Tips on Improving your Singing
A Little Background Music
Music. It's something we're aware of. For some it's their entire being, for others, just background sound. Me, it was something I was interested in but not so much until it became a part of my life.
I played the clarinet in grade school and I was in choir as a kid. I liked singing and since I was still young enough, I managed to keep my vibrant alto voice until puberty. A few years after that I managed to keep myself entertained in a weekly piano class. These all were just little bits and pieces of a vast world of music, and I really didn't even see the iceberg.
Future Rock and Roll Star
I'm the lead singer of a band now. It's probably one of the coolest feelings I've ever had before. Standing in front of dozens of people with teammates that are in perfect cadence with every note you make. It really wasn't until my first concert that it really hit home for me... I knew nothing about music! I had an entire lifetime to catch up on this amazing subject.
So while my journey of minors and majors and the circle of fifths and all the terminology and references to musical theory I could possibly make, that really isn't the intention of this hub. This hub is about singing!
Quick Reference Side Notes
- Know your vocal range
- Have an influence or sound you are trying to achieve
- Breathe and use the correct parts of your body to appropriately match the sound you are trying to make
- Practice, sing in the shower, sing in the car, sing in the basement or attic. Keep at it.
- If you can, find a teacher. You always have room to improve and someone to help you is one of the best ways to do that.
Voice (Not the One in Your Head)
When I mentioned earlier that I had been in choir I didn't mention that I had been in choir for several years. I didn't really take it seriously and when I was introduced to my break and the octave in which I spoke dropped... a lot. I lost all hope and moved on (dramatization). Years later I found out a good friend of mine was a drummer and well, here I am, singing. Since I've taken a more proactive approach towards my instrument, the vocal chords are an instrument, and in my opinion one of the most difficult to master. I've found a lot of helpful tips along the way that are guaranteed to improve singing. I should know. I do them and I've become a better singer.
- Firstly, one should know where they can sing most comfortably.
If you are straining your voice to hit notes, it can not only potentially ruin your vocal chords but it also sounds terrible and quite frankly it's irritating as hell! I'm not saying this to be mean or anything, I'm sparing you! I didn't have a nice chunk of text telling me to chill out and practice strengthening the range you're most comfortable in.
Now if you feel you want to sing like someone or you don't like the way you sound most comfortably then that is fine too. Some of the most unique voices out there today actually made themselves sound that way. You can vary up the way you sound with your nose, your throat, your tongue, your teeth, etc! The Ah, Ee, Eh, Oh and Oo sounds also vary singing depending on your mouth and lips. Experiment and find what works best for you and try to make it meet halfway with comfortable.
- Now secondly, breathing.
You do it all the time. But do you do it from the diaphragm? What does that mean? Try opening your mouth and exhaling. Feel that part of your stomach that presses in? That is from the diaphragm! Simple and moving on... wait a minute. That's it? Breathe from that phlegm place and you sing better? My bad, let me elaborate. Singing from the diaphragm allows a person to increase there volume and gives a stronger tone. It can make soft whispery notes turn into bellow-y booming notes. It helps you sing on key as well as you are forced to push a lot of air out which allows for your vocal chords to pick up more flow.
The THIRD Tip!
This one you've heard countless times from almost every person in almost every field you've attempted to become better at. It involves you, possibly a teacher, the desire, the drive, and the determination.
Practice. Practice any chance you get. If you feel embarrassed about singing then that means you have to practice more! More times over equals certainty, in other words, practice makes perfect. Now while perfect might seem far off. Remember this fun fact. You are your own worst critic. If someone tells you that you shouldn't quit your day job well then give them the finger and keep at it. You can only ever get better.This is all advice I give from personal experience. I was a classically trained singer and for the past two years I had to develop into a rock and roll singer. Find my style, find my niche vocally.
In my entire life I've never been particularly sensitive about anything but when I discovered the severity of how important my singing was to me, well, let's just say I've gotten critical on some people. Only let people you trust and whom you can take judgement from help give you pointers from an outside perspective. Generally this is where a teacher or vocal coach can come in handy. Not only do they have experience, but they are also pretty cool most of the time.
Fourth little tip. This one is really just an overall, "things you can do to practice thing." Sing in the car. Sing in the shower. Sing quietly. Sing extremely loud. Sing when you are laying down. (this is actually extremely helpful as it forces you to become stronger and more on key) Sing when you are sitting.
What do I sing though, you might ask. Sing your favorite songs. Sing silly stuff with your friends. Sing those Do-Re-Mi's they can be quite fun if you watch The Sound of Music. Try singing with a different accent. That's always fun and the outcome can become quite interesting. There is tons of stuff out there! Karaoke, Disney, whatever! Experiment and figure out what works best for you. You just have to stick with it. Good luck and remember to have fun!