How to Instantly Sound Better – 3 Simple Tips!November 24, 2018
Do you love to sing in front of friends or at the karaoke, but always feel that your singing is not quite there? And when you hear yourself sing, or when you review your Facebook and Instagram posts of your own singing, you discover that you sound as though you are just reading the lyrics out loud, instead of singing the song?
In this article, we are going to guide you on how to achieve better singing quality instantly, so that when you watch videos of yourself singing karaoke with friends, or when you view your social media singing clips, you won’t feel so cringed or embarrassed about it!
Tip #1: Knowing How To Open Your Throat Space
When we ask others for singing advice, this is quite a common advice people give us; that we need to open up our throat when we sing!
However, do we really understand what this means? Does it just mean open up our mouth bigger, or even to yawn so that we get a bigger throat space? In order to understand this better, we need to know what is in our throat.
We have what we call our True Vocal Folds, and these are the ones responsible for producing sounds and vocalizing, and they are the source of our voice. And just directly above our true vocal folds, are our False Vocals Folds!
Yes, this is something that not many singing coaches will be able to teach you about, or even know!
Think of your False Vocal Folds as the gateway to your voice, and they are the ones that we need to learn how to retract to the sides when we are singing.
And no, False Vocal Folds are not responsible for Falsetto singing…
So, let’s take for example, when we are coughing or lifting something heavy, most of the time we will strain with our throat and let out an “Ugh” sound. This is when we can actually feel our false vocal folds press together and constrict our throat space!
From our experience, especially for you beginner vocal students out there, most of you would constrict your vocals when you sing, and try to ‘force’ or ‘push’ your voice out. It also doesn’t help if you are worried or stressed out about whether you are going to be able to sing the high note in your vocal exercises or in the songs that you are preparing to sing. Your throat will get even tighter when you are stressed or anxious!
And so, as vocal coaches, we need to teach our students to retract our false vocal folds to avoid making constricted and tight sounds. This is what we mean by ‘opening up our throat space’! Now, your next question to me would then be, how do we then retract our false vocal folds?
The trick is to lighten up and not worry about having to hit the correct high notes at the get go, but to actively stay happy and laugh in the throat. This helps to retract the false vocal folds, and to allow us to not be constricted when we sing.
And no, just smiling or laughing on your face doesn’t really help! You need to laugh in your throat (and of course, in your heart as well) in order to retract those false vocal folds and widen your throat and your sound! Once you know how to do this, you can then train to vocalize different vowels, for example “i”, “a” and “u”, in your relaxed and joyful singing voice.
Step 1) Take the experience and sensation that you felt in your throat when you are coughing for lifting something heavy, and vocalise “i” “a” “u”
Step 2) Then now, actively laugh in the throat and in your heart, and in this energetic and happy mood, do the same vocalization exercises.
You will actually be able to feel the difference when your false vocal folds are constricted (your throat will feel tight), and when they are retracted (your throat will feel wide and open). So remember this feeling and difference when you’re singing with your friends next time! And remember, don’t just open your throat and your mouth! Know which part of the throat that you need to widen!
Tip 2: Differentiate the techniques when you are singing and talking.
The techniques between singing and talking is vastly different. You probably have heard people, in the karaoke, who are simply reading back the lyrics into the microphone as if they are having an oral examination and not singing.
In talking, it is more direct with a heavier and thicker tonality and not much of any control, though we can follow the pitch and hitting the rhythm of the song correctly using our talking voice, but it will just sound that you are just reading the lyrics and not singing the song.
This phrase “You need to add more emotions.”, you have might heard it multiple times but what exactly is adding more emotions?
Basically, is to include more gentleness into your talking tone! It is still vague, isn’t it?
Let’s say, you are being sympathetic to child who just dropped a whole newly bought ice cream cone with the saddest look in their eyes, you probably will go, “awww, that is so sad.”
Now, include that tone into your singing, then it will bring out more variety in your tone, instead of just simply reading back the lyrics.
There are several drills for you to practice at your own!
1) Practicing on your “u” vowel,
“Youuuuuuu~” instead of just “You.”
2) Practicing using “MEW” as though you are playing with a cat
“Mew Mew Mew ~”
Watch the video below to find more exactly how to do the drills!
Feel and remember what are you experiencing when you are doing those drills as you are actually shifting a certain part of your vocal anatomy in order to achieve that and then use that to apply on your singing session!
Tip 3: Differentiate Nasal and Twangy.
Of course, there are established singers who are twangy, however, we will need to understand being twangy and being both twangy and nasal at the same time. Typically, from our experience, for our students who have a combination of nasal and twangy vocal type, they will feel their voices are locked up in the nasal cavity.
Probably, we will always have that one friend that has the “Elmo” singing type and that is the combination of nasal and twangy. It may sound comical and funny for a while but it will not be the same funny and comical for a full 2 hours.
Nasality in Voice
This is usually caused by amount of air that passes through your nose depending on the sounds you speak or sing. If there is too much air passes through, this will give too much resonance and if too little getting through, then it produces insufficient resonance.
To reduce that nasal, as generally tip is to think about sounding a little lower in the mouth instead of sounding a little too high in the nose. Practicing singing and vocalization as much as you can, this can help you in changing the quality of your voice.
Twang in Voice
Twang is basically achieved by narrowing the top of the epiglottis, it is the pipe after your vocal cords that goes up the throat.
For those who are nasal and twangy, the trick is that to achieve the correct balance on twang and nasality through constant practice, so that it will make it easier on your friends’ ear during your next karaoke session and make them enjoy your singing more.
Want to know more, join Intune Music Director, Aaron Matthew Lim on 15 Dec, Saturday 3pm to 6pm for Estill Voice Introductory Workshop!
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