Audrey Hunt, a renowned vocal coach, shares valuable information for singing like a professional. Learn how to improve your present voice.
I loved teaching this lady, singer, Angela Hernandez
Think you can’t sing? Ridiculous. If you can speak, you can sing. As a vocal instructor with over 40 years experience, I have never come across a person who could not be taught to sing. The key lies in knowing how to release your natural sound without judgment. Once this is accomplished, it’s a matter of discovering the tools within your body. These singing tools are ready and willing to be used in the proper way.
There is no mystery to singing. If you can speak, you can sing. Yes, this includes you, my friend. Regardless of what you’ve been told, you have the ability to produce a natural, warm, and beautiful tone. Furthermore, you deserve to sing your favorite songs without ridicule or criticism from anyone, including yourself.
You were born to sing and, even if you have a problem with pitch, singing on key can be learned. A small singing range can become a bigger singing range. A lack of vibrato (the beautification of tone), becomes natural and automatic as each of your vocal tools are introduced and practiced.
In short, you can accomplish just about anything with your present voice, as long as you are willing to take the time to learn how.
It’s time to erase all pre-conceived ideas about singing. Even criticism from others is only based on what they think they know (along with an unreasonable comparison to other singers).
It’s time to break free of any preconceived ideas about singing. Don’t let rejection get you down. Stop telling yourself you weren’t meant to sing. We give up too easily on our dreams. Do not think that you don’t have the talent to sing. Talent is good, hard, work assisted by a strong desire.
Your talent lies in learning how to use the natural tools you hold within you. Your entire body is your vocal instrument. It’s ready and waiting to be set free.
Singing Is Sustained Speech
If you can speak – you can sing. The very same tools used in speech are used to sing. The difference between the two is sustained speech as used in singing. When you learn how to calibrate the balance between talking and singing you’re on your way to a pleasant voice.
Grab a bottle of room temperature water and sip often to keep your throat hydrated during the following exercise. The vocal folds, (bands, chords) require constant moisture. Cold drinks will restrict your vocal folds.
Your speaking voice is very important to the health of your singing voice. The best and fastest way to find your correct singing voice is through your speaking voice.The following exercise will keep you speaking and singing well every day.
Discovering Your Singing Voice By Speaking
You may be surprised to learn that one of the best and fastest ways to improve your singing is through the speaking voice. Singing is sustained speech controlled by air. It’s through breath pressure that the balance between speaking and singing is attained. It’s crucial that you learn diaphragmatic breathing (belly breathing) before you embark on this exciting journey to discover the voice within and become a better singer.
Before we proceed to the following exercise, remember to have plenty of room-temperature water available for keeping your throat hydrated. When experimenting with vocal sound, always speak and sing in an easy, comfortable pitch. Refrain from singing too high or too low.
The next exercise will help you find just the right comfort zone and balance between speaking and singing. This will seem so easy, you’ll wonder why you’ve never done this before.
Always Keep Your Throat Hydrated During Practice Sessions
When vocalizing, whether you’re speaking or singing, drink plenty of water to hydrate the throat.
Exploring the Speaking Voice to Connect to Singing
For the best results practice the following instructions in a standing position. For those who need to sit, use good posture and keep the spine straight.
Before we begin the speaking exercises, record yourself speaking. Listen carefully to the tone. You can also listen to your voicemail recording on your cell phone.
How does your recording sound? Is it too high or maybe too low? Is it full and rich or do you sound like a child? We all have a central pitch that we return to when speaking. You’re about to discover where that is.
The central speaking pitch that sounds the best in your voice is where you say, “Uh-huh.” Listen to your pitch on huh as this works best for most folks.
Pretend that someone has just asked you a question. The next sound you make is most likely to be a pitch near your middle voice as found on the huh sound.
Say “Uh-huh.” Concentrate on the second sound (pitch) for the huh sound of
Say this several times.
Now, say “Uh-huh” and this time move right into saying your name on the very same pitch as huh.
Be very aware of the pitch (sound) when you say your name. It should be one of the pitches in “Uh-huh.” You may want to record this exercise. Was your pitch the same as “Uh-huh” or was it lower or higher?
If it was lower, try again and say your name on exactly the same pitch as the “huh.”
If it was higher, match the pitch on “Uh.”
The purpose of this exercise is to find your optimum speaking pitch which helps you find unmistakeable vibrations. These vibrations give carrying power to your speaking voice and ultimately to your singing voice.
I recommend exploring this exercise on different pitches as this is what singing is about. If you stay on just one pitch, this is known as a monotone, which is boring and lifeless.
Tip: Concentrate on pitches that really vibrate or buzz as you speak. This is key for a rich singing voice. The best area to feel these vibrations is called the mask which includes the nose, and just beneath the eye-sockets.
