*You can do this without any vocal training*
Almost everybody loves to sing. Although many people take singing lessons to improve their voice, you can develop your own style and confidence on your own, too. Start by getting in regular singing practice each day. This can be singing along with your favorite song or simply practicing your scales. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your vocalizations. Taking care of your vocal health by not smoking and staying hydrated will also give you the best quality of voice.
1. Exploring Your Vocal Range
Use a microphone to record your voice. Launch a sound recording app on your computer or smartphone. Then, adjust the audio input settings so that it records a pure, unaltered version of your voice. Practice singing to various songs and recording the outcome.
To get even more comfortable with the performing process, attach a physical microphone to your computer or phone. This will help you to become familiar with how handling or singing into the microphone can impact the final sound.
For example, Perfect Piano and Pocket Pitch are 2 great apps for singers.
You can also use a digital tuner or download an app, like Vanido, that provides feedback on your pitch control.
Sing a familiar song over and over again. Print out the lyrics of a song that you enjoy. Spend some time getting to know the nuances of the lyrics. Then, work on the details of how you can change your voice inflections to transform the song itself.
It’s important to choose a song that you somewhat enjoy because you’ll need to work on it repeatedly over time.
Also, when you are first starting out, try to sing a song that’s already in your vocal range to avoid straining your voice.
Work on making vocalizations using different parts of your vocal system. Singing is not just about noise coming from your throat and releasing out of your mouth. Concentrate on singing the same song, but adding vocal inflections by manipulating your tongue, mouth, diaphragm, throat, and even nose. Recording these vocalizations and playing them back can help you to understand your body and the sounds it can produce.
For example, pushing more air out through your nose can, unsurprisingly, create a higher pitched nasally sound. If you gently apply pressure to the outside of your nostril while singing, then your voice may change as well.
Move your tongue up to the roof of your mouth while singing to see how it changes the resulting sound. You can also try positioning your tongue against your cheek. Wiggling your jaw from side to side will create a different vocalization as well.
To experiment with diaphragm vocalizations, try pushing all of the air out of your chest at once while still singing. Alternatively, see what happens when you only use the tiniest amount of air to sing.
Inject emotion into every song. Before you practice each song, ask yourself what emotions you’d like to convey to the listener. Then, try to interweave those emotions within each song. Work on thinking of a particular event or moment in your life that evokes emotions similar to the ones that you want to express.
The key is using that moment to capture your emotions, but not being controlled by them. After all, the quality of your singing won’t be improved if you cry through every sad song.
For example, if you are singing a song about a break-up, then think about a negative moment in one of your relationships.
To keep yourself from being overwhelmed by emotion, once you’ve thought about an event focus your attention back on the lyrics and notes that you are singing.
Identify your vocal range. Sing along with a piano and try to match your pitch to the instrument. The lowest and highest pitch points that you can hit without your voice cracking or breaking marks your range. Make sure that you are singing with your chest, not your nose or throat, or you’ll identify the wrong range.
Take note of which register you’re singing in as well. Typically, if you’re a male, you’ll need to use falsetto to sing high, airy notes. Conversely, if you’re a woman, higher notes come from your head voice while lower notes are sung in chest voice.
Using a keyboard or piano app on your phone, such as Perfect Piano, will really help you to narrow down your range. These apps often show how closely your voice aligns with the note currently being played.
2. Strengthening Your Singing Voice
Read aloud each day. Building up your vocal prowess isn’t just about practicing singing. Just using your voice in a purposeful way by reading aloud can help you to work on your inflections and to build up endurance. Pull out a newspaper or good book and read it aloud for 30 minutes each day.
Warm up before singing so you don’t strain your voice. Sing “ee” softly at F above middle C (females) or F below middle C (males) and hold it for as long as you can. Repeat this exercise 2 times. Another warm-up is to sing the word “knoll” while you glide from a low note to a high note and repeat the exercise twice. Then, do the opposite and glide from a high note to a low note while singing “knoll” 3 times.
In your mid-range, sing “oll” up a 5-note scale (C-D-E-F-G). Repeat the exercise another 2 times.
Sing “Do Re Mi” up and down the scales. This is another great way to warm up your vocal cords and to practice holding consistent notes. Start with the C scale, then the C# scale, and on up. Go slowly and hit each note immediately instead of sliding your way up to it.
Focus on the basic scale of: “Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do.” To add an element of excitement, you can go up by 2 notes and then jump 1, or another pattern.
Then mix it up: go up 2 notes, and down 1, working your way up the scale.
