How To Sing Better For Guys
Guys often have a tougher time learning how to sing than Women, especially those of us with a lower baritone voice type. The truth is, singing itself is a very easy process, but learning HOW to do it can often be a confusing and frustrating task due to the lack of resources out there geared specifically towards men and lower voice types in particular. This tutorial is going to show you how to sing better for guys!
I often find myself reminding my own singing students just how important foundation is in singing – your singing voice is only ever going to be as strong as the foundation you have built it upon, so make sure you follow these foundation steps every time you sing… your vocal health depends on it!
Lets get started learning how to sing better for guys.
Foundation, Foundation, Foundation
Posture, breathing, placement and vowel shaping are all a very important part of your foundation and really make the ‘base’ that your range and tone are being built upon as your voice progresses. Posture is the first step and really one of the easiests aspects of singing, but we all forget about posture from time to time – make sure you take the following steps every time you sing:
- Head up
- Shoulders Back
- Chin Parallel with the floor
- Proud chest/ribs wide
This last step is an honourary bridge between your posture and breathing and can occur at either step in the process. If you set up your posture using the steps above, you’ll find that when you breathe using the diaphragm your ribs naturally widen and you will retain a nice, strong, lateral ‘support’ feeling. You can also set this up in your posture first by widening your ribs a touch before you breathe in – whichever way is easier for you for the time being.
Now, breathing using the diaphragm is also super easy, but often misinterpreted. The diaphragm is a big dome-shaped muscle which sits in between your abdomen and the chest cavity. When engaged, the diaphragm lowers flat towards the abdomen and creates a negative space in the lungs which fills instantly with air – your don’t “breathe into” the diaphragm, and you definitely don’t “sing from” the diaphragm, your breathe “using” the diaphragm.
A great way to ingrain the feeling of diaphragmatic breathing is to either breathe low and sharp as though you’ve breathing through an imaginary drinking straw, or even alterating your breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth, in through the mouth and out through the nose – this not only helps you engage the diaphragm, it also has the added benefit of making you aware of the soft palate and how it is able to open and close to allow airflow/stop airflow from occuring through the nose.
Placement is Ace(ment?)
One of the most amazing keys to singing that I wish I had been shown from day one is placement – the concept of limiting any improper frequencies from your singing tone so that you can instead put all of your energy into efficient and powerful resonance instead. Guys with higher voices and Women often get away with improper placement, or even fluke it naturally due to the higher frequencies contained within their natural tone – guys with lower voices unfortunately aren’t gifted with this naturally bright and pleasant placement that allows your sound to resonate within the vocal tract.
Placement is actually very easy to achieve in singing, and can be developed in the initial stages of your vocal journey by singing a bright N, NG or even ZZZ sound and limiting any excess vibration from occuring in your throat. Of course, it’s not physically possible to move or ‘place’ your voice, but it IS possible to encourage a specific band of healthy frequencies that resonate like crazy with ease when you sing – the more you develop your placement, the better your vocal tone will be and the easier it will be to sing.
Vowels are key
Shaping your vowels correctly really is the KEY to great singing, and is often overlooked even by some of the most popular singing methods out there. In part, this is due to ‘naturally’ good singers becoming voice coaches and taking for granted that some of us simply aren’t “natural” singers who sing with ease – if they never struggled with any aspect of singing themselves, they’ll probably wonder why anyone bothers learning important tools in singing like vowel shaping, because they just fluked it themselves. The easiest way for me to illustrate vowel shaping is to encourage you to sing an EE vowel and alternate between this small bright sound and an AH vowel – no doubt you’ll feel your tongue low and concave on the AH, and high at the back for the EE – this is the essence of vowel shaping. Now, every time you sing a word that requires an AH sound, such as the word “Love”, instead of trying to strangle out the pronunciation in a speech style, you simply need to form the low and concave shape you just discovered and MAGIC, your vowel will resonate with ease in a completely strain free manner.
Now, each of your vowel sounds has it’s own natural shape, but the two most important shapes you need to form initially are the EE and AH sounds, as most of your vowel sounds are built in relation to these shapes. If you’ve having trouble setting up your vowel sounds for practical use in songs, my Vowel Translator will absolutely change your life.
I feel huge improvement!
Resonance Space is Ace
Now, as you ascend in range, you’ll likely feel the need to either ‘flip’ into falsetto or head voice, or PUSH your chest voice as high as possible, and this actually has very little to do with your registers and more to do with resonant space. The higher you sing, the more you must alter the shape of your vocal tract and elongate your tract to make appropriate space for the higher frequencies to resonate. This is also pretty easy to do, but does take time for it to become a natural part of your voice. If you sing the aforementioned EE vowel and sing up towards your break, you’ll start to feel a constriction the higher you go. Instead of allowing your vowel to squeeze in this manner, if you lower your jaw vertically without opening your mouth sideways, you will start to feel a ‘stretch’ at the soft palate as it rises to create space for your vowel – you can then practice this same motion again while retaining the clarity and purity of your EE sound while adding a little resonant space at the back of your throat.
This approach to vowels is what is known as Open Throat Technique, and unfortunately has had a lot of mystery and mystique formed around it, in part due to it’s use as a marketing term rather than it’s true meaning as a teaching and learning tool. You actually don’t “open” your throat when you sing, your close it – you close the soft paltae so that there’s no airflow through your nose, your close your vocal folds, and you often narrow your vowel sounds towards a close as you ascend – many aspects of great singing are actually closed and narrow rather than wide and open.
How to sing better with online voice coaching
Since launching in 2010, Bohemian Vocal Studio now helps students all around the globe from Sweden to Australian, New York to Hong Kong and everywhere in between reach their singing goals sooner while developing powerful and consistent singing voices. Learning how to sing online has actually become the gold standard of singing lessons – why go local when you can go global? A great place to start is the free foundations short courses available here at Bohemian Vocal Studio which will show you how to set up the strongest foundation and base for your voice to be built upon.
When you’re ready to take your voice to the next level with a professional voice coach you can book a Skype Lesson with me and we’ll get started 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 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.