Exercises to help you sing better – Practicing Secrets of Singers

In order to master a proper and solid technique of singing, you should practice several things daily. The more you train yourself, the better your singing will be. Straining and tension will all fade away, and only the beautiful sound will remain! Ok so, in this post, I am revealing to you some of the exercises the masters have used or use to get to their amazing supported powerful free voice.

Breathing and Support exercises

Think of your diaphragm as a balloon, that whenever gets filled with air, it expands in a 3D outwards, so basically your stomach, your sides and your back will expand when you inhale air.

This is what you should start focusing on. Without a proper way of breathing, you won’t be able to sing everything you want fantastically.
Breathing exercises will help you inhale air correctly, so instead of putting all the air in your chest and raising your shoulders every time you take in air, your diaphragm will expand, tension will fade away and your voice, body and mind, will thank you.

When you think of support, it means holding this breath you just inhaled, so that it doesn’t go to waste, you need to support your voice by keeping the air in your diaphragm for as long as you can.

For example, take a deep breath from your diaphragm and hold it out for as long as you can, imagine someone is trying to hit you in your stomach so that all the breath goes out, and just use your reflex (by forcing your diaphragm to keep its expansion) to forbid them of emptying you from air, this way you’ll understand how you can hold your breath.

Every time you’re breathing, hold it by pushing your diaphragm forward.

Exercises

  1. Straw with bottle: get a bottle half filled with water and add a straw to it, take a deep breath from your stomach, expand your diaphragm from all sides as much as you can, then start emptying this air in the bottle using the straw, make bubbles as much as you can, and while doing that, try focusing on what’s happening with your abs and memorize the feeling, because this is what you should be doing to support your breath while singing.

N.B: you can also add your voice to this exercise while singing a song, this way you would be getting used to sing with this kind of support. But first do it without singing.
This exercise is for good breath support.

2. 7 in – 20 out: take a deep breath for 7 seconds (if it is hard to get to 7 seconds, inhale air for 5 seconds at first, then start adding the seconds progressively and you’ll eventually get there), then exhale slowly with a “Tssss…” sound for 20 seconds. Then do it again, and if 20 gets very easy, add more time to exhale, always challenge yourself, but of course pay attention not to hurt yourself, when you can’t do any more “Tssss” or “Phewww”, it means you emptied enough.

This exercise helps you to hold your breath longer and to take deeper breaths.

3. Sleep on your back and do these exercises: elevate your legs (45º) while taking a deep breath from your diaphragm and hold your breath as much as you can, focus on how your diaphragm is doing its best to keep its expansion so the air stays in there as you’re holding your breath. You shouldn’t feel it’s an easy exercise.

After this, elevate your legs again and do lip buzz with your voice, this way you’ll get used to supporting while singing.

4. FF/SS/SHHH: imagine someone or something is annoying you and you want it to be quiet, then using your diaphragm and abs start producing these “fffff, ssss, shhhh” sounds energetically. Your shoulders shouldn’t move. Repeat it for as long as you can. You might get dizzy first, but you’ll learn how to focus on your abdominal muscles and how to use them to support your singing instead of moving your shoulders and straining your voice, then it’ll get so much easier with practice.

Do all these exercises every day, especially the 1st exercise, many times per day.

Exercises to expand your vocal range

Sigh and feel the space: in this exercise, what you should do is sigh (like when you’re sleepy), and focus on where the sound of your voice is resonating, feel the space in there and memorize it so you can use all of that space when singing. This exercise helps you also find the resonant part, where your voice should be.

Practice scales.

Lip buzz: remember when we were kids and used to do the “brrrr” with our lips? this is what the lip buzz is about! How fun is that?! HAHA! Anyway, start by doing it without any sound coming out, while fixing your eyes on a far point in front of you. Don’t forget to take a breath before you do it and support that breath while doing it. After you do that, add sound to it so that it becomes a vocalized lip buzz.

Humming: start out by humming using the “ng” sound (from “sing“) then open up with an “Ah” sound after humming the same high note for a few seconds. This helps you reach this note without complicating it in your mind, and it gives you the right position of the note.

