What does it take to be a great singer? Although some people seem to be born with a natural talent for singing, it’s actually a skill that anyone can learn. That’s because the voice is like a muscle. With the right exercises and plenty of practice, you can train it and improve the way you sound. That’s how to sing better.
There are some basic elements that you need to learn before you can start concentrating on perfecting your voice. Singing is a physical activity. So like an athlete, you need to prepare your body to deliver the best performance you can.
Table of Contents
- 1 How to sing better: steps
- 2 The Superior Singing Method
- 2.1 Module 1: Introduction
- 2.2 Module 2: Breath Control
- 2.3 Module 3: Vocal Tone
- 2.4 Module 4: Pitch
- 2.5 Module 5: Power and Resonance
- 2.6 Module 6: Mix Voice
- 2.7 Module 7: Vocal Agility
- 2.8 Module 8: Advanced Vocal Techniques
- 2.9 Module 9: Getting Ready to Perform
- 2.10 Module 10: Start-up Guide to Music Marketing
How to sing better: steps
The right posture
Why does the way you stand affect your voice? When you sing, you’re forcing air from your lungs through your mouth. Having the right posture ensures that the air can flow freely, without anything blocking it. So if you want to improve your singing voice you need to concentrate on standing up straight.
To make sure your posture is correct, check that your feet, knees, hips and shoulders are aligned. Lift your chest up and keep your shoulders back. Centre your weight by distributing it evenly between your feet.
An easy way to see if you’re doing this right is to stand against a wall. Check that the back of your head, shoulders, bum and heels all touch the wall. When you do this exercise you may be surprised to see just how bad your posture is. This is because many of us spend a lot of time hunched in front of the computer.
It will take time to develop the correct posture, so try and be aware of how you sit and stand. When you notice that you’re slouching, correct yourself right away. Over time, your body will assume the right posture automatically.
Once your posture is correct, your diaphragm will open up and you’ll be able to control your breathing with ease.
Do you know how the right way to breathe? Not many people do. Often, we breathe using our chest muscles. Try it now. Take a deep breath and watch how your chest rises and falls. But when you breathe the right way, you use your diaphragm.
The diaphragm is a dome shaped sheet of muscle and tendon at the bottom of your rib cage. When you breathe in it contracts, making more room in the body for the lungs to take in air. And when you breathe out it expands, helping to force stale air from your lungs. If you breathe using your diaphragm, you’ll notice that your stomach moves, and not your chest.
As adults, we tend to hold tighten our stomach muscles, because it makes us look thinner. So we rely on our chest muscles to help us breathe. But if you watch a small child breathing, you’ll see how their stomach expands and contracts with each breath. That’s because they’re not worried about looking thinner, and so they use their diaphragm to breathe properly.
You can re-learn this natural technique, but it takes time and practice until you can do it without thinking about it. To start, lie on your back with a small pillow to support your head. Bend your knees slightly and place your hands on your stomach. Now take a deep breath and concentrate on using your stomach to pull the air into your lungs. You should feel your hands rise up as your diaphragm expands. Then breathe out and you’ll feel your hands fall as you stomach contracts to push the air out of your lungs again. Continue with this exercise by adding a small weight such as a book, on top of your stomach.
The next step is to practice this while standing up. At first, you’ll have to concentrate and make a conscious effort to use your diaphragm to breathe. Place your hands on either side of your rib cage and breathe in. Your hands should move out to the side slightly if you’re doing it correctly. And your chest should hardly move.
With practice you’ll be able to do it without thinking about it. Not only will you have more air when you sing, but you’ll have more energy and feel better. This is because your body will get more oxygen and remove waste products from your body more efficiently.
Putting your tongue in the right place
Your tongue controls the sounds you make when you speak and when you sing. Very often we tense up when we sign and our tongues tense up too. This can make you sound unintelligible when you sing, which is not desirable. It also affects the resonance of sounds inside your mouth. When you sing, you want to create enough space in your mouth for the sound to resonate properly.
If you place the tip of your tongue behind your teeth, it opens up the back of your throat and creates more space in your mouth. Think about when you go to the doctor and he tells you to open your mouth wide and say ‘ah’. He does this because it allows him to see the back of your throat easily, so he can check for redness and irritation. When you produce this sound, your mouth is at its most relaxed state. If you can fit at least two fingers in your mouth, especially on open vowels like ‘ah and ‘oh’, then you’re doing it correctly.
Keeping your larynx still
Your larynx is also known as your “voice box” and is located behind your Adam’s apple. The larynx houses the vocal chords, and the muscles and cartilage that coordinate their function. You can use your larynx to control your pitch, but not in the way you might think.
