Congratulations, you’ve made the decision to take on one of the most notable roles in a band: the singer. But before you attempt to reach the extremities of your vocal range like Freddie Mercury, there are a few steps you should consider.
These first steps will make your body and voice ready to start practicing. It’s like warming up before a gym exercise, so that you don’t hurt your voice in the process.
Follow these tips to improve your singing voice and learn how to sing better. As AC/DC puts it: “It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll”. In other words, learning to sing doesn’t come easy and requires some work. So remember to keep practicing and soon you’ll hit those difficult high notes and impress everyone with your singing voice.
CONTROL YOUR BREATH
The most important tool of any singer is, of course, their voice. Your voice is unique too, so take good care of it.
The first step to maintain your voice is to breathe correctly. If you take a breath now, does it feel like it’s mainly your shoulders and chest moving up? Whether you breathe like this naturally or not, it’s a very shallow way of breathing, and something we want to avoid. Luckily, this is something you can unlearn and improve your singing in the process. As a singer, you want to use a breathing technique called diaphragmatic breathing.
Place your arms around your belly. When you’re breathing, you should feel your belly, ribs and back expanding. This is the breathing technique you want to use when singing. One helpful method is to imagine that the inhaled air flows first all the way down your spine, and then expands your torso 360 degrees.
Now that we’ve got you conscious of your breathing, it’s time to release some tension. We’ll be focusing especially on your throat, jaw and neck. After singing or doing some singing exercises, have your vocal cords ever felt exhausted or sore? Or does your neck feel sore and pulsing like it would after a workout? If this sounds (and feels) familiar, you might have vocal tension.
Don’t worry, there’s something we can do to alleviate this tension and make you feel better. To continue with our earlier gym workout analogy, this is like stretching after a good exercise session or workout to help you recover and come back stronger for the next time.
First, stick your tongue out. That’s right. Get it out of your mouth and maybe give it a good stretch by making some circles. You may already feel some tension leaving your jaw and neck as you release your tongue.
As you sing, your tongue should be allowed to rest and not really take part in the process of making sound. If you still feel like your neck is getting involved in your singing and your tongue is getting tense, try to sing while sticking your tongue out to have it completely out of the way of your singing. This might sound and look silly, but trust us, it’s a great way to ease any tension you might have.
Sticking your tongue out while singing helps to ease the tension.
Next, we’re going to relax your neck and shoulders. Many people raise their shoulders and tense their neck while singing. Pay attention to this next time you’re practicing or doing some vocal exercises. See if this is a problem you’re having as well.
To help with this, we’re going to do a simple lengthening of the neck to get rid of that tension. Lean your head towards your shoulder and take deep breaths. Try to relax and feel the side of your neck lengthening gently. You can also think of pushing your shoulder down gently, the one you’re leaning away from, to feel the lengthening a bit more. Inhale, raise your head back up and exhale. Repeat on the other side.
In addition to relieving tension from the upper body, remember to also check that you’re standing up with your knees unlocked. Think about standing in a moving bus, without holding on to anything. What kind of strength and support would you need from your legs in that situation? If your knees are locked and legs stiff, you would fall instantly. Instead, think of a strong, but elastic support from your legs, butt and back. This leaves your upper body and stomach free, so you can do the deep breathing we talked about earlier.
TRAIN AND IMPROVE YOUR SINGING VOICE
There are no shortcuts to becoming a great singer, but that doesn’t mean the learning process has to be boring. Try to create a routine from the different exercises we’ve listed. Perhaps you can start your mornings by concentrating on your breathing before getting out of bed, or cheer up your neighbors by giving them a demonstration of your vocal range while making breakfast. The most important thing is to practice whenever you have the time, without interruptions. As you make daily practice a part of your routine, you’ll notice your voice and singing improve in leaps.
To start doing those vocal practices in the morning, you might want to know your vocal range. One way to find it is to use a piano or virtual keyboard. Go through the notes to see how high and low you can sing.
You can also use our app to find and calibrate your vocal range. This will help you pick the songs to practice in the beginning. Later you can even check if your vocal range has improved. This is a great way to track your progress and hear the improvements in your singing voice and vocal range.
Yousician helps you to find your vocal range.
LEARN TO SING WITH YOUR FAVORITE SONGS
You’ve now made your way through a bunch of facts about singing, and are eager to start using your voice now. That’s the spirit. After all, what really keeps one from practicing is motivation, and in the case of singing, motivation often comes from singing the songs you actually like. Sing songs you enjoy to improve your singing voice, and practicing won’t even feel like work. Who said learning how to sing better has to feel like a chore?
Luckily, Yousician has a variety of well-known songs from different genres and artists to choose from. You can also set up the difficulty according to your skills when searching for songs to sing.
So, choose a song that you like and start your journey of becoming a better singer. Soon you’ll be able to sing along to Freddie Mercury’s live improvisation!