The #1 Thing You’ve Been Missing to Sing Better
The ability to sing is a beautiful gift – with training, you can even decide to start singing professionally. Everyone has the ability to sing better, but quite often we stand in our own way and “fight” our natural voices. Therefore, contrary to what you might want to believe, you can nurture and develop your ability to sing over time. Even your favorite singers devote considerable time each day between performances and recordings to practice. Singing is easy, but LEARNING how to sing is often more difficult than it really should be.
If you have tried to learn how to sing before but you’ve had no luck, or your voice just isn’t that great – it’s not actually because you are a terrible singer, it’s actually due to a lack of coordination. However, it is because you lack the technique, training and voice control that have got them there. We will come to the topic of inspiration and copying our favorite rock stars later, first we need to find out how you can start singing. To become a singer, you need to find a guide and mentor, who can help you find the best approach for training your voice. Singing voices are unique, and they require highly personalized training methods. Not picking the correct course and path can result in persisting struggles and disenchantments. You might want to believe that all rock stars are natural born singers since they have not taken voice coaching or singing lessons. However, most of today’s singers have been jamming and performing since they were in their early teens and have actually had some form of professional help along the way. They have had real practice, audience feedback and rather harsh lessons that have propelled them to the pinnacle of success.
How should beginners start singing lessons?
A seasoned beginner is someone who has had some training in singing. They have an idea about notes, range, breathing, posture and frequency placement, and now they need some help with particular parts of their range. A complete beginner is someone needs to start from scratch because they have never sung before. There is no reason to feel intimidated! Being a novice is a blessing since you get to develop and nourish your skill from the ground up. Beginners need to learn the whole package that includes the basic breathing techniques, postures, vocal mechanism, and everything else. Building your singing skill should be like making a home. You need to start with the foundation and build on top of it, bit by bit. The process should not overwhelm you and strain your voice. Singing should be a positive activity that you genuinely enjoy. It should not be overly competitive or tiring. Here are 5 tips for those who want to know about how to start singing –
- Beginners usually start their training with the foundation of singing. Your singing voice, just like a home, will only be as strong as the foundation. Your posture, breathing, frequency placement and Appoggio will determine the soundness of the foundation. Yes, it might be a long process, but skipping the foundation building can result in an unbalanced voice that sounds nasal or a voice that cracks on the upper octaves.
- Next, you need to work on your vowels and articulation. You must remember that while you are singing, your entire body is the instrument. Every song in the world has vowels! Therefore, you need to contour the primary vowels to articulate each word. Placing a conscious effort to improve vowel pronunciation will enhance your lip and jaw movements.
- The third step is vocal onset. Vocal onset refers to the initial vocal sound, and it is synonymous to attack. The word might sound aggressive, but its implications need not be as bold as it seems. Any beginner needs to work on their soft onset and hard onset before moving onto the final step. Glottal onset comes in when a word begins with a vowel in English and soft onset features when a word has “h” or “wh” consonants in the beginning.
- The fourth step is the adjustment of resonance and support. Have you ever heard an opera singer? They face a strange problem when they hit the higher notes. The harmonics become distant, and they require frequency adjustments to preserve the advantage of their vocal resonance. Losing resonance with the vocal chords can mean losing the boldness and fullness in the voice. A singer needs to understand the qualities of his or her voice to find the resonating frequencies that support their singing voice.
- The fifth and the final step of the beginner’s singing course is delivery and consonants. Unless you have your vocal onsets in control, finding control over the pronunciation of consonants and understandable delivery of words will be challenging.
Employing a four-step approach can help any singer or aspiring singer identify an element that is lacking in his or her voice.
Should I begin singing professionally?
Singing professionally is a serious decision that requires deliberation, consultation, feedback and enough vocal training. Apart from the mental strength, you will need to develop a constantly resonating singing voice. It is something that sopranos do. Once you release your registers, you will find your way to the middle register. You need to take a tough journey that will take you through the search of your head and chest voice.
If you are thinking about singing professionally, you must have already heard about the head and chest voices. According to established singers and several vocal coaches, if you practice enough, you will find central coordination between the two. You should be able to create a “third register.” This register preserves the vocal range of your head voice and the richness of your chest voice.
The mysterious third register is the reason behind the sonorousness and versatility of your favorite singer. You can now identify the middle register by its extensive vocal range and powerful timbre. Once you find it, singing will become effortless and enjoyable.
When will singing become easier for me?
