Perhaps the biggest urban myths in the world today is that singing is a gift: some have it, some don’t. Great if you do, hard luck if you don’t! But that is completely untrue; almost anyone can learn to sing. In this article I want to share with you a few simple exercises and tips for a better singing voice in the hope that you’ll try them and convince yourself that yes you to can sing.
Fear and intimidation are two of the biggest reasons why people believe they can’t sing, it runs all the way back to our early days at school when we didn’t make the school choir or were told we couldn’t sing. When we were a little bit older and singing songs that interested us we were told to ‘give over,’ or ‘stop showing off,’ that we couldn’t sing to keep ourselves warm! Awaken any memories?
Here’s a little exercise for you. Next time you see a baby watch how it breaths; notice how it uses its diaphragm. Watch how its belly expands with each breath it takes a breath, that’s nature’s way, the proper way. As we grow older thought the majority of us ditch nature’s way and swap that deep breathing for shallow chest breathing. Therein lies one of the main reasons why people can’t sing, they quite simply don’t breathe properly, they haven’t the wind.
I’ve a little exercise for you to show how diaphragmatic breathing works. Place you hand on your tummy, now take a deep breath in through your nose. Notice your hand moving outwards as your belly fills up with oxygen. Now very gently let that air out through your mouth and notice how your tummy shrinks back into shape! This is how you should be breathing when you are signing.
That’s the simplest singing exercises in the world and anyone can do it. Try taking three or four of those really deep diaphragmatic breaths throughout the day, anytime you get the opportunity or think about it and you’ll be amazed at how easy it becomes to take deep, full breaths from your diaphragm. It’s so simple you can do it anywhere and people need never know!
Next when you are reasonably comfortable breathing from your diaphragm start to talk and sign from there. Notice how you can hold that note much longer and all you are doing is breathing properly, how nature intended?
Now you have to start listening more intensely, most of us hear what others are singing or saying but very few of us actually listen and that’s what you need to do next, develop a listening ear. Unfortunately it is not going to be as easy to develop a listening ear as it was to re-learn how to breathe correctly, it takes practice but as your listening ear develops you will also find that your ability to pinpoint your pitch and sing in key also improves.