The Beginner's Guide to Singing

Monday, July 19, 2021

Never sung outside of the shower? These 5 tips will put you on the path to singing like a pro.


1. Breath

In my experience, 90% of singing problems can be fixed by taking a look at the breath. Singing is basically just sustained talking, with added technique, so it all starts with the breath. I've done a blog post all about breath, but one particular visualisation will unlock a whole world of vocal ability. When you breathe, imagine drawing the air up through your feet, all the way up to the top of your head. This not only opens everything up in the body, it also grounds you so you can use the Earth as your support when you sing.

2. Posture

Speaking of grounding, posture is so important so we can take that nice, open breath in the first place. A good singer's posture is loose, but grounded; feet flat on the floor, about a hip-distance apart. Unlock the knees and relax the shoulders, neck, and jaw. Allow the head to be relaxed, keeping the chin level. It should feel composed, grounded and ready – but most importantly, it shouldn't feel forced or tight. Practice walking around in this pose, flapping your arms about to check you're not holding any tension in your shoulders. After a while, it will become second nature to you!

3. Eyebrows

Ah, the magic singer's trick. Raising your eyebrows opens up space in the face for soundwaves to resonate. Think of the vocal folds (also known as vocal cords or voice box) as a speaker, and your body as the boom box. The folds make the sound and it resonates in the body. For a healthy voice, we want to give that resonance somewhere to go. Raising the eyebrows will create a bright sound, as the soundwaves are brought up into the face to resonate! Try it on high notes you're struggling with.

4. Hands

Another magic singing trick. Running out of breath during a phrase in a song? Try slowly extending your arm for the duration of the phrase. Struggling to hit a high note? Slice one hand down and the other up in front of you, like a running man, as you sing. Why does this work? The sensory part of the brain for the hands is ajoined with the part for the vocal muscles – it's why we use our hands when we speak. Extending your arm tricks your brain into also extending the breath, and that running man motion ensures your vowels are centralised (I'll talk more about this in a later blog post) which makes for a healthier belt.

5. If you can't sing it, speak it!

Like I said, singing is basically speaking. So, rule of thumb, if you're struggling with a phrase, try speaking it first. Then raise/lower the pitch of your speech to practice how it sounds in different keys. Try holding it for longer (still just speaking). Try only speaking the vowels of the phrase! Find what feels good in speech, and then try to retain this sound and feel when you sing it.

So there you have it, my beginner's guide to singing! That's just a few of the tips and tricks I teach my beginner singers during private lessons, so if you'd like to start your vocal journey, head on over to my book a lesson page to find out more about what I offer. Hope to hear from you soon!

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