- Education and Science
How To Sing
Do You Want To Learn To Sing Better?
Singing is one of the most fun and enjoyable activities in the world. Whether you're singing for an audience or just serenading someone special, you want to impress them.
No one wants to hear a poor singer. So don't be one. Learn how to sing. You can improve your voice with these lessons and tips today.
The Value of Proper Vocal Technique
You can quickly make improvements in your voice by following a just few simple steps. These steps will have an immediate effect on your voice that only improves with time. By making a few small changes you can start to sing with an ease and power that you may have thought you were incapable of. You can learn how to sing the way professionals do. You can improve your range and the overall quality of your voice. Anyone can improve. Anyone can learn how to sing. And it takes as little as 15 minutes a day.
The key to singing better is having the proper technique. Learning how to sing with these techniques is the only way to safely improve your voice. Learning these techniques and being careful to apply them to your singing is the difference between a good singer and a great one.
Have you ever taken voice lessons?
This is the best course you can buy to learn to sing at home. In some ways you may prefer it to a teacher since this course teaches all of the fundamental singing techniques but focuses on pop styles not opera.
A Quick Overview of How the Voice Works
As much as you may want to just start singing it's important to have at least a general understanding of how the voice works. When you speak or sing you are blowing air through your larynx. The larynx or voice box is a system of muscles, cartilage, and bones that work together to produce sound. The pitch is determined by how large an opening there is between the vocal cords. The sound produced by the vocal cords is then amplified by the resonator. The resonator is a collective term for the mouth, lips, tongue, and teeth. The resonator in addition to making voice louder also can contribute too the pitch (in good and bad ways).
As you can see there is quite a lot going on when you sing. The muscles of the larynx need to be strong to produce the proper pitch, and the resonators need to be properly aligned to produce a good vocal sound. Your voice is the sum of its parts. Make sure all the parts are working correctly by learning the proper vocal techniques.
The Human Voice
Things you must learn to sing well
There are so many things you can do to improve your voice that I could never fit them all on this page. The opera singers spend their entire lives perfecting their craft. The odds are you don't want to sing opera. Which means you don't have nearly as much to learn. Don't think that means you'll be able to learn everything in an afternoon it will still take time.
On this page I want to go over the things that are most important to your success as a singer. If you learn to do these things well you will see rapid improvement in your voice.
Warming Up Your Voice
Warming up your voice is an important part of learning how to sing. It helps you learn how to control you voice and helps builds the endurance necessary for performing. It also helps you develop your sense of pitch.
The simplest way to warm up your voice is to sing scales. You should sing up and down the scale a few times. Arpeggiating chords is also good. If at anytime during your warm up you feel pain STOP! Your doing something wrong. If you feel pain its best to try singing in a more comfortable part of your voice and work in the direction of the pain. Never sing if you feel pain it is extremely unhealthy and can lead to vocal cord damage.
A Good Warm up
This is a good warm up. A great choice if you don't have access to a piano, and wonderful for practicing in the car.
Breathing and Posture
Breathing is vitally important to good singing. Without proper breathe support you will never be able to sing with ease. You will find yourself fighting to hit the high notes and you will never be able to sing long phrases. So it's worth working on.
Equally important is having good posture. Having good posture is fundamental to being able to sing well. If you are slumped over you will not be able to get a good breath. You will also make it much harder get your resonators into the optimal positions. When you sing try to be aware of you posture. Make sure you are relaxed but not slumping, this is a key area to focus on if you wish to improve your singing. This is a vital step in learning how to sing. It is the foundation. Don't neglect it.
How to Breathe Diaphragmatically
1. Lie flat on your back and put one hand on your chest and the other below your rib cage.
2. Breathe through your nose making sure your stomach rises as if fills with air (it doesn't really fill with air but it is a useful image). Make your chest remains still throughout the exercise.
3. Now tighten your stomach and pull it inward (with your abs) forcing the air out of your mouth. Again make sure your chest doesn't move.
Blending Your Head and Chest Voices
To sing well you must learn how to blend your chest and head voices. If you've ever had your voice crack then you know where the voices meet. Your goal should be to try to bring your head voice lower so it blends with the chest voice. At the same time you should try to take your chest voice higher so it will blend with you head voice. The key to all of this is to make sure that you do have any unnecessary tension.
Improving Your Voice
One Step At A Time
The only surefire way to improve your singing voice is to practice daily. That doesn't mean that you should just sing everyday (which is also a great idea). It means you should spend time focusing on specific problems or weak points in your technique. If you can fix one problem or improve slightly everyday you're doing excellent. This is a key concept in learning anything but especially singing. Start by identifying a problem or two and determine that you are going to correct it. Work on that particular problem for a few minutes in isolation everyday. If you do this consistently you will improve much more rapidly than if you try to fix everything at once. It's also a good idea to return occasionally to old problems too make sure that you haven't slipped back into any bad habits.
Learning how to sing takes time. And learning to blend the different parts of your voice is one of the most important techniques but it's not easy. Proper blending requires muscle strength and a level of coordination that most people do not naturally have. So patient and don't expect results overnight. If you stick with it you will see improvements.
