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Vocal Tips: How Your Body Supports Your Instrument

By ASKM Publishing

Amazing Vocal Tips for Using Your Body to Support Your Natural Voice Instrument

Everyone has a favorite singer. Some are most enthused with his or her favorite singer than others. Some simply listen to their favorite singer sing and enjoy the music. Others literally study their favorite singer. If you have studied a singer singing before you have probably notice particular thing he or she does when singing. You may notice the singer smiles a certain way. The singer may hold their head a certain way. The singer may even grab a certain part of their body as they’re singing. You may have noticed this and told yourself it was “just a habit.” However, that singer or rather vocalist is doing that gesture for a reason. What the singer/ vocalist is actually doing is using their body to be more in tune with their voice. That’s right, your body and how you position certain parts of your body helps your singing voice. All professional vocalist knows this and have their own special technique. Here are 5 vocal tips for using your body to support your voice when singing.

The stomach

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Singing from your stomach (diaphragm) is #1 on the list of vocal tips and using your body to perfect your voice. Here’s a simply diagram of how your stomach should look when singing, inhaling and exhaling.

Your stomach is hands down the most important part of your body when singing. It’s literally the life force of your voice. It’s actually the life force to your entire body in general. It’s where your breathing comes from. Breathing is the most important aspect when singing, especially if you’re striving to be a professional vocalist. If you don’t know any other vocal tips always remember how important your stomach is. You may think because your voice comes out of your mouth, that singing comes from your throat. This is so far from the truth. Singing comes from your stomach and only your stomach. Sure there are other parts of your body that aids your stomach. There are other parts of your body that makes your singing from your stomach sound even more beautiful. However, the foundation to singing is utilizing the stomach. Remember your voice is an instrument in your body so tuning into certain body parts is crucial. The pattern to breath when singing is to fill your stomach and lungs with air when inhaling. Then gradually release the air as your exhaling. Before you open your mouth to sing a sentence your stomach should be filled with air since you inhaled. Now as you start to sing the phrase and exhale release the air. You literally do this with each phrase you sing the entire time. This is the pattern to singing from your stomach (diaphragm). This literally releases your voice out from your body. It gives your voice strength, volume. It’s the key to singing on the right pitch. If you want to know how to make your voice sweet and soft, your breathing is the answer. If you want to make your voice rich and powerful your breathing is also the answer.

The mouth

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Legendary vocalist Whitney Houston is a great example of the perfect way to position your mouth when singing. This is a very powerful vocal tip.

The second most important part of your body when singing is your mouth. After all your mouth is the vessel your voice is coming out of. Think of your mouth as the tube that allows all the air from your stomach to be released through as you sing. However, in order for this tunnel (your mouth) to release the air properly it has to be positioned a certain way. That’s right, how you position your mouth when singing is extremely important. Take a look at any extraordinary vocalist. His or her mouth is carefully positioned a particular way. This is not by accident. It may seem like a singing habit they’re just doing to you. However, they are purposely positioned their mouth this way to get all that air out and release their voice in a dynamic manner. Whether your simply singing daily vocal exercises or karaoke singing you should always have your mouth positioned like a professional vocalist. Think of the greatest voices such as Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross, etc. Notice how their mouths are positioned when singing. It’s open wide, you can see all of their teeth, their jaws are dropped and sometimes their jaws vibrate when the sing. This is done by design. Once again your voice is a special instrument inside your body. Your body has to do certain techniques to get your best voice out. Here are the 4 physical mechanisms your mouth should be doing when you sing:

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Iconic vocalist Mariah Carey is another great example of how to position your mouth when singing.

  • Jaw should be dropped (in order to get this position pretend like you’re about to yawn really big).
  • Your top lip should be raised high and teeth should be showing, especially your top row teeth (to get this position pretend like or actually smile as you sing).
  • Your soft palate should be raised (in order to get this accomplished pretend like you’re about to yawn but make sure it’s a “happy” yawn).
  • Your tongue should be flat down and slightly pressed up against the bottom row of your teeth (pretend like you’re about to yawn to get this feature also).
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Legendary artist, entertainer and vocalist Michael Jackson singing here as a child, mouth is positioned perfect. His tongue is flat, his top lip is raised, his mouth is positioned as if he’s yawning and his teeth are showing. This is the best way to release your voice and get a rich, natural, powerful quality and tone.

