You have made the decision to take one of the most notable roles in a band, congratulations. But before you are going to try to reach the extremities of your vocal range like Freddie Mercury there are a few steps you should consider before proceeding to Wembley Stadium. This way you will prevent yourself from sounding like a cat fighting for a slice of pizza.
These first steps will make your body and voice ready to start practicing. It is very similar to warming up before a gym exercise, so you won’t hurt your voice in the process.
Control your breath
Like a guitarist would not play the guitar with a sharp-edged rock, you also should treat your voice with care. 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 breath like this naturally or not, it is a very shallow way of breathing, and something we want to avoid. As a singer, you want to use a breathing technique called diaphragmatic breathing.
Place your arms around your belly like after having a delicious burger. When you are breathing, you should feel your belly, ribs and back expanding. This is the breathing technique you want to use when you are singing. One helpful image to think of, is that the inhaled air flows first all the way down along your spine, and then expands your torso in all 360 degrees.
When you can feel your belly, sides and back expanding, you have the breathing technique right.
But you know that singing voice comes from air coming out, not air going in. After you have filled your lungs with air, try to make a relaxed humming sound as you breathe out. Practicing this right way with breathing will help you out later.
Now that we have got you overly conscious about your breathing, it is time to release some tension. Especially regarding your throat, jaw and neck. After a singing attempt, have your vocal cords ever felt exhausted or sore? Or does your neck feel sore and pulsing like after a workout? That means you have vocal tension.
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 the tongue. As you sing, your tongue should be allowed to rest and not really to 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.
Sticking your tongue out while singing helps to ease the tension.
Next, we are going to relax your neck and shoulders. Many people raise their shoulders and tense their neck while singing, so we are going to do a simple lengthening of the neck to get rid of that tension. Lean your head towards your other 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 your leaning away from, to feel the lengthening a bit more. Inhale, raise your head back up and exhale while doing that. Repeat with 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 for instance 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 the rest of your upper body and stomach free, allowing also the deeper breathing we talked about earlier.
Training your singing voice
There are no shortcuts to becoming a great singer, but that does not mean that the learning process has to be lame and boring. Try to create a routine from the different exercises that we have listed. Maybe you can start your mornings by concentrating on your breathing before getting up from 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, and you have nothing interrupting you.
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 a virtual keyboard and go through the notes to see how high and low you can go. You can also use our app to find and calibrate your vocal range. This will help you to pick the songs to practice in the beginning. Later you can even check if your vocal range has become broader.
Yousician helps you to find your vocal range.
Easy songs to sing
You have now made your way through a bunch of facts about singing, and may actually want to start using your voice now. After all what really keeps one practicing anything is motivation, and in the case of singing the motivation often comes from singing the songs you actually like. Yousician has a variety of well-known songs from different genres to choose from. You can also set up the difficulty according to your skills when searching for songs.
So, choose a song that you like and start your journey to become a singer. Soon you can sing along to that Freddie Mercury’s live improvisation!