Whoever said money makes the world go round has never had a song in their heart.

Music has been a part of our human existence since the beginning of time and in South Africa we’ve experienced how it can bring people together from different cultures and backgrounds.

Maybe you’ve always wanted to be a singer and dreamed about how you can emotionally move an audience while telling your stories through song? Or you simply love to sing and find the opportunity to express your emotions in this way as an exhilarating release.

Whatever your reasons for singing, if you want to become better at it you’ll have to give your voice some TLC, commitment and the right tools to ensure you make the most of your divine vocal instrument.

This article is your crash course on how you can improve your singing voice. Singing is something that everyone can do, but not anyone can master the art of singing like a professional. We'll give you singing fundamentals with supporting vocal exercises to help you discover you voice, but remember that nothing can replace the attention and knowledge of an experienced vocal teacher.

Where can I learn to sing in the UK?
Singing lessons might help you when it comes to learning to sing? (Source: Thibault Trillet)
  1. The best Singing tutors available
    Simbarashe
    5
    5 (14 review/s)
    Simbarashe
    R300
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Tarryn
    5
    5 (8 review/s)
    Tarryn
    R163
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Lindiwe
    5
    5 (14 review/s)
    Lindiwe
    R150
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Zmy
    5
    5 (10 review/s)
    Zmy
    R250
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Tyson
    5
    5 (11 review/s)
    Tyson
    R300
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Pierre
    5
    5 (5 review/s)
    Pierre
    R180
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Xanilee
    5
    5 (7 review/s)
    Xanilee
    R300
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Tebogo
    Tebogo
    R340
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Simbarashe
    5
    5 (14 review/s)
    Simbarashe
    R300
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Tarryn
    5
    5 (8 review/s)
    Tarryn
    R163
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Lindiwe
    5
    5 (14 review/s)
    Lindiwe
    R150
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Zmy
    5
    5 (10 review/s)
    Zmy
    R250
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Tyson
    5
    5 (11 review/s)
    Tyson
    R300
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Pierre
    5
    5 (5 review/s)
    Pierre
    R180
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Xanilee
    5
    5 (7 review/s)
    Xanilee
    R300
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Tebogo
    Tebogo
    R340
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Let's go!

    Establish your Voice Type

Knowing your voice starts with understanding your vocal range and classifying your voice. Your range is the tonal distance between the highest and lowest notes, and this will determine what is known as your tessitura or vocal part.

For male voices the most general type is a baritone, but if you have a higher vocal range you’ll be classified as a tenor while singing deeper will put you at the bottom spectrum with the bass singers. Similarly, the vocal register of female vocalists will range from sopranos to mezzos-soprano and lastly, altos.

Tips on recognising your tone: We are born with a natural tone to our voice, and it is based on the shape of our mouth, tongue etc. Improving your vocal tone means applying your speech to singing in a way that it sounds good, unique to you, with colour and a natural timbre. It’s a bit trickier to classify tone, but to understand this you can consider Sam Smith’s warm, whispery voice and how his voice differs from the brassy quality of Bruno Mars’. Finding your way around this one could be tricky, so having an expert music teacher will help guide you towards harnessing your own tone instead of changing it to suit other well-known singers.

  1. Develop a Good Singing Posture and Relaxed Muscles

A bent flute cannot create a clear and beautiful sound and in the same way if you have constricted air flow or obstructions in your singing, it can hamper the tones and pitch. Having a good singing posture means standing firmly on the ground, with a relaxed body as the shoulders relax to the floor. Your head will remain parallel with the floor to open your throat and allow air to freely pass the larynx while you relax your jaw.

A lot of performers have habits that jeopardise their sound when they sing. Lifting your chin, tensing the shoulders or moving the larynx all indicate that you are placing strain in the wrong areas.

Do physical warm-up exercises: Ensure you start by warming up your entire body and not just your vocal cords. Spinal rolls up and down, shoulder rolls, a jaw massage, tongue rolling and warming up the diaphragm are all good to ensure you are warm before singing.

Watch yourself when you sing the highest notes: Beginner singers tend to tense their vocal cords, tongue, throat and lift the larynx when they move into the high register. Take a video or yourself or watch yourself in the mirror as you sing higher and notice whether your body changes shape or where you tense up. A tip on how to release tension in those areas is to bend your legs as you move higher or squeeze your bum muscles as this takes the muscular tension to another body part.

