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The Essential 5: Top Techniques Every Singer Needs

learning to sing vocal technique Aug 05, 2020

Hands up if you find that your voice starts to get tired or sore after a long singing session? Do you ever wish you had more power in your voice? More control over what it can do? Have you ever watched someone singing and felt like yelling ‘HOW DO YOU EVEN DO THAT?’

Enter Vocal Technique: The Solution to All Your Singing Problems.

I am a self-confessed vocal technique NERD. Why? Because vocal technique is the one thing that helped me

  • Gain control over my voice

  • Get more power with less effort

  • Stop getting tired after long singing sessions

  • Actually sing the songs that used to have me staring, open mouthed at YouTube videos thinking ‘this is live?!?!’

To give you more of an idea of vocal techniques and how they can help you, here’s an overview of 5 of my all-time favourite techniques!

Vocal Technique 1: Breathing

Truth bomb: You can’t sing without breathing. It doesn’t work. Yes, I know you’ve been breathing your entire life, but here’s the thing; we learn a slightly different way of breathing when we learn to sing. This method of breathing;

  • Gets you more air (hello long notes)

  • Takes pressure away from the neck, which means longer lasting singing sessions and less sore throats

  • Gives you more control over your voice

  • Genuinely makes your voice sound stronger and clearer

Personally, breathing is one of my absolute favourite techniques. When people ask me ‘what’s the most important technique for singers?’ my answer is always breathing.

Vocal Technique 2: Breath Management

I know, breath management and breathing sound like the same thing, but hear me out! Breathing helps you to get more air, more control and sound a little bit stronger.

Breath Management allows you to stand on a stage and belt out some crazy high and/or strong notes without putting in too much extra effort.

If you’re a person who stares at YouTube videos of amazing singers thinking ‘How do they make that look so easy?’ the answer is quite often down to good breath management.

In short, breathing gets the air in your lungs. Breath management is being smart about how you use it.

Vocal Technique 3: Mouth Shape

Shaping your mouth correctly might not sound like a vocal technique, but believe me - when done properly, this is a complete game changer.

Getting the mouth shape right gets you more power and clarity over your voice.

Next time you’re standing in front of a mirror, try singing a line or two of a song as you normally would. Then open your mouth more and try it again. Hear a difference?

Generally, opening your mouth more will give your voice a stronger, clearer sound. And guess what? Once you learn to control that mouth shape, you’ll have so many more options for different vocal tones you can use.

It’s also why you see singers open their mouth so wide when they sing. It helps them to get a great, strong tone and sound. Idina Menzel is a great example of this - it's one of the things that make her belts sound so magnificent.

Vocal Technique 4: Switching Between Registers

Background info: our voice is divided into different ‘vocal registers.’ To simplify it, the high part of your voice is commonly known as the ‘head voice’, while the lower part is your ‘chest voice’.

When people first start singing, often they’ll try and keep in one register the whole time. If you’re someone who just cannot sing anything up high no matter how much you try, you might be chest voice dominant. If you can’t go low, you’re possibly hanging out in your head voice.

The easiest way to tell is by feeling! Put a hand on your chest and sing something. If you feel your chest vibrating while you sing, congratulations. That’s your chest voice.

Head voice is a little harder to detect, but a lot of people feel it resonating in their head while they sing.

Once you can switch between your registers, you can sing so many more songs simply because you can go higher and lower - and you aren’t limited to songs that are only sung up high or down low. So thank you, vocal registers!

Vocal Technique 5: Vocal Exercises

Okay, strictly speaking, being able to perform vocal exercises isn’t strictly a technique (though it is ‘technical work’.) Hear me out, though.

A few years ago, I managed to get this really awesome combination of infections that left me voiceless. (It started with a respiratory infection, then when I got over that I got tonsillitis, and before I managed to get over that I got pharyngitis. It wasn’t a lot of fun.)

I spent years trying to get back to my peak singing abilities, but the thing that finally made the difference for me were consistent and very gentle vocal exercises. I did this every single day for around 20 minutes.

The result is more than I could have hoped for! I can now sing consistently without fatigue and I’m back to my pre-infection singing abilities! (And very quickly growing beyond them.)

So vocal exercises now have a special place in my heart. Learning to exercise your voice correctly is super valuable - particularly if you’re someone who struggles with fatigue or soreness in the voice.

And that’s why vocal techniques are awesome!

So, if you have been wondering how you can get more power, more control, stop feeling tired after a long period of singing or just want to know how singers make stupidly hard songs seem so easy, there’s your answer! 5 Vocal techniques that seriously make a world of difference for singers.

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