I’m often asked for advice by singers who have come to see me perform or visited my website, so thought I'd pass on these tips to help singers and would-be singers improve and make the best of their voices.
1. Learn how to breathe
Breath control is the cornerstone of all singing. The most common mistake seen with novice singers is that when they take a deep breath, they end up with their shoulders around their ears. Most of the expansion should take place in the lower part of the chest and this is known as diaphragmatic breathing.
2. Use a mirror
If you're on your own, you'll need a mirror to check your posture and the position of your mouth and jaw. Shoulders need to be relaxed and down, weight ideally balanced and the mouth needs to be open fairly wide with the jaw relaxed.
Your shoulders, jaw, throat and chest need to be relaxed. If there's tension in your throat you'll end up straining your voice.
You can really learn a lot by listening to others. Most importantly, get out and go to see today's artists performing live.
5. Record Yourself
Although painful to some, it really helps to listen to recordings and/or videos of yourself singing. It helps you to hear where you're going wrong as it's sometimes difficult to tell "in the moment".
6. Feel the Lyrics
As a singer, if you only pay attention to the melody, tone and rhythm and ignore the meaning of the lyrics, you may sound amazing but this may be at the expense of making a connection with the audience.
7. Find A Teacher
If you intend to sing professionally, my advice would be to see a vocal coach or singing teacher at some point. It's probably most useful at the beginning as it stops you getting into bad habits but can also be useful later on to move your technique to the next level.
Okay - I know this won't be popular but if you're a smoker, it really will help your voice if you quit smoking.
9. Find Your Own Style
When we first start out, it makes sense for us to emulate the singers we love and that's totally fine. But there will come a time when, in order to stand out from the crowd, you'll need to develop your own style.
Little and often is more effective than getting over-enthusiastic and doing 3 hours one day and then leaving it for a couple of weeks. Try to do at least 10 mins a day to start off with.
Got something to say? Make your voice heard! Open Mic is a space for our readers to raise a subject for discussion. We reserve the right to edit and select submissions before publishing.
Send your story and photos (jpeg preferred) to email@example.com with the subject ‘Open Mic ‘