You need to know what your goals are as a singer before you can develop an authentic singing style. A singer whose goal is to front a heavy metal band will need a very different style than someone who wants to sing Beatles songs with an acoustic guitar at coffeehouses. Some singers spend a lot of time practicing, but have little to show for it. This is frustrating for everyone, and slows down your progress as a voice student; it can also lead to the nurturing of bad habits that are difficult to break. So, with this in mind, here are some advanced singing tips for you if you are wondering how to sing better:
1. How To Mix The Head And Chest Voice
Although the term “mixing” may be scientifically inaccurate, it gets across the right idea: A mixture of both head and chest voice. In other words, the singer feels as though they’re not producing a pure chest voice sound, nor a pure head voice sound.
The “how to’s” on getting a “mix” sound are a bit different for every singer. Essentially, you must experiment with placement. Think of using your sinus cavities (not to be confused with your nose) for resonation. Raise your soft palate a bit more than usual. Experiment with a smaller mouth. Sing very light; you cannot “push” your voice at all. Your throat, head, jaw, tongue, et cetera all must feel relaxed. Allow the sound to be a tad bit more nasally. Think of allowing the sound to float out effortlessly from the top of your head. This is one of the techniques that you should master if you are really serious about learning how to sing better.
2. Don’t Take The Head Voice Too Low
This is more common among women, especially among women who hate the sound of their chest voice. While it’s certainly fine to learn to take the head voice down into the chest voice range, taking it too low results in a muddy, fuzzy, and sometimes weak sound. You can detect this problem by recording yourself, but generally speaking, for women to understand how to sing better, they shouldn’t take their head voices down below a D above middle C. (Even that may be too low for some voices.)
Instead, learn to deal with your break; you can make it less obvious that you’re switching back and forth between registers by lightening up your chest voice.
If one register isn’t well developed, learning to go back and forth between your chest and head voice may take some practice. Don’t expect your break to sound beautiful; at first, let it sound ugly. (Pops, flips, and breaking sounds at the break should be dealt with right away, however.
3. How To Sing With Volume And Power
Many singers would wonder how to sing better with more volume. But trying to “push” your voice to be loud is counter-productive. The best way to achieve more volume and power is to learn to sing with forward placement. Good placement doesn’t happen overnight, so be patient. It usually takes months to master this technique. Dropping your jaw will make a huge difference in volume and power, too.
Another volume issue sometimes arises when singing with an individual who has an especially big voice, or while singing in a large group: You may be tempted to strain and push your voice, just to hear yourself. Don’t. If you feel you must, cup your hand over one ear, or just learn to listen more intently to your own voice.
In all cases, don’t try to control your volume from the throat. That area should feel relaxed. Volume comes from air pressure (which is controlled by the diaphragm) and good resonation and placement. Singers whose placement is toward the back of their throats generally don’t have voices that “carry;” but if they bring the placement forward, into the mask, the sound carries beautifully, whether they’re singing loud or soft.
4. Be A Good Vocal Student
Everyone, even “the great singers,” benefit from pursuing artistic growth; it’s one of the main reasons most successful singers have taken lessons, and continue to get coaching. To learn how to sing better, it is recommended for all singers to expand their horizons by taking a good vocal coaching. You may not want to sing all styles of music, but studying and learning to sing a variety of styles will make all your singing more interesting, vivid, and strong. For example, though you may want to sing on Broadway, learning some jazz may help you learn improvisation skills, a lighter sound for ballads, and a good growl that won’t hurt your voice. Learning to sing art songs may give you better control over your high notes.
To learn how to sing better also means to learn to convey drama. The most engaging vocalists are almost always “emotional” ones. In classical singing, there’s also something called “bel canto,” or “the beautiful voice.” In this style of singing, beauty of sound always comes before emotion and drama. But outside of opera, this type of singing is rarely successful.
Study your lyrics. Consider what inspired “your character” to sing the song. Know the exact meaning of every word and phrase. Think about past experiences in your life and how they might help you put yourself in the position of “your character.” Then, sing from the heart.