Becoming a capable singer is paramount for anyone that makes a living off of being a vocalist or aspires to become a vocalist as their career choice.
Whether it’s enamoring audiences on Broadway, creating classic songs in the studio, or even just being in charge of singing duties in a cover band, being on point with singing is very important.
Here are our top tips for making learning how to sing better.
The Diaphragm is Under our Control
Since the diaphragm gets impulses from the brain, many think that using it is involuntary. We can actually control it using ourselves.
Learn to Control the Diaphragm
Control of the Diaphragm can be achieved through practice as we develop our singing abilities (impulses are sent from the higher brain center).
Learn to Breathe Properly
Learning to breathe properly allows you proper control over your vocal cords, something that you should be focused on.
Learn Correct Breathing Patterns
Proper breathing patterns prevent strain and tension on the vocal cords as well as aiding more efficient and deeper breathing for learning how to sing better.
Controlling the Relaxation of Diaphragm is Important
Diaphragm relaxation relies on control of the abdominal and chest muscles, not controlling the diaphragm itself.
Don’t Fill Up Your Lungs to the Max
Filling your lungs all the way up causes a lot of tension. Singing long phrases requires controlled exhalation.
Understand How the Lungs Fill Up
The lungs fill upward with air coming down the trachea to the lungs. The lungs then expand downward and sideways.
Learn How to Breathe Fluidly
When breathing for singing, air movement should be fluid, and not involve any hard work.
Understand the Diaphragms Movement
The diaphragm actively moves down on inhale, which is how air enters the lungs.
Breath Support is Necessary for Phonation
Understanding breath support is good for prolonged breathing, and aids sound production (known as phonation).
Don’t Push Your Stomach When Exhaling
Pushing your stomach in while exhaling causes loss of control over sound and unneeded tension during singing!
Don’t Squeeze Your Abdominal Muscles When Singing
This is a bad idea as you will run out of air much more quickly than you would otherwise.
Don’t Focus on Strengthening Your Diaphragm
Remember that your diaphragm is always strong enough to sing – you should focus on controlling exhalation when learning how to sing better.
Don’t Open Your Mouth Too Wide
If you open your mouth too wide, you can cause tension at the back of the throat.
Only Open Your Mouth as Much as You Need
You should only open your mouth wide enough for needed vowels in order to promote better pronunciation.
Don’t Push for Higher Notes
You shouldn’t push more for higher pitched notes. If you’ve perfected your technique correctly, you won’t have to strain yourself.
Understand Your ‘Head Voice’ is Not from the Head
Don’t be fooled by those that say head voice comes from the head. All vocal tones come vocal cords.
Don’t Always Smile
You don’t need to smile all the time when you sing! This can convey an incorrect message.
Change Your Facial Expressions to Match the Message
While you shouldn’t smile all the time when singing, it’s useful to change your expression to match whatever emotion you’re singing.
Don’t Classify Head Voice & Falsetto as The Same
The falsetto and your head voice are two different things, even though they’re often described as the same.
Determine How to Use Head Voice & Falsetto
The falsetto voice is very thin and airy, whilst your head voice is also quite light but sounds more grounded.
Move Your Tongue When Singing
Moving your tongue when singing is useful for adjusting to shapes of vowels and consonants. Don’t keep it flat when learning how to sing better!
Understand the Role of the Tongue When Singing
The way you modify the shape of the tongue can also be used for different pitches.
All Notes Can Be Produced as Easily as One Another
Don’t believe the tales. All notes can be produced with the same amount of effort after practice.
Strive to Discover Your Vocal Range
Understanding your vocal range also lets you understand how it is larger than you think – you can usually grow to hit new notes.
Standing on Toes Won't Help Singing
Some people say standing on your toes will help you produce higher notes – this is of course silly.
Don’t Push Down the Tongue When Singing
Some people try and push the tongue down to make more space in the throat. This actually pushes the larynx down too, making vocal delivery more strained.
Don’t Try and Push More Air to High Notes
This is wrong! When properly sung, high notes require fewer notes than lower notes (although pressure has to be greater).
Phlegm isn’t Created by Dairy
Despite what people say, there is actually no evidence to support the theory that dairy creates phlegm.
Feel Free to Eat Dairy
Because of the lack of evidence, go ahead and has as much dairy as you want! However, be wary of how it makes you feel when learning how to sing better – it might not be for you.
Go with What Feels Right
Always pay attention to how certain food or drinks make you feel when you have them. This is important even beyond singing!
Honey Doesn’t Do That Much
They say that honey helps the coal cords when singing. However, food does not come into contact with your vocal cords directly, so this is irrelevant.
Drink Hot or Cold Drinks
Feel free to drink hot or cold drinks. They don’t actually affect your vocal cords in any way.
Ice Cold Water Won’t Hurt
There is also a myth that ice-cold water will damage your larynx. Again, there is no evidence to support this, so go right ahead!
Drink Water Throughout the Day
Some people only drink water when they are dehydrated. This is kind of useless, as the vocal cords will have been dehydrated for a long time.
Don’t Drink Water Right Before Performing
Also drinking too much water prior to performing can make you throw up or need the toilet. Definitely a no-no!
Green Tea May Not Be All It’s Cracked Up to Be
Green tea has some fantastic benefits but also contains caffeine, which can dehydrate your vocal cords.
Singing Lessons are Worth Every Penny
Singing lessons are a fantastic investment. They can help anyone aspiring to sing to become a great vocalist.
Don’t Focus on Being Perfect
A lot of people seem to think that being perfect is the only way to become a fantastic singer. In actuality, you should put your mind to just getting better and more consistent.
Use Different Exercises to Build Vocal Skills
While doing things like singing scales is good, you should practice a variety of singing skills in order to develop as a vocalist.
