Learn How To Sing In 5 Easy Ways
Singers are a special kind of musicians. While instrument players rely on physical instruments, singers have everything they need inside them. But can anyone learn how to sing?
Well, you can be forgiven for thinking “no” especially if you’ve seen someone on a TV talent show, where a singer walls of key or mumbles in tuneless monotones with confidence but little ability. You may have already tried singing in a choir or even tried taking singing lessons, but eventually became frustrated when you found out that your voice didn’t match your expectations. And as much as you might want to sing, you may have already made a decision for yourself that you can sing.
Back to our question, the answer is a definite yes. Just as anyone can learn how to play an instrument, and one can also learn how to sing. So, if you do enjoy music, have favorite artists, or look forward to new releases from your favorite musicians, you can definitely learn how to sing.
1. Get the posture right
The first thing you need to understand is the importance of good posture when singing. Although it helps, being at ease does not necessarily equal good posture. You have to learn how to relax and align your body properly at the same time. Proper posture not only improves your vocal tone, it also improves your overall health.
Singing in a good posture will improve your sound, and most people will have a better posture naturally when standing. Simply align your hips, knees, shoulders, and ears into a straight line. Moving around will help you avoid tension. In a small room, pacing back and forth will work just fine, but in a performance, you need to stay flexible while making small movements like taking a step or two, and shifting your weight occasionally.
• Aligning your body: alignment is the most important element of proper posture. The body parts that should be aligned include fit to knees, hips to shoulders, knees to hips, and shoulders to ears. New singers often struggle to align their ears with their shoulders while singing. Elongate the neck or tip the chin down.
• Rotate the pelvis: the stomach muscles should be relaxed to allow you to breathe low. Rotate the pelvis and straighten the back without tightening the abdomen. This position also keeps the knees from locking.
• Centre balance: besides proper alignment, your balance should be centered. Have your feet shoulder width apart and slowly lean forward to a position where your weight is on the balls of your feet. You can also place one foot in front of the other if it feels more comfortable. The goal here is to center most of your body’s weight over your feet.
• Elevate the chest: your chest should be elevated when singing. This helps you to breathe through the diaphragm. To visualize how this works, imagine a string pulling your chest from the center up to the ceiling. But be careful to ensure that your body remains relaxed as the chest rises. Keep in mind that these are among the toughest posture to master since it requires creating a postural muscle that you might be unfamiliar with. Practice this position throughout the day a little at a time to master it.
• Shoulders down: in the western culture, shoulder tension is quite common. You can align your body and yet tense your shoulders. What you should do is relax them down. Have them as far much away from the ears as possible.
Don’t forget that a rigid body is neither relaxed nor healthy. Although training yourself into good posture will take time, effort, and some physical discomfort, make your adjustments as you listen to your body. Whenever something causes pain, avoid it.
Of course, if you don’t, you’ll die vocally and literally. Plan your breathing taking the most relaxed, low breaths you can. It’s best to breathe with your diaphragm, though it will take some time to learn and if you’re not planning to perform tomorrow, then you can worry about it later. Here is a list of exercises that you can use to master this technique:
• Lie down: how of the task is learning what it feels like breathing with your diaphragm. Most people breath with their diaphragm while lying down on their backs. Spend a few moments every night before you go to sleep breathing on your back. Notice how your stomach keeps rising and falling. Try to memorize how the body feels.
• Leverage gravity: for those with tight and tense abdomens, gravity is a good friend. Get on your hands and knees and start breathing deeply. Notice how the pull of gravity helps your stomach to release towards the floor while you are inhaling.
• Use one nostril at a time: use one point a finger to cover a nostril such that no air enters through the nostril. That breathing in deeply through the open nostril. After a few moments, switch the nostrils and repeat the process.
• Pretend to be surprised/shocked: pretending to be shocked or surprised by something will get you to open your mouth and inhaled quickly. Hold the breath for a moment and then exhale. Breathe normally and try again after a few moments.
• Hold two heavy items on both hands: stand in a good posture and take one heavy object with your left hand and the other in your right arm. Lift them and breathe while you are lifting. This way you may find it impossible to list your shoulders, compelling you to breathe downwards.
3. Sing just as you would speak
In an elevated, projected way, shout out your words and then imitate your speech while singing. Shouting will help you support your sound, and train you to balance your inhalation and exhalation muscles. Learning to sing like you speak is ideally the best and natural way to start developing your unique voice.
• Choose a song from your native language: if you lead your list that with a simple song from a native language. Trying to learn a new accent for a song will add complexity which is not ideal when starting out. Foreign languages will be an even greater challenge and are reserved for an intermediate level to advanced level singers.
• Speak the lyrics: once you’ve picked a song, try to voice them as naturally as possible. You may need to spend some time on them because how you say things is something you normally don’t think about, and the lyrics are not your own words.
• Project the lyrics: While avoiding changing how every word is pronounced and emphasized, take the words from one musical phrase and say them a bit louder. Now repeat this until you are as loud as you can comfortably handle when projecting the words. Avoid whispering into more of a yell and instead, speak in your normal voice or in an energized projected voice.
• Raise the pitch of your voice: here is the tricky part. The next step is trying to raise the pitch of your voice while maintaining the same emphasis and pronunciation. In your first attempts, take one phrase at a time. Start by speaking the words in a normal voice, proceed to a projected voice, and then exactly the same in head voice.
4. Learn to let air out slowly
You need air when singing but don’t try to conserve it. This way, you’ll be able to sing longer phrases, and your voice will sound much better. It might appear counterintuitive, but using too much air at once will make it sound forced and uncontrolled. There are many different ways on how to do it properly, such as pushing the stomach in or out.
• Controlling exhalation: you can slow down exhalation through muscle antagonism, which leverages the muscles of inhalation resist the muscles of exhalation. Another way of controlling airflow is via the glottis, which is the opening created by vocal cords. When the glottis is closed, air stops. Creating beautiful sounds involves coordinating air restriction through the two means.
• Inhalation: during a deep breath, the diaphragm flexes down to create room for the lungs to enlarge. For this to happen, the stomach will naturally expand outward. As a rule of thumb, you should never stuff the lungs fully, but ensure you feel relaxed with every breath. Allow the diaphragm to naturally extend the stomach are to allow the body to remain relaxed during breathing.
• Exhalation: to slow down the breath, your inhalation muscles must resist the pressure exerted by exhalation muscles to push the diaphragm up and the stomach in. if the lower abdominal muscles move inwards when exhaling, the resistant results into a bulge under the ribs. The bulging you experience is based on how aggressively you can resist the exhalation muscles.
5. Record Yourself
This should be a breeze, considering the different smartphones, tablets, and other electronic devices that are probably already lying around your house. When you sing out loud, you only hear the voice from within, meaning you don’t know exactly how others hear your voice. Although listening to your voice might make you feel a bit uncomfortable, you’ll be able to hear how you actually sound. Nonetheless, it’s good to know that you’ll most likely be critical of yourself, especially the first time you hear yourself singing.