How To Sing Freely
Achieving freedom in your singing voice is an important goal for any serious singer. Learning how to sing freely takes practice, time and perseverance, but most of all – occurs as a result of your approach to singing vowels.
Vowel in singing often means something very different to vowel in speech. While we pronounce vowel sounds when speaking, a vowel occurs in singing when you shape your tongue in the right manner for each sound while also making use of resonant space.
There are three main tongue shapes in singing, the back of the tongue up for EE, down for AH and back for OO. By practicing each shape when you warm up your voice, you will achieve efficient resonance on each vowel and find your resonant space.
Resonant space is controlled by using the soft palate to shape your vocal tract; wide through your first break and narrow up into your high range. These changes in vocal tract size and shape allow you to ‘ping’ resonance at any pitch in a powerful and clear way – while also altering the character of your vowel sound. Instead of ‘holding on’ to the speech character of each vowel, “AH” for example, as the vocal tract widens the vowel character changes with the added with, becoming akin to “OH” or “AW” in most voices, then finally “ER/OU or OO” in the high range as the soft palate raises up to narrow the vocal tract. These changes in vowel character are sometimes known as vowel modification, but are really a result of alterations to your vocal tract, not your vowel itself.
With diaphragmatic engagement and breath support, these ‘open’ vowels, sometimes known as open throat singing, will allow you to sing freely without strain and tension. A great place to start the process of achieving freedom when you sing is the Foundation 101 singing course which will show you how to shape each vowel sound, access resonant space and blend chest voice and head voice into one long and connected range.
If you have any questions about singing with freedom, 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.