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Singers often ask me how to improve their technique…faster. Training your body to sing with little, or even no tension, can be a long process. I always try encouraging the student to become more self-aware of their body to increase the rate of vocal improvement.

Think about how aware a dancer must be of their body to perform at their personal best. As singers we need to operate in the same way. Also consider the fact that your instrument is actually creating sound inside of your body and using its physical position as a resonator. (where the sounds vibrates)

The position of basically everything in your body (e.g. feet, hips, sternum, rib cage, jaw) can change, enhance or inhibit the sound that you produce. The types of questions you may ask yourself to improve are things like: Is my jaw released of all tension? Am I in my tallest, most confident posture? Is the position of my chin in an optimal singing position?

When asking a singer to find a more released position of the jaw or a different vowel shape in a voice lesson, they may think they are already achieving said shape. The use of a mirror is an easy way to help the student become more self-aware. Practicing often in front of a mirror is helpful. The more honest and aware you are as the student the faster you will be able to improve.

Another thought to consider is that the sound you hear and perceive in your own body is different than the sound your audience may hear. Since the sound is vibrating in your body and using the body as a resonator, your ears are hearing the effects of all of that! It’s pretty amazing but poses a small problem for the singer. I encourage all singers to record themselves with a decent recording device (the voice memo on the iPhone works well for this work) and honestly reflect on the sound that they hear. This process can be eye opening and sometimes upsetting for the singer. You may hear things you’ve never heard before (e.g. audible breathing, inconsistent vibrato, intonation issues, poor diction) on the flip side you may hear a singer you never dreamed you would become in your career. The recording may reveal a warmth or color to the sound you have never heard before.

In addition to being aware of how singing feels and is received by your audience, one must also be aware of their talent and honest about the level at which they are singing. This is best achieved by participating in auditions and/or competitions in your community and beyond. Be open to listening to other singers in concerts and recordings. Listen to the things you like about the sounds you hear and what could be improved. Think like a teacher. Be your own teacher.

Another way to continue to be self aware/realistic is make specific goals and a plan to achieve your goals. Then engage a friend, trusted colleague or teacher to help you oversee the process and keep your goals in check.

If this blog post made you 10% more aware of yourself as a performer then my work here is done.

Keep working toward your goals! You can do it!

Submitted by LBWietig


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