In our Toronto voice lessons community, one of the most common goals that students have is to find their own voice. By this, they mean the desire to sound unaffected and natural rather than simply emulating other singers. If you’re looking for tips on how to get the most of your voice lessons and sound your best, keep reading!
- Singing different styles of music:
Though it may sound counter-intuitive, the best way to find your unique singing voice is by practicing and trying out as many genres and types of vocal styles as possible. The techniques of Michael Stipe from R.E.M are worlds away from Mariah Carey or Billie Eilish, and yet all three are fantastic. One of the hallmarks of a great vocalist is having a deep understanding of what works for them and what doesn’t, allowing them to tailor whatever it is they are singing to their needs.
So, even if your taking voice lessons and consider yourself a rock singer, try out a Billie Holiday piece, if you’re more of an R and B artist, give Tim McGraw a go. You will start to see the connections between all genres, which will help you bring originality and a wider palette back to your personal style.
2. Practice precise vocal intervals, scales, and runs:
The freedom to improvise and embellish songs while performing is something many singers strive towards. The best way to accomplish this is by practicing vocal scales and intervals slowly and exactly. In this way, our ears are improved and we can begin to have better control and confidence with which notes we choose to sing.
It is also a useful practice to slow down some of your favourite vocal runs and match them note by note. Once you get them down slowly start to speed it up! Singing fast and accurately is very similar to learning a speedy riff or solo on guitar or piano.
3. Pay close attention to diction and vowel shapes:
What you will quickly learn in our Toronto voice lessons studio, is that singing and speech have many similarities, one major difference is that we rarely sustain sound when talking. Due to this we have to be extra careful with our vowels when we are singing.
While the study of diction is not so simple and can become very detailed, it is good to remember that as a general rule of thumb singers should sustain on vowels as much as possible as opposed to consonants, for the simple reason that the mouth will be open and thus create a fuller and more projected sound.
Once this becomes natural, the singer can then refine their vowel shapes for further consistency of tone and style.
4. Understand your ‘break’ and vocals registers:
Each of us has a chest voice, head voice, and a ‘break’ between the two. A big part of vocal training is learning how to bridge the gap between these in order to have a voice that is consistent and in control through the entire range.
The first step in improving your break is getting familiar with it. This can be done with slides and lip trills. It is massively important for a vocalist to know where this transition lies, in order for them to better navigate it.
Try some slow slides from the top of your range to the bottom and then back, allowing yourself to crack. Don’t fight it! Feel it and let it happen. The goal is to become secure with the vulnerability in this area of the voice.
It is important to note that all of these tips will work best if you listen with extreme focus when you are working through them, really trying to be specific in each instance.
The best part of working with a trained vocal coach in our Toronto voice lessons studios is that they can hear things that may be hard for you to hear in your own voice. So, try these ideas out, and then take it to the classroom!