Practicing Your Singing Correctly - dummies

Practicing Your Singing Correctly

By Pamelia S. Phillips

Correct singing practice means that you’re making consistent improvement. Your vocal cords don’t have pain receptors, so you can’t assume that you’ll feel pain if you do something wrong. If you do feel pain, you may be squeezing too hard and constricting the muscles surrounding your vocal cords. Feeling tired after practicing is normal.

You may have friends who can sing for hours without feeling tired, but they may have spent many years singing to build up their endurance. If your voice gets tired after a reasonable amount of time singing, don’t worry about it. After a month, however, if your voice still gets tired quickly, then you’re not doing something right.

Recording yourself

Record your practice session each day to monitor improvement. The first time you listen to a recording of yourself, you may not like it. That’s a perfectly normal reaction. Performing artists spend big bucks in the recording studio, but they may not sound so perfect at home. The third time you hear yourself on a recording, you’ll be used to the sound.

Listen for the details, such as the precision of the vowel. Does it sound like an ah or uh? The two vowels are similar, but you need to be able to distinguish them in the exercise and in the text of the song. Record yourself saying ah and uh so that you learn to feel and hear the difference. Then go back and listen to the recording.

You can also listen for silent inhalation (no gasping for air), smooth transitions between registers, varied sounds that you choose to create a vocal journey in your song, or dynamic variations.

If you have a video camera handy, videotape yourself regularly to check out your body language. Watch the video three times in a row, to get used to your sound on video. You can even watch the video without sound to really focus on your body movement. Video cameras usually have better recording quality than a cellphone, but a phone will work if that’s what you have available.

Applying information and exercises

Most of the time, you can’t see the benefit of a singing exercise until you’ve tried it a few times. You won’t know what you’re capable of until you move out of your comfort zone. Mastering some of the exercises takes some time, whereas other exercises take only a few days to master.

The first time you try an exercise, you may be tempted to just skim through the explanation, because you want to test it out. Make sure that you go back later and read the entire explanation and work through each step. The step you skip may be the most important one of the exercise.