Wondering how to become a singer? Take a look at the five essential qualities you’ll need in this guest post by Ann Arbor, MI singing teacher Elaina R...
Plenty of people want to be singers. At the same time, though, most people have no idea how to become a singer and really improve. Why? Singing is complicated!
Singing is a performing art. A good singer is both a good musician (sounds good and sings the right notes) and a good performer (is engaging and interesting to watch). There is, in fact, a relationship between performing well and singing well; these skills rely on each other.
Is there a secret formula to becoming an outstanding singer? No, but cultivating these five skills hones both musical and performance abilities. Practice these, and you will be able to sing accurately and put on a good show.
A Good Ear
First of all, a singer needs to sing in tune! For those who are not born with sensitive aural skills (also known as a musical ear), learning to consistently match pitch is an important first step to singing. Working with a voice teacher on aural skills exercises, and practicing those exercises at home, helps. Technology, such as pitch-recognition apps, aid in at-home practice for students who aren’t yet sure if they are singing the right pitches.
Strong Breath Support
The more breath support you have, the longer you will be able to sing phrases and the easier it will be for you. Developing a strong base of breath support by learning about the breathing apparatuses of the body and doing breath-related exercises allows you to sing those newly in-tune songs with ease and grace.
A Relaxed Body
Have you ever watched someone with a stiff body (shoulders up, neck tense) try to perform? It’s extremely stressful for the audience, not just the performer. Learning to relax your body – especially the parts directly involved with singing, such as your jaw, tongue, and neck – in performance situations is an essential skill for singers. Practice singing in front of a mirror, noticing what happens. When you hit a high note, do you strain your shoulders and neck? See what happens if you don’t. Do you sound better?
A Balanced Stance
While you do need to be relaxed to sing, you also can’t be a puddle on the floor. Audiences take performers with a powerful stance more seriously. Practice standing comfortably and openly, without crossing your arms or leaning to one side. Balance your weight across your two feet, on your pelvis, throughout your spine.
If you play another instrument while you sing, spend some time finding a good stance for your body while you are doing so. Are you leaning too far forward to look at your guitar strings, for example? What do you think that does to your sound?
If you’ve ever seen a great singer perform, you probably noticed that they looked utterly confident. Staying relaxed and standing right are a big part of this: humans register relaxed, open posture as a sign of confidence, and just standing this way can make you feel more confident as well. Practicing aural skills, breath support, and other elements of good singing also helps you feel more confident in your abilities.
Got pre-show jitters? Do some slow breathing exercises. Eat a banana (they help the brain produce serotonin). Try holding a power pose, such as the “Wonder Woman pose,” for two minutes (this also raises dopamine levels in the brain). Then get out there and have a wonderful time!
Elaina R. teaches opera voice and singing in Ann Arbor, MI, as well as through online lessons. She is currently working on a Master of Music at the University of Michigan, and she has a B.M. from the University of Southern California. Learn more about Elaina here!
Photo by jus10h