Breathing is important!: Check to see that your ribcage expands outward on the inhale— front, sides and back;  and inward on the exhale. The inhale is more passive, the work and control is on the exhale.  Your diaphragm will move down to allow your lungs to fill up — it’s the dome-shaped muscle beneath your lungs. EXERCISE: Blow up balloons! It will get your lungs in shape for singing; you can visualize your lungs working like a balloon and have fun while doing it.  EXERCISE: Until you get the balloons: do an easy jog in place and pay attention to how that breathing feels. Feel the down and out motion, keep your shoulders down, and fill up the back of your lungs too!
Conditioning: Think of singing like you would a sport. It takes whole body conditioning, coordination, fitness, breathing correctly, body posture, using the right muscles to sing. Don’t sing just from the neck up. Give up the throat tension and use your core/trunk muscles to do the work. Incorporate movement in your life:  dance, running, walking, yoga, zumba, swim, basketball, tennis, martial arts, running, it all good and will help your singing!!
Mouth Shape: Get your mouth more open on high notes. Keeping the mouth too closed creates a muffled sound. Keep your tongue out of the way: work on your ‘tongue groove’ for a more clear tone.
You need a round shape like other instruments, guitar, saxophone, flute.  Watch videos: see how your favorite artists articulate vowels, and use their mouth shape to get the sound they want. (Katy Perry: Roar; Kelly Clarkson: Since U Been Gone; Demi Lovato: Heart Attack; Mic Jagger: Rolling Stones, Beast of Burden, are a few).
Vibrato: How is yours? It can vary from style to style. Some have more, some less, some higher on the pitch, some lower. Listen to songs in your genre and notice how they use vibrato, from little or none to more pronounced. Vibrato exercise: use your hand to draw a flat line in the air— sing with no vibrato, straight tone.  Now make a wave pattern with your hand, and sing with a vibrato to match. Go from one to the other, no vibrato, vibrato.  Train your voice to have the vibrato you want.
Placement:  Is your tone forward enough to be clear and present? Not in the back of your throat? Creating a ‘mixture’ tone so you don’t have a ‘break’? Try smiling. Show your top teeth. Watch videos and notice artists showing top teeth, and focusing forward, at teeth level, sing in the ‘mask’ of your face. Try saying singing: nyah, nyah, nyah.  Get your voice in a comfortable ‘place’.

Author garyearl

Grammy nominated producer, award winning songwriter, GRAMMY Nom mixer, multi instrumentalist. Credits: Disney, universal, Warner Bros. HBO, Batman, Pokémon.

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