No mic? No problem! Sing loud and proud with these voice projection tips from Broken Arrow, OK voice teacher Adia P…
Growing up on the stages of community theater, I probably heard “Project your voice!” more than “Curtain!” or “Break a Leg!” It’s a little intimidating at first, but between nonstop practices and a healthy fear that all my hard work would be wasted if no one could hear my lines, I was projecting like a pro in no time.
It may sound complicated, but projecting your voice is just another way to say, speak up. We do it naturally, without thinking, almost every day. When I am helping my students to project their singing voice, I often have them practice attempting to get someone’s attention. To do so, we raise our voice to capture the attention of our target. For example, “Hey you!” or “Wait, you forgot your..!” They quickly learn that it is fairly easy to do – in fact, they project almost effortlessly. But is projecting in speaking the same as with singing?
The answer is yes. I often joke that to project in song is to speak up in melody. In the classic sense, “project” means to throw or thrust forward. In singing or speaking, it means we are controlling the volume of our voice, clearly and distinctly, in an effort to be heard at a greater level. It is less of a skill to be taught, and more of a method to be practiced. In fact, most of our difficulties with projecting have more to do with confidence than lack of ability. Insecurities about your voice, or overwhelming concerns about what others will think about your sound can get in the way and cause you to shrink back. This is not always an easy fix, and often takes consistent practice and work with your coach to get your confidence level where you need it to be. But I’ve found that these three quick practice tips have helped my students master projection and get one step closer to achieving their vocal goals. I hope they help you too!
1. Find your focus. In practice, give yourself a target object to direct your voice toward. For example, a wall, window, or object on the other side of the room. You’ll notice when you give your voice an aim, you will project naturally.
2. Fill the room. Always sing with enough clarity and volume to fill the space that you are in. This will help you control the level and intensity of projection you need to give. A small studio or recital hall will not require the same power or support needed to fill a large theater or concert hall; note where you are and project accordingly.
3. Forget the fear. Since your sound comes from within, confidence struggles can greatly inhibit your ability or even willingness to sing out. But don’t let fear have the final say. If there is something about your voice you don’t like, focus in and work with your coach to get stronger and more proficient. Always believe in your ability to make a sound worth sharing.
Adia P. teaches singing lessons to students of all ages in Broken Arrow, OK. Adia specializes in vocal/stage performance, beginner-intermediate singing, sight-singing, musical theater and audition preparation and performance. She joined the TakeLessons team in October 2012. Learn more about Adia, or search for a teacher near you!
Photo by Matt McGee