A beautiful singing voice is a voice that is true to the song: clear, strong and on key. This is achieved with technique and practice.
To sing beautifully, know your voice range. Stand with the right posture, relax your jaw and move your mouth. Enunciate* the lyrics clearly and be on key. Use facial expressions to express the song. Interpret the song accurately both in terms of emotion and meaning. We will cover this and more in this article.
*enunciate: say or pronounce clearly.
Warm-up your voice.
Breathing out while holding a note.
Posture is extremely important for great vocal quality because it allows everything in your body to work more freely. Keep your back straight, head looking forward and level, abdomen tucked in, feet shoulder-width apart and knee joints relaxed. Though there is one thing I will add. Have either your right foot or left foot slightly forward whenever you sing. This will help relax your body and free up your lungs. (I don’t know why). I recommend going back and forth between the two.
Use your face. Yeah. Facial expressions play a big part in singing beautifully. Smiling happily or sarcastically, frowning to look angry or deep in thought, widening your eyes in surprise-you will be AMAZED as to how much of a difference that makes between plain singing and beautiful singing. You need to feel what you are singing. Is the song meant to be angry in some way? Is it meant to be joyous? Sad? Confusing? Well, show it with your face and that will feedback to your tone.
Mouth shaping controls tonal clarity and enunciation. Your mouth should be as vertical as possible when enunciating the “A” and “I” vowel sounds. Your mouth should be nice and round for the “O” and “U” vowel sounds. Make the mouth horizontal to the point of almost as if you’re smiling for the “E” vowel sound. This gives your voice a nice, rich texture. Operatic singers need to do this especially, or texture just won’t exist.
Your audience will relate to the words that you sing; this is how they share the song with you, perhaps singing along. People want to understand the words that you are singing, to capture the emotional tone of the song. Bob Dylan famously said that half the music are the words. People respond emotionally to poetry and good lyrics are certainly poetry.
Part of having a beautiful voice is clear enunciation. Give your audience the chance to relate to the song at the level of the lyrics.
Know and understand the lyrics. We go into more detail in another article about song interpretation. If you know what you are singing about, you will be authentic and authenticity is part of singing beautifully. You will engage your audience and more importantly engage yourself when you sing a song that you understand. You are telling your audience a story or passing on a message.
LOOK AFTER YOUR VOICE! It’s hard to fix once it’s broken. Vocal warm-ups before performing limbers your musculature so that you don’t strain your muscles and especially your larynx.
Smoking is the worst thing you can do to your chords, but certain foods can also have an adverse effect. Dairy food can make your voice sound gluggy and restricts the larynx because dairy creates mucus: A cow’s milk molecule is 100 times larger than human milk. It’s just very uncomfortable to perform through.
Ice cold water sends your chords into shock, constricting them. This limits your range and even puts a strain on your voice as you go for those higher or lower notes. Scalding hot water does a similar thing. Drink either warm water or water at room temperature.
Adopt your own style and don’t be afraid to take risks. Everyone has a unique style and tone with no exceptions. Even if you are influenced by other singers, there is something that makes you unique and that’s the part that’s beautiful.
Plácido Domingo and Louis Armstrong are very different yet beautiful in their respective genres.
Integrate movement and voice. The exercise that enhances singing the best is probably swimming, the more varied the strokes, the better. I say this for two reasons. Firstly, swimming is beautiful when done properly and this beauty transfers to the voice. Swimmers use all their muscles in a symmetrical and elegant way integrating their breath as they move. Secondly, swimming develops both the strength and capacity of the lungs, a truly beautiful thing!
Sing all the time. Sing for yourself, in public, with friends, and on every other occasion in between.
What if I have a really ugly voice? Congratulations, you have a distinctive voice and when it’s trained, it will be beautiful AND unique.
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