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Singing Techniques All Singers Need to Know

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Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

If you would like to learn how to sing, there are some basic rules and techniques that will help get you started. Whether you decide to follow a specific routine with vocal lessons or do it on your own, practice will be the most essential aspect of becoming a better singer. If you do not work at it regularly, there will be no progress! Here are some basic singing techniques that all beginner singers need to know.

Maintain the voice like an instrument

If you know how to play piano, guitar, violin, or any other instrument, you know there are certain things you need to do to maintain your instrument for longevity and best results. Your voice is no different. Your vocal cords and diaphragm is an instrument that has a unique tone and range and requires training to get the most out of it and keep it primed.

Besides practice, it is essential to take care of yourself and use proper singing technique to keep your instrument in tip-top shape. Especially if you plan to sing any hardcore metal, acrobatic pop, or straining hip hop, it is important to not overdo it. Otherwise, you’ll be struggling trying to figure out how to get your voice back!

Be mindful of posture and body movements

Keep an eye on your posture, stance, neck, jaw, tongue, and lip movements. Singing is an emotive and physical process that will involve more than just your vocal cords. If you do not stand correctly when you sing, your tone, tuning, and performance may suffer. Slumping, mumbling, and lack of energy are not good for any form of singing. Besides vocal warm-ups — which are always a good idea — some basic exercise can help get the blood flowing and warm you up for your performance.

Proper breathing

One of the most important parts of singing is breath control, even for the easiest sections of songs that are squarely in your range. If you want to belt out songs and hit the higher limits of your range, you will have to master your breathing to ensure you support and sustain the notes without straining your voice. Proper breathing technique is the foundation of excellent vocals — your goal is to get to the point where recording or performing will not take the wind out of you!

Know your range

Knowing your vocal range and the best keys for your repertoire are also important to ensuring excellent performances night after night. You can use a piano or keyboard to help chart out your comfortable range. Understand the difference between chest voice and head voice and how using those different parts of your body changes the tone of the notes you sing. Then, you can start applying vocal effects like vibrato and falsetto as you begin to master your singing technique.

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Resonance

Depending on where we sing from, and our unique resonant chambers (throat, oral cavity, nasal cavity), the resonance of tone and ability to apply dynamics will vary for every individual. Just like the type of wood and shape of a guitar affect the tone of the instrument, your body and head will shape and reflect the sound you create, producing your unique tone and resonance. How you support the sound with your breath, and how you sustain a note, will also contribute to your sound and style as a vocalist.

Melisma

Melisma refers to a melodic embellishment where a vocalist will hang on a single syllable while hitting a series of notes — think of iconic soul and pop singers like Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson. As you gain confidence and experience, you can introduce this technique to your arsenal, but don’t overdo it.

Actively listen to music

In your quest to be a better singer, it is imperative that you actively explore music you love and even dive into tunes you might not. Breaking songs down and understanding what some of the best singers in the world can do will help expand your potential. You may even gain some new respect for singers you didn’t think you liked when you try to emulate the techniques and styles they employ. Cast a wide net and listen to a variety of styles as you seek to develop your own “voice” as a vocalist.

Get feedback

This one is not always easy to do. It can be embarrassing and hard to ask other people to give you feedback on your singing. You want someone to provide appropriate criticism but also not to go overboard and break your spirit. When you ask someone for feedback, try and get as much out of them as possible.

Recording yourself and analyzing your own performances is another useful means of assessing yourself and recognizing where you sound comfortable and dynamic and where you might need more work. It’s practically impossible to analyze yourself as you sing, so this is one way to hear your singing with an objective perspective.

The key to becoming a better singer is to practice proper singing technique so it becomes a habit and something you can replicate in any performance. Online singing lessons can be a great starting point to set you in the right direction, and nothing beats performing regularly. Like they say, the game is the best teacher!

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About Shawn Leonhardt

Shawn Leonhardt is a freelance writer for Guitar Tricks, the original online guitar lessons program since 1998. With over four million members, Guitar Tricks is the premier guitar lessons platform for beginner guitarists and advanced players alike.

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