Did you know singing well isn’t all about learning to breathe from the diaphragm and opening your mouth wider? As new students join me to learn how to improve their voices the one thing that always seems to shock them – just how much more is possible when learning to sing. Especially those who have already had lessons! Some people believe the voice they have now is the voice they will always have. The truth is some singers study with a singing teacher for some time and see no drastic improvement and some people believe that singing through songs and talking about the emotion or lyrics behind the song is all there is to singing lessons. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
When my students study with me, they learn about the voice and how it works, they study genre appropriate techniques that helps them stay true to their style whilst getting the sound they want, and it is possible to sing a rock song one minute then change to a soul song then move to a classical song, you shouldn’t be defined or ruled by what your teacher sings – you should be able to explore any style or technique you want to! Some styles have specific techniques to help you sound a certain way and some cross over – I call all my individual techniques that I train ‘Building Blocks’ you start with one technique then layer with another, in time you can build a voice that’s strong, powerful and true to you!
So these building blocks, they cover a wide spectrum of everything from breath to specific vocal fold closures and postures. If I were to pick a common goal for the majority of singers joining me, it would be that they want to learn how to sing more powerfully or even belt. Anyone potentially should be able to achieve any vocal task they set their mind to with the right steps. There is a process for everything! For example for a more powerful sound there are quite a few disciplines we need to master, each person is different but the following areas may be a starting point.
- Control Breath Flow
- Get a good vocal fold closure
- Understand and know when to utilise Twang
- Understand and control placement
- Learn how to support / anchor
- Build stamina and control
- Eliminate excess tension
- Good vocal health awareness
Now that may seem like a lot to learn to sing more powerfully, but the beauty of learning to sing with technique is once you get it, you theoretically should be able to incorporate it into your singing forever across all genres and vocal styles. Silly sounds, regular practice and a little bit of effort can get you everything you want in your voice, complete vocal control with Range, Balanced Tone, Strength, Stamina, Flexibility, Volume, Power and Projection. But I’m not going to lie you will have to put some work in. But trust me it will be totally worth it!
I guess what I am trying to say is there really is no reason for there to be any limits to your voice!!
So where can I start?
We may be getting into more personalised training and may need someone to guide us from here – but see if there is anything which you can get started with.
The most essential step to building a better voice – Listen!
Most people sing all the time but never really listen to themselves, what do you hear? Are you breathy? Tight? Pitchy? Quiet? – If you can’t hear yourself well whilst singing try recording and listening back (yes you may hate the sound – I’m yet to find one person who doesn’t cringe when hearing themselves but give it a go!)
Try to pin point one problem area, its not about beating yourself up its about thinking logically – if you have a problem lets fix it! After all our voice is the way it is because of our past experiences, our genetics, our accents, our previous training, etc, they all encourage specific habits into our voice.
Did you know sometimes its as basic as just telling yourself to do something, Are you breathy? Can you stop? are you straining? Can you relax? Its not always so easy and sometimes we need a technique to fix it but its a good place to start!
There is a reason and resolution for everything we don’t like within our voice, the tricky part is figuring out what needs to change and how to change it. That’s usually where someone like me comes in, but I always like to encourage my students to figure out what they want to do better, and to actively listen to what their voices are up to!
Singers it may be a long road, but myself and my students for the most part (Minus occasional frustrations at themselves) – love every minute of it!
What about you? What would you like to do better? Are there any specific problem areas that you know you’d like to improve?