Vocal Exercises: Warm-Ups
Your vocal chords need to be warmed up before you sing. Warming up helps protect your pipes from injury, and it also helps you sing a lot better.
To start, practice singing up and down the C chromatic scale a half-step at a time. This will force you to hit lots of subtle notes, and will give your voice a smoother quality.
The yawning technique is another approach. Open your mouth and sing a note. Now, without pausing for breath, keep singing the note while you change the pitch. Think of the way your voice gets higher when you yawn. This exercise should have a similar effect. Use it to go from the bottom of your range to the very top.
Try to spend at least 10 to 15 minutes warming up before you rehearse or perform.
Vocal Exercises: Range
One popular exercise to help you increase your vocal range involves playing notes on an instrument and singing along with them until you can’t sing any higher (or lower). With the help of a tuning device or a musical instrument, you can quickly identify your natural vocal range.
Other range-expanding vocal exercises focus on building a strong middle voice, which is a voice that combines the chest and head voices. Practice singing across your natural vocal break. As you sing, pay attention to where each note vibrates in your throat. Chest voice notes will vibrate lower in your vocal chords; head voice notes often vibrate at the back of your soft palate.
Practice these notes until you can routinely produce them with good quality and voice control. Go a step higher each week until you can sing well above your natural range.
Vocal Exercises: Pitch
Perfect pitch comes naturally to a rare few individuals. Most of us have to practice at it. Fortunately, there are vocal exercises that can help you improve your pitch.
The easiest way is to play a note on an instrument or in a sound software program, and sing that note as it plays. When you match the pitch perfectly, there will be a resonance that isn’t present when you sing off-pitch.
You can also practice pitch with other vocalists. Try harmonizing with another singer or two, with one singer taking the higher notes, one taking middle notes, and one taking lower notes. When you’re all on pitch, the result will be a resonating harmony.
Vocal Exercises: Volume
Volume is another important part of vocals. Sometimes you will need to sing at a higher volume, especially if you sing opera or rock music, or if you sing with a band that plays loudly.
Finding your natural volume is a lot like finding your natural range. Simply start out at a regular volume, singing in your speaking voice. Sing gradually louder until you can no longer sing comfortably. That is your natural volume range.
You can increase your volume by identifying your diaphragm (the band of muscle beneath your ribcage) and using it to push out your voice as you sing. Exhale sharply; the muscle that tightens when you exhale is your diaphragm.
These vocal exercises will help you identify and increase your natural range and volume, and add power to your notes. Practice daily to develop the best tone possible.
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