A scale is a series of intervals that exist between pitches. If you move up and down a scale, then you’ll be singing both low and higher sounds. For example, C to C# is a scale and C# to D# is another scale.
Try to sing for at least 30 minutes each day. This is long enough to warm up your vocal cords, but not extended enough that it could strain them. It’s best if you can use this as undisturbed practice time. However, if you get a job singing, this could also provide an opportunity to develop your skills in a public setting.
Singing in public for a short period each day can teach you how to read and work with an audience as well.
You might be able to get a job singing by approaching local places with small stages or performance areas, such as coffee shops. If this isn’t an option, you can also offer your skills on a volunteer basis by participating in a church choir or other group.
Work on maintaining proper singing posture. Stand up with your back straight and your face looking forward. Make sure that your shoulders are back and your neck isn’t overly bent. Rest your tongue lightly at the bottom of your mouth, so that it almost touches your front bottom teeth. Slide your jaw from side to side gently to keep it relaxed.
Avoid slouching or bending over while singing.
Singing in front of the mirror with a side view can also help you to check your posture mid-song.
Do breathing exercises to strengthen your diaphragm. Try costal breathing, which means expanding your rib cage as you inhale. Keep your rib cage open and let your abdominal muscles relax when you breathe in. When you breathe out, engage your abdominal muscles. Try this exercise while breathing from your diaphragm:
– On a count of 1: inhale to fill your lungs 1/4 full.
– On a count of 2: inhale to fill your lungs 2/4 full.
– On a count of 3: inhale to fill your lungs 3/4 full.
– On a count of 4: inhale to fill your lungs completely full.
– On the counts of 5-12 exhale slowly and gradually.
3. Taking Care of Your General Health and Voice
Drink at least 6-8 glasses of fluids per day. Keeping your throat hydrated will help it to produce a deeper, richer range of sounds. Water that is lukewarm, but not hot, is best for your voice. Cold water can actually tighten up your throat. You can also add in 1 teaspoon (4.9 mL) of honey or a lemon slice for additional flavor and to soothe your throat.
If you choose to stir in honey, choose a type that is as close to natural as possible. You want to avoid ingesting additives and chemicals if you can.
Get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. If you are fatigued, then your voice will suffer as a result. This is even more important when you’ll be singing for extended periods of time. If you can’t get a full 8 hours of undisturbed sleep at once, try to supplement it with short naps throughout the day.
Sometimes taking a 30-minute nap immediately before warming up and singing can actually improve the quality of your voice.
Practice deep-breathing techniques. Concentrate on taking a deep breath with your mouth that fills your lungs to the very core with air and then releasing it out through your nostrils. Try doing this repeatedly to a count, such as 1-2-in, 3-4-out. You can also watch videos online showing other deep breathing techniques or even work with a respiratory therapist.
Similar to deep breathing, meditation techniques can also help to keep your stress levels even and manageable. Otherwise, your voice can become higher pitched and strained.
Avoid overusing your voice. Try not to talk loudly, shout, or sing to be heard above other sounds, particularly for long periods of time. Instead, use a microphone to amplify your voice when applicable. If you use your voice a lot, such as in performance or while giving a speech, give it a rest to let it recover.
Practice singing in several short sessions and give your voice breaks in between sessions.
Widen and relax your throat while singing to avoid straining it.
Avoid coughing or clearing your throat frequently.
Don’t smoke. If you are currently a smoker, reach out to your doctor for advice. They might suggest a nicotine patch or even a medicated approach to quitting smoking. It might not be possible to quit immediately, but even cutting down on smoking can have a positive effect on the quality of your voice.
Smoking not only irritates your throat and vocal chords, it can also damage your lung capacity and ability to hold notes.
Watch for signs of a strained voice. If your voice sounds hoarse, raspy, or gritty, then it’s possible that you’ve strained your vocal cords. Your throat might also feel raw or slightly painful when you try to sing or make vocalizations. If you have to exert much more energy to produce the same note as before, then your vocal cords might not be 100%.
It’s best to avoid singing until your voice fully recovers. If you can limit talking or any vocalizations, then that can help as well. Voice strain is often a sign of vocal cord overuse, so giving yourself time to recover is important.
If your voice still sounds odd or if you continue to feel strange after 2 weeks, then it’s time to see your doctor. It’s possible that you’ve developed growths on your vocal cords that are impacting your singing abilities……..
I recommend you to visit our vocal clinic at www.abujagospelmusic.com/vocal clinic.