Singing is a talent that comes more naturally to some than others. However your voice is an instrument and can be learned along with any other. Dedication, practice and learning the right skills are all ways you can take your singing ability from average to outstanding!
Find your vocal range
Your range is determined by genetics – the size and shape of your larynx and vocal cords. However with specific training you can extend your range of natural tones. Everyone has a natural ‘sweet spot’ or the range where their voice works the best in. It is best to utilize your natural range to avoid over working and straining your voice which can be painful and prevent you from signing or speaking.
The breakdown of vocal range:
- Sopraninos: Can sing to D6 and beyond and is the highest of the range.
- Sopranos: Can sing from C4 to A5, or higher.
- Mezzo-soprano: This range extends from A3 to F5.
- Alto: The normal range for altos is E3 to E5.
- Contralto: This is for the lowest of female voices and extends below E3.
- Countertenors: Very high vocal ranges, into the alto and soprano ranges of female range vocals or those with a strong, clear falsetto.
- Tenor: This is near the upper end of the male’s vocal range. A tenor comfortably sings between C3 and A4.
- Baritone: A range between F2 and E4.
- Bass: The range from F2 to E4, along with a comfort range between G2 and A3.
Your voice will have its own unique character which people will respond to. Rather than trying to hit all of the different notes, focus on the quality of your tone to build an impressive singing style.
Choose your Style
The musical style you choose vastly changes the ways in which you will sing. When making a choice, understand the demands that style. Try out a high note then a low note to test if you feel comfortable with which notes. Think about the differences between Rock, Hip Hop, Jazz, Pop, R & B, Country or Rapping. All these genres want a different
Start with some free tutorials
The interest is full of wonderful free tutorials to get you started. Remember though that not everything you read is correct. Once you feel comfortable singing and want to take your skills to the next level – its time to find a proper coach.
Get a Coach
A qualified vocal coach will be able to show you techniques and help you achieve a stronger, higher quality singing voice. If you cannot afford a coach, consider joining a choir where members will be able to help you.
There are also some at home options to subscribe to like Singing Success, Sing and See, Singorama, and Vocal Release however these can be difficult as you may interpret the techniques incorrectly and you don’t have the live feedback a coach can provide.
Get in touch with your body
Learn how your body moves and feels to achieve the best voice possible. Understand how your lungs, diaphragm, throat and mouth feel when hitting certain notes. You want to know how it feels to take a deep breath right from the bottom of your lungs, the way your stomach will puff out and then compress. Place your fingers on your throat to feel how your larynx is moving and vibrating with each note. Feel how the vibrations of your voice move from your throat, mouth and head depending on which notes you are hitting. The higher the note, the higher the vibration.
First – stand up straight. Good posture allows you to breathe well and use your lungs to their best capacity. Ensure your back is straight with your shoulders pulled back and down. This means your chest is high and floating over your torso to give room for your lungs to expand and contract. You can keep this posture whether you are seated or standing.
If you are standing, have one foot slightly in front of the other, a shoulder width apart. If you are sitting, keep your feet flat on the ground and feet a shoulder width apart as well. Don’t cross your legs as you will cramp your torso.
Breathe properly – Singing is a wind instrument so you can’t sing with a strong, controlled breath. Use your stomach rather than your chest to achieve the best airflow possible. If you are struggling practice by laying on the ground and place a book on your stomach. Sing your most comfortable note and while exhaling (singing) make the book rise.
Before you start singing, you need to warm up to prevent straining your voice. Start singing in your middle range, then low range, then high range, and back to middle. Spent about 10 minutes in each range for a through warm up. Warm up both dynamics – or the variations in the intensity of your resonance as well as agility, or the speed at which you switch between notes.
This will help especially if you are having problems with your pitch. Practicing scales strengthen your muscles and gives you better control. Use an accompanying instrument like a piano to assist you with singing the right note.
Let go of what others might think. Remember that you will improve and that you are on a journey. Start by enjoying your own singing voice, and then start singing in front of others as much as you can. Be reasonable with your expectations. This is like learning other skills or other instruments. It can take months or years of practice to achieve your goals. When it comes to your performance, make sure you have practiced. Practice will increase your confidence and mean that you can follow through, even when nervous. Don’t focus on people’s reactions too much. The audience might look unimpressed but in reality, they are just focusing on you! Remember to relax and enjoy yourself.