We all want to sound better, but that is easier said than done, right?
It’s actually a lot easier than most people think to get a decent singing voice. Most of us, when we first start signing, see a drastic improvement very quickly. Of course, this only happens if we know exactly what we need to work on.
If you’re trying to improve the quality of your voice on your own, chances are you’re doing a lot of things wrong. That’s why I decided to make this list of quick little tips anyone can implement naturally at home on their own.
How To Improve Your Voice Quality For Singing
Here are five tips that will help you improve the quality of your voice. They are fairly easy to implement (though some do require a lot of practice to really get them down) and can lead to improvement virtually immediately.
1. Take Care of your Vocal Cords
One of the easiest ways to sound better is to properly care for your vocal cords. It is also vital if you plan on keeping your voice long term.
Here are a few things you can do to ensure you keep your vocal muscles in good singing condition:
- Stay hydrated — make sure to drink enough water so that your vocal cords are always properly lubricated; stick to warm water, not cold; avoid caffeine, alcohol, sugar and other unhealthy compounds
- Don’t smoke — no explanation needed
- Warm up and cool down — always make sure to warm up before singing, even if it’s just for a short practice session; and after you’re done singing, do some brief cool down exercises
- Avoid yelling — puts undue strain on your voice
- Avoid whispering — puts undue strain on your voice
- Avoid coughing or clearing your throat — puts undue strain on your voice
2. Keep your Chin Down
When we sing, we tend to naturally want to tilt our head upward, especially during more powerful notes. Keeping your chin down prevents vocal damage and makes you sound better, giving you more control and power.
It sounds easy, but most people have a difficult time keeping their head fixed when they aren’t specifically focusing on it. It’s something you have to practice until it becomes natural.
The best way to do it is to stand in front of a mirror and sing scales (or a song you know well that has powerful high notes in it). Focus on keeping your chin slightly inwards and down, no matter what note you sing. Don’t point it down much; just one inch or so. Make sure you don’t reach forward with your chin when you need to sing with more power. Always keep it fixed in place.
3. Focus on Keeping your Jaw Open
Keeping you jaw open when you sing vowels, the exact same width for every vowel, has you sounding better instantly, with more volume and resonance. Unfortunately, doing this is not easy, since it feels completely unnatural. The only way to ensure you do it whenever you sing, is to practice it so much that is becomes part of your muscle memory.
Get in front of a mirror and watch your mouth as you say the vowels. I’m guessing your jaw closed a lot when saying the ‘e’ and the ‘u’ and probably somewhat for the other vowels too. Now use a wine cork (or the plastic top from a water bottle) to prop your mouth open and say the vowels again. Practice this a bunch to get used to it.
Once you’ve practiced saying the vowels, start singing them, but just maintain the same pitch throughout. After doing that for a while, move on to singing a phrase of a song you know well. Do this without the cork, but keep watching yourself in the mirror. You want to make sure your mouth stays open to the same position on every vowel you sing. This will take a lot of practice to get right, but the effects on your voice make it worth the effort.
4. Express Emotions While Singing
Without emotion, a song is purely mechanical. There is nothing there to which the audience can connect. Injecting emotion into your singing has a huge and immediate effect. Everything you sing, even if you don’t come close to singing it perfectly, is suddenly so much better. We have a whole post on learning to sing with emotion.
5. Record Yourself
This seems like such a simple tip (and it is), but I’m always shocked how few singers actually do this. Seriously, get a camera and record yourself singing. If you don’t have a camera, use your phone or your computer or something. You likely know what you’re supposed to be doing in terms of mechanics, but chances are you’re not doing all of it. Recording and watching yourself allows you to catch all the little mistakes, so that you know exactly what you need to work on. The only thing more valuable than being able to watch yourself is getting feedback from an actual voice instructor.