Exercises for singing vowels

Use your mouth in a roundish (oval) shape, especially on high notes. Let your jaw drop, as if you were saying “bye” and keep it relaxed down there, don’t put pressure on your jaw.

Dee Dé Dè Da Dee:

Note: the “é” and “è” sounds are french accents.

Start out by “speaking” these words, while focusing on the vowels; think that all these vowels are in the same place, so try not to change the round motion of your mouth and do not let the vowels go backwards. In fact, here’s a tip for you to do that: after you say “dee”, say “dè” and think about it as if it’s even more in front than the “ee” in “dee”, same thing goes for the rest, so by the time you reach the last “Dee”, you shouldn’t feel that your mouth changed its form or that the resonating sound in your mouth has moved forward to reach the “ee” again. After you understand this, sing these words using the same kind of thinking.

i è a o oo:

It’s also the same concept as the above exercise. Pay attention to the “oo” sound, think of it as an “oo”, don’t close your mouth to make the “oo”, just think about the “oo” sound and speak it then sing it with the same roundish shape of the mouth.

These exercises will help you use your vowels the right way especially when it comes to high notes and to expanding your vocal range.

Conclusion

In the end, what matters the most is how much you practice! So practice whenever you can! A lot of these exercises can be done while you’re watching TV for example, I am doing a lip buzz while writing this post for you guys now!

Hope you enjoy this post, and most importantly, ENJOY YOUR SINGING!

Take care of your singing voice – Keep your vocal cords healthy

Your voice is your own instrument, no one else can use it, nor take care of it. You have to protect your singing voice and keep your vocal cords healthy so that you never lose this precious gift you own. In order to do that, I’ve made you a little list of things that you could use to prevent damaging your voice.

Hydration and food

  • Drink as much water (room temperature) as you can (around 8 glasses of water per day). Staying hydrated is crucial. You should aim for a non-yellowish urine.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol. In fact, alcoholic beverages can dehydrate you and tighten your throat muscles.
  • Limit caffeine intake: drinking coffee, coke, etc… dehydrates your body quicker than other drinks, which makes your vocal cords dry. To avoid this, when consuming caffeine, drink the same amount of water with it.
  • Avoid drinking fizzy drinks, especially when you’re about to perform, because it dehydrates the body, and causes acid reflux, which will make it harder for you.
  • Don’t consume milk or butter before singing, the high fat in dairy products thickens your mucous, which stops you from hitting high notes. So basically, you could use low fat dairy products.
  • Don’t eat late at night. This would cause acid reflux, which is bad for your vocal cords.
  • Avoid spicy, acidic and fried food.
  • Have fruits and vegetables.
  • Have non-fried chicken and fish (because they’re filled with protein, which gives you energy).
  • Have natural peanut butter, it boosts your energy!
  • Have a little spoon of honey in your water, it kind of heals sore throats.

NO SMOKING

Smoking is the worst thing you can do to your voice. Even if you’re not the one smoking, inhaling smoke affects you badly as well.

  • It lowers your pitch.
  • It irritates and dries your throat tissues.
  • It can cause vocal nodules, which lead to vocal changes.
  • It can also cause acid reflux, which is bad for your vocal cords.
  • It’s really bad for you lungs. If your lungs are not functioning properly, how will you breathe properly? Furthermore, how will you sing properly?
  • The worst thing of all is that it highers the risks of developing throat cancer.

Please force yourself to stop smoking, even if you’ve been doing it for a long time, you’d be doing yourself and your voice a huge favor by staying away from this unhealthy habit. It’s never too late! Save your voice, save yourself!

Exercise

Exercising will definitely help you sing better since it increases your stamina and your endurance. But you should know what exercises are good for you and when you should do them.

1. Weather:

  • If it’s very cold, it’s probably better not to exercise outdoors, especially if you’re performing on that day. Cold weather can dry out your throat and lungs.
  • If it’s really hot, hydrate yourself as much as possible (like 10-11 glasses of water per day). It’s better to limit your outdoor exercises on a hot day.
  • The best times to exercise would be: in the early morning and in the evening. This way it wouldn’t be too hot, and pollution would be at its lowest point.

