Singing is one of the most intrinsically human artistic endeavors. Song and music have been part of the human experience since the Stone Age or earlier. We communicate with rhythm and beat, we celebrate with song and dance. Whether you’re building a career as a professional singer or frontman, or are a band member who’s sometimes asked to sing backup, or even if you just want to improve your technique so you sound better while singing in the shower or the car, our five tips will help you get improve your singing voice quickly.
1 – A-E-I-O-U
One of the quickest ways to achieve better singing is to enunciate your vowels properly without cutting off the flow of air. When you’re getting ready to sing, look in a mirror. Say “A-E-I-O-U” into the mirror and see what shapes your mouth makes. More than likely, your jaw will impact on E and U. Instead, pull down your jaw when you are singing these notes. By opening your mouth like this you’ll notice a marked improvement. You’ll be forced to project which increases the sound and quality of your voice.
2 – Aiming for the Highs
If you’re straining hard to hit the high notes, that’s not good. Mind your body! Breathe into your stomach. Mind your spinal alignment, keeping your spine in a straight yet relaxed position. And mind where your head is. You gain more vocal power without strain by pointing your chin down slightly towards your pectoralis as you evision your voice coming out of the top of your crown (yup, your head). Even hard rock greats like Robert Plant, Steve Perry, and Rob Halford can be seen using this technique. If it works for them, it’ll work for you on the path towards better singing.
3 – Do Vocal Warm-ups
Many young singers like to jump right in. That’s understandable but really not good for your voice. Better singing requires preparation in much the same way running sprints requires a good warmup. Do vocal exercises that include highs and lows and nasal sounds, which really open up the voice. Do jumping jacks, get your blood flowing, stretch, and then start to sing. Going from zero to sixty isn’t going to be as difficult as it is going from twenty-five to sixty. You voice is an instrument, one that can be broken. Treat it as such.
4 – Get Good Headphones
If you’re singing and recording you need to be able to hear yourself well. Invest in a pair of good headphones and know this: almost no one likes the sound of their own voice, especially the first time they hear it coming out of a pair of headphones or speakers. Rather than get down on yourself, assess your own strengths and weaknesses in a neutral, dispassionate manner. Then, work on improving the areas where you’re weak. If you also write your own songs or are working with a songwriter, make note of your strengths so that you can choose material which makes the most of what your voice has to offer.
5 – Take It Seriously and Study
Look at other singers, especially those whose strengths match your own. What do they do? What are they using as their tricks? How can you mimic or innovate upon what they’ve done? As an artist, what kind of songs should you have in your repertoire? Are you short on vocal range but deep in poetry, style, or emotion? Or do you have a vast vocal range and a penchant for vocal flourishes? Or, do you have the uncanny ability to change your voice and become different characters in much the same way as artists like Beth Gibbons or Beyoncé, whose versatility was showcased in the Grammy-winning album Lemonade? What is the best way for you to approach building a career based off of your talents?
Whether you’re dripping with raw vocal talent or have an okay voice that could stand to do backup and maybe make a cameo here and there, perfecting your own unique voice is one of the most worthwhile things you can do. And remember, what makes any one voice or singer good, really is in the eyes of the listener. Some might argue that singers like Bob Dylan and Tom Waits don’t have technically “good” voices but their distinctive styles, musicianship, and the ways in which they make the most of what they’ve been given (using mood, tone, and cadence) to bring out the meaning of a lyric, makes them talented singers in their own right.
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