Teach Me How To Sing (Infographic)
If you’ve been searching high and low for someone to teach you how to sing, then look no further – this tutorial is the ultimate guide for learning how to sing. Singing itself is actually a very simple process, but learning how to sing is often a confusing task further compounded by all the conflicting information out there and expensive courses that promise the world, but deliver very little in terms of proven singing ability. Fortunately, Bohemian Vocal Studio has done the hard work for you and designed the ultimate “Teach Me How To Sing” guide that will not only tell you how to sing better but actually SHOW you how it’s done.
Singing is ultimately an act of coordination rather than a feat of muscular strength, and often beginner singers sing in a much too forceful manner to truly develop the finesse required for incredible singing – it’s important that you start light and don’t try to run before you can walk!
How to sing better in 5 steps
These five steps are the ultimate in basic singing techniques that you need to build a powerful foundation and great singing voice. I often have to remind my own students that their singing voices are only as strong as the foundation they’ve built first and foremost, so make sure to brush up on breathing, posture and placement EVERY time you sing to ensure a consistent and confident voice that is always resonant and in key.
Step 1 – Posture
Singing requires a very specific posture to build your voice properly. The obvious steps of head up, shoulders back, head looking straight forward are only one part of the equation in great singing, with the final honorary step of widening your ribs in a natural way before you breathe the KEY to great singing. By keeping your ribs in this wide and natural position, you allow your breathing to be controlled entirely through engagement of the diaphragm instead of contraction of your ribs. This wide rib position and highly precise manner of breathing is often called Appoggio in singing technique and truly makes the difference between a great voice and vocal strain.
Step 2 – Placement
Placement is an important step for many singers, especially if you have a lower voice type like me as a Baritone! Placement is the concept of limiting any unnecessary frequencies as you practice, leading to a powerful and strain-free tone that is packed full of your natural resonant character without the need for pushing or straining. A super simple way to develop placement in your singing voice is to limit any frequencies which occur, in essence ‘placing’ your voice in the vocal tract instead of in the throat or mouth, like so:
Step 3 – Vowels
Speech vowels require pronunciation, where singing vowels require articulation using the tongue and many aspects of the vocal tract. This is why some people lose their accent when they sing – they are using a different voice and shaping their vowels differently
Step 4 – Vowel tuning
No doubt you experience a vocal break if you’re a beginner singer – among other reasons, your vocal break is caused by incorrectly tuned vowels. Either you’re too wide as you ascend, or you’re closing down through your break area. Learning to tune your vowels properly so that you are always resonating in the vocal tract is a special skill that requires training and consistent practice, but ultimately will lead to an extensive and powerful range just like a professional singer.
There are a number of ways to tune your vowels, from vowel modification to physical tuning of the vocal tract and resonant space through to visual tools like middle voice and changes in your vowel character. A great visual tool is the concept of vowel positions, your first break occurring at the soft palate, the second up in the soft palate (but with a forward placement) and the top of your range sitting near your eyes, like so:
Step 5 – Articulation
We now know that vowels are different when we sing, so what about consonant sounds? You guessed it, there is a specific way to shape and create your consonant sounds properly to articulate your words without affecting the efficiency of your resonance or vowels.
I personally like to group the consonant sounds into matching pairs, such as B and P as plosives and S and T as sibilant consonants – and then form a unique approach with each of my students considering their natural range, voice type, accent and level of prowess as a singer.
One of the most common issues that beginner singers face with consonant sounds is the glottal stop associated with many sounds and accents, such as glottal consonants like G and K, or even W and Y in my own Australian accent. A great way to bypass these issues is to replace your consonant with a vowel, such as an OO for a W (oo-ell instead of well) or EE for Y (EE-es instead of Yes).
Singing really is a simple process of coordination and planning, but learning to sing is often overly complicated by the many approaches and programs out there that seem to contradict each other. Most singing approaches have an element of similarity but rely on different terminology or figurative approaches to the same physical phenomenon. Developing an approach to foundation, placement, consonants, vowels and tuning of your resonance will improve your singing voice instantly and set you up for a healthy voice that evolves and grows over time.
A great place to start is the free courses here at Bohemian Vocal Studio that will get on the right track with a strong foundation, and then when you’re ready to take your voice to the next level with professional voice coaching you can book a Skype Session and we’ll start building your voice!
If you have any questions about learning to sing, 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.