You love to sing. You do whatever it
takes to sound good, but it’s not always easy. You have your embarrassing
moments. Sometimes your voice feels tight. Sometimes you get the note but not
always with the best tone. Sometimes your voice cracks and you run out of air
But you keep on going because you’re
determined to do this wonderful, magical thing that for some possibly
unexplainable reason you can’t imagine life without – the magic and the power
But could it ever feel easier? Many
singers tend to do a few specific things which actually make singing harder.
Here are a few tricks of the trade that make singing easier no matter your style.
Tip #1: Relax Your Tongue
Does your tongue tense as you sing?
Does the back of it pull up as you go for a higher note? Does it pull back into
the back of your mouth? (That will cause it to tense.)
Try this: Select a song to sing. As
you do, rest the tip of your tongue behind your bottom teeth. It will need to
move a bit to accomplish some of the consonants, but otherwise, especially as
you sing long notes, leave it relaxed low in your mouth with the tip resting
against the back of your bottom teeth. It may take a bit of practice to break
the habit of tensing and overworking it. Remember, do let it move for the
consonants – your words will still be understandable. But you will discover
that releasing tension in the tongue has a lot to do with singing becoming
Tip #2: Relax Your Lips
When you sing do you tense your
lips? Are you exaggerating their movement or that of your cheeks or the opening
of your mouth?
Try this: Put on a recording of a
song you like to sing or a backing track of a song you perform. Stand in front
of a mirror and watch yourself as you sing. Really put yourself into the song
and watch your face, especially your lips an d mouth. If you exaggerate the
movement of your face as part of achieving the notes, this tension will back up
into your throat and you will find yourself pushing against this tension.
Remedy: Gently place the palms of
both your hands on either side of your mouth on the sides of your face. Sing
the song again and let your hands help you to relax the movements of your lips,
checks and mouth. Of course there will be movement but with this we are working
on letting the movement be relaxed and natural. How does that feel? Do you
notice a difference in how you sound as well? (Hint: it should be automatically
easier and better.) Facial expressions should be part of your expression of the
song - not to get your voice to work.
Tip #3: Breathe Into Your Back
Do you push your stomach forward
when you take a breath and then push it in when you sing? If so, you’re pushing
out too much air which will in turn over-pressurize your vocal folds and cause
them to either tense or over-relax. Or, as you sing, do you exhale or in some
way push up or push out your air?
Instead try this: Put your hands on
the back of your sides (not the front, the back). Take a breath letting your
ribs in back expand. You will probably feel the air coming into your back. Now
sing. As you do, let your stomach remain relaxed and maintain the open position
of your back). Do this a few times so you can really test it out.
If you have difficulty with this
approach, bend over part way and lean on a chair so that your back is facing
the ceiling. In this position, take a full breath and feel your back expand
with the air. Now sing. Once you become familiar with breathing into your back,
do it again but while standing in your more usual posture.
Explanation: When air comes into
your body it goes into your lungs. The biggest parts of your lungs fill about
3/4ths of your back. To fill with air, your lungs need your rib cage to
expand.. The expansion of your ribs is what physically opens your lungs. This
movement is what pulls-in your breath. If your ribs collapse as you sing or if
your stomach pushes inwards, too much breath is expelled too fast. This can cause
tension in your throat and can make reaching certain pitches more difficult.
Singing with your ribs expanded results in a fuller voice.
You will find specific rib cage
exercises, additional information and coached vocal workouts that enhance
natural breathing which will make your singing better and easier in my
“Contemporary Vocalist” Volumes One and Two!
May you enjoy the rewards!
is the Celebrity Vocal Coach seen on E! Entertainment and TV Guide Channels as
well as many other television and radio talk shows. Author of the
internationally acclaimed "Contemporary Vocalist" book and CD series,
as well as the “Deva Method Vocal Warm-Up” CD, she is flown to recording
studios worldwide for album vocal production and is endorsed by producers and
engineers of the Rolling Stones, The Cars, Aerosmith, Fleetwood Mac and others.
She is the Originator of The Deva Method® - Complete Vocal Technique for Stage
and Studio™ and founder of Jeannie Deva® Voice Studios celebrating over 33
years of helping singers be outstanding. Past
and present clients include Grammy Award Winners, American Idol finalists,
members of the J. Geils Band, Foghat, Felecia Howse of Bone Thugs n’ Harmony,
Broadway leads in Fame, Color Purple, Lion King and Wicked, singers for Sting, Stevie
Wonder, Pink, Joss Stone, Christina Aguilera and others. There is a growing
network of certified Deva Method teachers in the US and Australia. Jeannie’s
private studio is located in Los Angeles where she teaches “in house” as well
as internationally via Internet web cam. www.JeannieDeva.com