If you’ve decided you love singing and want to take it a stage further, you may be wondering if you have enough talent to take singing seriously and have lessons. Don’t ask yourself if you’re talented enough, ask yourself if you’re if committed enough. Consistent practice of the correct techniques is much more important than the vocal abilities you start with.
The following tips should help you get started in the right direction.
1. Practice makes perfect, so make sure you put some time aside to practice regularly. How much practice should you do? I suggest at least three times a week for approximately half an hour each. Practice is not singing along to the radio or your favourite CD whilst doing a household chore. It involves being disciplined and focusing on technical exercises as well as songs and knowing what you are trying to achieve.
2. A practice session should always start with a warm-up. Just as a warm up before a sporting event will protect you from injury, a good vocal warm-up will protect your voice from damage. If you don’t yet have a teacher, start with a few relaxed breaths, followed by some gentle humming throughout the range of your voice. You could then do a scale or two on the vowel “ah”.
3. Don’t overdo it! When you are starting out, you should keep practice sessions short and regular. It takes time for the muscles to build up strength and practicing for too long at a time could damage your voice.
4. If you want to increase your range, do it through vocal technique exercises, not by choosing a song that is beyond your present range. This will only increase your chances of damaging your voice.
5. Shouting or screaming can hurt your vocal cords, so don’t do it! It’s much more important to keep your body and face relaxed than to try and make a lot of noise. Vocal power should be built up gradually.
6. You can practice singing lying on the floor. This will support your back and may even seem easier. When you stand up to sing, imagine being supported from behind you.
7. It takes about 10,000 times before a muscle gets used to doing something different. Therefore, keep practicing your singing – your voice needs the exercise.
Learning to sing is about finding your own voice – don’t worry about trying to sound like anyone else. Even if you haven’t got a teacher, regular practice with gentle warm-up exercises, gradually increasing your range can do wonders for your voice. I hope these singing tips will help you on your singing journey.
by Helen Astrid