Vocals are fascinating because no two singers are the same. One singer might emphasize the emotion of a song, another might display their range and others might be skilled in trills and runs. Whilst vocals are unique to the individual and this should be celebrated, there are ways to improve vocals, or at least strengthen your voice so that you don’t damage it in the long run.
Warm-ups – Never underestimate the power of a good warm-up. The vocals chords are a muscle and like any muscle, we need to train them. Warm-up’s don’t need to be super long or boring to take effect. A quick 15 minute vocal warm-up before a show or recording will do the trick. Making Miss Mogul recommend Jacob’s Vocal Academy on YouTube.
Take singing lessons – Singing lessons are not for everybody and that’s okay! However, a good singing teacher will be able to point out bad technique and help you build new, solid habits. Singers can learn a great deal from YouTube or by simply covering songs, but singing teachers can really help to strengthen the vocals and they will be able to find your key so that you can sing in a way which feels most comfortable to you. Of course, vocal lessons are costly but it is a great investment if you want to further your skills.
Experiment – Try covering songs in different genres. Whether it’s country, rock, pop or classical, there is always something new to learn from a particular musical style. When we push the limits and break out of our comfort zones, we learn to expand our range and find our own unique style. It is also easier to determine which songs compliment your voice.
Study the greats – Maybe you love Mariah Carey’s whistle notes or want to belt like Whitney Houston? Whoever you look up to, study and analyze their performances. Whilst we don’t encourage imitation, it doesn’t hurt to learn from them.
Embrace originality – Did you know that Shakira wasn’t allowed to join the school choir because the teacher didn’t like her voice? Or that Elvis Presley was given a C-grade in music? Both have incredibly original voices and despite negativity, they continued to hone in on their unique vocal style. Maybe you sing with a slight nasal sound, maybe you have a rasp to your voice or maybe, you sing really softly. Whatever it is, use it to your advantage because being different from the crowd is always a good thing!
Technique – A great way to expand your vocal range is to practice scales daily. Also, focus on strengthening your breath. A good way to control breathing is to mediate daily and search for some specific breathing exercises online.
Vocal care – Your voice is your instrument and you need to make sure you are taking good care of it. Drink plenty of water regularly , get lots of rest and always have some lozenges spare. Also, it’s important to know when to take a break. Straining the vocals can be really damaging for your vocal health long-term. It is much more effective to practice for shorter, focused periods of time and take breaks accordingly.
Finally, singing is supposed to be a joyous activity. Yes it’s great to improve your vocals, but this should happen naturally if you really love to sing.