2. Exercises you should do:

  • Cardiovascular exercises: running, swimming, dancing, rowing, jumping,
  • walking, cycling, tennis, etc…, are great exercises for breathing and for lungs capacity (so basically, you’ll be able to fill your lungs with air more naturally, take deeper breaths, and control your breath). This way, you’ll have more stamina and a more powerful singing voice.
  • Combine these cardio exercises with breathing exercises.
  • Pilates: these exercises will help you have a better control over your muscles. It helps you to release tension from your body. You will be able to use your whole core to sing, which will give you a much larger range and a more powerful singing voice.

3. Exercises you shouldn’t do:

  • Weight lifting exercises: these kinds of sports make your muscles shorter and tighter by contracting them, which isn’t really what you want as a singer because the tight muscles resulting from weight lifting put pressure on the muscles of your larynx, which makes your vocal cords feel strained. You might also hold your breath while lifting weights and grunt, this would thicken you vocal cords and make it harder for you to hit high notes. Ok, it’s good to do them to get a stronger core, and eventually a stronger voice, but if you overdo them, they will damage your voice. What you could do is Pilates, especially for strengthening your abdominal muscles, and wall push ups.

REST

  • Get enough sleep. Without a good night sleep, you’ll be tired, weaker, basically not at your optimal state. Your core wouldn’t be in its best shape, so your voice won’t be as powerful as it can be. Everything will feel harder and weaker, lacking support and openness. Sleeping is crucial for singers, since singers are vocal athletes.
  • Take breaks from speaking, because your voice needs to rest.
  • When you’re sick, don’t sing and try as much as possible not to speak because sickness puts tension on your vocal cords.
  • Stay relaxed while singing. Don’t let stress and tension control you. Stay in a relaxed position, don’t let your head go upwards when you’re aiming to those high notes, nor go downwards when you’re singing in the lower register, this would only cause harm, and your voice wouldn’t be as powerful and free as it can be.

Conclusion

Staying fit, without overdoing weight training, combined with breathing exercises and a healthy diet will help you take a deeper breath, hold it longer, and control all your muscles so that you can support better while singing and have a much higher energy while performing. Staying hydrated is one of the main keys to have an amazing voice, accompanied by sleeping, which combats tension, tiredness and weakness. Avoid consuming alcohol, fizzy drinks, caffeine, spicy food, fast food, and tobacco, since all of these products harm your voice and stop you from reaching your full potential. Stay relaxed as much as you can, try not to scream nor whisper. And most importantly, warm up before singing. Enjoy Your Singing!

 

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below, and I will be more than happy to help you out! Thank you! 🙂

 

 

How to learn to sing online – Keys to breathing and singing better

In this post, I want you to know the basics of learning how to sing. You will learn how to improve your singing by doing some really important exercises that will significantly make your voice change to the better.
So, what do you say? Are you ready to start singing better? Let’s start!

Oh, one little thing before we start: record yourself now (you could use your phone to record your voice just on a normal voice recording application), and in like one month singing the same song. But only do so if you’re practicing every day.

Warm-up before singing


1- Start with a bit of Stretching (for the neck, the shoulders, your back) just so you can relax and let all the negativity out. 3 to 5 minutes should be enough every day before starting.

2- Correct Posture! It’s important so you can breathe better and eventually sing better.

3- Breathe correctly! I have a few exercises you could use for that matter.

Posture and Breathing


Posture

  • You should keep an Open Chest; “Titties out” is one expression that illustrates the situation.
  • Your Shoulders should be aligned with your Hips, so basically try not to pull them forward.
  • Your Earlobe should be aligned with the middle of your deltoid (triangular muscle located on the uppermost part of your arm and on top of your shoulders).
  • You should maintain your Chin kind of parallel to the floor.
  • You should keep your Arms relaxed to the sides of your core, palms facing your body.

