8 Tips to Help You Sound Good and Sing Well

singer-statue-1190975-640x960As singers, we want to sound good. And, as odd as it may sound, sometimes that can get in our way. When we focus more on the sound we want more than our vocal process, we can develop poor habits that inhibit our technique and actually make it harder for us to sing well.

Below are some things I say over and over to students of all skill levels. They are good things to remember when practicing and can help you develop or maintain good vocal technique.

  1. Try not to watch the voice with the head. In other words don’t look/reach up for high notes and don’t look/reach down for low notes. Your chin should be be level with the floor. (If you wonder why this is important try talking with your chin toward the ceiling and down on your chest. What happens to your voice?)
  2. Use good posture. Correct singing posture feels very unnatural for most of us at the start. Learning to “just stand there” without fidgeting actually takes a fair amount of self confidence. Stand in front of full-length mirror and practice standing with your feet hip-width apart, arms by your sides with hands relaxed (not in pockets!) and your knees soft. Keep practicing this until it stops feeling awkward.
  3. Unlock your knees to unlock your throat. Tension in one area of the body can translate into tension in your throat/larynx.
  4. Still not stiff. A lot of singing technique is about isolation. For example, keeping the tongue from pulling up the layrnx, keeping the jaw from influencing the tongue, etc. As you work to keep things still, try not to introduce extra tension.
  5. If you have trouble matching pitch, try changing the volume. If you generally sing quite loud, sing more softly. If you sing softly, increase the volume. I find that many pitch issues are actually technical issues – the voice doesn’t know how to produce the pitch requested – NOT an ability to hear the pitch.
  6. Sing from the abs/diaphragm not from the throat. Rather than squeezing out high notes, think of placing them above the head while keeping the throat wide open.
  7. Sing lightly to increase speed and flexibility (aka agility). Volume will come with practice.
  8. Let the different parts of the voice be different. High notes won’t sound like low notes and vice versa. Your job is to connect the “different” parts of our voice so it can function as one unit. (Your arms and legs, for example are different from each other — and do different things — but they are a part of your body, which is one unit.)

Finally, release your idea(s) of what you should sound like. Be willing to be surprised. When singing exercises, stop trying to “sound good” (singers do this all the time *smile*) and simply do the exercise. Allow your voice to find the most efficient way to produce the sound. If you can do this, you will be well on the way to sounding good and singing well.

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