Doing these 4 steps collectively will give your mouth the perfect position when singing. It may seem hard to do initially, but remember your voice is a body instrument. Muscle memory is what you’ll need to achieve this. The way to get your mouth to respond this way every time you sing is to constantly practice. Simply practice yawning and smiling at the same time throughout the day. This is a great exercise especially for beginner singing tips. The more you do it the less tension you’ll have.

Hold your head high

On the list of vocal tips this one is actually easy. Considering that the previous vocal tips have a lot to do with muscle memory and practicing this one is more simple. Have you ever watched a singer head go back as they gradually get louder or hold a really long note. Whitney Houston is a great example of this. As you sing you want you head to always be slight held high. Not extremely high, but you want your head tilted up. Your body affects how your voice resonates. So if you want your voice to project and resonate high tilting your head slight up will enable you to do so. It may sound silly, but if you understand how sound and projection works it makes a lot of sense. If you’re wondering,”how do I make my voice clear and steady?”, this is it. Think about the nature of physics and also how sound reflects off walls in a room. If you’re singing a song and you want your voice to come out strong, clear and at a nice volume holding your head down will make your voice go down. The sound will literally transfer down and take away from the beauty, richness and strength of your voice.

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Vocalist Whitney Houston exercises vocal tip of slightly tilting head back when singing for grand and powerful voice; or for holding long notes perfectly. Here’s a great performance when her head placement really enabled her beautiful voice.

Visualize your voice

Your voice is a special instrument inside your body. This is why what we do with our bodies when singing are so important. This also includes your mental state. Singing is a feeling and linked to many emotions. However, how you think when singing will also affect your vocals. Imagine your can actually see your voice when singing. Imagine the colors, the timbre, the quality of your voice. This is one of the best vocal tips to help you control your voice. When your voice comes from your stomach and out through your mouth it shouldn’t just go all over the place. The notes should be clear, concise and targeted. Maybe who love to critique singers may say if you can sing and your voice is coming from your stomach it will come out clear automatically. This is not necessarily true. Some people have really big voices and have a hard time controlling their voice. Some people can sing but may be slightly off pitch at times. Visualizing exactly where the voice is coming from and where it’s going will help you control that. It’s amazing how visualizing while singing truly helps your voice. If you’re trying to reach a certain pitch that you’re struggling with no matter how much you pull your stomach in, visualize it. Literally visualize the placement of the note. If it’s a high note, visualize your voice being a physical object flowing out of your body and hitting a certain high spot in the room. This a great vocal tip for learning how to sing high notes. You can always do the opposite visualizing for singing really low notes.

Chest, face and head

Positioning certain parts of your body isn’t the only way to use your body for your voice instrument. What you feel in certain parts of your body also plays a part too. What’s happening to your body while you sing will keep you in tune with your voice and its natural beauty. With that being said, it’s important to know different tones and voice registers you’re singing in will affect certain body parts. The vocal tract is literally associated with different parts of the body. It’s actually quite amazing. These regions when singing are normally called vocal resonators. You have your chest, face(mask) and head resonators when singing. When singing low and in your chest voice, you should feel vibration and sensation in your chest area. You should be able to put your hand on your chest and literally feel the vibration. When singing with medium voice or mixing (aka belting), you should feel the sensation in your voice. You should be able to put your hand up in front of your face and literally feel air flowing out. When singing high notes and singing in head voice, you should be able to feel vibration in your head and eye area. This is because your voice is truly an instrument inside your body. This means certain regions of your body react a certain way when you sing. This means you should be able to tune into certain parts of your body that will let you know if you’re singing correctly. If you’re wondering how to sing beautifully and make it sound natural tuning into your body is the solution.

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Great visual of the human voice notating the different voice resonators and regions that make up the voice.

No matter how many professional vocalists you saw where it may have looked like they just got up and started singing, it’s not true. Yes singing is a natural gift. Yes singing comes natural to great vocalists. However, every vocalists no matter how good they are have a technique. Every professional vocalist is very aware of stomach breathing, mouth placement, voice resonators and more. You may hear people say “if you can sing, you can sing.” You don’t need to do anything extra.” But having a technique and making sure your mouth is positioned the best way. Making sure your stomach is breathing in perfect condition. Making sure your head and chest are in unison with your voice isn’t extra stuff. What you’re doing is what ever professional vocalist on the planet does or should be doing. It’s not “extra.” Remember people who says those type of statements regarding singers are speaking from a place of ignorance and jealousy. They’re actually showing their lack of knowledge regarding professional singing. Apply these vocal tips to allow your body to protect, enable and excel your special instrument which is your voice.

 

 

 

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