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3 Tips for How To Sing Better

jeannie devaYou love to sing. You do whatever it takes to sound good. But it’s not always easy. You have your embarrassing moments. Sometimes your voice feels tight. Sometimes you get the note but not always with the best tone. Sometimes your voice cracks and you run out of air too soon. But you keep on going because you’re determined to do this wonderful, magical thing that for some possibly inexplicable reason you can’t imagine life without – the magic and the power of singing.

But could it ever feel easier?  Many singers tend to do a few specific things which actually make singing harder. Here are 3 “tricks of the trade” I’ve created that make singing easier no matter your style.

Quick Tip #1: Relax your tongue

Does your tongue tense as you sing? Does the back of it pull up as you go for a higher note? Does it pull back into the back of your mouth? (That will cause it to tense.)

Try this: Select a song to sing. As you do, rest the tip of your tongue behind your bottom teeth.  It will need to move a bit to accomplish some of the consonants, but otherwise, especially as you sing long notes, leave it relaxed low in your mouth with the tip resting against the back of your bottom teeth. It may take a bit of practice to break the habit of tensing and overworking it. Remember, do let it move for the consonants – your words will still be understandable. But you will discover that releasing tension in the tongue has a lot to do with singing becoming easier.

Quick Tip #2: Relax your lips

When you sing do you tense your lips? Are you exaggerating their movement or that of your cheeks or the opening of your mouth?

Try this: Put on a recording of a song you like to sing or a backing track of a song you perform. Stand in front of a mirror and watch yourself as you sing. Really put yourself into the song and watch your face, especially your lips and mouth. If you exaggerate the movement of your face as part of achieving the notes, this tension will back up into your throat and you will find yourself pushing against this tension.

Remedy: Gently place the palms of both your hands on either side of your mouth on the sides of your face. Sing the song again and let your hands help you to relax the movements of your lips, checks and mouth. Of course there will be movement but with this we are working on letting the movement be relaxed and natural. How does that feel? Do you notice a difference in how you sound as well? (Hint: it should be automatically easier and better.) Facial expressions should be part of your expression of the song - not to get your voice to work.

Quick Tip #3: Breathe into your back

Do you push your stomach forward when you take a breath and then push it in when you sing? If so, you’re pushing out too much air which will in turn over-pressurize your vocal folds and cause them to either tense or over relax. Or, as you sing, do you exhale or in some way push up or push out your air?

Instead try this: put your hands on the back of your sides (not the front, the back). Take a breath letting your ribs in back expand out and up from the sides. You will probably feel the air coming into your back. Do it again. Now sing. As you do, let your stomach remain relaxed and muscularly maintain the open position of your back from the sides of your back). Do this a few times so you can really test it out.

Explanation: Many singers have been told to “breathe into your stomach.” However, that’s not where the air goes.

1) When you inhale air comes into your body and goes into your lungs. The biggest parts of your lungs fill about 3/4ths of your back. To fill with air, your lungs need your rib cage to expand. The expansion of your ribs physically pulls open your lungs. That movement is what pulls-in your breath.

2) When you sing you just need just enough air coming under your vocal folds to trigger their vibration. They’re located in the middle of the front of your throat. If your ribs collapse as you sing or if your stomach pushes inwards, too much breath is expelled too fast. This causes a tidal wave of air against which your voice struggles. This will cause tension in your throat and make reaching certain pitches more difficult. Singing with your ribs expanded results in a fuller voice.

You will find specific rib cage exercises, additional information and coached vocal workouts that enhance natural breathing which will make your singing better and easier in my “Contemporary Vocalist” Volumes One and Two available in hard copy or as download, sold on the Internet.

May you enjoy the rewards!

 - Jeannie Deva

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Jeannie Deva is the Celebrity Vocal Coach seen on E! Entertainment and TV Guide Channels as well as many other television and radio talk shows. Grammy member and author of the internationally acclaimed "Contemporary Vocalist" book and CD series, as well as the “Deva Method Vocal Warm-Up” CD, she is flown to recording studios worldwide for album vocal production and is endorsed by producers and engineers of the Rolling Stones, The Cars, Aerosmith, Fleetwood Mac and others. She is the Originator of The Deva Method® - Complete Vocal Technique for Stage and Studio™ and founder of Jeannie Deva® Voice Studios celebrating over 33 years of helping singers be outstanding. Past and present clients include Grammy Award Winners, American Idol finalists, members of the J. Geils Band, Foghat, Felecia Howse of Bone Thugs n’ Harmony, Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman), Broadway leads in Fame, Color Purple, Lion King and Wicked, singers for Sting, Stevie Wonder, Pink, Joss Stone, Christina Aguilera and others. There is a growing network of certified Deva Method teachers in the US and Australia. Jeannie’s private studio is located in Los Angeles. She teaches in-house and internationally via her ArtistWorks online video exchange vocal school.

© 2014 Jeannie Deva. Reprinted with permission. The Deva Method and Jeannie Deva are registered trademarks owned by Jeannie Deva Enterprises



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