Getting Control of Your Voice Doesn’t Take Forever
Some people think you have to practice for years to develop vocal control. In actuality, you can have vocal control when it comes to songs you know better.
Make Sure You Practice Properly
Practice is all well and good, but you need to know how to practice efficiently, otherwise, you are just wasting time and potentially working backwards.
Vocal Training Works Regardless of Skill Level
Vocal training can be used to make anyone a better vocalist. They’re not just for accomplished singers!
Singing Songs Don’t Necessarily Make You Better
Singing songs can be tremendous fun. But if you’re not singing them correctly or employing proper technique, you might not even be getting better.
Don’t Sing for Too Long Unnecessarily
If you sing for long periods of time in an attempt to get better, you can end up hurting our vocals cords and straining yourself.
Short Practice is More Effective than Long Practice
It is much better to practice for a short amount of time consistently than practice for a large amount of time every now and then.
Work Smart, Not Hard
Working hard when necessary can make you a better singer. Practicing in a way that is helpful is much more useful.
Don’t Use Pain as a Criteria for Progression
Don’t be fooled into thinking singing should hurt. If so, something is definitely wrong.
Follow Your Instincts When Learning
If you have a vocal coach, don’t assume everything that they tell you is correct. Always make sure you feel comfortable with their advice.
Change Your Vocal Teacher if Something isn’t Right
Don’t be deterred to change your teacher if you think something they’re telling you isn’t correct.
Good Lessons Will Let You Sing in Any Style
Good singing lessons should give you a foundation of skills that will allow you to sing any way that you want.
Your Voice Will Change Regardless of Gender
Although some believe that women’s voices don’t change, be prepared for a slight difference if you are a woman. This is not as noticeable as men’s however.
Remember You Sing from More Than the Throat
When you sing, it’s not just from the throat. Your body’s breathing mechanism is what gives you the power to resonate loudly and more clearly.
Perfect Your Vocal Technique to Sing in Any Pitch
By becoming a better vocalist, you’ll develop the ability to sing naturally in many pitches, even ones you thought you were incapable of.
Understanding the Voice Allows You to Sing Better
Contrary to some who think that learning the mechanics of sound makes you less natural, in fact, learning more about how the voice works will help you to become a more accomplished vocalist.
Learn about the False Vocal Chords
The false vocal cords do not assist in singing despite their name. In fact, they are there to protect the larynx from food entering the breathing tube.
Don’t Attempt to Feel Vocal Chord Vibration
You cannot actually feel your vocal cords vibrating when you sing. This is actually the vibration transferred to the rest of your body.
Don’t Worry About Your Voice Aging
With enough care, you can protect your vocal cords from becoming too worn over time. This is can be a worry for those getting older.
Singing When Young Can Be Advantageous
If you begin your singing career whilst you are young, you can gain extra control which will assist you in transitioning to a more mature state of vocal ability.
Don’t Be Scared to Sing When Young
Some people say singing when young is harmful when in actual fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Don’t Whisper When Your Voice is Sore
Whilst it may seem that whispering is very gentle on the voice, in actual fact, it can be very damaging as it causes tension and an unideal air flow in the throat.
Cough Drops Can Be Detrimental to Singers
Cough drops may help you get rid of that annoying cough, but it’s important to remember that they contain dehydrating chemicals.
Morning Warm-Ups are a Great Idea
Those who say you shouldn’t sing in the morning are talking nonsense. Morning warm-ups are a good habit to get into.
Focus on Producing a Strong Voice Without Straining
You should be able to (with enough practice) create a powerful enough voice without having to strain too much. Perfect correct technique.
Don’t Clear Your Throat
Clearing your throat to help you sing might seem like a good idea, but it can assist in damage to the vocal cords.
Be Careful Not to Strain Your Larynx
The muscles of the larynx, like all muscles, do need some rest and to be looked after, especially since they are used all day.
Don’t Take Medication to Reduce Swelling on Vocal Cords
Taking certain medication to reduce swelling on your vocal cords can make them more susceptible to bleeding, so be careful!
Seek Help If Your Voice Changes for More Than Two Weeks
If you find your voice has been hoarse or feels damaged for more than a period of two weeks, you might want to look into getting it checked out.
Don’t Worry About Voice Cracking
Though it may not sound particularly pleasant, voice cracking is part of normal vocal development. Everyone goes through this!
Antibiotics aren’t Much Use for Acute Laryngitis
Surprisingly, acute laryngitis is caused by a virus, and so antibiotics aren’t effective.
Don’t Worry if You Have Vocal Nodules
Vocal nodules aren’t the be all and end all. They can be taken care of if you happen to have them.
Use Speech Therapy to Get Rid of Vocal Nodules
One of the ways in which you can get rid of vocal nodules is actually speech therapy. It is rare that surgery is necessary to remove them.
Vocal Nodules Can Be Prevented
Of course, these nodules can be prevented by looking after your vocal cords. They can be prevented with proper technique and hygiene.
Treat Any Problems Quickly and Efficiently
Any problems you have with your vocals should be treated quickly and efficiently especially in the earliest stages.
Anyone Can Improve Their Singing
Some people have got the idea that you need to be a natural talent in order to make a career out of singing. This is not true. Anyone can develop the ability to sing with enough time and effort.
Just Because You Can Sing, Doesn’t Mean You Can Teach
Bear in mind – even if you find yourself to be a great singer, it doesn’t mean you have the aptitude to teach others! Instructing someone to teach is a completely different ball game.
Singing the Right Way
As you can see, there are plenty of ways you can use to improve your vocal ability. Getting into the habit of trying some of these out and you’ll soon find that your vocals improve drastically!