1. The “Instant Vocal Fix”
This is a quick trick that makes you sound better instantly. Say A-E-I-O-U (watch your jaw movement in the mirror). Did your jaw close on any of the vowels? Chances are your jaw closed on the E and the U – and most likely on others too, if not all of them. Take your first two fingers and pull your jaw down 2 inches (or even better – use a plastic bottle cap or a cork (wine) to prop your jaw open). And speak the vowels again. And repeat again (we’re trying to re-program muscle memory – so the more the better). Now sing the vowels on one pitch. A-E-I-O-U. Your goal is to keep your jaw open (long not wide) without closing for all of your vowels. Repeat until you can do it. Now sing a phrase of one of your songs – and make sure your jaw opens to the same position on all of your vowels. You have to practice this a bunch before it becomes natural – but the more you do, the sooner this new movement is programmed into your muscle memory. And, you might be one of those lucky ones who notice the improvement in the sound right away (it will sound louder and more resonant with less vocal strain). If you don’t – don’t sweat it – you will. It just takes a little practice. (You might have some unwanted tension in your neck, jaw and throat muscles – try loosening them up and try it again.) The next time you perform open your jaw more on your vowels — it’s a quick trick that makes you sound better instantly!
2. “Think down” for High Notes
The next time you sing an ascending vocal scale or you sing a high note, try thinking of the way an elevator works. A heavy weight is attached to a pulley and as the weight pulls down, the elevator actually goes up to the higher floors. So, the highest floor is reached when the weight is the heaviest. Similarly, you should think down for your high notes or think of adding weight (resistance) to your highest notes.
3. How to Get Natural Vibrato In Your Voice
Here’s a quick tip to get your vibrato working. Stand in front of a mirror; press on
your chest with both hands, then, raise your chest higher than normal. Take a breath in and then exhale, but don’t drop your chest. Sing one note and hold it as long as possible with your chest raised. Press on your chest halfway through the note (press kind of hard and raise your chest to meet the pressure). Relax the back of your neck and keep your jaw open as you’re singing “ahhh.” Imagine the air spinning around in your mouth while keeping your chin tucked down a bit and your chest raised. Keep in mind, overuse of vibrato is not a good thing in contemporary singing (pop, rock, and R&B). At the same time, no vibrato is also not a good thing. So, try ending phrases with straight tone, then into a little bit of vibrato. The bottom line is to do what’s best for you.
A good vocal tone is not established by singing loudly, it’s established at medium volume. Good tone happens when vocal folds are strong enough to have a good closure but not touch. Releasing too much air creates a “breathy” tone and releasing too little air creates a “nasal” tone. Unless you’re really going for breathy or nasal as a stylistic choice, somewhere right in between the two is a perfect balance. HearFones® allow you to really hear yourself and work on your tone at medium volumes.
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