How to Sing Better For Guys
Singing often comes easily to many females, with their bright timbre and naturally high voices – but learning how to sing better for guys is actually very easy to do when you find the right approach. Singing itself is a very simple process, but learning HOW to do it can often be a complicated and confusing process, in part due to all the contradictory advice and opinions out there, not to mention all those classical Italian terms muddying the vocal waters even further!
Fortunately there’s an easier way. I’m about to share with you the key secrets to learning how to sing better for guys that I’ve spent almost 20 years discovering myself. You don’t have to buy an expensive course, I’m not going to use buzzwords and made up marketing terms like hyper-this, edge-this and curbing-that, I’m just going to show you how to sing.
Guys, are you really to learn how to sing better? Lets get started.
Foundation is Key
Vocal foundation is key to the health of your voice, and is also an important part of becoming a great singer. Many singers treat the beginning stages of learning how to sing like breathing, posture and placement as “beginner” exercises and concepts that they grow out of, but the truth is, a great singer is a MASTER of breathing and MASTER of placement and posture. Don’t forget to take these foundation steps every time you sing!
The first step to setting up a strong foundation is posture. Great posture in singing looks something along these lines:
- Head up high
- Shoulders back
- Chin Parallel with the floor
- Look straight forward
- Proud chest and wide ribs
Now, this last step is an honorary final step to great vocal posture and really ties your breathing and posture together into one motion. When you engage your diaphragm while keeping the above healthy posture, your ribs will naturally widen from side to side, allowing more efficient management of your airflow while avoiding contraction of your ribs when you ascend in range or increase your intensity. This widened rib position and corresponding management of airflow is often called “support” in singing, and is the sensation you focus on when you want to increase in range or power instead of pushing from your throat.
Resonance Or Bust
If you think that a great singer is a singer who is able to push out more air than a regular person, you’re mistaken – a great singing voice is a resonant voice, not a breathy one. You can develop familiarity with resonant sounds by practising the following sounds;
- ZZZ – Buzz like a Bee
- EEE – Like See
- NG – Like Sing
- N – Like Sin
- M – like Hum
The more familiar you are with the sensation of resonance, and how this ties to your breathing, the easier it will be for you to form your vowel sounds and sing open and wide sounds like AH and AY without strain and instead, with a pleasant and powerful resonance. Without resonance, you quite simply aren’t singing.
Vowels are King
While foundation might be key to great singing, vowels are the absolute KING of your voice. In singing you actually shape each of your vowel sounds using the back of the tongue while matching an appropriate amount of resonant space in the pharynx. A great example of vowel shaping is to alternate between an EE and AH sound, like EE-YAH-EE-YAH while paying close attention to the shape of your tongue. No doubt you will notice that the tongue is raised at the back on the EE sound and lowered to a concave on the AH – these are the two central sounds that all your other vowel sounds, except for OO, are built from. Each of your vowel sounds has their own unique shape and tongue position – practising these changes constantly will build consistency into your voice and eventually leave you with the ability to sing ANY song you like with a literal flick of the tongue.
Now, resonant space is another important part of your vowel sounds. As you ascend in range, it’s important that you provide your higher frequencies with enough space to resonate properly. This occurs when the soft palate raises up into the pharynx to elongate and alter the shape of your vocal tract. A great way to learn this is to start with a closed vowel like OO or EE, and slowly swivel your jaw down to an open oval shape from top to bottom (make sure you aren’t smiling from side to side as you open your mouth). Over time you will learn to separate the shape of your vowel from your ability to alter your resonant space, and you will be able to keep the clarity of your pure vowel sound without having to sing OO-WAH and EE-YAH, and instead you will manage a clear and pure vowel into your high range.
Consonants are the linchpin of your voice
The clarity of your words and consistency of your resonance actually hinges on your ability to sing consonant sounds without strain. My approach to consonant sounds is to group them into similar types, and to form a unique approach with each of my students to each group depending on their voice type, vocal range and accent. Here’s a general guide to each of the consonant groups:
- Sibilant – S, T, X
- Plosive – P, B
- Open Resonant – N, NG, M
- Closed Resonant – W, Y, L, R
- Glottal – G, K
Now, a great example an approach to consonant grouping is the use of resonant vowels for your open resonants, such as an OO for a W and an EE for a Y. This means that a word like “WELL” would become “OO-ELL”, and a word like “YEAH” would become “EE-EAH” – try this repeatedly while understanding the vowel and you’ll soon realise that all the strain you previously felt on these sounds has dissipated and you have the sensation of your consonant and vowel occurring in the same placement.
This takes time to develop in a natural manner, and each voice is unique, but as a general guide, each consonant can be grouped like the above list, and you simply need to form an approach to each sound like we’ve done above with the open resonants like W and Y.
Remember, the onset of your resonance is related to your vowel, not your resonance. Singing with a balanced onset is the only healthy way to initiate your resonance – if you hit the consonant sounds hard with a glottal stop, you will experience many issues such as a pitchy intonation, vocal strain and a poor vocal tone.
A great place to start is the foundations courses available free here at Bohemian Vocal Studio which will set you up with the strongest base for your range and resonance to be built upon. When you’re ready to take your voice to the next level with professional voice training and guidance, you can book a Skype Lesson with me and we’ll start working towards extending your range, building control and consistency in your voice and of course, learning how to sing better.
If you have any questions about learning how to sing for guys, 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.