Want to know the secrets of the best singers out there? Here, Corona, CA teacher Milton J. shares his advice to instantly improve your singing voice…
As singers, we greatly admire those vocal artists who seem to be able to create their vocal sound so seemingly effortless and without strain or discomfort. What is it that they’re doing that we as aspiring or budding singers are not? Here are just a few of the tricks of the trade and vocal tweaks you can use within your voice lessons to instantly improve your singing voice.
One trick that will serve to transform how your vocal sound passes through your throat and increase your range is with larynx manipulation. Your larynx is colloquially known as your voicebox, or with male singers, the “Adam’s apple.” So how do you lower your larynx? To start, use the beginning of the yawn. Avoid intentionally pushing down the back of your tongue, as most people do when first learning to lower the larynx. This is because if you push your tongue down, you will feel a tightening of the muscles under your chin, which isn’t what you want for singing at all. Instead, using the yawn technique will help you use your sense of feeling and touch to understand how to control the muscles around your larynx.
Open Throat Breathing
Breathing is a subset of singing that many singers do not realize they must actively think about and foster greater control of. For instance, many of us singers tend to inhale much like we do when we’re sitting, walking, or talking. That is, through the nose and not utilizing the full capacity of our lungs. Because of that, we do not use all of our vocal tools to their best ability. When doing your warm-up exercises, take some time to focus on your breathing. To maximize your inhalation intake, try opening your mouth on an “Awh” shape and open your throat in a yawn-like fashion.
When you finish your exercise, you’ll notice your lungs may feel expanded, your body a little bit lighter, and a few yawns may have passed (this is normal, as your body is adjusting to the influx of air). Additionally, once you move to practicing a song, try breathing through the next vowel you are slated to sing. For example, if the next word after an inhalation is “over,” you would inhale through an “ooh” mouth shape. This will both help to increase the amount of air you receive into your lungs in addition to cutting down the time necessary to create the shape for your next singing word, setting in motion the best utilization of all of your vocal tools.
Lastly, another overlooked portion of everyday singing is using the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a dome-shaped muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. It plays a major role in breathing, as its contraction increases the size of the chest and, thus, inflates the lungs. Now, if you’re having trouble feeling your diaphragm, lie flat on the floor and place a moderate weight on your stomach area, something like a large book. Push that weight up using just the muscles in your stomach. Simultaneously draw air into your lungs to their full capacity and sing out. The muscles you’re using are your diaphragm.
Thus, strengthening the diaphragm with strength-building exercises will certainly enhance your vocal output. In this exercise, take a deep breath from your diaphragm, and while exhaling, count as high as possible. Count slowly and evenly, then record how much you’ve improved every day. Another strengthening exercise is Belt Singing. That is, take a simple belt and heckle it across your diaphragm. Make sure it’s tight enough so you can push out on the buckle using your diaphragm, but not too tight where it constricts breathing or is uncomfortable. From there, do your warm-up exercises and sing your song selections. When you have finished and remove the belt, you’ll notice your diaphragm will feel as if it’s been through a workout.
These easy tricks and tweaks will greatly improve your singing voice in just a few sessions. Why not try them out with a vocal teacher near you today?
Milton J. teaches guitar, piano, singing, music recording, music theory, opera voice, songwriting, speaking voice, and acting lessons in Corona, CA. He specializes in classical, R&B, soul, pop, rock, jazz, and opera styles. Learn more about Milton here!
Photo by Boelseye – Lisa Boels