While I’m no singing expert, I have spent the last several years working to improve. I’ve learned a ton. I’ve become a lot more confident in my ability and have a stronger, more supported sound to show for all the effort! There’s still have a lot of work to do, but I also have a lot of knowledge to share from my years of struggle.
Here are 15 assorted tips for improving your singing voice!
1. Practice Daily
This is one of the best things you can do for yourself if you’re seeking to improve. When you practice daily, you flex all of the muscles associated with singing and improve your vocal stamina. Treat your voice like a muscle. If you don’t use it frequently, you’ll lose it! Singing daily will also help you get a feel for your own voice– how it feels and sounds at its best, and what it feels and sounds like when something is wrong. It doesn’t have to be hard, strenuous singing each day– practice as simple as light humming or singing along with the radio can be beneficial.
2. Don’t skimp on warm ups
Especially if you’re getting ready for a performance or some hard core practice– make sure you warm up! Warming up will make sure your vocal folds are ready for action and that you don’t injure yourself by leaping into the hard stuff. Warming up before a performance will keep you sounding your best. It gives you an opportunity to practice whatever you need to before you get out there, such as high notes or quick patter. If you’re wrapping up a long rehearsal or performance, warming down can also be of benefit– it gives the vocal folds a chance to “unwind” from the work. Doing a quick 10 or 15 minute warmup session per day counts as daily practice, too!
3. Find a voice teacher
A good voice teacher is absolutely crucial if you’re serious about honing your skills. One on one training is mandatory to really reach your highest potential. A skilled teacher can help you learn to reach your goals in a healthy, effective way, and can provide constructive feedback to help you get there. If you don’t already have a voice teacher you love, find one ASAP.
4. Train your technique
Learning about vocal technique is also crucial if you’re serious about singing. Learning proper technique will help you sound your best while singing healthfully. You can do your own research on this– there are lots of resources available online– but the best way to learn is from a teacher who can help you ensure you’re singing correctly.
5. Perform more
Getting yourself out there more is fun and very beneficial for every singer! Go out for shows, or go to open mic nights and karaoke– every little bit counts. Treat your auditions as a chance to perform! Get more confident and comfortable in front of a crowd, and you’ll find the entire endeavor easier.
6. Learn about vocal anatomy
Understanding the underlying structure and functioning of your voice will help you understand the best practices for singing. This is an often overlooked step in the vocal education process, but is very important for your growth as a singer and relatively easy to explore. YouTube is full of videos offering explanations of vocal anatomy, and there are a wealth of great books on the subject. Anatomy of the Voice by Theodore Dimon Jr is one of my favorites.
7. Learn about vocal health
Also absolutely required for anyone serious about improving their singing is learning about vocal health. Maintaining good vocal health is crucial for growing singers. Young singers especially have a habit of stressing and straining their voices because they simply don’t know better– this can be disastrous in the long-term. Learning about how to take care of your voice and use it properly will keep you in top shape and prevent vocal injury.
8. Learn basic written and aural theory
This won’t improve your singing voice necessarily, but it will help you to learn music quicker, be better in tune with other singers and the music, and help you detect intonation in your own singing. It also makes riffing and harmonizing easier! There are a wealth of music theory and ear training resources out there, especially in app form. A few minutes of practice a day can quickly translate to easier learning and better performances.
9. Hear more trained singers
Just as visual artists can learn a lot by going to a museum and actors can learn from watching other actors, singers learn from hearing great singing! This is especially useful when learning about good singing technique. Some singers like Barbra Streisand and Whitney Houston are famous for their impeccable technique. Seeking out masters in the field and finding what they do well can be very helpful for your growth.
10. Seek feedback
If you’re taking my advice to seek a good voice teacher, hopefully this is already occurring. Seeking constructive criticism and advice from many sources is always beneficial. However, remember to take all feedback with a grain of salt, especially if you don’t know the critic’s credentials– great advice is hard to come by, and not everyone is qualified to give it.
11. Take care of your voice
Once you’ve learned more about proper technique and vocal health, taking care of your voice becomes a much more intuitive job. You’ll begin to get a feel for what is destructive to your voice and what is beneficial. In general, remember to keep yourself hydrated, and never strain yourself trying to sing far beyond your comfort zone. Consistent vocal stress can lead to injury, which can end careers early. Keep yourself at your best!
12. Explore different styles
Many singers like to choose a lane and stick in it. In musical theatre, this lane is often “contemporary musical theatre pop style”. While there’s nothing wrong with this, experimenting with other styles can broaden your range and introduce you to a wealth of useful skills. Consider trying classical bel canto style or opera, or get into rock and growling. You will learn transferable skills from each, and all singing (as long as it is done healthfully) will be beneficial for you.
13. Do your own research
There are a wealth of resources available to singers looking to improve themselves. The internet makes many of these resources free. Start looking for books, ebooks, websites, podcasts, YouTube channels, apps, blogs, magazines/e-zines, documentaries, and more relating to singing! Your options are endless and there’s never been a better time to find learning materials in an instant!
14. Find your own voice
Many singers, especially young or new singers, are tempted to imitate styles of singers they respect or look up to. This can be damaging, as attempting to imitate the style of a trained singer without the very same training can cause vocal strain and injury. Therefore, it’s imperative that singers find and become comfortable with their own voice. This can be difficult to teach. Finding your own voice requires time and lots of comfort with singing. In the meantime, ensure you are not straining yourself to imitate Broadway stars or popular artists, and think about putting your own spin on their work. Your voice teacher, assuming you take my advice and seek one out, will be able to help you in this endeavor.
15. Join a choir
Choir is a great way to learn more about music while flexing your singing voice! It also requires you to learn to blend and tune with others, and allows you to learn in a group environment. Plus, assuming you like to sing, choir is fun! Seek one out in your local community or at your school. The benefits really can’t be overstated.
Bonus Point: Be Confident
Nothing really sells a performance like confidence. Even if your singing needs work, confidence can mask some of your shakier points. Fake it until you make it! Keep practicing and getting better, but be happy with the growth you’ve made, and continue to show off your stuff: you’ll be a pro in no time.