Vocal Training: 10 Tips to Improve Your Voice
Some people mistakenly think that a singing voice is something you’re either born with or without. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While your genetics play a role in determining the sound of your voice, the voice is an instrument that can be trained and learned like any other.
In this guide, you’ll learn 10 vocal training tips that you can use to improve the way your voice sounds. Whether you like to sing modern pop, opera, or any other style, these 10 simple yet effective tips will help you unlock your voice and sound better than you’ve ever imagined.
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Warm up your voice to prevent injuries
When you sing, your vocal chords vibrate hundreds of times every second. Just like you’d warm up your muscles before working out, you need to warm up your vocal chords before you sing to prevent strains and injuries.
Warming up your voice is simple, and it only takes a couple of minutes. Start with some basic breathing exercises, breathing in and out using your mouth until your lungs are completely empty.
Once you’ve spent a minute practicing breathing, start singing scales to warm up your voice and get used to the notes you’ll be practicing. Two or three minutes of scales and arpeggios are enough to prevent most singing injuries.
Drink water to lubricate your vocal chords
Have you ever noticed how croaky your voice gets when your throat is dry? Your vocal chords move hundreds of times every second as you sing, making it vital to keep them properly lubricated like any other rapidly moving machine.
Drink plenty of water while you sing to make sure your vocal chords stay wet and nicely lubricated. In addition to water, many singers swear by a mixture of lemon juice and honey for clearing their throats prior to singing practice.
Use the correct posture for singing
Great singers don’t sing from their mouth, but from their diaphragm. Unless you’re standing in the right posture, letting air flow freely through your throat and vocal chords is challenging and, in some cases, even impossible.
Practice good singing posture by keeping your shoulders back, chest high, chin on a parallel angle to the floor, and your upper body held up nice and straight. Relax your muscles and stand up straight to allow air to freely flow through your vocal chords.
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Master breathing to improve your voice
There’s more to singing from your diaphragm than just standing up straight. You’ll also need to be able to control your breathing. Breathing properly will allow you to hold notes longer, as well as reducing the likelihood of damaging your voice.
Start by breathing using your lower lungs, taking in as much air as possible instead of just enough to breathe comfortably. Imagine there’s an elastic band around your midsection and that you’re trying to extend it using your stomach.
Breathe air in using your nostrils and out using nose and your mouth. Keep the rest of your body relaxed and natural and you’ll eventually master the art of breathing in and out in a way that enhances your voice and lets you hold notes for longer.
Practice using songs you know and like
Scales, arpeggios, and common practice routines get boring quickly. Instead of just practicing using common vocal training exercises, sing along to song you know and like to keep the art of improving your voice entertaining.
From pop songs to operas, let your own taste in music determine what material you use to warm up and train your voice. Keep in mind that many pop songs only cover a small register; try to find challenging pieces to keep you focused on improvement.
Use scales to quickly train your voice
Tired of singing pop songs? If your favorite songs aren’t enough of a challenge, you can increase your vocal range and unlock your true singing abilities by practicing scales that push your voice to its limits.
When you’re practicing scales, make sure you warm up adequately. Scales that push your voice to its limits in terms of pitch can be challenging for your vocal chords and potentially lead to injury.
Set goals for yourself and try to step up a semitone or two every other week. If you practice your scales frequently, you’ll eventually find yourself capable of singing in registers that were previously impossible.
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Record yourself singing to spot weak points
The voice you hear inside your head doesn’t always match the voice other people will hear. One of the best ways to get better at singing is by recording yourself to spot weak points and hear your voice as it really sounds.
Record yourself singing simple exercises and pop songs, preferably in a room with as little natural reverb as possible. You can then review the tapes of your voice and spot flat or sharp notes, as well as nasal singing or bad breathing techniques.
Careful self-analysis of your singing will help you work out your strong points and your weaknesses, making it easy to determine what you need to practice, improve, or touch up with exercises and technique.
Practice frequently in quick sessions
Singing for too long can burn out your voice and leave you feeling croaky and under the weather. This is one reason touring singers take time off between each of their shows; if they played every night, they could potentially injure their vocal chords.
When you practice singing, limit your practice sessions to one hour to prevent your vocal chords from potentially being injured. If you’re practicing demanding singing techniques like belt singing, you should shorten your practice sessions further.
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Stay within your limits and listen to your body
Does your throat feel sore or worn down after a practice session? Your body knows itself well, and if you feel pain or muscular strain after singing, it’s important to take a break and let your muscles and vocal chords recover.
Remember to drink frequently when you practice singing, and continue drinking a lot of water after you’ve finished. Singing is an amazingly demanding activity, and like any other workout, you need to recover and relax between practice sessions.
Practice with a piano to improve your pitch
When you’re practicing scales and arpeggios, keep a piano or keyboardnearby to make sure you stay in tune. Mastering pitch is one of the most essential aspects of singing well, and even the best voice will sound bad if it’s not singing in tune.
You don’t need to practice with a piano for your entire session, but at least perform your warm-ups with the assistance of a piano, keyboard, or other instrument that’s definitely in tune. Doing so will improve your pitch and make you a better singer.
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Learn more vocal training and singing tips
Do you want to improve your voice? Learning to sing is surprisingly easy once you know how your voice works and how it can be trained. Read our blog post on how you can become a better singer to learn six techniques to improve your voice.
Remember that your voice is an instrument, and like any other instrument, it can be improved with practice. Start small and practice scales, songs, and melodies to give yourself a bigger range and clearer voice, one day at a time.
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