How can I sing with more power? How can I improve my vocal control? These are among the most commonly asked questions by people who want to improve their vocal range. Whether you are an aspiring musician or voice over artist, your voice is the most powerful instrument.
What makes a good singer? Several characteristics define a good singer. They are having the right tone, being in control, consistency, firm support, suitable volume, clear enunciation, and musical phrasing.
To improve your singing voice, you must learn how to work with the available tools – balance, the right ear exercises, and coordination.
Developing your vocal control is one of the best ways to improve your voice.
Let’s face it.
If you are an aspiring singer, artists like Freddie Mercury, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, and Bob Dylan inspire you. These artists were born with the talent of singing.
But, using the right tools, they have been able to improve their pitch, breath control, dynamics, and sustainability.
Want to develop your vocal control?
In this post, we discuss what vocal control is and the steps to improving your voice control.
What is vocal control?
Vocal control is an essential aspect of singing. As something that every aspiring or accomplished singer has to learn, if done right, it can take your singing to the next level. Vocal control is all about having proper control of your voice and what it can do. Basically, it’s mastering the necessary foundations of singing.
Rather than singing in tune or practicing breathing for singing, vocal control allows you to work on all aspects of your voice. As such, you can have control or gain control of your voice.
So, how do you know exactly what to work on? Well, here are the areas you need to work on to improve your vocal control.
How do you develop vocal control?
There are six major areas of development required to possess complete vocal control.
- Chest voice
- Head voice
- Voice Projection
Here is a step by step guide for developing your vocal control.
Always Start With Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises are crucial to developing your vocal control. As an excellent start for those who want to improve their vocal range, breathing exercises also promote a healthy state of mind and lower stress levels.
A majority of aspiring singers do not know that lung capacity and singing go hand in hand. Higher voices require the use of your chest, nose, and head, while lower voices require the use of your chest a lot more. As such, the more air you have in your lungs, the stronger the foundation for your singing.
One of the best breathing techniques is to breathe deeply and slowly. Doing so fills your lungs with oxygen for each phrase of your song. Continued practise of this exercise will enable you to breathe in more deeply at a quick rate without causing any damage.
To allow more air into your lungs, open your throat and voice box. If you are struggling to do so, relax your shoulders and neck. Also, set your head in a natural in-lined position.
Another simple trick to improve your breathing is to try artificial yawning.
As you breathe, pull your tongue back. This will enable you to feel a cold sensation at the back of your throat. Remember, practice your breathing exercises each day to improve your vocal control.
Learn to sing with Your Chest Voice
Chest voice refers to the voice we use when speaking. As the natural part of the voice to sing in, it’s the lowest part of your vocal range. Technically speaking, when using your chest voice, your vocal folds vibrate across their entire length.
As such, when you sing in your chest voice, you will have a good vocal tone and power.
So, how do you sing in your chest voice? Start by placing your hand on your chest. Say your name in a firm voice.
Did you feel the intense vibration on your hand? That is your chest voice. Now that you have identified your chest voice, the next step is to try and sing a word.
To do so, find a comfortable note in your bottom voice and sing. For guys, try C3, and for girls, try G3.
End the exercise by singing the same word on the same 5-tone. If you properly use your chest voice, you will be using the entire mass of your vocal folds correctly. To achieve the necessary depth in your chest voice, do not be timid.
Learn to sing with your head Voice
Unlike chest voice, head voice is the higher register in your voice when singing or speaking. Simply put, when you sing or talk in your head voice, you should feel like the tone is resonating in your head. What you need to know is that the voice is not coming from your head but your vocal cords.
Many people may confuse head voice with falsetto. The head voice is usually used in a higher range and has a sweeter sound to it. Falsetto is where you sing in a higher note but with weak, breathy tone quality. Between the head voice and falsetto, the head voice is stronger.
