How to sing better for beginners
Learning to sing as a complete beginner can be a daunting and confusing prospect – with so many conflicting answers out there, and self appointed ‘gurus’ trying to sell you expensive courses, where do you start for how to sing better for beginners? Thankfully, Bohemian Vocal Studio has a wealthy of information and coaching available to show you how to sing for beginners, from the very first steps of setting up your foundation of posture, breathing and resonance right through to the professional singing techniques of Vowel Tuning and increasing your range… the right way!
I’ll break it down for you and SHOW you everything you need to learn how to sing better! Take these steps to learn the best singing techniques for beginners:
#1 – Foundation
Setting up your foundation is the very FIRST thing you should do, and is something that you will continue to develop and go back to each time you sing. Your foundation can be broken down into three main elements;
#2 – Correct singing posture
Setting up the correct singing posture should look something a little like this:
- Head up
- Shoulders back and down
- Chin Parallel with the floor
- Ribs out (try raising your sternum without breathing in)
Now, it’s important that your posture is ‘fluid’ rather than ‘rigid’, so yes, you need to set up your posture like this EVERY time you sing, but it’s important you’re not locking your body into this stance and that you’re standing free and naturally. The more you try it, the more natural proper singing posture will become for you.
#3 – Diaphragmatic Breathing Techniques
Learning to engage your diaphragm so that you breathe diaphragmatically is VERY important for your singing voice. Without proper breathing technique, you will run into issues as you try to build your voice and increase your range. Start with correct singing posture, and then try one of the following diaphragmatic breathing techniques:
- Imagine breathing LOW and SHARP through a drinking straw
- “Shoot an arrow” sideways with your arms and try to take a deep breath
- Lie on your back with a book/mug on your belly and try to make it move with ONLY your breathing
- In through the nose, out through the mouth repeatedly
- Panting like a dog in the sun
Now, these are obviously figurative for the most part, so make sure you book a session with me if you’re having some trouble engaging your diaphragm properly. Here’s a super simple diaphragmatic breathing video I’ve put together for you to show you the best diaphragmatic breathing techniques:
#4 – Resonance
Learning how to place your resonance is another important skill you need to develop on journey towards great singing. Rather than pushing air OUT of your mouth, you can figuratively imagine that the sound is actually travelling ‘into’ your mouth and up into the soft palate to resonate behind your nose – this will allow you to sing with resonance rather than breathiness.
Singing placement is very important for your voice, so make sure you check out the following tutorial from my YouTube Singing Lessons that will show you HOW to resonate properly:
Resonance in singing is like fuel for driving – without resonance, you are simply not singing. If you need help creating resonance and singing placement, you book a session with me below and I’ll show you how it’s done!
#5 – Shape Your Vowels
I’ll keep this as simple as I can for you – afterall, this is How to sing better for beginners, right? Your vowels in singing are largely unrelated to your vowels in speech – so put aside your accent for a moment and learn the right way to sing create your singing vowels. Your vowels are actually shaped/created by three elements of your singing voice, the first is the shape of your tongue;
- AH – Tongue low and concave
- AA – Similar, but with the center of your tongue forward
- EE – Tongue “up” at the back, down at the front
- AY/EH – Similar, but with your tongue forward and your mouth more ajar
- OO – there’s actually two different OO vowels you can create
Here’s another one of my YouTube singing lessons beginners will benefit from:
Secondly, you need to tune the width of your vowel. A really simple way to learn the concept of vowel tuning is to sing with vowel modification – try it first with your AH vowel. As you ascend in range towards your first vocal break, make a slight change in the sound of your vowels towards “OH” instead, a really open “OH” like “POT” or “LAST” (depending on your accent). This change should actually occur IN your throat rather than by using your articulators, your tongue, teeth and lips.
Can you feel how your resonance changes towards the top when you hit the “OH” and allows you to resonate more freely? Congratulations, you just tuned your first vowel!
Of course, vowel modification is often too general to tune your vowels effectively, so it’s important that you learn how to TUNE your vowels properly rather than just mangling your vowel sounds. Book a session with me today and I’ll show you the right way to tune your vowel. Here’s another of my practical YouTube singing lessons that will help you tune your resonance:
#6 – Soft Palate 101
Now that you can sing with resonance and shape your vowels correctly, it’s time to talk about the soft palate, which is actually the ONLY one of the “big three” muscles you use for singing that can actually be controlled directly. The diaphragm and the vocal chords are both involuntary, so you need to learn how to use the adjoining muscles and the right thought process to learn how to control them properly – The Soft Palate can actually be opened, closed and shaped in a specific manner with ease, you probably just don’t know how… yet!
Your soft palate can either be “Open”, meaning that air is flowing into your nose, or it can be “Closed”, where no air can escape through your nose. There are different uses and reasons for this in singing.
Resonant consonants – and I’m referring to N and M (and even NG), require your soft palate to be “Open” so that air can escape through your nose like a hum.
Vowels – Again, I don’t mean speech vowels, I’m talking about the vowel shapes we discussed a little earlier, require your soft palate to be “Closed” so that no air escapes through your nose.
Now, the third aspect of your soft palate is in addition to how you tune your vowel. Not only does your vowel “widen” or “narrow” as you ascend in range through your various resonance chambers, your soft palate actually stretches way UP into the back of your head to allow for a better resonant space along the vocal tract. I’ve developed several ways to coordinate and build your soft palate and vowel coordination, check them out in another of my free singing lessons videos:
With these steps, you’ll be able to develop your voice and coordinate the different aspects of singing with ease. If you need help with any of these beginner singing techniques, you can book a session with me today and I’ll show you how to do it the right way
Feel free to leave any feedback or questions below!