A lot of people harbor the wrong belief that everyone knows how to sing. All that is needed is to open one’s mouth and belt out a song. Nothing can be further from the truth. A trip to a karaoke bar will show you that many wannabe singers can’t sing on key or with a rhythm. Others who do show potential are using their voices in unhealthy ways which may prove damaging in the long run.
For any singer – whether they are doing it professional or just for fun – there are two very important singing goals that they should observe, namely 1) that their voices should sound good and 2) that they should know how to preserve it so that it lasts for their entire lives. When it comes to voice preservation, no singer can go wrong by following a healthy lifestyle. To have good health and be physically fit, they should eat a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, and get the right amounts of sleep. Nothing can be more damaging to the voice than smoking, drug abuse, and excessive alcohol consumption.
You have probably seen a lot of rock stars who love to party hard. But singers who have enjoyed longevity in their careers have shunned the deadly vices that brought an untimely end to such legends as Elvis Presley, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin. Instead, they lived very healthy lives and cared for their voices, so that they continue to be loved by their adoring fans even up to the present time.
Any serious singer should get some kind of training so that they learn how to sing, not just better, but more importantly, properly. Just like nurses, accountants and doctors who go to school to get the necessary education for their chosen field, so too do singers need to get the training. Ideally, you should get proper training from a voice coach or singing teacher. However, because singing lessons can be very expensive, you can get the training you need through online singing courses. The most respected courses on the Internet today are Singorama by Emily Mander and Singing Is Easy by Yvonne DeBandi.
No matter what form of training you prefer, you will be taught the anatomy of your vocal apparatus, how it works, and how to use it properly. These basics are essential if you want to learn how to sing correctly and also so that you can avoid any problems with your voice. No personal coaching or online course is complete if you are not taught these basics right from the start.
One of the basics of singing that you will need to learn is good posture and proper breathing support. Strict observance of these two factors will enable you to produce the finest tones from your voice. The best posture for singing is similar to that of a soldier standing at attention, but not as rigid. You stand erect but with the body relaxed and with feet apart hip-width distance. One foot should slightly forward. Your shoulders should be kept back and chest thrust forward and high.
In other to attain good singing posture, do the exercise outlined below…
- Stand with both feet apart at a hip-width distance and both arms at your sides.
- Sweep your arms across your body and then up over your head in a circular motion. At the same time, go up on the tips of your toes. As you execute this move, inhale deeply.
- Slowly lower your arms back to your side and go back down on the soles of your feet. As you execute this move, slowly exhale. Make sure that you maintain the position of your chest and shoulders at the peak of the stretch when you go back down.
If you have good breath support, you will be able to produce fine tones without causing any undue strain on your voice. As you inhale, you should feel your midsection expanding. This is due to the synergistic action of your diaphragm, abdominals, and spinal muscles.
After inhaling deeply, exhale slowly while producing a hissing sound. Maintain your midsection in its expanded state. It will be difficult at first, but you need to develop these muscles so that you can produce finer tones and make your voice less susceptible to fatigue.
The observance of good posture and proper breathing support are just the foundations of correct singing. You should also take note of tone placement and tone quality. Reviewing your anatomy, vocal tone resonates from three specific parts of your body: the pharynx (including your mouth and throat), the chest, and the sinuses in your head. For higher notes, what you will use is called your “head voice”. On the other hand, the low notes are produced by your “chest voice”.
Most of the time, however, you will use a “mixed tone”, which is a sound that resonates from both your pharynx and your sinuses. This type of sound is also called “mask resonance”, since the sound that you are producing seems to resonate from the area of the face that would be covered by a half-faced mask.
The exercise outlined below will help to demonstrate mask resonance…
- Inhale deeply, making sure that you observe good posture and correct breath support.
- Using a syllable like “hoo” or “hee”, start singing on a high note and slide down to the lowest note in your range.
This exercise is similar to yawning. The difference lies in the fact that you should feel vibrations emanating from the roof of your mouth (the soft palate) and the triangular area starting from the point between your eyes going down to the bridge of your nose.
These are just a few of the basics that you will need to master. If you practice patiently and diligently, you will soon be able to learn how to sing better.