We still tend to believe that someone is a great singer because they were born singing great or they have ‘natural talent.’ (There’s a term that’s thrown around a lot.) But that isn’t true, it takes work, training and also effective coaching. Here are just some of the ways we can improve our singing:
Find a vocal coach:
Work with a qualified voice teacher frequently to make sure you are on the right track with your voice. At the end of your lessons be sure to ask your voice coach what to work on specifically in your practices.
Keep your practices short, focused and productive. Following along with your lesson recording is generally a good way to start. Then taking sections of a song and working through the challenging bits. If you are doing too much all at once your voice may get tired. So it’s a good idea to make your practice regime shorter and more frequently throughout the week. Technique should come first, especially if you are still trying to build a balanced voice and are the beginning stages of vocal development.
Listen to great singers:
Don’t be afraid to listen to genius singers, in fact, build a playlist of them! Singers from all genres of music and not necessarily mainstream artists. Consult with a professional on which singers would be a great reference or inspiring for you to listen to. While listening, take note as to how they are singing. What is their vibrato like? What is their range like?
Keep your voice healthy:
Vocal rest, hydration, sleep, vocal technique are all proven ways to make sure your voice is in healthy shape. If you aren’t sure if your voice is healthy, consult with a voice therapist or medical professional.
“When people say artists are born with talent, you’re not. You have to really learn and really practice.” – Ed Sheeran on Jonathan Ross Show (2014)
Change your mindset:
Focus on the milestones you have achieved with your voice, take note of how and what you have improved on – then you are more likely to head in the right direction with your voice. Constructive criticism is best, so work with a qualified vocal coach to ensure you are getting the right feedback. Don’t let your ‘inner critic’ take control over your vocal progress.
Stop the comparing:
Since no two voices are alike, it’s impossible to sound like another singer. It’s wonderful to listen to great singers and get a reference for what they are doing vocally. But at the end of the day, it’s about finding your own voice. Comparing isn’t constructive, it only confirms that you ‘can’t’ do what the other person is doing. Instead take baby steps towards improving your own voice and choose songs that challenge you, but that are not overly difficult at first. Then work towards more difficult material once you have had enough training and guidance.
Test out what you have learned – find an open mic, or if someone asks you to sing, SING! Test out the waters and see if you can trust what you have learned and practiced!
Try out group singing:
In addition to working on your voice in a solo capacity, group singing is a wonderful way to connect with others but not only that, you can improve your musicianship. Learning new songs, and harmonies, having to blend with other singers are just some of the ways that make group singing fun.
Alida is a singer, vocal coach and music educator based in Vancouver, Canada. A graduate of UBC School of Music, Alida holds an IVA Advanced Certificate in voice teaching. Alida has been teaching voice for over 9 years to clients from the Lower Mainland as well as across Canada and worldwide. To book a lesson with Alida click here.