Top 5 best vocal exercises
With these professional tips on how to sing better, you can learn the best singing exercises for your singing voice. As I always say, even the best singing exercises are only as good as the INTENTION behind them, so make sure you understand the meaning and reason behind each of the exercises in your singing regimen so you’re not just singing scales for the sake of scales.
Since launching in 2010, Bohemian Vocal Studio has become synonymous with POWERFUL singing and become known as the premier ROCK singing studio with the best professional singing lessons online. Reaching students all around the world each week from Russia to America, Australia to Hong Kong and all across Europe – BVS has coached touring professionals and complete beginners alike, along with coaching students to perform on The Voice and even start in music theatre productions of Rock of Ages, Shrek, Fiddler on the roof and The Producers. With these top 5 best vocal exercises, you know that you are receiving professional singing techniques from the best voice coach online.
Lets get started with the top 5 BEST vocal exercises!
1 – Release Your Registers
Learning to release your registers is the very first thing you should learn as a singer, and even after almost 20 years of singing, it’s STILL the very first exercise I practice each day. Most singers are taught how to release their registers using a lip trill – the purpose of which is to a) moderate your airflow, and b) release your registers. Now, the purpose behind a lip trill to release your registers is simply that – it’s important that you’re not trying to create a USEABLE sound, or a ROCK tone using your lip trill, this will only hinder your progress. It’s imperitive that you compartmentalise your practice and warmup exercises into the INTENT behind each exercise so that you’re always warming up with the best vocal exercises and using your voice and time efficiently – remember, the only release for this exercise is to RELEASE your vocal registers and moderate your airflow, don’t try to turn your lip trill into anything other than what it was intended for.
2 – Vocal placement
Vocal placement is another important step that you should be practicing at the very start of your warmup – it’s also one of the best singing exercises that I practice each day. Learning how to place your voice takes time, trust and perseverance, and will eventually remove any inconsistency you might be experiencing in your voice by ensuring that you ALWAYS sing with the best frequencies and limit any unneccesary work.
A great way to place your voice is to practice an “N” resonant sound, with the tip of your tongue behind your top teeth, while trying to ‘limit’ the excess frequencies that occur below your top teeth. I’m not talking about chest voice, or head voice, I’m simply talking about the sensation of where the bulk of your voice is resonating. As an example, with a particularly low speaking voice, my sound still RESONATES above my top teeth when I speak, because I take care to place my frequencies.
Vocal placement is the difference between using alot of energy to sing, and SINGING with alot of energy. Vocal placement is one of the BEST tips on singing better that anyone could ever give you.
3 – Vowel shaping
Training your vowel sounds is the most important part of building proper singing technique and is the answer to why do people lose their accents when they sing? Taking a specific shape with your tongue and allowing a specific width along your vocal tract allows your vowels to resonate without requiring pronunciation. Simply put, vowel shaping is the ONLY way to learn how to sing properly. If you want to learn how to improve your singing, then shaping your vowels is one of the best ways to sing better. Obviously, each voice is built different, but as a general guide here’s how your vowel shapes should look:
- AH – Tongue low and concave
- AA – Similar, but with your tongue forward
- EE – Tongue “up” at the back
- AY/EH – Similar but with your mouth ajar
- OO – There’s two different OO vowels you can sing!
Now, the other aspect of your vowels is vocal tract width – allowing for a better mix of frequencies is going to allow you to sing your vowels better, increase your range with ease and resonate like CRAZY. In general, each vowel sound has their own specific vocal tract width, from the most narrow vowel sounds of EE and OO, right through to the widest vowel sound AH. Learning to shape your vowels in this manner is one of the best ways to sing better, and can only be taught properly by the BEST singing teacher out there. Make sure you book a Skype session with me today if you’re ready to learn how to shape your vowels properly in your own unique voice!
4 – Tune your resonance
Learning how to TUNE your vowels so that you resonate in the most effective manner is the key to building a POWERFUL and PROFESSIONAL singing voice. All your favourite singers are tuning their vowels without many people realising – I’m here to show you how!