     Breathing

  • To know if you’re breathing correctly:                                                                         -Lie down or sit on a chair while being comfortable, relaxed and maintaining a good posture.                                                                                             -Now close your eyes and analyze the way you are taking air in; breathe and put your hand on the part that is going up every time you inhale (or if you’re lying down, put a book on your abdomen and see how it rises): if this part is your chest, then you are not breathing properly (your abdomen should be the one rising).
  • As a child: we use the proper way to breathe. But as we grow up, we develop most of the time a wrong breathing habit, which leads to all sorts of problems (actually, for children that are 10 years old, a development of bad dysfunctional breathing that leads to anxiety, sleep disorder, neck and shoulder pain, digestive problems, etc…, is found).
  • Correct way of breathing: Inhale and expand your body.
    In fact, when you take air in, you should expand in a 3D motion, which means that your stomach, your back and your sides should grow as your lungs are inhaling air, then when you exhale, everything should get back to its initial position (imagine a balloon: fill it with air, it expands in a 3D motion, then when you let all the air out, it just gets back to the way it was before having extra air in).
  • Exercises to correct your breathing habits:

Here are some exercises I did to correct my breathing habits.
Try exercising on a daily basis, like 2 to 3 times a day.

  1. Inhale air progressively in a way that your diaphragm expands in a 3D motion, as if you were taking air in through a straw. Then exhale the air from your mouth, and keep doing it as much as you can, and finish your exhaling with a “Tssss…” so you get rid of all the air left in. (NB: The “Tssss…” is a sound you make with the “ssss” getting out through your teeth, also keep your mouth relaxed, don’t force the “Tssss…” sound).
  2. Grab a bottle and fill half of it with water, then get a straw, and exhale as much as you can through your straw, try making bubbles for as long as you can. Then do it again and again.
  3. Inhale air for like 7 seconds, then exhale with a “Tssss…” for 20 seconds, and in the end of the 20 seconds, push all the air out with a strong “fwww”.

Support


So, the first thing to do before singing is: breathe, support your breath without any tension, then start singing.

What you should feel is that you’re pushing everything down towards your diaphragm as if your stomach is hurting or something, or as if you are in the bathroom and trying to poop. This is the feeling. This is how you should practice doing it.

 Exercises for practicing your support:

  1. You can try sleeping on the floor, on your back, and pull your legs upwards every time you take a breath, then start singing, this way you’ll understand how you need to support.
  2. Here’s another exercise: Imagine there’s a cat being really aggressive in front of you, and you want it to go away. Or you can also imagine that you’re trying to shut that annoying person on the other side of the room up. Use your lips in a round way, and start doing with your mouth: “fff” “sss” “shh”, but pay attention, do it in a way that these sounds go to the outside, so that this cat goes away, or that that person hears you and stops annoying everyone. Also, while doing this exercise, you should focus your energy in your diaphragm, this is the thing that should be moving (like it moves when you laugh); your shoulders shouldn’t really move.

Vowels!!!


  1. Don’t swallow your voice nor your vowels. Let your singing position be always forward and not backwards, sing as if you’re singing to that person standing far from you and who wants to hear you, but don’t force your voice to come out through your nose.
  2. Your vowels should be vertical, kind of round and all of them should appear to be in the same place. To make this work, do this exercise: Say “dee dé dè da dee” without singing them first. What you should be doing is think you’re pushing them forward, so: think that dé should be more in front than dee, dè more than dé, da more than dè so that when you reach dee, you don’t feel that you had to come forward again to reach “dee” (because when you pronounce “dee”, the “ee” is the most forward vowel). After this, sing them using the same way of thinking.

Last but not least, while singing


– Lower your Larynx. To understand this: swallow while touching your Adam’s apple, this is basically where you can find your larynx. It goes up as you swallow, right? This is normal, but when it comes to singing, it shouldn’t go up, it should stay at its normal position. So try keeping it there.

– You shouldn’t sound breathy. So while singing, think that you’re talking snobbily, and you won’t sound airy. But of course, I repeat, always think “FORWARD”.

– When you’re hitting high notes, don’t think that you’re going up, instead think that you’re going forward, as if you’re opening a carpet (folded cylindrically of course, not in squares).

– Always practice while looking at a specific point in front but far from you, and try not to move a lot, so that when you sing in front of people or in front of a public, this would already be natural for you.

Conclusion

In conclusion, to sing better, you need to be in a good posture, using diaphragm breathing, supporting your breath, not swallowing your vowels, always singing forward, and practicing as much as you can.

