4 Vocal Training Do’s And Don’t’s
On the path to becoming a great singer, proper vocal training is important. But learning how to train your voice is more than simply singing; it’s pretty much a lifestyle. The things that affect how good of a singer you will be extend far beyond your practice sessions and actual performances. If other aspects of your lifestyle are incompatible with your singing, all your efforts with your vocal lessons could go all to waste. Here are a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to becoming the best singer you can be.
DO: Practice scales and vocalize as part of your training.
Do your vocal lessons everyday; even basic scales, when performed regularly, will eventually aid in giving you complete mastery over your voice. The more accustomed your throat is to regular singing (with proper technique and pacing, that is), the less the chance of injury. Singing plenty of scales during practice will also help you be more aware of your vocal range; you’ll know which notes you can hit with your normal voice, which you can’t, and which you can work towards achieving. Practice makes perfect; don’t be surprised if, with time, you see your range expanding in both directions (high and low notes).
DON’T: Over-strain your voice with screaming or whispering.
Both screaming and whispering are unnatural uses for your voice; the vocal chords aren’t designed to scream for sustained periods of time without getting damaged. And whispering, especially whispering loudly is just as bad. Observe proper voice training exercises when performing or during training sessions to keep your voice healthy. If you do need to scream (say, for example, because of the genre of music you are singing) make sure to take measures to protect your voice. Check out our qualified professional for tips on how to scream properly in a way that will cause minimal damage to your vocal chords. While some say that damage cannot be completely eliminated when using these unorthodox singing techniques, with proper technique, you may be able to prevent any permanent damage.
DO: Drink plenty of water every day.
Staying well hydrated is important for any performer (and for any person for that matter). Drink at least eight glasses of water every day. During long training practice sessions, take small sips of water periodically to keep your throat from drying up. And drink extra amounts of water on days that you subject your voice to more work than usual. Drinking enough water is a good habit that will pay off in the long run; it helps ensure that you will be able to continue to take the stage at your best for decades to come, and will help prevent diseases or ailments that would harm your singing abilities.
DON’T: Drink liquids that will dehydrate you, like coffee or alcohol.
While total abstinence isn’t required, avoid taking these liquids right before a performance or practice session. Drinking coffee or alcohol right before a performance might give you some temporary confidence but it will also dry out your vocal chords, reducing the power of your voice, as well as decreasing the range you would normally be capable of. Instead of coffee or alcohol, drink warm water instead. While many very talented artists you may know drink alcohol before and during performances, that doesn’t mean that they should. They are taking a risk, and you should decide for yourself whether or not that risk is one that you want to take.
DO: Pay attention to your mouth and throat health.
Some soreness is expected after prolonged use of your voice during intense training, but watch out for red flags that might be the sign of something wrong, like persistent hoarseness, pain, or bleeding in your throat. You could be developing nodules in your vocal chords or laryngitis.. Don’t shrug off hoarseness as something that will simply go away, even if simple rest makes it better. Persistent recurring hoarseness may mean that whatever is wrong with your throat can still be treated; ignoring it and continuing to strain your vocal chords can make that hoarseness permanent. While these singing-related throat problems that can afflict singers are not life-threatening at all, they will still severely impair your voice, and can destroy your dream of becoming a great musical artist.
DON’T: Try to sing if your throat is unusually painful or if it hurts to swallow.
These could be symptoms of a serious problem with your throat or vocal chords. Forcing yourself to sing in spite of them could result in permanent damage to your throat. If you’re in pain, put your training on hold. Give your body some time to recuperate and heal. If the symptoms persist, see a medical professional.
DO: perform a proper warm up before performing or beginning a vocal training session.
Vocalize or do scales, practice a relatively easy song softly (but not whispering), do breathing exercises. By warming up before getting to the more intense parts of your vocal workout, you protect your throat from damage and decrease the recovery period after the workout. Some vocal coaches advocate cooling down after a training session as well, which is basically the same thing as a warm up, other than that it is performed after the workout.
DON’T: try to alter your natural speaking voice.
Speak at the normal pitch that is comfortable for you. Trying to force yourself into speaking at a lower or higher pitch than what is actually comfortable for you can put unusual strain on your vocal chords; over a period of time, it can actually do damage that is permanent and while significantly hinder any efforts you put into the training of your voice.
It is important that anyone undergoing vocal lessons understands that there is a right way to do most things. While you might not think that everything being taught to you applies to you (and you’re certainly welcome to think that- for all you know, you may be right), try to keep an open mind. Certain vocal techniques have been honed over the years by professionals… you’d do well to take advantage of what others before you have learned. This way, you can not only develop a beautiful, powerful voice; you can have a healthy voice, one that will sound beautiful for many years to come.
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