Many people wonder if it’s truly possible to teach yourself how to sing. The answer is yes- and no. For some, getting out there and actually doing it along with paying close attention to other performers and doing some online/self-study lessons is enough to improve.
However, others need a more structured approach with a professional singing teacher in order to learn. Of course, with the cost of lessons and varying schedules, that’s not always possible.
Teach Yourself to Sing
There are many people that do believe we all have the ability to sing and there’s a song in everyone. While that’s true, there’s still a correct and healthy way to sing that will last.
So, if you are dreaming of becoming a professional or you just want to sing for fun, it’s critical that you get your voice sounding as good a possible and making sure it stays that way for as long as you can.
Whether you plan to learn on your own, take lessons from a professional voice coach, or a combination of the two, you must keep the following things in mind:
Healthy Body = Healthy Voice
While it may seem strange to equate a healthy body with a healthy voice, the truth is that a very critical component to preserving your voice is to be healthy. Plus, in addition to being good for your voice, it also gives you the energy to sing with feeling and expression.
In order to ensure that you remain healthy, make sure that you’re eating right, getting adequate rest, getting plenty of exercise, and getting plenty of fresh air. Avoid things that are bad for you such as excessive alcohol, smoking, and drugs.
Avoid Burning Out
Think about it- the party animal rock stars are the ones that burn out early. Those outstanding artists that have maintained a long creative career have typically taken pretty good care of themselves. They realize that taking care of themselves is important.
Hiring a Singing Coach
If you want to be serious about singing, whether you want to become a professional or not, it’s a good idea to get some proper instruction on how to sing. You may consider hiring a local voice coach or getting some lessons online so that you can do them on your own schedule.
Either way, it’s critical to have an understanding of your voice box and how to properly use it. In addition, lessons will help you learn to deal with or avoid any voice issues that may come up when you are performing.
Proper Posture and Breath Support
A good voice coach or online course will also explain proper posture and breath support, which will give you the best vocal tone. As a general rule, a good singing posture is to stand erect (but comfortable) with your feet aligned with your hips.
One of your feet should be very slightly forward. Keep your shoulders slightly back- but not tense- to open up your chest.
Singing Posture Exercise
Here is a very effective exercise for achieving good singing posture:
Stand with your arms at your side and feet apart, aligned with your hips. Then, swing your arms inward, across your body and over your head in a quick, circular motion as you move to your tiptoes. As you are doing this, take a deep breath.
Then, as you bring your arms to your side, exhale and come back down off your toes. It’s critical to try to keep your chest and shoulders in the same position they were at the top of your stretch.
You should do this a few times to get loosened up and achieve a good singing posture.
Proper breath support is what allows singers to create pleasing tones without straining and doing damage to their vocal cords. Practicing proper breath support will strengthen your midsection and enable your diaphragm, spinal, and abdominal muscles to work together.
Take in a deep belly breath, and as you maintain the expansion of your belly, hiss the breath out. You should do this a few times.
This exercise will help you strengthen your muscles and is critical for decreasing vocal fatigue and creating a better tone.
Tone Placement & Quality
In addition to proper posture and breath support, the next thing to focus on is placement and quality of tone. Vocal tones resonate in 3 areas:
- Pharynx/Throat & Mouth
If you have been singing for any time at all, you may have realized that your chest voice is for low notes and your head voice is for the higher notes. Many times, you’ll end up using a mixed tone made up of sounds from your head and pharynx.
Here is an exercise that will help you feel this resonance.
Mixed Tone Exercise
Take a deep breath as outlined in the breathing exercise above and sing a high note (“hoo” or “hee”), sliding it from the top of your range to the bottom. You should notice the vibration in the bridge of your nose and the roof of your mouth.
This is a mixed tone between the two areas. In fact, you will notice some acute differences in the tones that you can create by placing them well. Making sure that you are aware of your range will open up a variety of tones that you can express yourself with.
These are the basics of learning to sing and you are going to need a lot of practice to get really good. After all, singing is just like anything else- anything worth achieving requires passion and consistency.
So, it is possible to teach yourself- but working with a professional will give you the motivation and instruction you need to be successful.