The term head voice was coined by old school Italian singers and teachers. They used the term to describe singing at the top of the vocal range. Basically, they noted that when singers sing at the top of the vocal range, they feel vibrations in their heads.
Want to know how to develop your head voice for your upper range? Take a deep breath and then say the word “wee” out loud but in your normal voice. Proceed by finding a comfortable starting note. Now, sing the word “wee” and make sure to keep your tone relaxed and even.
Take another deep breath and sing the same word in an octave and half scale. What you need to know is that initially, your singing will sound breathy or weak. Don’t worry. More practice will enable you to gain your vocal control.
Learn to project your voice
Voice projection is a singing technique where the singer sings clearly and loudly. Put simply, vocal projection is about controlling the volume of your voice. A classic example of voice projection is in the opera. The singer projects her voice clearly and loudly over the entire audience.
As an aspiring singer, there are several exercises or techniques which can teach you how to project your voice. First off, find your breath threshold.
How you may ask. Start by singing notes overly pinched and extremely breathy. Now, find a medium between the two.
The goal is to sing with little breathiness and no tension. Another way is to sing a note quietly and breathy.
The next step is to understand the phonation. Phonation is the process whereby vocal cords produce certain sounds.
When vocal cords vibrate, they can produce a high or low pitch. A high pitch is usually created when the vocal cords vibrate more quickly, while a low pitch is generally produced when they vibrate slowly.
To achieve a beautifully projected voice, find the balance between breath threshold and air pressure. Last, you must inhale and exhale deeply using the diaphragm. To sing with the diaphragm, it all starts with a low deep breath.
Make use of your resonators
In the human body, voice control is usually modified and amplified by the vocal tract resonators. These resonators produce a recognizable voice. Want to know how voice production occurs?
Well, it involves three steps. The first step is where a column of air is pushed towards the vocal folds from the lungs. Second, the action of moving air from the lungs is usually coordinated by the diaphragm, rib cage, chest muscles, and abdominal muscles. Last we have vocal cord vibration.
There are four vocal resonators in the human body. They are:
- Tracheal tree
Others that play an essential role in modifying your voice include the oral cavity, nasal cavity, and sinuses.
To improve resonance in your voice, try the following:
- Hum a note at a comfortable pitch
- Lower your pitch and pay special attention to how your chest feels (chest voice)
- Increase the intensity of your humming vibration
- Increase your pitch two octaves higher and pay special attention to how your head feels (head voice)
- Repeat the exercise five times
Find the right pitch
Pitch is a sound property that measures how high or low a note is. As one of the most fundamental aspects of music, the pitch is the difference between a poor performance and a breathtaking musical performance.
Any musician aspiring to be great must have true mastery over the pitch. As such, his or her notes will always be rich with musical expression. Pitch is a big part of how musicians interpret musical scores. In fact, this may explain why professional musicians become infuriated concerning the use of Autotune.
To improve your pitch, start by freeing up your voice. This calls for breathing exercises. As you breathe in deeply, perform a vocalized sigh. Repeat this by starting from different ranges. By doing so, you allow your vocal box to get used to working with muscles that change pitch.
The next step is to pick a note from a range you can sing in. Use a piano to help you with this exercise. The key is to keep it slow and pay attention to your movement down the octave. To refine your pitch, play each semitone up the scale.
Last, train your ear for semitones and tones. To do so, record yourself. Hearing your recorded voice for the first time will surprise you, but once you get used to it, you will learn to love your own voice.
How to Reach Your Maximum Potential
Now that you understand how to become a successful singer, there are a few things you need to polish. Start with vocal warm-ups before singing. Your vocal cords are muscles, and like any other muscles, they need to warm up before use. By humming a few notes, you should warm up your vocal cords.
Apart from vocal warm-ups, we recommend breathing exercises too. Breathing exercises offer an excellent way to lower your stress level, improve the state of your mind, and improve your ability to sing. Before singing, inhale four counts, hold four counts, and exhale four counts.