Monday, October 27, 2014

Want to develop your voice and sing better? Be silly and play!

Trying to increase your vocal range? Want to develop a richer tone to your voice? Puzzling over voice placement and timbre?

silly faces
photo by The-Serene-Mage

Before you rush off to find a singing teacher, try being playful with your voice for fun.

singing lessons – are they right for you?

Many years ago I went for singing lessons. I thought it would help me sing better. But much of the time I came away puzzled by exactly what the singing teacher was trying to get at.

Maybe I’d found a bad singing teacher, but I think it’s because I wasn’t yet ready for singing lessons (see also Do you need singing lessons in order to sing?).

Years later, when I’d sung a great deal and learnt much more about my own voice – what it could do, how I could make it do certain things, what my limitations were – I found another singing teacher.

This time I learnt a great deal in a very short time. I understood what I was being taught because I had explored my voice on my own.

Many people think that learning to sing is something that someone else tells them how to do.

They don’t take responsibility for their own voice, but expect someone else to do it for them.

That’s not how it works. It’s all up to you (see also The secret to great singing that teachers don’t tell you).

be vocally playful

When people ask me how to achieve a certain quality with their voice I ask them if they play vocally.

Most people just stare back because they don’t understand what I’m saying.

This is what I mean:

  • Play vocally – in the shower, in the car, anywhere were you feel safe and nobody can hear you.
  • Put on silly voices – be a cartoon character, do sound effects, pretend you’re someone else.
  • Test your voice – stretch your range and play with different qualities. Use your imagination.
  • Find the easiest way – if it hurts or you’re straining, try a different way of doing it. Move your body, focus on a different place, make it fun, be someone different – until it becomes easier.

You’ll be amazed at what you discover, but don’t stop there.

Play regularly and try different games. Imagine you’re enormously fat or a famous opera singer or a garden gnome. Do a Martian dance whilst singing. Be a police car. Be inappropriate: sing the classics with a chipmunk voice, be a meerkat pop star, sing operatic pop songs.

Be silly and have some vocal fun. You never know what you might discover.

Once you really get to know your voice and know what it’s capable of, then you might think about singing lessons if you need further help.

Chris Rowbury




Chris Rowbury


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