It is the erroneous belief of many that everyone knows how to sing. All one has to do is just open their mouth and belt it out. However, just go to a karaoke bar and you will discover that not everyone has the gift of song. As for those who do, they are completely unaware that there is a right and wrong way to sing. The wrong way of singing can be unhealthy and damaging to the voice. The right way, on the other hand, is healthier and helps sustain the voice.
Take Care of Yourself and Your Voice
You must take care of your body in order to take care of your voice. Whether you are just singing for fun or have ambitions of a music career, you would want to keep your voice sounding good preferably for your entire life. Keeping yourself physically fit and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are the key factors to preserving your voice. This would include a healthy diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep. Factors that can damage your voice are smoking, excessive alcohol drinking, and taking illegal drugs.
Despite what showbiz tabloids say, not all singers and musicians follow the stereotypical hard-partying lifestyle. Recording artists who have celebrated long, rewarding careers strictly observed healthy lifestyles and shunned the alcohol and drug excesses that marked the short lives of such legendary superstars as Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Elvis Presley.
Singing Teacher vs. Online Singing Course
If you are serious about your singing, whether you are doing it for recreation or professionally, you will need to be trained on how to sing correctly. Singing lessons are a must for aspiring professionals. You can avail of the services of a voice teacher in your local area or download online singing lessons, like Singing Is Easy by Yvonne DeBandi or Singorama by Emily Mander.
Regardless of the type of instruction you choose, you need to learn how to properly use your vocal apparatus and how to avoid or address any voice problems that develop. This can be achieved with the right voice coach or singing program, and it can even prove to be a fun and exciting endeavor.
The first lesson you will learn focuses on correct posture and breathing techniques that will enable you to produce the best tones from your voice. The ideal singing posture is standing in any erect by relaxed manner, with feet hip-width apart and with either the left or right foot slightly forward. Shoulders should not be hunched forward and back curved. The back should be straight with chest high and shoulders back, but not as rigid as a soldier standing at attention.
Exercise for Singing Posture
Do the exercise below to help you attain a good singing posture…
1) Stand with feet hip-width apart and with arms hanging loosely at the sides.
2) In a quick circular motion, raise your arms across your body and up over your head.
3) As you do this, go up on your tiptoes and take a deep breath.
4) As you slowly exhale, lower your hands to your sides and get down on your feet.
5) Make sure that your chest and shoulders retain the same position as when you performed the stretch.
Breathing techniques help you to produce solid, full sounds without imposing strain on the throat. Whenever you inhale to sing, your diaphragm, abdominal and spinal muscles should work together to create a feeling of expansion especially along the midsection.
Once you have inhaled deeply, slowly exhale, creating a hissing sound, while you try to maintain your midsection in an expanded state. Strengthening your diaphragm and abdominal muscles will take some time and effort, but the exercise will enable you to sing in a healthy way, producing high quality tones and reduced fatigue on the vocal cords.
Correct posture and breathing techniques are but the foundations to learning how to sing properly. You then advance to the level focusing on tonal placement and quality. Vocal tone resonates from three primary areas, namely the head (sinuses), the pharynx (mouth and throat), and the chest. The “head voice” is utilized for the creation of high notes while the “chest voice” is for lower tones.
Most of the time, you will be producing sound originating from the head and pharynx called the “mixed tone.” Also termed “mask resonance”, this is because the sound vibrations emanate from an area that would be covered by a half-face mask similar to the one used by the Phantom of the Opera.
Voice Tone and Quality
Do this simple exercise to feel mask resonance…
1) Inhale deeply.
2) Starting with a high note using the syllable “hee” or “hoo”, slide your voice from the high to the low range.
Similar to yawning, you should be able to feel vibrations in the triangle-shaped area, starting from the point between your eyes going down to the bridge of your nose and the roof of your mouth (or soft palate).
These basics are the first steps that you need to master to be able to learn how to sing. You will be able to see results if you work hard and with patience, discipline and regular practice.