According to a recent study 98.5% of people can learn how to sing, it is only the remaining 1.5% of people that are “tone deaf,” also known as Congenital Amusia. This means that even if you are a complete beginner, you can still learn the skills and techniques to improve your singing voice and produce a better sound.
Practicing these skills is essential, because if you push your voice too far, you could damage your vocal chords. There are lots of simple ways that you can improve your singing, and before you know it, you could be making everyone smile with your karaoke, or even getting yourself on the road to musical stardom.
1. Focus on your breathing
The quality of the sound that you produce when you are singing relies on your breathing. If you don’t push out enough air, the sound that you make will be thin and raspy. The good news is that we are all relatively equal when it comes to the size of our lungs – the best singers in the world don’t have bigger lungs.
They do however practice improving their breathing regularly, and you can do the same. Learning some therapeutic breathwork techniques with industry experts SOMA Breath can help you be more conscious of controlling an even flow of air.
This kind of breathwork is used in meditation and yoga, and also to relax the body. When you are singing, you will need to use more air to sustain the longer higher notes, and having control of your breathing will give you a better range and improve the quality of tone.
2. Always warm up
Before you start singing, just like you would if you are playing sports, you need to do a warm up. Doing some physical stretches is important, as this helps to relax your muscles and releases tension. You should then do some vocal warm up exercises – these will work the inner muscles of your larynx and engage your vocal cords.
In doing this, you will be better prepared to sing in different registers. One good warm up technique is to focus on different vowel shapes – this is something that is practiced by classical and opera singers. If you can sound each vowel clearly, it will help improve your resonance and keep your tuning accurate.
3. Singing some scales
The complex cadenzas you hear in popular music, and the soulful runs that are so common in R&B and jazz all start in one place – with the simple scale. A scale is just moving up and down a range of notes in order.
By practicing these you can learn the basic techniques needed to sing one syllable over several notes. You don’t need to be able to read music to sing scales, and there are plenty of videos online that you can sing along with to help you get the pitch. Scales are also excellent exercises to use as a warm up.
4. Think about posture
Your body is a musical instrument, capable of producing an incredible sound – just think of how opera singers can project without needing microphones. For your body to be working as it should be, you will need to have good posture.
Sitting on a tall stool might look good if you are in a boy band singing a ballad, but it’s not the best way to produce a good sound. When you are practicing your singing, stand up straight with your feet flat on the floor and your arms out to your sides. This will mean that your diaphragm, the muscle under your lungs, will have space to move, pushing the air out of your lungs.
6. Listen to yourself
When you are singing some of your favorite songs, make a recording of yourself. You can then listen back and hear where there are improvements to be made. You may find that you could improve the tone of certain notes, or that you would prefer the song that you are singing to be in a different key.
Evaluating and appraising your singing can be a really worthwhile experience and also prepare you for when you do want to start making some professional sounding recordings. If you are planning on getting up on stage, it is also worth taking a video of yourself singing. This can help you pinpoint any problems with posture.
7. Take some lessons
Having singing lessons is easy – you can do some one-to-one sessions, sign up for group lessons or even learn online. Lessons will give you the opportunity to practice your technique, so that you can sing with ease and clarity. With a good teacher, you can increase your range and learn how to use your diaphragm muscle to support the notes.
Having singing lessons will do more than just teach you techniques; however, you can also work on building your confidence in front of an audience, learning to connect with others when you perform. How you interpret a song is a big part of this – if you can develop an emotional link with the music, then it will become important to both yourself and the listener.
8. Look after your voice
It is good to practice your singing, but don’t sing for hours on end, and certainly try to avoid screaming and shouting. Give your vocal cords a break and have a “vocal nap” regularly. If your voice is tired, you will be more prone to strain and injury, so you should give your vocal cords some recuperation time.
Healthy habits like not drinking too much alcohol and not smoking will prevent your vocal cords from becoming inflamed or irritated. Swap out the beer for some room temperature water and your voice will thank you for it.
Almost everyone can learn to sing. Learning some simple breathing techniques and exercises can help you to improve your tone and pitch, so that you can consistently produce a beautiful sound.