Let’s face it: you’re not going to win American Idol, or join the cast of Glee. But that doesn’t mean you can improve your singing voice.
These simple tips from vocal coaches can help you finetune your voice, so you can be your best at the next karaoke session, sing with your kids, or be able to impress your girlfriend with a decent rendition of her favorite love song.
Breathing is everything
Singing is a lot about being able to breathe properly. Most of us take very shallow breaths, which is one reason why we can’t seem to hold a note. To check your breathing, put your hand on your stomach and inhale. Your stomach (not your chest) should inflate like a balloon.
Some vocal coaches will teach aspiring singers to ‘strengthen their breathing’ by making them practice while in a pool! That may be a little extreme (you’ll get a lot of weird looks next time you go to the community hall) but there’s no reason not to sing your favorite song while soaking in the tub. Other great exercises are crunches and sit ups which build your abdominal muscles and your ability to project your voice.
Your posture also affects the quality of your voice, since it affects the way your breath is carried. So when it’s your turn at the karaoke bar, stand with your legs apart (about the width of your shoulders) and
your back straight, lifting your chest. Keep your shoulders loose and relaxed, too, so you don’t look like you’re a wrestler about to pounce.
And actually, it’s not just your shoulders which should stay relaxed. Every muscle in your body, including those in your face, jaw, and throat, should be free of any tension. Many vocal coaches actually give their clients jaw and facial exercises to help them loosen up before practice and especially before a big performance.
Touch your teeth with your tongue
Lifting your tongue so that its tip rests on the back of your teeth prevents it from blocking your throat. So that means your voice isn’t blocked—you will project better and the notes will ring clearer.
Take care of your throat
Many professional singers
don’t smoke, drink, or do anything that will injure the throat. They even avoid thick drinks (like that extra chocolatey milkshake) for at least 48 hours before a performance. That may be too much if you’re just going to be singing with the church choir, but at least you know!
Listen to what Simon says
You know what Simon always says at American Idol: it’s all about song choice. Pick a song that suits your vocal quality and range.
Photo from karaokesinging.net