As I mentioned, each vowel sound has it’s own unique vocal tract width, from a narrow EE to a wide AH – but did you know that each vowel then goes through a series of unique width changes all throughout your vocal range, allowing them to resonate fully no matter WHERE you sing? A great way to illustrate this is the concept of vowel modification, while not really the most efficient way to tune your vowel, it is a great introduction to a foundational concept. Lets start with a pure AH vowel, so, tongue low and concave – and as you ascend up towards your first vocal break, allow your vowel to change somewhat towards an OH sound instead. Can you feel how this opens up a greater resonant space and allows you to actually sing in the space where you formerly had a vocal break? Congratulations, you just tuned your first vowel. Now, the trick to vowel tuning is to learn the physical mechanism behind this vowel change so that you can reap the benefits of a finely tuned vowel without mangling your vowel sounds in this clunky manner. Once you develop control of the tongue root, soft palate and your vowel shapes, you will find that you no longer have a vocal break, and your voice will feel like one long, connected note. Here’s a practical tutorial I’ve put together for you to show you the best way to tune your vowels:
5 – Articulate your consonants
Learning how to articulate your consonants is a very important part of a healthy singing voice, and it’s very important that you train your consonant sounds each day rather than JUST focusing on vowels. I personally like to group the singing consonants into similar types, and then form an individual approach with each of my students catering to their accent, voice type and of course the style of singing they wish to develop. Each singer will find that they struggle with DIFFERENT sets of consonant sounds than other singers, so it’s important you understand how to create each consonant sound correctly right from the start so you can avoid any bad habits and continue to build a practical singing voice that allows you to sing actual songs. Again, every voice is different, but a basic approach to singing consonants looks a little like this:
Open resonants – Open resonants involve an ‘open’ soft palate, meaning that air is escaping through your nose. This works for consonants like N, M and even the common NG sound.
Closed resonants – Closed resonants are similar, but with your soft palate ‘closed’ so that no air is entering your nasal passage. Sure, the sound still resonates in this space, but without any aiflow passing your soft palate. This includes consonants like R, L, W and Y. The best approach is actually to replace your consonant soud with a vowel, for example, a W word like “Well” becomes “OO-ELL”, and a Y word like “Yes” becomes “EE-Ess”. If you need some help developing an approach to closed resonants, make sure you book a Skype session with me today to get the most professional online voice coaching available online.
Plosives – Sounds like P and B simply require you to moderate your air flow properly (remember step one? Release those registers!), so make sure you’re articulating these sounds and not blowing them out. It’s a non-exhaled “P”, not an exhaled “Puh” or “Buh”.
Sibilance – Sibilant sounds including S and T are very similar to your plosives, in that you simply need to moderate your airflow and allow the sound to occur without any force. You can think of it as similar to a snake’s “Hiss” where the “S” is actually being held in rather than aspirated. Most singers struggle with sibilant consonants at some point, so make sure you take your time and follow my lead. It’s now “SSSSS” like a waterfall, it’s more like a leaking tyre gently releasing a small sound “ssssss”.
Glottal consonants – Often the most difficult, glottal consonant sounds are especially hard for those of you with a thicker Eastern European accent, care of a deeper placement in your larynx, which you’ll need to retrain for singing purposes. A glottal consonant like G or K actually requires a click of the tongue rather than any sound in your larynx. It’s probably easiest for me to just show you how it’s done:
Even some of the best singing courses online overlook the art of singing consonants, and as I said earlier, even the best vocal exercises are only as good as the INTENTION behind them, and even the best vocal coach is only as good as how well they TEACH this intention, so make sure you understand the purpose behind these singing exercises to ensure you get the best use out of time, and the most efficient resonance out of your voice. You can practice scales and work on the best singing exercises all day long, but without doing them the right way or with the right intention, you’re basically starting from square one again every single day.
With these 5 tips on how to sing better, you’ll be practicing the best vocal exercises and developing a powerful singing voice with professional singing techniques. When you’re ready to take your singing voice to the next level you can book a Skype session with me for professional singing lessons online.
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.