Nine Simple Tips To Sing Better
If you’re looking for tips to sing better, these 9 vocal gems will show you how to sing better instantly so you can focus on what you really love to do, singing actual songs. Whether you want to learn how to sing rock, how to sing pop, how to sing blues or how to sing RnB – these nine simple tips to sing better will show you how to sing better fast without the confusing classical terms or tricky jargon. Lets get started improving your voice!
#1 – The Soft Palate
The soft palate is the fleshy flap that sits at the back of your throat and controls airflow either through the nose or through the mouth, along with other functions. The soft palate is key to great singing as it not only toggles between the two passages of air, it actually creates a larger enclosed resonant space like a cave when raised properly. This is the key to singing past your vocal break and extending your range.
If you breathe through your nose only, this is an ‘open’ soft palate. If you breathe through your mouth only, this is a ‘closed’ soft palate. If you yawn gently in the back through your mouth only, this is a ‘raised’ soft palate and the correct setup for each of your vowel sounds.
#2 – Vowels
An extension of how you control the soft palate is how you form your vowel sounds. In speech we often use the front portion of our faces to form our sounds, including the teeth, tip of the tongue and lips – known as the articulators. Now, in singing, you actually form your vowel sounds by shaping the back of your tongue in a specific manner for each vowel while allowing appropriate resonant space in the pharynx by way of altering the shape and length of the vocal tract with a raised soft palate..
#3 – Onsets
A balanced onset is a central coordination between release of air and closure of the vocal folds, this is the only healthy way to engage your resonance and is the only onset you should form as a habit in your singing. On either side of this balanced onset you have a breathy onset – where airflow passes the chords before they achieve closure, and a glottal onset – where closure is achieved before airflow vibrates the folds. These two latter onsets are known to be damaging to the voice with misuse over time, and often lead to intonation issues in many singers. Developing a balanced onset will show you how to sing better instantly due to efficient resonant, release of tension and proper vocal chord closure.
#4 – Balance
Every aspect of your voice can be traced back to balance, and every issue you experience in singing can be linked to an imbalance. Balance relates to your onsets, your registers, your frequencies and almost every other part of the vocal mechanism and your approach to singing. Without balance in your singing approach, your vocal tone will sufffer from imbalance and you will struggle with many of the basic fundamentals of healthy singing. Balance is key to a healthy and powerful singing voice.
#5 – Resonance
Great singing is a result of air pressure and resonance rather than air flow and breathiness. It’s likely you are already able to create a resonant sound – sounds like N, M, NG, V and Z all feature two sounds, a front articulation (the Z, V sound) and a resonant sound which occurs in the vocal tract. Try to sing a resonant “V” and focus on the two sounds – now try a vowel sounds like EE while focusing on the same resonant sound in the back of your throat. Congratulations, you just achieved resonance!
#6 – Consonants
Often an extension of your balanced onset, consonants require a specific approach in singing that differs to the way you speak and your speech accent. An example of this is the glottal consonant group which includes G, K, C and ‘glottal stop’ sounds which occur in your throat. Obviously, these sounds are not healthy in singing, so how do you sing a glottal consonant without effecting your resonance? This is actually very easy to do, and occurs when you replace the glottal attack in your throat with a click of the back of the tongue, a word like “Get” would then be articulated closer to the word “Ket” without the glottal stop on the K. Over time you will learn to articulate this sound fully and clearly while also performing a balanced onset.
#7 – Connect chest and head voice
Chest and head voice are designed to connect and overlap, and while it probably doesn’t feel like it you, you can build a powerful and practical connection between your two main registers – this is the first step to increasing your range, building strength in your middle range and of course learning how to sing ANY song.
#8 – Middle Voice
Middle voice is a figurative approach to the central portion of your range where chest and head overlap. If you focus on the two separate sensations of resonance in chest voice and resonance in head voice, you can learn to blend the two and sing with BOTH registers like we discussed in #7. Now, this central connection isn’t just a connection point or a handover point, it is in fact a register all on it’s own that can be built and developed just like your chest and head voice. The more you work your middle voice, the stronger the central connection will be, and the more versatile your vocal tone will be.
#9 – Vowel tuning
Your vowels are a result of two main functions, shape of the tongue and also resonant space in the vocal tract. As you ascend up towards your first break, it’s likely your voice ‘flips’ due to a lack of resonant space. You can fix your break once and for all by learning to widen your vowel through the first vocal break, while narrowing up through your middle voice into head voice. This is easy to do, and is most simply demonstrated by a change in the character of each vowel. In the back of the throat, an AH vowel becomes OH and finally OU (like the French “Oui”) and EE becomes AY and finally EE again. This is an oversimplified approach but serves to illustrate the change in resonant space. Over time you can do away with these vowel modifications and simply focus on efficient resonance and the physical change required in the vocal tract for each separate area of the voice.
How To Sing Better Instantly
These nine tips to sing better will show you which aspect of your voice needs work and where your vocal technique might need some tweaking. A great place to start is our free Foundations 101 singing course which will set you up with all the basics and foundation needed to start building the voice of your dreams. You can also find a tutorial for each of these 9 tips on the Bohemian Vocal Studio YouTube channel. If you need help with any of these 9 tips you can book a Skype Lesson with me and we’ll start working towards extending your range and building control and consistency in your voice every time you sing.
If you have any questions about learning how to sing better and how to sing better instantly, feel free to leave any feedback or questions below!
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.