How To Sing (And Sound Great) When You’re Just Starting Out

So you want to sing! 

That’s great news because singing is a tremendously fun and rewarding thing to learn. 

And contrary to what a lot of singing teachers will tell you, you don’t have to spend years and tireless hours practising scales to learn how to sing well. 

In fact, there are many small things you can do to begin improving your voice right away! 

Here are 3 of the most effective exercises I've learned over my 30 year career teaching thousands of singers as a vocal coach (including many big stars!) 

These are steps you can follow that will take you from complete beginner to the point where you are impressing yourself and the audience. 

These tips, ideas, and exercise routines will help you sound better, develop better hearing, have more control over your voice, and build more confidence in yourself. 

Watch this video and I'll walk you through these exercises. 

The Lip Trill

The Lip Trill is an excellent singing exercise for singers of all levels, from beginner to superstar. 

It warms up your voice. It also helps balance your voice. And it improves your technique. 

This is why just about every lesson I coach, the lip trill will be in there somewhere. 

To do the Lip Trill, place your hands on each side of your cheeks as demonstrated below:

Lip trill exercisePlacing your hands on your cheeks can help you do the Lip Trill.

Then make a humming noise and feel how your lips make a funny vibrating sound. Like this:

Once you are able to do it, you can practice it using scales. Or you can take a song that you’re practicing and do the Lip Trill over the melody. 

Doing 5-10 minutes of this each practice session will make a big difference in your singing! 

You’ll find that as you get better at this exercise you’ll be able to do it without needing the support of your hands holding your cheeks. 

Here is a scale that is a good one for practicing the Lip Trill. Remember to only go as low and high as what is comfortable. 

The Nay Nay Nay Exercise

Another exercise that’s fantastic for developing your voice is singing Nay, Nay, Nay. 

The key to making this exercise help your voice is to place your thumb under your jaw and pay attention to if your swallowing muscles are tightening up. 

Also, aim to keep your sound above your cheeks as you sing. 

You can make a funny smiley face that will help you keep your sound above your cheeks and out of your throat. 

When you are doing the exercise right, you shouldn’t have to strain or push for any of your notes. If you find yourself pushing, stop going for that particular note and come back into a range that’s easier for you. 

The Nay sound is quite ugly, but if you do it for a few minutes and then switch back to singing normally, you’ll notice a big improvement! 

The reason this is such an effective exercise is the nasal sound of the word “Nay” helps you to practice placing your sound into your mask. 

It gets your sound resonating in the right place, and it also gets your swallowing muscles to relax and stop blocking all of your voice from coming through. 

So practice it on simple scales, or replace the words of a song with “Nay, Nay, Nay”. 

Do this for 5-10 minutes and then go back to singing your song normally. 

The results can be quite amazing! 

Your voice will sound more present. And your tone will have more clarity. Plus, with your swallowing muscles more relaxed singing will feel much easier.

Here is a good scale to use to practice the Nay Nay Nay exercise. 

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About The Author

Roger Burnley - Vocal CoachRoger Burnley - Vocal Coach

Roger Burnley is a vocal coach located in Hollywood, California. He has been teaching singers for over 30 years and singing for even longer than that. 

Notable past and present clients include Macy Gray, Brandy, Ray J, The Beastie Boys, James Torme, Taylor Lautner, Nona Gaye, and many more.

His clients have collectively sold more than 30 million albums, with several reaching Platinum and Gold status. 

Roger has been featured on VH1, TV Guide Channel, TV One,
and MTV appearing as a vocal expert.

About The Author

Roger Burnley - Vocal CoachRoger Burnley - Vocal Coach

Roger Burnley is a vocal coach located in Hollywood, California. He has been teaching singers for over 30 years and singing for even longer than that. 

Notable past and present clients include Macy Gray, Brandy, Ray J, The Beastie Boys, James Torme, Taylor Lautner, Nona Gaye, and many more.

His clients have collectively sold more than 30 million albums, with several reaching Platinum and Gold status. 

Roger has been featured on VH1, TV Guide Channel, TV One,
and MTV appearing as a vocal expert.

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