How much do private singing tutorials cost?
Birds are very famous for their singing. Yet they never attend a single class. (Source: pixabay.com)
  1. Breathing for Singing and Using the Power of Breath

The top tenors in the world can produce clear sound that will reach the back of an Opera House. Their secret, using their breath and muscles effectively. Not only is this the powerhouse of your singing but also provides the fuel to drive your singing machine forward in a smooth and consistent way.

Having agility in the diaphragm will allow you to take quick snatch breaths without compromising the vocal cords. Find breathing exercises for singers and keep practising to ensure you work towards producing a note that goes on for ages at the same quality and consistency.

Located just under your bra strap, you know exactly where it is Steve, you can feel your diaphragm expand and push down as your lungs widen with each inhale. On the exhale the diaphragm contracts and pushes air out. Your ability to manage this process will all depend on how well you can manage your diaphragmatic vocal breathing.

Exercise to strengthen your diaphragm: Place your hand on your diaphragm and do repetitive singing on the vowel of your choice. Keep the sound quick and short and as you take snatch breaths and speed it up ensure you use your diaphragm to press the air out and pull it back in. It needs to release completely with each inhale and push the air our completely with each vowel vocalisation. This exercise is like push-ups for the diaphragm.

  1. Improve Pitch and Sing in Tune

To sing in tune is fundamental for any singer. What this means is you produce the same frequency with your vocal cords as a specific note you are hearing. Some would argue that this is more about ear training or listening skills, but regardless of whether you believe you are tone deaf, the aim is to reproduce the melody of a musical instrument with your vocal pitch.

This will improve with each voice lesson you take, and practice makes perfect, but it’s important to get an expert’s opinion on this as you might not be able to hear the difference.

Record yourself doing a 5-tone scale: You might need a piano or a music tutor for this one… Sliding up and down 5 notes in sequence, try and replicate the sound as you sing up ‘do, rey, me, faa, so' and down 're, fa, me, re, do’ in one breath. Listening back to you singing and see how it compares to the sound of the piano.

South Africans tend to sing in the back of their throat,  and you can read this article for an exercise on resonance and vocalisation.

  1. Sing to the Rhythm and Time-signature

The more you discover the world of music, the more you’ll learn the importance of reading music and understanding musical rhythm. You’ll also learn about semitones, allegro singing, and what it means to start with piano singing and working towards a crescendo.

Stick to the Time-signature: The most important thing as a beginner singer is to establish the rhythm of a specific song and to stick to that when singing along with the pianist or accompaniment. The simplest way of doing this is tapping your foot along to the beat. When you sing then try and stick to that beat while singing. Your music teacher will help you to then smooth out the notes that you don’t sing ‘note-by-note’.

  1. The best Singing tutors available
    Simbarashe
    5
    5 (14 review/s)
    Simbarashe
    R300
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Tarryn
    5
    5 (8 review/s)
    Tarryn
    R163
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Lindiwe
    5
    5 (14 review/s)
    Lindiwe
    R150
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Zmy
    5
    5 (10 review/s)
    Zmy
    R250
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Tyson
    5
    5 (11 review/s)
    Tyson
    R300
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Pierre
    5
    5 (5 review/s)
    Pierre
    R180
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Xanilee
    5
    5 (7 review/s)
    Xanilee
    R300
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Tebogo
    Tebogo
    R340
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Simbarashe
    5
    5 (14 review/s)
    Simbarashe
    R300
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Tarryn
    5
    5 (8 review/s)
    Tarryn
    R163
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Lindiwe
    5
    5 (14 review/s)
    Lindiwe
    R150
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Zmy
    5
    5 (10 review/s)
    Zmy
    R250
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Tyson
    5
    5 (11 review/s)
    Tyson
    R300
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Pierre
    5
    5 (5 review/s)
    Pierre
    R180
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Xanilee
    5
    5 (7 review/s)
    Xanilee
    R300
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Tebogo
    Tebogo
    R340
    /h
    Gift icon
    1st lesson free!
    Let's go!

    Clear Diction

To enunciate and pronunciation properly will not only produce clear vowels but allow the consonants to create sounds where required in your singing. Singing is slightly different to normal speech, but there are definite differences in how you sing in in a UK accent or an American Accent. Learning accents is usually easier for singers, but this is a discipline on its own and will benefit your singing whether you choose to sing with an African accent or not.

