By Cari Cole
Sometimes singers don’t want to admit to having a vocal coach.
I get it.
They think somehow it takes away from their own “natural” talent (it doesn’t ~ only adds to it!)
But really, it’s no one’s business if you train or not ~ only yours.
In the entertainment industry, nothing is “natural.” Voices, performances, songs, records – all are worked on, worked over and worked through in every which way possible to make them stronger, better and shine greater.
Vocal technique is one of the best kept secret weapons in the industry.
Matter of fact, all the stars have a vocal coach at some point, if not on speed dial.
Because they know it will keep their voice in tip top shape and they stay on top because of it.
If you didn’t hear about it, it astounded us all how Lady Gaga worked with a vocal coach before her Oscar performance — and are you ready for this? She not only worked with a coach, she worked with a coach every day for 6 months! Why you ask? Because she wanted to blow people away with her voice. And it worked. Brilliant.
Whitney Houston, known for her incredible vocal chops, was going back to training just before she passed away. She knew the power of vocal technique to getting her voice back.
When it’s your voice and career on the line, who wouldn’t want every possible trick and technique in the book?
Gotcha covered! Check this out…
4 Quick & Dirty Little Secrets to Killer Vocals A.S.A.P.
(A.S.A.P = Alignment, Stretch, Air + Phrasing)
1. A = Alignment
Alignment makes your voice work or wear out. Poor posture leaves the vocal instrument prone
to cracking and burning out. Good alignment frees up your instrument and does things like allows the diaphragm to drop giving the singer plenty of support and sound.
Notice when you hear a good singer how they don’t sound like they are screaming.
Plus you’ll notice they keep their chins level as they sing instead of reaching up (especially on high notes.)
Quick Tip: Lean your hips into a wall with your feet about 1 foot away from the wall. Press your lower back and back as well as your shoulders and head against the wall. If your lower back or neck has a hard time reaching the wall, (even just a little bit) you have alignment issues that are limiting your voice.
2. S = Stretch
Most singers don’t know this, let alone vocal coaches. Singers are athletes of the small muscles of the voice and breathing. Tense muscles impede your vocal performance. Imagine an athlete running a race without stretching their legs? Over time they only end up with shin splints and injuries. Imagine a singer singing a 2 hour concert without stretching their instrument? The result is tighter and tighter voice which ends up in strain and over time more serious vocal problems.
Quick Tip: Start by stretching your whole body as well as the muscles of the voice and breathing to open up your body to create much less tension and strain and help you to avoid longer term injury. Downdog anyone?
3. A = Air
Air and breath are the fuel for your voice. It makes sound by creating movement at the vocal folds so they can vibrate. Most singers don’t breathe enough and often their breathing muscles are tight and constricted. Use your breath to better fuel your voice and to open your ribcage allowing the diaphragm to drop.
Quick Tip: Place your hands on your ribcage with your fingers wrapping around the front and your thumbs around back. Squeeze your ribs with medium pressure. Slowly breathe into your ribs inching them outwards along with your stomach and back expanding gently. Imagine the diaphragm dropping down into the space you create.
4. P = Phrasing
Phrasing is the quickest way to make the voice sound better. Phrasing is the rhythm of the vocal line – how it sits in the music. Phrasing in pop music comes from rhythm and blues, so if ya wanna sound better, study blues phrasing. It’s way harder than it seems.
Quick Tip: Sing “the blues” to take your phrasing up several notches. Learn to sit in to the music, don’t rush your phrases or you’ll sound too “eager.” Also, try singing your own songs with a more “blues” approach to free up the phrasing by adding scoops and simple riffs where appropriate.
I hope this helps you nail your voice and sound! Good luck! Let me know in the comments below!
Looking for a vocal challenge? Check out our Vocal Freedom Circle!