There is an old musician's joke: how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice. While there is a lot of truth to this, practicing smarter instead of harder will help you get more benefit from the practice and enable you to use the limited practice time you have more efficiently. The following singing tips will elevate your practice and leave you with a stronger and more confident singing voice

Singing Tips Related To Mouth Positions

When we talk, we use a variety of mouth positions that give our voice a different timbre. For a singer, these different mouth positions can have a radical effect on their voice. Learning how to sing using these different mouth positions can be akin to turning your voice into an entirely new instrument. The following singing tips will help you better understand how different mouth positions affect your voice.

Explore The Way Your Mouth, Jaw, And Tongue Positions Change Your Voice

One of the easiest ways to understand the different mouth positions is to explore them. In the middle of your most comfortable range, hold a note and change the position of your jaw, lips, and tongue in turn, while listening to the way each change affects your voice. Shifting between the vowels is the easiest way to hear this, but it can also be helpful to add more shifts than just the vowels. Change the position and shape of your tongue, such as moving it further back in your mouth, to explore the more harmonic tones that can be produced.

Use A Cork To Keep Your Mouth Open

This is a fix that is only good for practice, since singing in front of others is a cork in your mouth would look ridiculous! In order to best determine if you could benefit from the cork exercise, say vowels slowly and note the position of your mouth as you speak them: A, E, I, O, U. Most people, when speaking the vowel E and U, close their jaw slightly compared to the way they voice other vowels. In singing, this can lead to a shift in intonation when singing those vowels. If possible, practice singing those vowels and keeping your job loose and open.

This can be more difficult than it seems, so using a cork to keep your jaw open as you practice can be a good way to get into the habit. The cork is soft enough to not cause any damage to your teeth while hard enough to prevent you from closing your mouth. This can be done with fingers as well, but accidently biting down on a cork is a lot less painful than biting down on your fingers

Singing Tips To Get Natural Vibrato In Your Voice

Almost everybody wants to sing with vibrato: a regular pulsating change in the pitch of a note. It can add a great deal of expression to a voice and even makes it more fun to sing. Vibrato is less taught than it is developed through vocal practice. The following singing tips will help you add a natural vibrato to your singing voice.

Listen To Your Voice

As you sing, pay close attention to the pitch of your voice and any quick pitch oscillations in your voice. These pitch oscillations will be the source of your vibrato and are what you need to develop to strengthen your vibrato. If you find more of these oscillations at a certain range, practice in that range and try to extend the vibrato to the rest of your range.

Vibrato Exercises

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There are several exercises that will help you better hear the vibrato and allow your vocal cords to reproduce it. While standing in your best posture, put your hands on your stomach below your rib cage and above your belly button. Sing an easy note that you can maintain and push on your stomach as you sing.

Doing this three or four times a second will simulate vibrato. This can also be done by placing a finger on your larynx as you sing and pressing gently to give the tone a wobble. Please be careful when doing this to not press too hard and make sure to listen so you can eventually replicate the sound without your finger pressing on your larynx.

Another vibrato exercise is to switch between two semi tones as you sing and speed the shift between the two tones, going quicker and quicker until you're switching between six and eight times a second. This can be difficult for many people, but it exercises the muscles needed to produce a good vibrato.

Don't Overdo It

This singing tip is especially important for beginners trying to learn and develop their own vibrato. Vibrato can add a lot of character and expression to your vocalizations, and it is often best used as an emphasis on certain lines instead of a technique used all the time. Listen to other performers and when they use and don't use vibrato in order to get the most out of it.

Singing Tips To Get More Power without The Strain

There are several muscles involved in singing and when you want to try to get more power with your voice, it is possible to strain those muscles. The only way to heal those strains is to not use them, and no singer wants to be without their instrument. The following singing tips will show you how to get the power you need without risking straining your vocal cords or other muscles.

Read Aloud Every Day

Singing requires the use of your voice. The more you talk, the more you build up your singing endurance and power. Additionally, through talking you can work on other aspects of singing, such as your inflection and your intonation. Try to add a 30-minute period of reading aloud to your day in order to give your voice a little more exercise. If you want to build up your power in your higher or lower ranges, read aloud while using them.

Sing Every Day

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Reading aloud a half-hour day is a great way to keep your voice from straining when you give it more power, but singing for a half-hour a day in addition to the half hour of reading aloud will be even more beneficial for your vocal power. If possible, try to sing in public on occasion. Public singing not only helps keep your vocal pipes strong and free of strain, but it can also help you learn how to work an audience.

Warm Up Your Voice Before Singing

As we are dealing with strengthening your voice, thinking about it in the same way you would think about strengthening your body can be beneficial. If you're going for a jog, you would want to warm up before you started running; and the same is true for singing. Warm up your voice before singing, and this will help keep you from straining even when using more power than usual.

A good way to start a vocal warm-up is to sing a soft tone in your mid-range and hold it as long as you can. Repeat this exercise 2 to 3 times before moving on to the second part. For the second part, begin at a lower range with the same soft tone and slowly glide up your range, making sure to keep the soft tone.

A final part of a good vocal warm-up is scale work. Begin in your most comfortable range and start with a C scale. Simply sing the scale in a soft tone using the Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do scale. Once you finish the C scale, move on to other scales. You can do this by simply going up a half step to the C# scale or through any other method you'd prefer.

Always Sing While Using Proper Posture

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Singing requires the use of the lungs and the diaphragm muscle in order to get the most power without straining your voice. Standing up with your back straight and your face forward is the best posture in which to sing. Push your shoulders back and make sure your neck is not bent. If you are unsure about your singing posture, singing in front of a mirror from both the front and the side to check your posture. 

In order to prevent strain, never slouch or bend over while singing; especially if you are using more power with your voice.

Breathing Exercises

Breathing is as important in singing as it is in brass and woodwind instruments. A daily breathing exercise is not only a great warm-up before singing it can help to strengthen your diaphragm as well as increase your lung capacity. When you're singing, try coastal breathing. This is breathing while expanding your rib cage as you inhale. When breathing out, use your diaphragm to push the air out.

Conclusion

boy singing on microphone

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Whether you sing for fun in the shower or are hoping to make your big break on stage, using the above singing tips will help you develop your voice without straining it and make your singing easier and better.

Featured Image: Photo by Papa Yaw from Pexels

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