I’ve been away for a while. I’ve been mostly working with singers, public speakers and anyone that’s just trying to improve their voice. I’ve been answering a lot of questions via email and phone consultations hoping get to the subject that I think should be next. So I’ll start by answering one of the questions that I hear every day….How can I become a better singer?
The truth is there are many techniques out there for you to explore and many styles for you to master but in order to do that you have to put in the work.
Singing takes practice and the more you practice the better you get…usually.
Practice isn’t jamming. It’s practice and that means putting together a regimen that is going to help you sound better. The first thing is being able to recognize that you are singing in tune with the intended note. This can be difficult if you have no training so I suggest you see a teacher once you are comfortable going that route.
A good teacher is going to be able to use exercises to determine the quality and range of your voice. Do you have a balanced range? Are you stronger in your chest versus your head range? Do you yell? Are you too soft? The questions are many but a good teacher can help pinpoint those areas and take you through exercises that are going to strengthen your weak areas.
However, in order to do this you have to be in tune and singing in tune means doing exercises based on scales. I hear many singers come in and absolutely sound amazing on a song but when it comes to doing scale work they’re on shaky ground. All melody notes move within the chord structure and movement; all chords are based on scales and key centers. The better you get that scale down the more confident you will be when singing.
It’s only natural that if you have never done scale work, you may fumble a bit but sooner or later your brain starts to get it. There becomes a coordination between your ears, your brain and your vocal cords. You start recognizing what it means for your voice to be in tune. It is a great feeling. Conversely, it’s an awful feeling to know when you are out of tune but the best thing is that you recognize when you’re in and out of tune. When you can do this, you can always fix those out of tune notes.
The more scale work you do that works your whole range, the better you will become. You learn to move between your registers and then you realize that you have gained control in each area of your voice. With good technique you can have a head voice with a chest quality.
Scale exercises and technique are only theory until you apply it your songs. If you can hit the note on your exercises then you can hit the note on your song. It’s all physics. The more you practice your exercises and your songs, the more you don’t think about the notes you’re going to hit, you just hit them. Most of the time it’s our own mind that gets in the way of hitting the money notes because we feel it’s beyond our reach.
We can get into technique later on but practice those scales with someone who you know can help you get on that pitch and remain on pitch without yelling or squeezing.
1. Practice but don’t over practice. This can lead to singing on fatigued cords and that will do more bad than good.
2. Learn what it means to be in and out of tune. Your teacher will help you get your ears in shape.
3. When you’re practicing a song, try singing along with the singer and then sing on a karaoke or instrumental track. This will help you learn how to sing on your own and not confuse your voice with the other singer. Too many times we use the other singer as a crutch or an indicator of the next line.
4. Have fun! Why learn all of these things if it’s not fun?
That’s all for now. Let me know if you have any questions and we’ll use those questions for next months’ blog.