If you’ve been wondering how to sing better in a deeper voice, you’ve probably already experienced how challenging it can be to produce strong and clear tones when you hit those low notes?
Improving your singing takes ongoing practice, using the best vocal techniques and an ongoing commitment, which is why any experienced voice teacher will tell you that talent is developed over time.
A lot of the modern singers try and emulate sounds they hear from rock and pop stars on the radio, and without first establishing a strong vocal foundation this can lead to vocal fatigue and even potential injury.
In this article we’ll provide you with the tips on how to train your voice to sing lower, what to look out for and give you an exercise as you start to prepare for an important audition or your campfire debut performance.
Crafting Your Instrument
Irving Berlin, one of the greatest songwriters and composers in American history said that “talent is only the starting point”. For any singer the most important part is realising that you have to discover, improve and nurture your voice. Some vocalists feel like they cannot sing high enough, they want to be a tenor or soprano when they are a bass or alto and wish they could train their voice into something differently.
If you want to become a good singer you have to fall in love with your tessitura, the ‘range within which most of a vocal part fall’. This is the comfortable voice and the departure point for developing good singing technique.
As beginner you’ll have to establish which tessitura your voice is classified as. With three broad categories ranging from higher to lower, male voices are generally known to be a tenor, baritone and bass. For female vocalists the highest range is the soprano with mezzo-soprano as their mid-range and lastly the deeper alto.
A music teacher or professional musician can help you with this classification, but starting from this foundation will allow you to establish your best singing range. Once established, you can learn how to improve pitch and increase your vocal range through the application of technical exercises.
No matter how talented you are, your talent will fail you, if you’re not skilled. Skill is achieved through practice. Work hard and dedicate yourself to being better every single day – Will Smith
Part of the process is learning how to accept that you might not be the new male Britney Spears or next Yvonne Chaka Chaka. Your voice is unique and special, but how you use it will determine whether you’ll leave an impression on stage or in the singing world.
Prioritize your vocal training by taking singing lessons from a professional voice coach. They will be able to guide you in developing your vocal instrument in an informed and practical way.
Tips for Singing Low Notes
Use your Chest Voice
The best method to sing low notes is by using your chest voice. This voice is used for normal speech and you can immediately start using that voice in the following way:
- Hold your hand on your chest and speak a phrase from a song you know in a normal speaking voice. Note where you feel the vibrations in your chest
- Now sing and try to create the exact vibrations in your chest
If you want to learn how to move into high notes you’ll have to explore and practice your head voice to produce higher pitches. Switch to your chest voice as you step down to deepen your voice while you are still using your head voice could place strain on the voice and it’ll also make it crack as you move down in pitch.
Keep Your Head and Larynx in The Right Position
With your chin parallel to the floor you’ll allow air to flow freely through your throat and across your vocal cords. Some amateurs drop their chin if they try to sing low notes, but this compresses the throat and make blockages in the airflow. Just try to keep your larynx low and relaxed without moving your head. Your larynx shouldn't work or move up and down when you sing and you can place your hand gently on it to feel whether it moves.
Learn to Relax
If you want to know how to hit low notes when singing, you'll need to learn how to relax your body. Strain in the one area of the body will influence other areas and in turn affect your singing in a negative way. Adopting a relaxed singing posture will lessen the strain you place on the vocal cords and ensure you create clear tones by just using the muscles intended for singing.
Some of the most important muscles to relax are around your jaw, so soften the jaw and relax your tongue and mouth when you sing. Vowel forming exercises is a technique a singing teacher can teach you, allowing you to identify where you might still keep tension.
Sing From Your Belly
The diaphragm is the energy centre for producing great sound. Being able to quickly contract and relax your diaphragm will allow you to take snatch breaths while you sing. There is a misconception that singing lower notes means you’ll need less air, but this is just not true and being able to control your diaphragm will ensure you keep your low notes clear, on pitch and strong.
Forcing your voice is worst thing you can do and if you relax your muscles and work from your diaphragm there will be no strain on your vocal chords. Ask your singing teacher or google lip trills and see how these can help you loosen up your lips and develop breath endurance and sound consistency.
Vocalisation and Resonance
A lot of vocalists lose the vocal quality and volume in their voice when they move to their lower range. A consistent and strong supply of air is key, but ensuring you sing out of your body is another technical clue to ensure you fix your resonance. Resonance is how the sound reverberate from your vocal cords and skull to amplify it. Note how South Africans generally allow sound to sit in the back of their throat due to their accent which can be problematic in singing.
Opera singers can sing to the back of a full theatre because they use the power from their belly, relax their vocal cords and amplify the sound through their skull. Yes, that vibration can create sound that can be sent right to the back of the room if you use it together with the right singing techniques.
To practice your resonance in the low register you can try the following ‘Mmmm’ and ‘Aaaah’ exercise:
- Assuming a relaxed singing posture start with a high register ‘Mmmm’ sound (lips closed). Feel the buzzing sensation in your skull and vocal chords.
- In the same breath you can now slide to your lower register to sing low notes, but once you get to the low point you open your mouth to sing the “Aah’ vowel.
- The key is to still feel the sound resonating in your skull and vocal cords once you open your mouth on the low notes.
- Ensure you send the sound out of your body.
The idea of the above exercise is to establish an find the resonance and then keep its quality as you sing low. A good vocal coach will add other exercises to help you master your voice while you see how low you can go.
Taking Care of Your Voice
Losing your voice or having to go for surgery due to damaged vocal cords will be a tragedy for every singer. Some singers’ careers are cut short or interrupted because of terrible vocal habits and one of the most important habits you can learn is to ensure you take proper care of your voice.
Your vocal folds are tiny little muscles and like any athlete you’ll need to warm them up before increasing their agility and pushing them to new limits. An experienced vocal coach will start every class with vocal warm-ups and ensure you have enough knowledge about your voice box to apply proper vocal care. Here are some key considerations if you want to have a sustainable singing career:
- ALWAYS warm up your voice
- Like any music instrument, your voice needs some TLC once it’s worked too hard. Make time to rest after a heavy session or performance
- Drink plenty of water
- Quit smoking
- Don’t go all out at the next soccer match as screaming can also damage your voice.
Your health always comes first and if there’s pain or continuous problems with your voice you should consult a medical voice practitioner.
Finding a Vocal Coach
The great thing about being a singer is the fact that you can do it anywhere you go. But before you try and mimic Elvis Presley, Barry white, Adele or Yvonne Chaka-Chaka, we hope this article convinced you to first build your vocal foundation through proper voice training. From there you can step up your game and learn all about your falsetto, belting, and singing with a straight tone, vibrato, higher or deeper.
A lot of professional singers offer part-time singing lessons and if you look on Superprof you’ll find music teachers and vocal coaches with the required knowledge and experience to help you along the way. Equipped with a range of vocal techniques and exercises, they’ll help you to increase your vocal range, step up your performance game and maximize your talent.
"When we sing, our hearts can lift and fly, over the troubled waters and over the years." – Judy Collins