How to Improve Your Singing Voice for Auditions and Concerts
Nurturing a singing voice can be likened to tending a garden. Vocal growth requires dedication, consistency, and the right methods to cultivate something beautiful. Here, at ChoralSong, we understand this and have curated a range of vocal tips and ideas to assist you when thinking about how to improve your singing voice for auditions and concerts.
How to Improve Your Singing Voice: Ten Simple Steps
Here are 10 helpful tips you can use to guide your vocal progress and preparations for auditions and concerts:
- Engage in Regular Warm-Ups and Cool-Downs: Just as a ballet dancer can’t leap into a grand jeté without a warm-up, neither should a singer start belting out notes. Gentle humming or lip trills can work wonders in waking up your vocal cords and keep you from overexerting them.
- Practice Breathing Exercises: Imagine your breath as the wind beneath the wings of your notes. Deep diaphragmatic breathing serves as a powerful tool in amplifying and sustaining your voice. Draw your breath all the way down through the abdomen to learn what it feels like to fill your lungs to their full capacity.
- Adopt Proper Posture: Stand tall with your head centered over your spine! Your body serves as the stage for your voice. Proper posture allows an unrestricted flow of breath, leading to improved voice projection. If you’re hunched over like an Igor, you will not breathe or create breath pressure efficiently or effectively.
- Hydrate: Think of water as a lubricant for your vocal cords. By keeping them moist, you prevent strain. In dry climates like Colorado and similar regions, dehydration can be a real issue that quickly catches up with people. Be a camel…even if that means using the restroom every ten minutes. Just make sure you aren’t taking it to that extreme before a performance. The show must go on!
- Vocal Rest: Embrace silence. You’re probably not a monk, and the quietness won’t last forever. Regular intervals of vocal rest can help prevent overuse of your vocal cords, avoiding potential damage. Your muscles, like an engine, wear out as you push them to their limits repeatedly. Unlike machinery, they do gain strength over time, but overdoing can end up forcing yourself to take steps backwards.
- Use a Mirror: Consider a mirror as your in-house vocal coach. It helps in monitoring your facial expressions, posture, and mouth movement during practice. You’ll also catch yourself making some questionable faces that don’t look attractive in the least bit. When performing on stage, you want to bring your “A” game.
- Embrace Vocal Training: A golden ticket to improving your singing voice involves professional vocal training. It serves as a guided pathway to better vocal control and range. No professional that advances in their career neglects training while hoping to get better. Find someone that pushes you to excel and to perform at your best, and then aim higher yet!
- Explore Different Genres: Consider venturing into diverse musical landscapes. Exploring various genres can stretch your vocal abilities and range. That being said, be careful to avoid unhealthy vocal production of all sorts! Consider professional training when headed in that direction or you could end up seriously damaging your vocal chords. Proper technique and training will take you far…which is why you should get a coach! We can’t stress that enough.
- Recording and Playback: Record your performance. This tool provides valuable feedback, highlighting areas for improvement so that you can audibly hear how to improve your singing voice. You actually hear your voice differently than it sounds to other people because of the way your own sound waves hit your eardrums as well as the reverberation in your skull. Science!
- Join a Choral Group: Surround yourself with fellow gardeners of song. Singing with others can offer insight into harmonizing and tone blending. Here at ChoralSong, our positions fill up fast. If you miss your chance, don’t worry! There are other choirs in the area where you can practice your craft. Also, finding like-minded friends to listen and provide helpful critique can get you the practice you need. Others make great sounding boards to help you catch problems you wouldn’t otherwise notice.
Connect your breath to your singing voice
Breath support is the engine that powers the voice. Most of us pay little attention to the process of creating the breath support required to make sound. We’ve been doing it since we first drew a breath and issued that lovely cry as a newborn. We also create breath support in order to speak–let alone in order to sing. But are we really aware of how breath support works, and how critical it is in the process of maintaining a healthy singing voice?
- Knowing the Muscles Involved: Maintaining good breath support while singing requires singers to know how the breathing mechanism works and how to maximize its effectiveness while avoiding bad habits.
- Diaphragm & Intercostals: Get to know where your diaphragm lies (underneath your lungs) and how it works in conjunction with your intercostal muscles (in between your ribs) to allow you to inhale fully while remaining as relaxed as possible.
- Obliques : While the diaphragm and intercostals are the primary muscles used in inhalation, the obliques (abdominal muscles) are the ones primarily used in creating breath support. Good singing requires singers to not only inhale and exhale properly, but requires them to maintain a healthy partnership between the two systems of muscles.
- Vocal Training Programs in Colorado Springs: If it isn’t apparent by now, we love singers to take advantage of vocal training sessions from people that know their stuff! Our wonderful performing arts community has a plethora of wonderful coaches that will teach you how to improve your singing voice. Take advantage of their expertise to increase your own capabilities!
- Colorado Springs Music School
- Taylor Robinson Music
- Megan Pfeiffer Miller
- Peak Performance Voice Studio
- Sing with Lori
- Silversound Guitar
- Shin’s Music Studio
External Factors that Could Rain on Your Vocal Parade
External factors can serve as unexpected storms during your vocal journey. Fortunately, knowing is half the battle! Let’s discuss five such elements and ways to weather them:
- Poor Diet: If you thought that diet only affects how you look and feel, think again! Just as junk food can harm your physical health, it can affect your vocal health too. Prioritize a balanced diet to maintain a healthy voice. Before a performance, try to avoid too much of any of the following foods:
- Dairy products
- Processed sugars
- Fried foods
- Spicy and acidic foods,
- Soft drinks
That being said, people’s bodies react differently to inputs and one thing that affects someone else may not affect you! Moderation also plays a big part–too much of anything can be bad.
- Dehydration: Lack of adequate water intake can lead to dry vocal cords, which may hinder your singing progress. This set back can easily be avoided. Regular hydration, especially in desert climates, keeps your body feeling much better all around. Physicians recommend that men drink 15.5 cups of water a day, while women need about 11.5 on average.
- Smoking and Alcohol: Why do the things that bring joy and relaxation always seem to cause problems! We know it’s not fair. These substances can cause damage to your vocal cords and hinder your vocal performance. Again, moderation counts a lot here. You don’t have to completely revamp your lifestyle to sing better, but it does help to cut back if you notice yourself consuming excessive amounts of alcohol or nicotine.
- Lack of Sleep: Now, here’s a cause we can get behind. Feel free to use that get out of jail free card to go take a nap or cut your night short. It’s a professional decision! Consider a good night’s sleep as the silent conductor of your voice orchestra. Insufficient sleep can lead to vocal fatigue.
- Stress: Lord have mercy…stress strikes again! Even though you can’t avoid all the stressors in your life, taking time to enjoy yourself and relax can help your voice improve at a more consistent pace. Remember your breathing exercises, take those walks or trips to the gym, and take the night off every once in a while. High levels of stress can negatively impact your voice, causing strain and tension.
The road to improving your singing voice for auditions might seem long, but with the right vocal training, persistence, and passion, it’s an incredibly rewarding journey. Choralsong’s professional staff can’t wait to hear the beautiful songs you’ve taken time to craft, and neither can your audiences.
For additional information about ChoralSong, or to learn more about our story and role in the Colorado Springs performing arts community, contact us today!