Watch the video below and you'll learn some key tips to singing with complete vocal freedom.
Do you know which singing exercises are the most effective?
You'll learn the answer to this in the video, as well as many other very effective techniques.
This video is centered around the female voice, but for the male version of this lesson you can click here.
To begin, click the play button below:
In this video I’m focussed on how female singers can create vocal freedom. Vocal freedom really means achieving a level of singing where you can sing through almost every note and maintain them.
Today I am working with Julie. She is a previous client who I’ve worked with in a private session. Today she wanted to work on a song she created herself.
Julie said that due to her vocal issues she has a hard time reaching and maintaining notes. Also she was teaching in the day which wore out her voice.
We all have different voices. Often when we sing in the wrong way the vocal chords can rub together and cause inflammation. You hear this in the breathy sounds that the chords will make.
Usually issues in a song are caused by the approach into a word or a note.
This is why I get students to sing a song through as they normally would. This helps to highlight their naturally strengths and weaknesses so we can work on them together.
When Julie sung through the song it was clear what the cause of the issues were. As is common with singing Julie was using the wrong muscles to reach the notes. This is when we use our swallowing muscles to sing notes.
Often times I will talk about using crutches. For example using your hands and making exaggerated facial expressions. This can help to bring a real physical awareness to how we make sounds.
For Julie’s song I got her to place her thumb under her chin. I also got her to exaggerate her facial expression. Don’t worry about looking silly. We all have to go through this to achieve correct singing.
This exaggerated way of making the sound really helps to override the incorrect habits that are causing the bad signing. Often when we do this you’ll hear the notes coming more together. Remember this only happens with practice.
This is the most common crutch I use for singers first starting to correct their sound. I get them to tuck their chin forward and place their thumb at the top of their neck under their jaw.
This allows them to feel those swallowing muscles we talked about. The aim of this is to self correct every time they feel the swallowing muscles come up.
One exercise I use to help people find these consistent singing notes is the Nay Nay Nay exercise. This is an exercise that helps to train you to not use the swallowing muscles to reach notes.
To do this create an exaggerated face and put your hands on your face. This will help to use the correct muscles to sing. Then work through the scale or melody using only Nay sounds.
However, remember you won’t get it perfect the first time. Remember, that practice will help you get better. So if it sounds a little strange in the beginning don’t worry. This is how we learn.
With Julie, we worked through the melody. An interesting point is to see that Julie was able to reach notes she didn’t believe she had. All through using different facial muscles to sing.
After doing these exercises I then had Julie go through the song a second time. This attempt was better but she still felt some strain. Remember practice will perfect singing.
Issues in singing can be created by incorrect technique or nerves. Nerves create a tightening of our larynx which restricts our sound.
For more information on how to deal with nerves and perform better on stage have a look at a video I made on performance.
Also often through incorrect singing we grow afraid of high notes. This can be challenging and disheartening for our singing.
However, if we switch how we approach these notes we can often surprise ourselves. For example if instead we picture bringing the notes down in pitch as we sing this helps.
Use your hands if you feel need to. You’ll be surprised how small gestures can direct your voice.
We practiced this with Julie. As a result she became more competent at the higher range of the song.
Just watching the final attempt by Julie will show you the power of these exercises. On this run through she was able to reach every note in the song.
Not just that but she said she had more fun singing it. This is a mixture of using the exercises and also starting to develop trust in the song.
A lack of trust in our singing usually comes from not knowing your how well you will perform. This comes from habits of incorrect singing.
If you commit to the exercises everyday you will begin to regain control. In Julie’s case this trust allowed he to gain more texture when performing the song.
At the end of the session I suggested to Julie a few exercises for her to try to keep developing these singing techniques. This included swallowing to bring the muscles down.
Also, using the Nay Nay Nay exercises to train up the facial mask. Finally, practicing bringing down the high notes. For more information about practice exercises for singing follow the link (here).
If you’d be interested in improving your singing then go and check out my premium videos here. There are videos to help with almost everything you might struggle with, from signing technique to learning how to become a world class performer.