years ago from Rochester, New York

Playing around with music is very educational. I really never listened to main parts of singing and to diction and to vibrato. I began to really listen to the ocarina players and when they held a note or added vibrato to give a depth to a piece of music. I was then amazed to hear that singers do the same thing (which takes a lot of air and air control). So this exercise I never would have thought how it may help with singing or finding a singing voice. I remember Bible camp when my pastor called me a "wuss" and challenged me to go and join the choir that always was recruited for every conference we attended. So I went up knowing I had no real singing capability. My voice was creaky squeaky and leaky. I did my usual thing and sang with the highest pitch group of guys because for some reason my voice sounded best in my ear with an unnatural girly pitch to it. The director, an old man that had given his life in tasks such as I proved to be, pulled me from where I was standing and put me next to a guy with an impossibly low timbre in his voice. I wondered why that was. The director said, "Sing more like him," which I took to mean pace and rhythm and not pitch. After another attempt the director looked at me again. I was really feeling like a wuss now. He explained as if I was about 5 years old. He said, "I believe you are singing in a pitch that is too high. I believe that if you sing at the same pitch as this man you will be closer to how you should sound and it should feel more natural to you and your poor throat." Then he began again. I must say I sounded to myself like I was a traditional rendition of "Old Man River," complete with baritone. It just couldn't be right. But the director's smile was telling me that it was right and my poor throat said thank you. I spent much time finding myself popping between pitches and I still will not sing in my voice if I am not thinking about it. That is why I love playing music. I can hear accurately what is sounds like because it is not originating from inside of me. I feel like my ocarina is singing and now I've learned how and which sounds to place vibrato. I am slowly becoming a person of sound. Well, I have taken up so much space but I have enjoyed the article and reliving that old memory from LeTourneau Christian Camp. Voted up and awesome. Now I will go and try the exercise (when no one is around). Laughter always distracts from my attempts. hahaha


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

no body

Thank you for your wonderful, very interesting story. I love hearing experiences like this. You truly are "a person of sound." Because you appreciate how sound works, you may find my hub http://vocalcoach.hubpages.com/hub/Sounds-Have-Pow... enlightening and fun to visit.

Stay with the program and the beautiful clarity of the ocarina, second only to the human voice :)

Audrey

WillStarr

Hello my friend. Thanks for the link and I enjoyed it. LadyFiddler has potential alright. Hope things are just great in your world. - Audrey

Nell -

You are an ideal singing student. Repeating the rag doll and incorporating your singing at the same time is absolutely the best way to develop your voice. This exercise forces you to feel as well as listen to your own body. Something even the pro's have to learn if they want to maintain their great sound. - Hugs, Audrey

AudreyHowitt

Hello beautiful lady with the beautiful voice. Wow, when I get a return visit from YOU along with a thumbs up, it really makes my day!

Prasetio30

Hello my friend. Thank you for being here and rating my hub well. That means much to me. I am honored to be your singing teacher. I hope your school year is going great. - Audrey

FlourishAnyway

"Let it go, let it go", ah yes :) Absolutely enjoy singing this song as you go from the rag doll position into the full standing position. In time, you will soon be advancing to all you favorites!

Thanks - Audrey


no body profile image

no body 2 years ago from Rochester, New York

I thank you for your kind words and also echoing the sentiment about my favorite musical instrument. I will read the article you recommended right now. I am very much in your debt. Much Affection, Bob.


Paula Atwell profile image

Paula Atwell 2 years ago from Cleveland, OH

This is an excellent article on singing. First of all I love your model and the top picture is wonderful. I used to sing in choir and in voice contests in junior high and high school and take voice lessons. We sing a lot in my family and it was really fun. Enjoyed the explanations of the exercises and am sure they would be great for breathing also. Bravo!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York

Such great exercises. I can remember singing and just not feeling right, this is certainly the answer. I was always singing with my Dad playing the piano and then in a folk group for 30 years. Now I just sing at home but it never hurts to be ready.

Thanks for these great exercises.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM

This is wonderful and thank you for sharing your exercises with us. I do the rag doll as a meditation or relaxation exercise, but I will add the vocals to it now. This is so helpful to singers of all ages and I like that you say everyone can sing. What an musical inspiration you are to everyone!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Paula Atwell

Very nice to know that you like the photo. She is a professional singer and the picture was taken across the street.

I'm delighted to find that you are a singer and your family sings too. A wonderful thing! I'm so glad you like the exercises.

Thanks Paula for your contribution. - Audrey

tillsontitan -

So great to see you my friend. How are things in NY? I love hearing about you singing and your dad playing piano. What a musical family. Big thanks for the wonderful votes. Take care - Audrey

suzettenaples -

You're already well acquainted with the rag doll exercise. Fantastic! Thank you for your very nice and welcomed comment. Enjoy your day - Audrey


ComfortB profile image

ComfortB 2 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

Someone told me once that drinking warm to hot liquid will help my singing voice. Didn't work. Then another said gaggling with raw eggs down my throat will. Naa..! Honey and lemon, ginger anyone? None of that work.

This is the first time I'm reading on something that I think might actually work. I will try the Rag roll, looks simple enough. I've also been trying the lip roll. Saw that video on Youtube.

Thanks. Voted up and useful.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

ComfortB

Just like taking a prescription to mask pain, it's better to cure the cause. Your problem could very well be that your body is holding too much tension. If so, the rag doll will help more than anything else. Thanks.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 24 months ago from Nashville Tn. Author

midget38

Hi there. Tell me how these exercises are working for you? Make sure to do them often. The more, the better. Thanks.

lambservant

I'm so happy to learn that you like to sing. Please let me know if I can help you in any way. Send me an email when you can. Thank you.

Audrey

teaches12345

I love your comments Diana. In February I am offering a couple of free singing lessons (video) to 10 people on HP in celebration of my birthday. Let me know if you're interested. :)

Appreciate your kind words.

Audrey


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 24 months ago from Peru, South America

I´m intrigued by these exercises. I didn´t realize tension is such an enemy of singing. When I was young, I focused on playing the violin and piano instead of exercising my voice. Now I regret it! But maybe it´s not too late. I look forward to trying this! I hope it works for me!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 24 months ago from Nashville Tn. Author

vespawoolf

These exercises work! You may have to give it several tries to adjust the ear to the sound. A background in piano and violin will be helpful because your ear is already trained to hear musical pitch and sound.

It's not too late. I'm here to help you, anytime.

Thanks. Audrey


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 23 months ago from Maui and Arizona

This was sure interesting and looks fun. It's probably important, too. I'm sending the link to my son who I'm sure will enjoy it.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 22 months ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Hi Pamela,

Thanks for being here. Very happy that you are sending this hub to your son. Let me know what he has to say about this vocal exercise.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 22 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

BTW, Audrey, when is my local "We Can Teach Anyone to Sing!!" studio scheduled to open here in Phoenix?

I heard myself at a Birthday Party, and I'm desperate!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 22 months ago from Nashville Tn. Author

WillStarr

Oh, dear, Bill - I'd best be getting to this soon. We can do a 'before and after' vocal lesson to confirm the name of the studio! :)

Hugs,

Audrey

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