So you want to sing better? But do you ever get overwhelmed with where to begin? As a voice teacher I encounter new students who feel so inundated with information that they have a hard time focusing on just a few key elements of singing. The good news is that there are little things you can do RIGHT now that will make a huge change in the way you look and sound! So here they are…really put your full attention into these simple, yet vital exercises and hear your voice transform!
1. OPEN YOUR MOUTH
Sounds silly doesn’t it? Of course we open our mouths when we sing but surprisingly enough many of us barely do. Even when we talk we hardly open our mouths! When our mouth is restricted and closed up the vowels sound incorrect, we can’t understand the words, and the notes will sound like they are stuck in your throat. We need to over-pronounce and over do it! Since we are not usually people who talk with a WIDE-open mouth, I tell students that if you feel funny trying to sing this way than you are most likely doing it right! When you over-pronounce and open up the sound can come forth in much clearer and stronger tones. Plus we can hear the words of the song better! Not to mention you look great too!
2. BREATHE IN THE RIGHT SPOTS
Pay attention to where you breathe in your songs. Many times when we slow down and listen we find that we are taking a breath in the middle of a word! We wouldn’t do that when we are talking in conversation so let’s try not to do it when singing. A PHRASE in music is just like a sentence that we say. We want to try to make it to the end so the phrase feels and sounds natural. There are of course some exceptions to this rule when you have a very long musical phrase. So always look for comas or rests. These are great places to sneak in a breath! Taking a breath in an awkward spot can make the song sound “choppy”. So pay closer attention to where you take those much needed breathes.
3. EXPRESS YOURSELF
When you are singing a happy song why don’t you smile? When you are singing a dark, emotional song why are you smiling? It is important to express yourself and put emotion into your face and eyes! This isn’t just for actors or those who sing musical theater! When you open up your eyes and eyebrows, and put expression into your checks and mouth, you sound engaged and interesting! People are drawn in to what you have to say. Even if you have an amazing voice yet look dull and bored, people will not enjoy listening to you or looking at you. Put your mind, body, and emotion into the story of the song. Whether it is happy, depressed, or fun…go there and your voice will follow! This will also help number 1 become easier!
When I have had students implement these simple techniques they are always amazed at how much louder, clearer, and confident their voice sounds! So give it a try and start somewhere so your voice can soar!