Ready Yourself to Sing

Do you love to sing? Can you speak? If you can talk, then you have the necessary faculties to allow your desire to sing to be realised. The ability to sing is not hereditary although it may influence the voice. Singing lessons can help you gain your full potential as a vocalist.  Regardless of your motivation, be it to sing as a hobby, in family circles, or perform on stage, there is no substitute for vocal lessons.  

Here are some tips for beginners to make a start. Essentially your body is how you produce sound. So, knowing how to properly prepare the body to be ready to sing is your starting point.  Additionally, knowing how the respiratory system works and how to effectively use it, are the next steps.

Tips for a Healthy Body

Your body hosts the instrument that produces your singing voice, the vocal cord, so taking care of your body is the first step for being able to sing.  It is important to focus on your general health with proper nutrition, exercise, hydration and sleep. 

Your respiratory system is central to developing the ability to sing.. Therefore, you must take proper care of it.  There are 3 major parts of the respiratory system: the airway, the lungs, and the muscles of respiration. The airway, which includes the nose, mouth, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and bronchioles, carries air between the lungs and the body’s exterior. The lungs act as the functional units of the respiratory system by passing oxygen into the body and carbon dioxide out of the body. The muscles of respiration are inclusive of the diaphragm and intercostal muscles. Each work together to act as a pump, pushing air into and out of the lungs during breathing.

Finally, you need to decide that you would like to develop your ability to sing.  This decision will mentally prepare you to commit to doing all that is necessary to undertake the essential discipline. Regular practice is the secret ingredient. Consistency in practising the routines will develop your voice to become smoother, more durable, more harmonious and rhythmical.

Warm Up & Breathing

To increase stamina and become more comfortable vocally, you need to learn to breathe with full lungs. Singing uses over 90% of lung capacity and so warming up the lungs will provide a better experience for the singer. Consequently, before you begin any vocal warm-up exercises, the first step is to learn to breathe. Note that the breathing process should be relaxed and done with a proper technique.   

A proper breathing technique is essential to prevent damage to the vocal cord. The vocal cord is one of two small bands of muscle within the larynx which vibrate to produce the voice. Without sufficient breath, the voice would use alternate means to produce sound such as “gripping” in the muscles (muscular tension) near the vocal cord.    

Powerful singing is primarily about your ability to control your breath and modulate your voice. Spending time learning about your breathing process and practising appropriate breathing exercises, is critical for obtaining a good grasp of singing fundamentals. You must be familiar with the simple anatomy of the body and the functions of some of your organs.  For breathing, you need to be at least aware of your lungs and diaphragm.

Your lungs take in new air and expel old and stale air, keeping your blood and body oxygenated (the process of oxygen flowing through your blood). Your lungs are located within the rib cage. They expand and contract when you breathe in and out. The diaphragm is just under your chest and above your stomach. When you breathe in, it flattens your abdomen and pulls down your chest wall. When you exhale, the diaphragm returns to its dome shape. 

Making sound is a result of breath passing over your vocal cords, and the shape of the soundwave that you produce depends on how and where that sound resonates in your head and mouth.  

Now breathe in, visualise your lungs and diaphragm and actively feel the process of breathing in and out. Use the full capacity of your lungs to breathe. You will feel the lungs fully expand, like a balloon. Your shoulders should remain still, and the motion should take place in the diaphragm, moving downwards as it flattens the stomach and rises again to its dome shape.

Excercises to Develop Your Breathing

Brain and Breathing – Let’s Go 

Tell your brain that you are working on your breathing so that it can send the right signals to the relevant body parts.   

Take a few slow breaths, holding for a short moment when you have fully inhaled fresh air into your lungs, and then slowly breathe out.   

·Now repeat this process with an ‘aa’ sound, the ‘ee’ sound, and then an ‘oo’ sound. Of course, you can play around and have fun with any other sound of your choice; ‘ay’, ‘uh’, ‘ew’ and so on.