5 Killer Tips For Singing At Home
Learning how to sing at home is more relevant than ever before - with professional courses and online coaching making the process of practising singing at home easier than it has ever been.
While you might be wondering how to practice singing at home, the real question should really be - what should you be practising?
With so many different methods and courses out there, and with a flood of traditional singing teachers taking the opportunity to venture online with social changes like the 2020 Covid-19 drama; where do you get started?
While I've personally been coaching singers for over a decade, I started coaching online in 2014 and have built one of the most successful and effective methods for learning how to sing at home - the Foundation Vocal Approach.
Kegan is a great teacher with a huge knowledge and talent - If you want to sing rock at the highest level choose BVS!
Kegan is the master of vocal training... period.
Top shelf sing-ninja wisdom! All kinds of awesome.
I actually learned how to sing "the old way" - you know, a weekly half hour lesson with my local classical teacher (actually, multiple teachers over many years) and recently detailed how I spent over $15,000+ on singing lessons over many years while seeing very little progress - I'd love to save you from the same frustration, money and time that I spent learning how to sing.
Do you want to know the truth about singing? My coaching 'secret' that has helped thousands of singers just like all around the world? How I'm able to sing confidently in the Tenor range even as a low baritone?
The Four Vocal Fundamentals
That's right - I'm not here to sell you some secret, or package up common techniques like vowel modification or placement as a magic trick for singing better than everyone else; I'm just going to show you how to sing better, right here, right now.
You might be surprised to learn that EVERY single vocal technique out there, every single advanced concept, and every singing term ever used relates directly to one of these four simple Vocal Fundamentals;
- Height In The Vocal Tract
- Forward Placement
- "All In One Flow"
- Mixed Tonality
That's right, there's no secret, no trick, no pill that is going to make you a spectacular singer over night, but with The Four Vocal Fundamentals you have a clear path for continued improvement and exponential growth as a singer.
I get asked all the time whether I'm "using compression to sing those high notes" or "what vowel modification are you using?" or even statements like "surely you must really be a Tenor?" or "you must be a natural" when in fact I was anything but a natural and struggled for many years against my naturally low baritone voice.
In fact, one of my first vocal teachers actually told me that I would "never sing anything but Johnny Cash songs - so stop trying"
^ Obviously I didn't last long with this type of uninspiring coaching, but it certainly illustrates the issues and struggles I faced as a beginner singer.
I'm sure you can guess the real 'secret' that changed everything for me as a singer and brought me out of the depths of my baritone voice to sing with the freedom, power and ease I now enjoy - you guessed it; The Four Vocal Fundamentals.
Let me show you exactly how to develop these four simple fundamentals;
#1 - Height In The Vocal Tract
Concepts and tricks like Yawning, Raising The Soft Palate, Vowel Modification and Narrowing The Vowel are all a direct extension of singing with Height In The Vocal Tract.
When you ascend in range, the soft palate alters the size and shape of the vocal tract to encourage and allow a shift in each register overtone throughout your voice. While 'yawning before you sing' is a common instruction, it's obviously very inefficient and comes with too many variables between each person's voice and the way they speak and the way they're yawning for this to create height in the vocal tract consistently.
The most efficient way to sing with height in the vocal tract is to first master The Internal Smile - yes, it's called "internal" for a reason. If you've seen those gurus on YouTube telling you to "smile bright!" at the mouth, then just run screaming - running screaming is likely healthier for your voice than smiling wide at the mouth, which has the flow on effect of widening your vowel in the vocal tract and spreading your frequencies with the result of strain, tension and a crazy looking expression on your face. The internal smile is actually pretty simple;
- Cheeks raised up under your eyes - a pleasant and inviting look
- Sunken cheeks at the back of the mouth
- Vertically oval aperture of the mouth (in most cases/most vowels)
- Raised soft palate
This internal smile will help you create height in the vocal tract in the right way without the negative effect of spreading your vowel like an incorrect 'true' smile will cause. If you want to increase your range, learning to sing with height in the vocal tract is your number one priority.
You can probably see now why terms like "Open Throat" are so confusing - when they don't literally mean the way they sound. Open Throat really refers to singing with a pharyngeal vowel and mixed resonance, not physically "opening" your throat or singing "wide" in any way.
Master the Four Vocal Fundamentals
With the Foundation 101 Course
#2 - Forward Placement
Brightness is the key to powerful, effortless and expressive singing - but a bright vocal tone is not a nasally vocal tone. While a forward placement makes efficient use of the nasal resonator, the bright 'ping' you get with a correctly placed voice doesn't actually sound nosey or nasal, instead you'll simple discover a powerful but balanced tone which is both bright but dark at the same time.
Forward placement is super easy - but many beginner singers in particular are simply scared of sounding brassy or nasal, so instead they pull their placement back and down into the throat; resulting in strain, tension and a lack of range.
Here's a few tips on singing with placement;
As you can see, forward placement results in a pleasant but powerful vocal tone - but you might have to persevere with a slightly more brassy tone in your practice routine than you'd initially like; stay focused, keep it forward and remember, a great singing voice is a balanced singing voice.
#3 - Mixed Tonality
This one gets a little more attention in some vocal methods than it really deserves - basically, mixed tonality is a blend of chest and head resonance through the middle of your range; or in a physical sense, balance between the TA and CT muscles which in turn results in that same blended resonance.
A great place to start is this exclusive Mixed Voice Singing Lesson which will show you the exact process that I use to help my own students discover their mixed voices while connecting chest and head voice to improve their tone and increase their range.
#4 - "All In One Flow"
Don't underestimate the power of consistent breathing on your ability to sing well. Most singers focus intensely on 'how' they take a breath in without actually focusing on the process of releasing that air when they sing.
Singing "All in one flow" really means two different things depending on your voice type. If you have a naturally aspirated voice (ie: You're breathy), then you'll likely need to hold back a touch of air when you sing. On the flipside, if you have a fairly "big" voice like mine and you naturally push and clamp when you sing higher or loudly, then you'll benefit from releasing a slight "H" through the middle of your range to release some of that excess compression and muscularity in your tone.
It really is literal - sing each vocal line as though it is carried out on one connected, slowly released breath.
But wait, that's only FOUR killer singing tips to help you learn singing at home, what about the fifth tip? Here's the big reveal:
#5 - Singing Should Be Easy
That's not an opinion, it's a fact. If you're practicing at home and it's just ALL to hard, or those higher notes are still out of reach and you're pushing day in day out to sing your favourite songs - then your voice is lacking foundation. Foundation in singing really IS just like the foundation of a house being built; the rock solid base that your walls and roof (tone and range!) are being built upon.
I suggest working through the four vocal fundamentals first with the pure intention of improving each concept one by one - and only then starting to work on things like stylstic choice, distortion, belting and more strenuous and challenging songs. From now on, I want your daily vocal mantra to be "Singing Should Be Easy".
How To Put It Into Practice
You're probably sick of me telling you over and over again just how AMAZING it feels to sing with such effortless freedom, power and range - so let me show you; here's just a few quick examples of what I'm achieving now that I've mastered the Four Vocal Fundamentals - just imagine the killer singing voice you're going to enjoy when you nail these four vocal basics!
Master the Four Vocal Fundamentals
With the Foundation 101 Course
Kegan DeBoheme is Bohemian Vocal Studio’s resident vocal coach and voice expert. He teaches professional singing and voice technique to students all around the world and enjoys providing tutorials like this one on how to improve your voice.