And most importantly, ENJOY YOUR SINGING!

About Ingrid

Welcome to “Enjoy Your Singing”!

Don’t you enjoy singing? Don’t you wish you could just sing all the time with a beautiful sound? With your friends, singing along with the radio ( of course, only if you’re not driving, because it’s preferable to focus on the road instead of the song right? 😉 ) , karaoke, events and so many other places?

I personally love singing. It has always been one of the dearest things to my heart. I enjoy it so much, whether I’m singing alone or with a group of people, whether it’s with the radio or with my piano, singing makes me happy. And I suppose it makes a lot of people happy, the best thing is there is no age when it comes to singing, and everyone can sing whenever we put our minds into it. The thing is, we don’t always use our voice, our breathing etc… the right way, that’s why it becomes harder for us to sing and we just stop doing it if there is anyone around, or even if we’re alone, or we sing our heart out in even a worse way and laugh it out just to make sure we’re not being judged. But this is sad and we should stop doing this. If you really want to sing, I’m here to help you do it.

A little story I would like to share with you

Back to when I was a young girl: I started playing piano at the age of 4 on my own, but it was at the age of 8 that I started taking proper piano lessons. The musical background and my love for music came from my dad because he plays several instruments by ear, and ever since I was born, I remember singing along with him, to all kinds of songs. I loved singing, I just did it all the time, without thinking about my voice or about the way I sounded until one day; when I was about 11 years old, I was at a hotel with my family, and there was karaoke night, so of course I jumped to sing, and here was the surprise, I remember singing “My heart will go on” by Celine Dion, I got a huge round of applause! I was so happy! And this is how I started listening to myself and I loved singing even more! I felt it was easy, I didn’t have to make any effort to do it and I sounded great!

But this happiness lasted for about only three years. After that, I got an allergy and I couldn’t sing anymore. My voice changed, everything changed. I just didn’t like it anymore and I felt so angry every time I wanted to sing. “What happened? Where did my voice go? And why do I keep coughing? I’m not even sick like I don’t get what’s going on here!” – this is what I kept on asking myself, I felt terrible and I thought there was no hope for me to sing anymore, I just lost it. But after some time, I got enlightened “What am I doing? I shouldn’t quit doing it, I should make an effort to be able to sing again since it’s one of my biggest passions.” So I started singing again, even if I sounded bad, even if I wasn’t hitting the right notes. I just thought that it’ll get better with time eventually. The thing that bothered me was that this time, I had to teach myself how to sing. It was so natural before, I never thought about what I was doing, and it was never hard, so how am I going to do it now?

I was still in school, studying a double program baccalaureate, and I became an advanced piano student. So basically my time was full, I didn’t have time for anything else, that’s why taking singing lessons somewhere was out of question. I wanted to teach myself how to sing from home, so I started searching up online sites that could help me sing better again, but I never got the answer I was asking for.

So when I started university, I decided it was enough waiting for the right time, and I auditioned to start taking singing lessons, even though I started working at teaching piano and my time was still full. I wanted it so bad, I prayed for it to happen! AND OMG I GOT ACCEPTED, which was very surprising to me! I felt very thankful and hopeful! And I decided I wouldn’t let this go anymore.

I started taking professional singing lessons and eventually I got it! I had to learn how to breathe, how to pronounce the vowels while singing, a lot of stuff that I couldn’t find online. Now, I can sing again, I feel comfortable doing it again, and everyone gets so amazed when I sing. I never thought I would get back to that point, but I did, it happened. This is why I believe that nothing is impossible. When you get the technique and you practice it, everything will become very simple and beautiful. The technique is even very simple. It’s just that you should really get it.

It was such a long journey for me! And it wasn’t an easy fast one. That’s why I want to share with you all I’ve learned, everything that helped me sing again. It might take a bit of time, but you’ll get there. Just believe in the process, believe you can do it! And you will do it.

My mission with “Enjoy your singing”

What I love to do is to help others reach what they want without losing hope, I’ll be there as much as you need me to and as much as I can. This site has all the training and the tips you need to sing better.

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

Ingrid

enjoyyoursinging.com