From Chanting to Singing
Chanting is like speak-singing. Think of moving sound up and down and in-between with your voice. Use a relaxed but confident tone, allowing vibrations to be felt through the nose. The following suggestions will help you get started:
Record yourself saying the word “hello” and notice the sound of both syllables, hel, and lo. Do this 3 – 6 times.
Listen to the recording. Is one syllable higher than the other? Is the pitch the same for both syllables? Try to avoid the very same sound on both syllables.
This time, record, “hello, hello” allowing the pitch to fluctuate. As you listen to your recording, check to see if some sounds are higher or lower.
Chant and speak “Three Blind Mice.” Notice what pitches come out (high, low, lower).
Repeat, connecting your breath to the speaking voice just as you would for the singing voice.
Now, sing the opening three notes to “Three Blind Mice.” Do this several times, feeling for a buzzing feeling in the nose (nasal resonance).
Do not strain your voice. Stay relaxed and allow your vocal sound to come to you and not the other way around.
Allow your singing to gently ride on the air supplied by your diaphragm. Avoid lifting your chest and shoulders. Keep them completely relaxed. Feel the expansion around the lower ribcage and abdomen as you inhale.
Finish up by singing the first three notes of “Three Blind Mice” followed by chanting the first three notes.
Tip: To pump up the volume and sing louder, use a faster flow of air and add more energy. Louder doesn’t mean harsher. Maintain a relaxed feeling and let the breath do the work.
Vocal Tools At Your Disposal
Your entire body is your singing instrument and I want to make this very clear. Like all fine instruments, the body must be treated right to perform right. Nutrition, exercise, and a good mental attitude are absolutely necessary.
Within your body, you have all the tools necessary for producing a pleasing singing voice:
Your vocal cords produce sound.
The resonators amplify the sound (chest, mouth, nose, head).
The diaphragm supplies energy through air, which further sets the vocal cords into motion.
The lips and tongue form words used to sing.
The ears identify pitch, helping use to sing on key.
You were given all of these signing tools at birth. How you use them can totally change your present singing voice for the better.
Let’s look at what I consider the most valuable of all of these tools.
Your Breathing Tool – The Diaphragm
Learning how to use the Diaphragmatic muscle controls your tone, builds your vocal range and more.
Most Important Tool for Vocal Control – The Diaphragmatic Muscle
We should always be reaching new heights with our abilities. Too many people refuse to accept singing as an ability. “If you aren’t born with a magnificent voice, you are doomed”. This is small thinking. Think big by flexing your awareness. Be aware that you have every single tool available to you for developing a better vocal sound.
One of these natural, necessary tools is a muscle that separates the lungs from the pelvic area known as the diaphragm.The diaphragm is the primary muscle used in the process of inspiration or inhalation. It is a dome-shaped sheet of muscle that is inserted into the lower ribs. Lying at the base of the thorax (chest), it separates the abdominal cavity from the thoracic cavity. When used properly, this crucial muscle helps you to sing with control. No more shaky voice, weak sound, and running out of air before finishing a phrase.
It is through the process of breathing that feeds energy to the sound you produce. A weak breath equals a weak tone. Uncontrolled air will bring an uncontrolled sound. Too much air will force the tone one-half step higher, making you sing sharp. Too little air, lacking support for the tone, will find you singing flat and off-key.
But unless you know how to use the diaphragm for breathing, it just sits there, unable to do its job. A screwdriver has many uses. It’s a great tool. But unless we know what it’s for and how to use this tool, it’s of no value.
Embrace Your Singing Sound Without Judgement
Embrace your natural vocal sound. Remember, you can build upon your present singing as you learn how to use your singing tools.
How to Fix Common Vocal Problems
Open the back of the throat
Yawn to lift the soft palat
Run Out of Breath
Breathe from the diagphram
Do not lift the shoulders to inhale
Voice Cracks or Breaks
Avoid forcing the tone for a smooth transition
Practice the “siren” exercise
Support the tone with more breath
Singing flat lacks energy. Practice accenting the flat tone
Fear of Singing
Good instruction lifts confidence, reducing fear
Sing through your fear. Children, old folks, pets and nature will not judge your singing
My Voice Hurts After I Sing
You are straining the voice. Soften your singing and avoid singing too high or too low
Learn what your safe vocal range is and stay within this range
How do I Make Vibrato?
Vibrato comes naturally when all vocal techniques are present in the voice
Tension is the enemy of singing. Vibrato must have a completely relaxed tone
I Want to Sound Like My Favorite Singer
Why? Creat your own unique style and sound
Top singers each have their own style. Have fun experimenting with your own style
Believe You Can, And You Will
Believe in yourself to discover your talent and ability.
pixabay CCO Public Domain
As a Vocal Teacher, I’ve Witnessed Thousands go From No Voice to Vocal Pro
Singing is easy, once all doubt is removed. It’s a matter of self-discovery. Once you locate your singing tools, you absolutely must work on each one, until mastered. Practice is crucial. How long should you practice each tool? Until using the tool becomes automatic.
Let’s say your breathing has been all wrong. You’ve always used just your chest to inhale and exhale. Then you learn that you must replace the chest breathing with diaphragmatic breathing. This idea is brand new to you. So, how do you change a habit that your body is familiar with to a brand new unfamiliar and perhaps strange habit?
Locate just one singing tool, such as your diaphragmatic muscle.
Study repeatedly what this muscle is for.
Start working on exercises to help you use this muscle.
Continue to practice until your new way of breathing becomes automatic.
Test your success by singing a favorite song, concentrating only on your breath control.
Then continue practicing, every day.
Thinking that you can’t learn to sing, is telling yourself you really don’t want to. You aren’t willing to put in the time and discipline needed to learn the importance of each singing tool.
As long as you are determined and persevere, you have the ability to develop an amazing vocal sound. How do I know this is true? Because I’ve worked with countless voices throughout my life. I’ve witnessed the amazing results of singers from all walks of life, worldwide, who have placed their trust in my teaching techniques.
Now, it’s your turn and high-time you set your singing voice free.
If I don’t practice for a day, I know it. If I don’t practice for two days, the critics know it. And if I don’t practice for three days, the public knows it.
Change Your Thinking to Change Your Voice
Those who think they can’t are usually right. Our mind is the most powerful tool we possess. We should be very careful about what we feed into it. We can convince ourselves of many beliefs including the notion that we can’t sing well.
Our creator did not install a perfect singing system in us just to have us not use it and deny our singing ability. We all have it, but some of us never learn how to use it. If your singing is not all that it should be, and you have a desire to sing, it’s high time you learn how to use it.
This tutorial helps you get started. A qualified vocal instructor, with years of experience and a passion for teaching, can take you even further.
But, you absolutely must develop a more positive attitude about your own present ability to sing. Try to ignore all negative comments that others may throw at you. What do they know? They may be judging your singing based on their favorite recording star. Chances are they know little to nothing about the human voice and how it works.
Those who do have an educated understanding about vocalizing will rarely ever put you down when you sing. Stop putting yourself down as well. Begin experimenting with some of the exercises I provide for you, such as the “Speaking Vocal Exercise” coming up next.
pixabay – CCO Public Domain
A Lesson For Styling Your Voice
“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” –Vincent van Gogh
Re-capping Why You Are Born To Sing
You were born to sing and you hold every singing tool within your body. As you learn to combine and use these tools, your natural voice will emerge. You may not like what you hear at first Learning and applying good, solid vocal technique will fix that. Remember, it takes time and regular practice for your sound to develop.
The first vocal sound you ever made was in the form of a cry. You announced your arrival into this world with a confident, powerful, sound using your complete set of vocal tools. You had no fear and could have cared less about what anyone thought about your crying.
The only reason you judge your singing now is because you grew up being judged by others. You learned it at one time or another. It became your experience which you believed to be true. Everything you perceive causes an emotional reaction whether you realize it or not. You perceive the voice in your head, your thoughts, judgments, and beliefs.
From this moment on, do not allow rejection or criticism, in any form, discourage you from claiming your birthright to sing. Don’t settle for “where you are” or rationalize that it just isn’t “meant to be.”
Don’t let the size of your dreams intimidate you. If other people don’t want to believe in you, fine, because you’ll keep moving forward. Your belief in yourself is what matters the most.
Other people do not determine your potential. What they think about your singing does not change what God has placed inside you. God doesn’t make mistakes. He gave each of us the same singing tools to discover, use and share. You are equipped with everything you need to sing.
You have a song within you. Do not let it waste away, don’t let it die. You are talented and creative and you already have exactly what you need to sing with a rich, pleasing sound.
Singing is your birthright. So sing!
“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles, and less than perfect conditions. So what? Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident, and more and more successful.” –Mark Victor Hansen
Questions & Answers
Question: Do you have any tips on how to relax my throat when trying to sing?
Answer: This is a common problem among singers. Stay relaxed and practice “open throat” exercises. Youtube offers some good ones. Another thing to address is the fear itself. Fear can cause the throat to tense up which affects the singing tone. “Knowledge is the antidote to fear” so learn and study all you can about the singing voice.
© 2018 Audrey Hunt