Many songwriters have told me that, even though they are not interested in a professional singing career, they would like to learn to sing their own songs well enough to demo them. This would save them time and money as well as reveal the writer’s original intentions.
I’m going to show you just a few of my techniques that I think will give you the quickest results for the least amount of effort. But I hope you won’t stop with these few tips. I hope you will continue to read through my blog articles. You will be able to pick up even more tips to help you sing your own songs.
It’s all about the words
The melody is important, that’s what the audience walks away whistling. The rhythm is important, that’s what gets our toes tapping. But, the most important element in a song is the words. If the words weren’t important we’d all be listening to jazz or instrumental music. You don’t have to have a great voice to hold your audience captive. The best thing a songwriter can learn to do is communicate deeply with the listener.
What sets my techniques apart from most other vocal coaches is that I teach singing on the consonants as well as the vowels. We lengthen our consonants in everyday speech when we want to emphasize something important. But for some reason when we set our words to music we ignore the power of consonants. A song is simply a one-sided conversation set to music. Sing the words as you would say them in a normal conversation.
In each sentence choose the one or two words that are most important to your message and lengthen the consonant at the beginning of that word. Take the sentence, “I never thought about love.” If you were saying this to someone, which word(s) would you emphasize in normal speech? I would choose “love.” So I would sing an early “L” before the beat and lengthen it to give the word more time to impact. Others might choose to emphasize the “N” in “never.”
I teach Passive Breathing, it’s based on breathing with the whole body—without tension and never filling beyond your resting capacity. It directs the air to what feels like your lungs but is really your lower abdominal area, about 2 inches below your navel. Squeeze those muscles to push the air out; then release your abdominals, open your mouth and the air will fall back in again. Repeat. Low breathing will give your voice a committed sound by improving your tone, resonance and warmth. BTW I have more on breathing coming up in my next blog article.
Push to the end
Make sure you sing all the way to the end of your phrases. Don’t let your voice drop off during the last few words. Use your abdominals to push the air through to the end of your phrase. Then release your abdominals and let more air fall in.
High notes and low notes
I have a lot of tricks and techniques to help you with the high notes. But my best advice is that if you are singing a song with very high notes or very low notes simply convince yourself that you are speaking the words on pitch instead of trying to sing and put tone in them. Here’s a past blog article with additional information about High Notes.
If all else fails or you have a song that you simply can’t sing, there are plenty of singers looking for a break that would be more than happy to record your songs for you. You could probably get many of them at a bargain price or free. It’s a win-win situation for both the singer and writer.
I hope this helps. If you would like more information on Breath Control and Consonants consider getting my three-part video, Vocal Master Class, available in my store.