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Sing Smarter, Not Harder

After over a decade of coaching singers, I’ve discovered one of the main issues most singers have is they use entirely too much effort to make the sound come out. Over time, this leads to soreness, tiring out quickly while singing, or even vocal damage. Instead, I want to help you guys learn to sing smarter, not harder. You see, your voice is an incredible instrument. It’s designed to work with minimal “effort” in the throat on our part. We just have to use it the right way. So how do we do that?

Simple. Here are 3 tips to help you sing smarter, not harder.

1. The fullness of the sound is created by resonance or space, not push in the throat. 

It’s tempting when we want to sing with more volume to push more in our throat. But doing that causes all sorts of issues. It creates tension, closes off our range, and makes singing consistently for longer periods of time very difficult. Instead of pushing, I’d suggest you start using resonance space to help you create the fullness of the sound. 

When I talk about resonance, I’m referring to the space we create in the vocal tract. The vocal tract begins at the vocal folds and ends at the lips. The more narrow space you create in this space (the mouth and throat), the fuller the sound will be. The two easiest ways you can do this is by dropping your jaw and releasing the tongue down and forward. 

Focus your attention in those areas to create more narrow space, and you’ll go far.

2. Sing with a steady and consistent flow of air. 

Airflow is a big piece of the singing puzzle. When you have a consistent flow of air, your vocal instrument functions easily and stays balanced. When your airflow is inconsistent, the altering levels of air pressure underneath the vocal folds pushes your voice box up and down and then other muscles have to come in and help balance the voice. This makes you work much harder when you sing. 

All that said, it’s important that you sing with a steady and consistent flow of air if you want to sing smarter not harder. 

3. Singing should be as easy as speaking. 

Another idea we can take on that helps us sing smarter, not harder, is the idea that singing should feel no more effortful than speaking in an energized way. The more you use your natural voice to create sound, the easier the sound creating process will be. Problem is most people, often times other than consciously, work harder while singing than they do when speaking. 

There are two good ways to tell if you’re doing this. First off, pay attention to the feel when you’re singing. Do you feel like you’re working harder than you would if you were speaking? If so, play with making your singing feel more like speech. Another easy way to tell is to compare the sound of singing vs speaking. To do this, sing a phrase of music, then speak that phrase in the next breath. If the two examples sound like a different voice, odds are you’re working too hard. 

To sum it all up…

Singing doesn’t have to be difficult. Work the ideas mentioned above into your voice and you’ll be singing more effortlessly in no time. Here’s a quick reminder of what they were:

  1. Sing with a steady and consistent flow of air. 
  2. Use space to create the fullness of the sound, not push in the throat.
  3. When you sing, it should feel no more effortful in the throat than energized speech. 

Work these 3 ideas into your singing, and I guarantee you singing will become much easier for you. 

Happy Singing!
Ken Taylor

Ken started coaching singers professionally in 2006, and has never looked back. He’s helped hundreds of clients with the next leg of their vocal journey by working with them via Skype or out of his local studio (Sing Orlando). When his not teaching or sharing his singing knowledge online (check out his FB or YT), you can find him hanging out with his beautiful wife Kirsten, playing racquetball, or relaxing somewhere in or by salt water.