Many young singers, eager to build a singing career want to know, “How can I strengthen my singing voice?” Too many of these young people fall for the wares of vocal charlatans and ruin their career before it starts. A friend of mine related one such incident.
A young lady in his church showed great potential in contemporary religious singing. My friend recommended that she study with a college voice teacher in their church. The teacher recommended a course of training which would take a minimum of three years. This would give her voice time to mature and build the strength necessary for a career in concert singing. The parents opted for a “quick fix” with a popular teacher in Los Angeles, California.
In two years the young singer returned home. Her voice was all but ruined. The “teacher” had tried to manipulate the young voice with popular tricks taught to secular singers. Just as people trying to do things physically which are beyond their ability can injure themselves, so can singers.
If the vocal muscle is not strong enough to accomplish a certain level, it must be strengthened. That strengthening must be done with wisdom and knowledge. The vocal mechanism and its muscles must be built gradually and nurtured each step of the way.
Human beings by nature are singers. Babies in the mother’s womb react to the mother’s singing voice. Infants begin to sing before they can verbalize words. Singing is almost second nature to human beings. I am convinced that this is because our Creator loves singing and there will be endless singing in heaven. That is my opinion.
Many people think that birds, or other animals, sing. They do not, in the real sense of the definition of singing. Singing is basically “intonation of words or phrases to add emotion and emphasis to its meaning”. Animals have no sense of wording or thoughts to their melodies. Their “music” however does carry forms of communication. We shall not address that in this blog.
To develop a good and strong singing voice one must first lay a good foundation. One important thing I learned in the building business was the need of a solid foundation. If you mess up on the foundation, nothing else you do will correct that error. No amount of tricks or cover-ups can produce a good product if the foundation is faulty.
Another truth I learned was that there is a necessary time that a foundation should set up. In other words, it takes a while before the structure should be built on the foundation. Rushing any development structure will lessen the value of the foundation. Build the foundation with patience. Then the structure will be strong and come naturally.
It is always wise to begin warming up with light vocalise exercises. By beginning your warmup in a predetermined structure, you alert your body and voice to get ready to sing. One of the simplest exercises is that of humming. It is a simple way of activating the breathing muscles and the vocal mechanisms. Along with those you can feel the sensations of the vibrations associated with singing.
The humming should always be light and unforced. This is just the beginning and should promote freedom of production, not forceful production. A good “humm” will also give a good tingle to the lips and nose.
Below is a good humming exercise you can use to begin your warmup. It will move up by half-steps to stretch the vocal mechanism. But, you should never get to a point of forcing the production. Keep it light. If it gets above your comfortable range, just drop out and wait till it comes back. Over time you will gradually increase the range of your warmup.
The next exercise is a slightly different approach. We shall use the “Ooh” vowel. The structure of the mouth to form the “Ooh” should be the same as that of the “Ah” vowel. The difference is in how the lips are shaped. The lips should be formed as if you were going to whistle. Make sure the jaw is still open for the “Ah”.
Now, sing through the exercise a few times. Always keep the “Ooh” light and floating. This is just a warmup. Below you will see the notation of the beginning exercise. The recorded accompaniment will progress up by semitones and then back down. Repeat a couple of times.
Our next exercise in our warm-up regimen is a simple octave leap up and then down. We shall use three different vowels. Go through the exercise completely using one vowel and then the other until using all three.
The vowels are: “e” as in “eager”; “a” as in “way”; and “ah” as in “father”. Use them in this order. The exercise will move by half steps up, then back down. Keep the voice light and unforced.
This exercise will conclude this warmup regime. We use a simple major scale in eighth notes to conclude this session. Use the same vowel for the whole exercise. Then repeat the exercise with the next vowel.
The vowels in order are: “ee” as in “see”; “a” as in “say”; “oh” as in “old”; “ah” as in “father”. The tone should always be light. For men, if you need to go into falsetto, that is OK.
This warm-up should take you about 15 or 20 minutes, depending on the rest between each exercise. When completed, relax for a few minutes and then work on learning your songs.
By using these warm-up techniques regularly you will strengthen your singing voice. You will also improve your singing voice as you grow proficient in your warm-up techniques.
Look through our site and find helpful practices to grow an even more artistic voice.
Do you need a recorded accompaniment for your singing? We can produce a general accompaniment for your practice needs. If we do not have a particular composition, we can get it.
We shall give you the first three accompaniments free to see if they help you. If you like what you get, we can produce more for around $3 to $6 per song, depending on the length.