Exploring ‘t’ and ‘d’: Try to produce the ‘te’ and ‘de’ sound in the same area on the hard palate. Vocalise it by adding sound to it and keep the sound in the front. South African singers tend to incorrectly let the sound slide to the back of their mouth with the ‘de’.

  1. Expand Your Singing Range

Expanding your singing range is one of the most common things performers need to work on. This means training your voice to sing higher and lower. To sing higher you’ll have to learn to sing in your head voice while singing deeper or lower require the application of your chest voice.

Learn more about singing the high notes, your falsetto and how to feel your head voice in this article. Lower notes and singing low requires the same amount of breath, contrary to popular belief, and your starting point is the voice you use for normal speech.

Use sliding scales to expand your range: The best exercise for singing high or low is to practise vocal steps on a sliding scale of 7 notes (an octave). Sing the ‘Do, rey, me, faa, so, laa, tee, do’ as you play the 7 notes and once you’ve mastered them step up one note and sing all seven one note higher. To move lower on the register, you simply step one note down every time.

  1. Using the Colours of Your Voice

Your tone and timbre will give you voice its own unique quality, but through the application of some specific singing techniques you’’ give your voice better versatility and make it more suited to any chosen genre.

All performers want to become better at using their vibrato, but this could be a bit tricky with a lot of factors influencing the ability for your voice to vibrate gently on long notes. It’s only effective if used in combination with straight tone singing and for certain songs in musical theatre you’ll have to learn to belt while pop genres require the falsetto for softer tones while a glottal attack allows you to create the growling sound of rock music.

Vocal colour
If you exercise vocal health and apply vocal techniques frequently, you'll improve your normal speech and add colour to your singing voice (Source: unsplash.com)
  1. Practise Vocal Health

Singers like Adele had to go for surgery because of vocal strain and damage. Vocal health and taking care of your vocal cords is one of the most valuable vocal tips to ensure your singing career is sustainable and fun. No singer wants to cancel a performance due to failing vocal cords.

Drinking lots of water, not smoking, doing proper vocal warm-ups before each session and allowing vocal rest are some of the key tips to ensure you look after your vocal cords.

Get your voice warm: Using scales is one of the warm-up techniques to  as well but be sure you start with your normal and most comfortable range of singing and move to the higher and lower range slowly to stretch and shorten the vocal cords, giving them that massage before working them at full speed.

  1. Daily Vocal Exercises

Oprah Winfrey said, “Luck is preparation meeting the moment of opportunity”. You must have the drive, focus and commitment to ensure you make progress in your singing.

Singers work for years through ups and downs to prepare for that one opportunity, and then they must continue their practice to stay at the top. Even if you sing for fun, you want to step up your singing game you'll need regular exercise and working with a plan.

Work your plan: Your vocal cords are tiny muscles and like any sportsperson you have to practise them and give them the required exercises to keep them fit and healthy. It all starts with small steps, scheduling a training session three times a week and increasing that the frequency as you go.

  1. Singing from The Heart

Why do you sing? The best performers are the ones who manages to use their music as a canvas for their soul.  They have a magical way of bringing across how they feel, providing perspective and interpretation to a specific scenario through song.

A song interpretation exercise: Find the ‘Hallelujah’ song by Leonard Cohen. Now search for cover versions of that song and you’ll discover how names like Jeff Buckley, Penatonix, Bon Jovi and Susan Boyle gives the song a completely different quality and meaning due to their interpretations and how they sing it. Check out how South Africa's Roedean School choir gave it a different spin and explore how you can interpret it?

How can I learn to sing?
Modern musicians need to have stage presence when they perform. (Source: Josh Sorenson)
  1. Work with an Experienced Vocal Coach

Nothing comes close to having one-on-one singing lessons with a vocal coach. During your singing lessons you’ll learn various singing techniques and vocal exercises, allowing home practice and development.

Book your lesson to start: On Superprof we have affordable, experienced voice coaches in your area. They know all the singing tips and techniques and have the experience to help you craft your voice, fuel your passion and become the best singer you can be.

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you – Maya Angelou

>

The platform that connects private tutors and students

1st lesson free

Enjoyed this article? Leave a rating!

5.00 (1 rating/s)
Loading...

Mauritz

Writer and qualified yoga instructor, who is passionate about health and well-being.