Use The Proper Vowel Sound
If you find your voice breaking and are sure you have the proper amount of breath, it may be that your vowels are not correct. I don't mean you are singing the "Ah" when your supposed to sing "Ooh". I mean that you are singing a vowel that doesn't work as well in the part of your range you are in. You see, certain vowels work better in the higher ranges while others work better in the lower range. You can make use of this by practicing "vowel modification". Vowel Modification is simply substituting a similar vowel in the place of one that is harder to sing. The next time you find yourself having a problem getting the sound you want try using a different vowel if it doesn't work you may have to try something else. But if it works it's like magic. Also, don't worry that people will notice that you used a different vowel. Since this is usually don at either the top or bottom of your vocal range most people won't notice.
This program will help you learn to use the proper vowel sound.
The Health Benefits of Singing
Singing is a great benefit to your overall health.
1. Singing releases endorphins. This gives you more energy throughout your day.
2. Singing improves lung function.
3. Singing tones your Abs.
4. Singing improves the immune system.
5. Singing reduces stress
6. Singing increases longevity
That list is reason enough to take the time to learn how to sing. Don't you think?
Developing Vocal Stamina
Performers need to be able to sing for at least 20 minutes without becoming tired. The only way to develop this ability is to sing daily (as always making sure you use proper technique). Remember the act of singing requires that you use hundreds of muscles. Its like when you do couple of sets of pushups you develop an increased stamina allowing you to do more the next day. Sing everyday and you'll be singing for 20 or 30 minutes without tiring in no time.
How Often Do You Sing?
One of the best ways to improve your voice is to sing everyday this allows you to build muscle strength and coordination. However, if you don't use good techniques you may form bad habits.
How often do you sing?
Picking the right song to sing is very important to your success as a performer. If you pick a song that is out of your range, either too high or to low, can negate even the best singer's technique. Singing outside of your range almost always adds tension which can often cause pain and injury. Even if you are fortunate enough to avoid injury your vocal tone is going to be far from your best.
Assuming you've determined your vocal range you will want to pick songs that are in the center for most of the time. Not only will this be more comfortable and sound better, it will also fix most pitch issues. When your in the outer notes of your range you will tend to either flat or sharp the the note so that it is closer to the center of your range. An odd fact is that the closer your sing to the pitch zone of your speaking voice, the more solid your pitch will be.
It's also important to make sure you don't choose songs that are too difficult. If a song has a difficult rhythm or the lyrics are hard to pronounce the audience may not be able to understand you. It's best to pick songs that are within your ability to preform easily. This is a key thing to remember because all the difficulties you have will be magnified if you get just a little bit nervous.
Also remember who your audience will be. One of your main goals in performing is to entertain the audience (right up there on the list with having fun). Knowing what your audience likes is a key to planing repertoire, especially if it is for a concert or recital. Try to imagine who will be in the audience and what music they would like to hear, you don't want to perform a heavy metal song for a renaissance fair (or maybe you do). It's also a good idea to have a couple of back up sets in different styles. Many times I've been performing with a band and the audience was just not enjoying the music. We always had a set of medleys in various styles and from different eras. Once we hit one that the crowd went wild for we would switch to a backup set that was similar. We often had to do this several times throughout a gig as the crowd changed.
While it's easy to just start trying to sing your favorite songs, it's important to remember that they may not show off your abilities as well as a slightly less difficult song. Preforming well should always be your goal and the correct song makes this much easier to accomplish.
Help! I'm Sick
How To Sing While You're Sick
Last spring I had a the flu for two weeks. During that time I had an aunt die and was asked to sing at her funeral. This left me with a problem how was I going to sing beautifully while I was this sick. I didn't know the answer so I called my doctor and my old voice professors. Using the methods they recommended I was able to make it through the performance. And while it wasn't the best performance of my life, it wasn't too terrible either.
Now what exactly did I do to manage my illness. Well first I got as much rest as I could and drank water constantly, try to drink at least a gallon of water a day. And I took my normal vitamins and supplemented them with additional vitamin C. My doctor recommended I take Mucinex and a decongestant. This along with the water took care of a lot of congestion. But what about the pain and swelling? My voice coach recommended that I drink lots of hot tea. I tried this and found it was a bit beneficial. But what was most effective was throat lozenges. I alternated between Ricola and Halls Defense. This along with tylenol made the pain bearable.
With the pain and symptoms under control I still needed to be able to sing without making the audience cringe. Normally I would have warmed up and practiced. However, with the swelling and pain it was possible to damage my vocal cords. So I decided to do a very abbreviated warm up (just a few scales (up and down) and a a couple of arpeggios) then I practiced the song 2 or 3 times. (This was all the night before.) Right before the funeral I did an even shorter warm up and ran through the songs once. When I listened to the recording later that week I was surprised at how decent my performance was.
If you have to sing while sick I recommend you do something similar to what I did. Just make sure you check with your doctor before taking any medications. Also when you're picking the songs your going to be singing make sure you pick very simple songs that are well within your range. If you're like me when you get sick your brain isn't functioning at 100% so don't try to do complex songs.
Hopefully by following this sort of routine you will be able to make it through your performance. When performing while sick all you can hope for is that you will survive and not do to badly. Good luck.
"He who sings scares away his woes."
- Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra