Singing tips are best when they come straight from the vocalist’s mouth.
So, here are 7 singing tips from professionally trained and longtime vocalist, Jake. With a B.A. in Voice Performance from The University of Iowa and 24 years of experience within orchestras, jazz and pop bands, and on cruise ships and more, his singing tips are as sound as they come.
Put into practice these unique tips, tricks, techniques to add a little more finesse to your “do re mis”.
Singing Tip #1: Stop trying so hard.
If you are striving to become an opera singer or any classical vocalist, you must develop the muscles to do so with excellence. This all comes down to your training.
However, if you want to sing jazz, pop or rock, for instance, it’s time to simplify things. Trying too hard can break your practice and performance, and create unnecessary barriers for you to overcome as you train.
“For many types of singing, it’s more about your mentality and what you want to portray emotionally,” Jake says. “That doesn’t require the muscle that opera does in your voice.”
Signing Tip #2: Record yourself to hear if you’re flat.
It’s very common for beginners to be flat, due to not warming up properly, singing a song out of their vocal range, or simply not being able to hear themselves well when they’re singing. So, record yourself and listen to whether you’re flat or sharp.
“There’s plenty of recorded popular music where the singer is out of tune. As a beginner, you just need to be aware of what you’re doing,” Jake asserts. “For instance, John Prine always sings sharp. That’s his sound. But please don’t sound flat.”
Flat just doesn’t sound good.
Singing Tip #3: Open your mouth wider, then wider again.
This tip may strike as an ood one. However, this technique is used by many vocalists, and may be a game changer for the beginners in the scene.
Practice opening your mouth wide. In fact, open it until it feels uncomfortable, and hear how clear your vowels sound when you do so.
This tip is relevant for all types of singing. Christina Aguilera and Pavarotti are two phenomenal vocalists who put this concept into practice. By singing with their mouth wide, their head and throat are opened.
And while it may look as if you are yelling or being overly animated, it is what you need to do to sing well.
Singing Tip #4: Don’t let your sheet music distract you.
If you are easily distracted or disrupted by the sheet music in front of you, let it be known that the sheet music isn’t the problem… and neither are you.
Sheet music is there to help you. However, issues often arise when these printed pieces of paper become a cluttered mess, or when they demand your attention. Something as simple as turning the page or removing a sheet from a plastic protector just so you can take a note is enough to obstruct your focus and flow.
Thankfully, this problem isn’t without a sound solution.
Sheetminder is the innovative, high-quality and economical answer to these very problems and more. Their products were specifically designed for vocalists and musicians who are itching to simplify their sheet music situation.
While the Sheetminder Soloist allows you to organize up to five pages of sheet music at a time, the Sheetminder Songbook enables you to hold up to 24 pages of sheet music. Featuring a proprietary, double-side adhesive, you can keep your sheet together and even write directly on your music – no sheet protectors, no stress, no mess.
Singing Tip #5: Imagine a string is tied to your head.
There is more to singing than what comes out of the mouth.
In fact, posture is essential for the vocalist.
To improve your posture while practicing and performing, imagine you’re dangling from a string that is tied to the top of your head. This will not only keep you standing straight, but will also elongate your neck and throat.
Singing Tip #5: Breathe in time with the music.
Whether you’re in a band, a choir or recording all alone in your basement, learn to breathe in time to the music. This is increasingly important for vocalists performing alongside others.
If you’re in a band, and you’re the lead singer, other members are watching you for every little direction, even breaths. Whereas in a choir, every breath is synchronized.
Jake recommends listening carefully to any song, and although you may not have noticed it before, you can hear when a singer breathes. “At the beginning of a song, 1, 2, 3, a singer will breathe on 4.” Jake adds, “Even a conductor breathes, so everyone breathes with [them].”
Singing Tip #6: Use your breath properly.
Believe it or not, you probably have 10 times more air than you think you do… as long as you resonate your voice properly.
For example, if you blow up a balloon, then let it go, all the air will go out in what is essentially a quick exhale. But, if you pull tightly on the mouth part of the balloon, you can make it squeak for a very long time.
The same applies to your voice. Singing is much less about lung capacity and more about how you use the air.
Singing Tip #7: Sound like an animal? Yes.
No matter if you are a beginner vocalist or as advanced as they come, it is beneficial to experiment with the breadth of your voice.
And the recommended method: make the most extreme sounds possible.
Imagine this: Your mouth is wide open, your tongue is down, your soft palate is raised, and you start to feel like an animal because you’re making odd noises. But then, you can start to control these sounds, and the more you can control them, the more range you have.
This practice may push on the boundaries of your comfort zone, but doing so is essential to transcend your skills as a vocalist. Essentially, if you get comfortable making weird sounds by yourself, imagine how confident you can become making normal sounds for a crowd.
Take Bobby McFerrin for instance. He isolated himself for years to figure out how he wanted to sing. “He’s a destroyer,” says Jake. “He can do things with his voice that no one else can do.”
And Sheetminder agrees, singing doesn’t get more unique than that.