Are you growing as a vocalist? It’s easy to become complacent about taking care of or growing your voice. I’d like to challenge you with a few easy ways to stay on top of your game and to keep stretching yourself literally and figuratively.
When is the last time you really took the time to vocalize? Going through a few exercises daily as a warm-up is essential for vocal health. But if you want to grow yourself as a vocalist, more advanced exercises are necessary. Try to isolate one or two things about your voice that you’d like to improve upon and find some suitable exercises to help you accomplish your goals.
When you sit down to vocalize, make sure to set some goals for yourself that include stretching yourself to new lengths. Get better at singing longer phrases by working on breath control exercises that will help you stretch your breath to last longer. Make sure to work on stretching your range both lower and higher. Stretch your ability to sing more powerfully by beefing up your breath support and better understanding resonance and tone placement.
Vocalizing is a very powerful way to make great progress toward achieving your vocal goals. It’s not always easy to fit into your already busy schedule, but it’s always worth it when you do.
Work on Your Style
This is easier than it might seem. What I want you to do is simply add some new styles of music to your playlist. Start broadening the genres of music you listen you so that you expose yourself to many different vocal styles. Choose artists who have been around for a long time. Avoid newer artists unless you have some formal training that will help you to be able to discern between good and bad vocal technique. Many newer artists may be fun to listen to, but not necessarily demonstrating vocal technique that you should emulate. If an artist has been around 20 or more years and are still singing with a healthy singing voice they are probably doing many things right. If they have had to take breaks because of stints in vocal rehab – be cautious. Many artists will learn to correct their mistakes, but not all do. You will have a tendency to sing along with whatever music you listen to. So choose good music with good vocalists for this exercise – don’t forget to include Opera and Broadway!
Sing along! Try to imitate the different styles of music through tone placement and style development. This will help to stretch you in many ways. Pay attention to what your body is doing to imitate the styles you are hearing. You can learn a lot about your own voice as you strive to take on different styles. Even if you don’t like the style or think you’d never sing it in a million years, still try to imitate it for learning sake. Create a playlist specifically for stretching yourself and sing along to it on a regular basis taking notes and deciding what you might like to incorporate into your own personal style.
Try a Different Harmony Part
If you are one who has found their niche harmony-wise, it’s time to shake it up! In days gone by, I used to challenge myself during hymn singing to read through each part (Soprano, Alto, Tenor & Bass- in my own range of course). Each part seemed to have its own feel. I love to stretch myself in this way. If you always sing the same harmony part you can become very narrow in your ability. So stretch yourself to find a different harmony to songs you’ve sung before!
This is an easy one. Stop singing and try to listen more carefully to your music. Pay closer attention to the different harmonies and the way the song is arranged. Dream up new ideas for the songs you are currently singing by learning from others.
Not everyone knows how to sight sing and it seems to be fading away as a skill most singers have. Challenge yourself to sight read new music on a regular basis so you can keep the skill you once had or develop a new skill. It is valuable to be able to read the language of music to keep your skill alive!