When you talk, your larynx hardly moves. But when you first start singing, you may notice that it moves a lot more. This is how it works. As you start to sing, the muscles of the larynx bring the vocal cords together. Once you’ve built up enough breath, the pressure builds up and air bursts through the cords. As you run out of breath, the pressure decreases and the cords close again.
So often we imagine that the vocal cords produce sound by vibrating. But this is completely incorrect. Sound is produced by the change in pressure created by air moving past the vocal cords.
That’s why adjusting the pitch of your voice doesn’t rely on moving your vocal cords, up and down, as you might think. It’s really about changing their shape as the air flows over them. For example, to sing a high note, you actually need to think about your cords getting shorter and thinner. You won’t be able to see it happening, but this is exactly what your larynx does to reach a higher pitch.
When you sing, you need to keep your larynx relaxed, the way it is when you’re talking normally. Only once you’ve improved and learned some techniques, will you need to move it around to create different sounds.
Warm up and cool down exercises
When you sing you’re using muscles, just like an athlete. That’s why it’s important to treat your voice like any other muscle in your body. To develop it you need to use it every day so it can get stronger and you can have more control over it. Just like you wouldn’t start running without warming up, you shouldn’t start signing without warming up your voice box.
Warming up exercises do more than just prepare your muscles for work. They help them remember how to move. Muscle memory plays a large part in singing. You can train your larynx to do certain things automatically, without you having to think about it.
And cooling down after a singing session is just as important. Stopping abruptly isn’t good for your muscles. These exercises help to maintain your muscle function and shouldn’t be neglected.
If you’re serious about improving your singing voice, you may want to seek help from a professional voice coach. Unfortunately, good coaches can be hard to find. There are many advertising their services, but few of them have the credentials to back up their claims.
Developing a good voice takes time and expertise. Both of these can come at a price. A good coach will be in demand and may charge a lot for private lessons. And they may not be able to fit you in right away. Although there are plenty of courses available on the internet, they’re not all the same quality. Unfortunately, you won’t know what you’re getting until you’ve paid for it.
The Superior Singing Method
Created by Aaron Anastasi, a well-known musician, artist and vocal coach, the Superior Singing Method is an online singing course. Through the years, Aaron has helped thousands of people become better singers.
The course is eight weeks long and contains all the techniques and exercises you need to improve the quality of your voice. Beginners and more experience singers alike will find the information Aaron has put together very useful. These are the topics that Aaron covers in each module:
Module 1: Introduction
You’ll start with some basic warm up exercises that you’ll use throughout the course on a daily basis. Aaron has also included a timetable to help you organise your practice sessions.
Module 2: Breath Control
As you’ve learnt, breathing correctly is the key to singing well. In this module you’ll learn how to use your breath properly to sing with power and control.
Module 3: Vocal Tone
You can change the tone of your voice by manipulating your soft palate. Aaron will teach you the techniques for making sounds resonate clearly through your nasal cavities.
Module 4: Pitch
Hitting high notes with ease separates good singers from great singers. In this module you’ll learn how to perfect your pitch without straining.
Module 5: Power and Resonance
Singing with power is something all singers want to learn. Aaron will show you how to create resonance in your voice so it sounds powerful.
Module 6: Mix Voice
The ability to move your voice from your chest, to your head without cracking is an essential skill for any serious singer. Aaron will teach you the technique for switching between the two smoothly.
Module 7: Vocal Agility
If you want to learn how to increase your range, this module will teach you everything you need to know.
Module 8: Advanced Vocal Techniques
Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can take your training further and learn advanced techniques like vibrato, falsetto and how to strengthen your head voice.
Although two months seems like a long time, once you start working through the modules, you’ll notice an improvement almost immediately. This will encourage you to stick with the training.
The two bonus modules are great if you’re thinking about singing as a career. Aaron has a wealth of experience in the industry and he shares this information with you in these modules:
Module 9: Getting Ready to Perform
Having a stage presence and knowing how to keep an audience entertained are essential skills for performers. Aaron includes tips on overcoming stage fright so you can perform with confidence.
Module 10: Start-up Guide to Music Marketing
This module is full of advice on promoting yourself and getting noticed by the right people to help you career get started.
This is a very comprehensive course that’s much more affordable than hiring a private voice coach. And once you sign up, you’ll have access to Aaron for help with any questions or problems you have. The videos he has created for each module will show you exactly how the exercises work, and he provides lots of detail so you won’t have any problems understanding what to do.
You can work at your own pace and in your own home. With the money back guarantee, there’s no risk in trying it out. There are tons of online singing courses available, but we have no hesitation in recommending the Superior Singing Method because so many people have achieved success with it.
If you want to sing better, you need to learn as much as you can about the techniques involved. Singing uses many different parts of your body, such as your diaphragm, lungs, larynx and tongue. If you understand how these work and how to use them, you can improve your singing very quickly.