“The voice is presumed to be the original musical instrument, and there is no human culture, no matter how remote or isolated, that does not sing”.
– Prof. John Koopman. “A Brief History of Singing: Antiquity to 1590”. Conservatory of Music, Lawrence University, Appleton, WI. See the full article here
Whether you’re just starting out singing or are already a seasoned professional, there are many tips and tricks on becoming a better singer. Singing is “the production of musical tones by means of the human voice.”, according to Britannica Dictionary. It seems like some people are just born with the natural ability to spew beautiful notes out of their mouths while some voices take time, nourishment, and training. Becoming a better singer is not something that happens overnight, even if you were born with singing abilities or just starting out. Every voice needs training. Even professionals and those superstars you see on TV train their voices every day. As a singer, myself, I often get asked what tips I may have to become a better singer. I have acquired many of these tips through my 10+ years of singing and performing professionally and I want to share them with you so that you may take them with open arms to better your singing abilities. With these tips, you too can become a better singer.
1 – Sing Every Day
It is important that you practice singing every day or at least often enough to get practice and strength if you want to become a better singer. Your vocal chords are like muscles:the more you work them out, the stronger your vocal chords become, which allows your voice to become stronger and better. I’m not saying to go all crazy on me and sing (not to be confused with screaming) at the top of your lungs every day for hours at a time. That would actually do the opposite for your voice, because your vocal chords can become strained, much like working out your muscles too hard. Try singing to a few songs every day. Practice some of those fancy R&B riffs and runs. These can also increase your vocal ability. Even if you just do vocal exercises and warm ups (we’ll get to that later in tip #3), that workout of your vocal chords will really increase the strength, stamina, and longevity of your singing abilities.
2 – Practice Proper Technique
It is crucial to try to learn to sing with proper technique to prevent strain on your voice and increase strength, stamina, and longevity of your singing abilities. In the singing world, we learn to sing with our diaphragm and not our throat. Singing from your throat basically weakens your vocal ability, causing your sound tighten up and your throat to hurt after a while. It will also constrict you from being able to hit those beautiful high and low notes with ease. Here’s an easy trick to remember when using your diaphragm when singing: think of a balloon in your stomach. Of course we know the air does go in and out your lungs, not your stomach, but this is just a mental thought for using proper technique. When you breath in, you should think that the balloon in your stomach should fill up, not your lungs. When you breath out, you should think of deflating that balloon by using your diaphragm and basically pushing the air out with your abs. This picture from Rising Star Productions really depicts how it should look like:
See how the arrows point outwards when you exhale and inwards when you inhale? It’s that balloon filling up and deflating! This will help you gain the proper air you need to sustain and have control of your notes while you sing and increase your vocal stamina. It is also good to exercise your abs often to help with pushing those notes out and breathing exercises (See Tip #3).
Other important technique tricks to remember: to not push your chin outwards, but downwards when you sing. Pushing your chin outwards to hit those notes will only strain them. Also remember to try to pronounce vowels with your mouth to better hit those notes. Keep your shoulders down to prevent further strain.
3 – Practice Vocal Exercises and Warm Ups
It is crucial to practice vocal exercises and warm ups daily to improve your singing abilities because it is increases your vocal ability over time, your vocal range, and prevents strain and weakening of your voice. Before you really start cranking out those tunes, warming up your voice and doing vocal exercises will prepare your voice to hit those notes better. It’s basically the stretch period before you start working out.
This video is a perfect example of vocal warm ups and exercises from the Howcast channel on YouTube:
Another channel Eric Arceneaux’s YouTube Channel. Eric is one of NBC’s The Voice coach, along with other celebs in the industry. He gives great warm ups with scales, breathing and mouth exercises, and note the tips on singing from your diaphragm! I personally follow his YouTube channel because he gives clear how-to’s that really help!
I hope these tips really help you along your journey to become a better singer. These tips I’ve learned throughout my years singing have saved my voice and I feel like they will truly help you.