Today, we’re going to talk about the fastest way that you can improve your singing. This may be a bit tricky of course because no voice is exactly alike. Your voice is a unique combination of all of your habits, strengths, and weaknesses. However, certain things are consistent among all voices, which is what we’ll primarily be focusing on.
This will be a much more holistic approach to the voice, and the ideas we’ll try to discuss here today will hopefully shred away a lot of the confusion around what it means to “sing better”.
We do not want to throw a list of exercises at you, or even talk specifically about vocal technique – all of that can be saved for a later date.
Furthermore, any exercises we would be able to recommend to one person may not be the same for another. Again, your practice routine and technique should be catered to you personally.
So, all you have to do here is take what resonates with you and simply leave the rest. When you’re learning to use your voice with confidence the key is to try to embody the techniques that work best for you.
Let’s talk about what you might be experiencing when you sing, and what you can do to achieve amazing results.
Pinpoint your weaknesses
Do you ever get the sense that your voice feels stuck inside of your body? Or that your voice isn’t a match to what you imagine it is in your head?
Does your voice seem to “creak” out? As if your body won’t allow any more sound to come out?
Maybe you have the opposite problem – as if your voice is limited by an invisible ceiling that simply won’t go away?
Is your voice shouty?
Do you become overwhelmed with dread the closer you come to any high notes?
Do you ever feel that you have to push past certain areas of your range for fear that your voice will begin to teeter and fall apart?
The solution is simple
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions: you are experiencing tension when you sing.
This might seem painstakingly obvious to you based on how you feel. On the other hand, it may seem like completely new information, especially if you’re not as accustomed to feeling your voice in this way.
Either way, every singer can benefit from releasing tension from their bodies. The truth is that nearly all limitations we experience as singers are rooted in fear.
You may be afraid of not getting that one note right, being pitchy or not achieving that quality of tone and timbre that you dream of. Some of you may even be afraid that others won’t like the sound of your natural voice.
Regardless of your reasons, the ability to recognize your fear and then release it is the very foundation of good singing, and it all comes down to one word and one word alone – relaxation.
Let yourself relax!
Relaxation is the core tenet of vocal mastery. Your ability to relax will determine how everything plays out in your singing. Remind yourself that singing is a physical act, just like dancing.
Now, can you imagine what it would look like if every dancer had an enormous amount of muscle tension residing in their bodies? Suddenly dropping left and right from Charley horses and sprained ankles? The ballet would be a disaster.
Now, it may first be helpful for you to imagine the voice as a wind acoustic instrument of sorts. You see, as the wind travels through our vocal cords they vibrate. Those sound waves carry themselves throughout the entirety of our body and then resonate within it.
So, the moment that any muscle tension begins to rear its ugly head, the sound will no longer be able to resonate as well, effectively trapping the sound within the body.
If singers are not vigilant and are unable to be aware while this is happening, they may find themselves starting to push in order to overcompensate for the tension they are experiencing.
This of course only creates more tension, leading many singers to fall into a vicious and seemingly never-ending cycle.
Defining vocal freedom
True bona fide vocal freedom necessitates that you have the ability to release your fears and limitations and to create new habits for yourself. The key habit – and perhaps the only habit – that singers should concern themselves with forming is relaxing.
It may seem counterintuitive, but the physical experience of singing must take precedence over the sound that comes out. As you begin to focus on how singing feels in your body, the act of vocalizing will become easier and easier.
So, the one thing that singers should always focus on when they sing, is to see how relaxed they can be while they do it.
Reach for this feeling every time you sing until your body accepts it as a habit. The goal of course is that this reaction becomes as involuntary as breathing itself.
This is the most effective approach to loosen and free your voice. The better you get at this, the easier it will become to improve your singing in other ways.
When you first start to practice with this, you may notice and feel the sound of your voice shift and change within your body. Do not be alarmed, as this is simply the process of finding your voice’s natural state of balance.
Some of you may also notice a slight loss of volume or “power” as it is often referred to in singer circles. The thing about this “power”, however, is that it is completely imaginary. The “power” you once may have had was forced – a response that you were conditioned into to compensate for leftover tension.
Power in the voice does not come from being loud, or pushing, or straining, or shouting – it comes from your voice’s ability to resonate. And just like we said earlier, your voice can’t resonate with excess amounts of tension.
To sum it all up
So, as we begin to come to the end, let us go over the main points. Continue to reach and strive for this feeling of relaxation within the voice. It’s such a critical component of singing that is too often overlooked even by acclaimed professionals.
The more comfortable you become with this, you’ll begin to experience first-hand an increase in range, power, fuller tone, and most importantly – the emotional bliss that comes with releasing the voice from the body.
Be aware, be consistent, and finally, be relaxed. The more you invest your time into this and practice, you will start to improve your singing in no time at all.