Does this sound familiar? You’ve warmed up your voice, you're ready to practice your songs. You hit a wall. Some notes are challenging you. You were sounding pretty good in your warm-up, but things fell apart in the song. So, what should you do?
Here are a few tips for optimizing better singing technique in songs.
Singing the challenging song phrases through an SOVT exercise can help ‘warm you up’, & reset your voice. Straw phonation can help you stabilize your larynx, ‘square up’ your vocal folds and help encourage the right balance of air and muscle coordination. You can also use lip trills for similar benefits.
When you go back to singing the lyrics are you going back to your old habits? This is why these next steps are also important...
Take out the lyrics and sing the melody on a vowel / consonant combination. If you are going breathy, pick a front/open vowel: For example: “nay”. If you are going too strained, pick a back/close vowel: example: “nun” or “no” (contemporary singers need close vowels too!). Yes there are exceptions to this, this is why it’s important to consult with a qualified expert who knows their vowels!
When you bring back the lyrics, what is that one word that you are going slightly flat on? Or slightly sharp Or feels strained, or feels weak? Identify the word and ask yourself “how am I pronouncing the word?” Then change how you sing that word! Are you overly exaggerating the pronunciation resulting in overly wide splat vowels? Are you clenching your jaw? Are you overly narrowing your vowel? (less likely)
Tip: A lot of songs contain the word or rhyme on “eye”, for example: “why, cry, time, climb”. This vowel is a diphthong, there is a bit of “uh” before the “eye”. So shape your mouth into an “uh” position. Work in front of a mirror! Don’t be afraid to try it a different way.
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