As a singer, it can be easy to forget that your voice is your instrument. But then, as someone may warm up, restring, and tune a guitar, you should also be looking at ways to keep your voice in good condition. We’ve listed some of our best tips to make sure you aren’t stressing or doing any unnecessary damage to your vocal cords, as well as breathing tips and exercises to keep your voice in good condition.
The first thing to think about to maintain the condition of your voice is your overall health. If you’re serious about getting the most out of your voice, this would be very important. Start looking at your diet and notice if certain foods affect your performance in practice. This may be as simple as eating ‘healthy’ and focusing on good protein, carb, and fat sources, and making sure you’re eating enough fruits and vegetables. Hydration is also key, and most people are unfortunately chronically dehydrated.
The Top Tips to Improving Your Singing
Make sure you’re drinking at least eight glasses of water a day, and potentially more if you’re training regularly. Staying away from harmful substances and smoking, in particular, may seem obvious, but it can be easy to get caught up in these activities, and while common, will be severely impacting your voice.
The next thing to look at to keep on top of your voice is breathing. This is the lifeblood of your voice, but have you considered if you’re doing it correctly? A common mistake that beginners make, which can become a habit for even more experienced singers, is breathing vertically rather than horizontally. This means you’re filling up your lungs and the top of your diaphragm, but not into your belly which is where a large amount of your power and range can originate.
Use this exercise; take a big breath and note where the air is going. If your shoulders are moving a lot, then you need to think about breathing into your belly. Once you start to feel your whole torso fill up you know you’re doing it right. Try doing this for a count for four in, and then four out, then move on to breaths of eight and sixteen. This will train you to breathe deep and long, which will bring a great benefit when you get into your singing.
You can also think about using a microphone when singing to save the amount of force you have to use while singing. We recommend picking up a basic microphone if you’re practicing at home, linked to a speaker.
Finally, your posture when singing can also make a significant impact on your singing performance. Singing posture, when correct, can support everything, and will allow you to breathe more easily and hit notes that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. When preparing your singing posture, you should first look at your neck, which should be in line with your spine. Try to notice if you feel your neck craning out.
Next, your shoulders should be back and not slouching, while maintaining a comfortable position. Following this down your arms should generally be at your side, if not being used for something else – the main thing to watch for here is any tension or making fists out of nervousness. With these things in line, your body should naturally balance with your hips into your legs. Try to keep your feet about shoulder-width apart to give you a strong base to sing from.