Singing should never be stressful and tiresome in the first place. Singing is only tricky for those, who are doing it wrong. If you have the right vocal trainer and the knack for music, you should not face any difficulties mastering the art. Always take small steps when you are learning. It will prevent you from straining too much. You should think of singing as gymnastics and not powerlifting. It is a delicate act of balance and not a feat of strength.
The mistake most beginners make is trying to sound like someone else. They usually try to mimic their favorite rock stars, which is not the ideal thing to do for a novice singer. Your singing idol has already found his or her singing voice that is highly unique. By trying to mimic someone else’s voice, you will end up hurting your voice and straining beyond the recommended level.
Singing will become much easier when you take a step back and start to feel your own singing voice. You should rely on the techniques you have learned and allow your voice to find the coordination by itself. Once you master that, you will find yourself singing like your favorite rock star more efficiently than ever.
How to improve a lousy singing voice?
First, you have to understand why you think or believe your singing voice is terrible. Are you too hard on yourself? Have your friends or family told you so? Or, have you heard yourself sing on tape? You must know that when we sing, our own voice sounds very different to our ears that it does to others. The ultimate way you will know how “bad” your singing voice is by recording yourself and playing it back. It might seem weird in the beginning, but you will build coordination, registers, breathing, and delivery effortlessly.
One of the most significant problems most amateur singers face is managing their vocal onset. It can make or break a singer, but very few beginners know enough to pay attention to them. The perfect balance between vocal cord closure and air pressure leads to the ideal onset. It will help you sing in a powerful, yet a melodious singing voice that is devoid of any strain.
A rather flat intonation indicates a breathy onset. That is something you do not want constantly. If you are using a glottal onset in every place, then your voice will likely be sharp and quite forced. None of these is pleasing to the ears. Moreover, you will end up damaging the delicate folds of your voice soon. You need to find the balance onset to turn a “bad” singing voice into a good one.
Why is my singing performance poor?
The most straightforward answer to this question is – you have stage fright. However, that might not be true for everyone. First, you need to find out if you are giving consistently poor singing performances irrespective of the audience. If that is the case, then the problem is the lack of training and technique to perform on stage. It is not a problem of anxiety and stage fright.
How is your singing voice when you practice alone or in front of your tutor? If you are confident, you hit all the high notes like a natural nightingale, and you can balance your onset, then the problem is likely stagefright. However, the solution is the same. You need to practice more, but this time in front of an audience. Start small, listen to your recordings, make notes of the differences between singing styles during public singing and practice hours, and work on your confidence on stage.
Sometimes, even when you know the right notes, and you know which range is perfect for you, you can end up making bad choices on stage. That is what happens to amazing singers at times on stage. They find themselves choking and singing in falsetto. To eliminate these possibilities you need to start analyzing your anxiety and fear. Find the answers to the following questions before you go on stage the next time –
- Are you unsure of the upcoming stage performance?
- Does your throat feel raw or painful?
- Do high notes scare you?
Are you acting out from a previous poor stage experience?
When you find the answer to these questions, you should be able to find out exactly what scares you about public performances. Acknowledging the problem is the first productive step you can take towards addressing it.
In case you are getting the jitters, you can try a stage rehearsal. Practicing on the same stage a couple of nights before can help you understand the acoustics of the place and it will obliterate the fear in a jiffy. That is what almost all popular singers have done at least once in their lifetime.
The five-step approach can help you find your confidence once again. It allows you to take baby steps towards vocal perfection no matter what your level of expertise is right now. Stop fighting your voice and let the melody flow through your body. Work on your vocal qualities, compare and correct previous mistakes. The only way to nail a song in front of hundreds is by extensive practicing and letting your perfect voice tell you how awesome you are!
(Be sure not to overdo it the night before the performance. You do not want to strain your voice)
The #1 secret to learning singing
To begin singing and to improve your voice you will need a voice coach who understands the unique qualities of your voice. A great vocal coach will actually design personal vocal training exercises designed to overcome the unique issues you face as a singer. They will also be able to explain the complex concepts of singing and voice control in a simple and practical way that even beginners will understand. As an example, you’ve likely seen those YouTube singing guru videos that make that leave a warm-fuzzy feeling inside and excited to buy their course – but have you actually learned anything from these videos? A great voice coach has nothing to hide and will actually SHOW you how to sing, not just how well they can sing.
If you’re ready to take your voice to the next level with professional vocal lessons, you can book a Skype Session and we’ll get started today!
If you have any questions about how to learn to sing better, 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.