Sing Louder Stronger and More Confidently [In Three Steps]
The desire for a louder and more powerful voice is common, but unfortunately leads to many untrained singers who push and yell when they sing - trying to squeeze out every last drop of volume. What if I told you that there was an easier way to sing with power, volume and more confidence?
You've probably heard of the twang vocal technique before and thought "oh, I don't want a southern drawl when I sing" - when in fact twang refers to a slight narrowing of the epiglottis that results in a frequency boost in your high range and a major boost in compression when you sing, resulting in a stronger and more powerful voices. Many vocal approaches even refer to this as "necessary twang", meaning that Twang is simply a natural part of a healthy singing voice.
When it comes to power, volume and confidence in singing - Twang is king.
How To Sing With Vocal Twang In Three Easy Steps
Twang itself is a result of narrowing the epiglottis (actually the aryepiglottic sphincter if you want to get technical), resulting in a slight compression of your airway, a slight redirection of your resonance towards the wall of the vocal tract and also resonance in the sphenoidal sinus - which funnily enough, manifests as sympathetic vibration in the bridge of your nose and a super BRIGHT and powerful vocal tone. Clear as mud? Let's get started with three steps to better vocal twang!
Step 1 - Consistent airflow
There's not much point in compression your air if it's inconsistent, now is there? The key to consistent airflow is to develop support in your voice by managing airflow at the diaphragm. This is super simple and really starts with your posture;
- Head up
- Shoulders back and down
- Proud chest (not puffed!)
- Wide ribs
This posture lends towards better diaphragmatic support when you sing. The key here is to engage the diaphragm to create airflow and air pressure rather than trying to 'suck in air' through your mouth. Imagine that you are breathing sharp and quickly through a small drinking straw - can you feel your belly move rather than your ribs? Congratulations, this is the beginning stage of support and ultimately consistent airflow
Step 2 - An open vocal tract
A vowel in singing refers to the shape and space of your vocal tract, not the sound coming out of your mouth necessarily. Many singers come unstuck with their vowels, but it's pretty simple to achieve an open vocal tract, and ultimately better vowels when you set up the vocal tract correctly before you sing.
The key here is to perform the 'internal smile' where you raise the cheeks under your eyes, sink the cheeks at the back of your mouth and raise the soft palate. It's important that you keep the word "internal" in mind so that you don't widen at the lips like the joker - resulting in a wide and spread vowel - which will cause strain, tension and ultimately a shouty, yelling delivery. The internal smile is just a subtle movement of the cheeks and brightness in your eyes which then allows you to raise the palate - you can even take this a step further by inhaling from a "K" consonant sound - don't actually voice this sound, just set your tongue up as though you're going to speak a word beginning with "K", but instead just inhale from this position - you'll feel a ton of cold air at the top/back of your mouth as the soft palate raises. Keeping an open vocal tract is a key aspect of achieving vocal twang without strain and tension.
Step 3 - Activate the AES
The aryepiglottic sphincter is located at the top of your throat/below your tongue just above the vocal folds. You actually use this same mechanism when you swallow or drink - but only use it in a moderate and incremental way when you sing. One of my favourite sounds for developing twang when singing is actually with the word "SING" - the NG sound at the end of this word perfectly illustrates use of the AES and the result of vocal twang. The key here is to do so moderately and without force or tension - remember, singing is a process of balance, restraint and consistency, not muscular force and brute strength.
With time, practising bright vocal sounds that engage the AES like NG, NAY and even certain EE sounds will lead to an understanding of how to engage, release and control the AES when you sing and add a touch of necessary twang to your tone to create power, consistency, energy and confidence in your singing - not to mention help you achieve a forward vocal tone, which is ultimately the secret to the powerful singing required in Rock, Soul and even musical theatre.
If you're searching for volume, power and confidence in your vocal tone - look no further than your new best friend; TWANG.
- Connect chest and head voice
- Create mixed resonance
- Form your vowels properly
- Increase your range
- Improve your tone
- Balance your onset
- Sing with a forward placement
- Release strain and tension
- Warm up your voice effectively
- SO much more!
You can even get started right now with this exclusive mixed voice singing lesson which will show you the exact process that I use to help my students connect chest and head voice while creating mixed resonance in their voices.
If you want to see what all the fuss is about the Foundation vocal approach, here's just a few examples of what I'm achieving now that I've learned to sing with vocal twang in the Foundation 101 course - just imagine the powerful, loud and confident voice you're going to have when you finally learn to sing free of strain and tension!
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.