The golden standard of vocal health is proper breathing and mouth sound production.
Muscles and laryngeal anatomy play a huge role in vocal health.
While singing, in particular, requires more muscles than speaking, most of the muscles and nerves are shared with speaking and you can create the same effects.
Because of the communication aspect, it’s important to get these things right!
Ways to train your vocal tract: breath control, tone
Don’t worry if you’re not an experienced vocalist.
The basics of the voice are universal and will become more developed with practice.
Learning how to modulate your voice so that you can sing high notes as well as low notes, as well as articulate your vowels accurately and strongly is a fundamental skill.
Just like the baritone does not need to develop their chest and the tenor needs to develop their chest and upper body to sing effectively, you don’t need to develop your vocal cords to sing.
As long as you develop the appropriate strength in the vocal cords, you should be able to sing.
The next way to train your vocal tract is to sing.
Any time you sing, you are practicing your vocal tract.
All singing exercises are fantastic exercises in developing your vocal tract.
There are many different kinds of singing exercises.
Just like in the classical music world, singing exercises are taught based on what type of voice you have
A tenor will work differently from a soprano, and a baritone will have to work differently from a bass.
In most cases, these types of exercises focus on modulating the sound, using vibrato, and making your voice vibrate more than normal to make your tone deeper.
But some exercises focus on the duration of the note.
I like to teach myself singing exercises by singing a high note first and then working on notes below it.
Practicing singing exercises will help you develop your vocal tract in a more specific way, giving you a head start in developing your quality of sound, and some exercises are unique to one voice or another.
You can sing any singing exercise that is described in musical terms.
I’ve always found vocal exercises helpful in developing a stronger vocal tract as I practiced them so that my voice could take more of a range of vibrato.
Some exercises that I’ve used to develop my vocal tract include:
Using a scale
You can use any scale, but I like to use just the one that corresponds with the key that you’re singing in.
Make sure that you practice all of the notes in the scale to develop strength in the vocal tract.
For example, if you’re practicing a Gm7 or an F7, I like to sing a Gm7 first, and then sing an F7, to get a better hold of the sound, and then switch the order to Gm7, F7, etc.
Vibrato, or rapid vibrating, is a series of laryngeal muscles moving the mouth and vocal cords in one fluid motion.
Not all voices use vibrato, but all voices can improve their vibrato if they practice it.
Vibrato is mostly used in fast songs, so to practice vibrato, sing a slow melody.
I usually sing Gm7 to get a good grip of vibrato, and then sing it in a fast and quick rhythm to strengthen my vocal tract.
Thin veiling, or rapid fluttery breathing
Thin veiling is the tendency for the air to leave the mouth of the singer using the vibrating vocal tract.
This is usually done in quick bursts, with rapid breathing in between each burst.
Breathe slowly in between each burst.
After several rounds, increase the number of breaths to one.
Some people do this to increase vibrato.
During the course of practice, you’ll find that you’ll slowly develop a rhythm to thin veiling.
Sometimes, it’s hard to do the exercises on your own because you don’t know what to sing or how to do the exercises.
You can find all kinds of videos on Youtube, and many vocalists will talk about what exercises they do.
Here are a few examples:
You can see that Bebo’s video and the different vocalists are very different.
But all of the exercises that they do to develop their voices are appropriate for everyone.
As you practice the different exercises, you’ll find that some of them work better than others for your voice.
My favorite song to sing is Pachelbel’s Canon, so I do these exercises to strengthen my voice.
And they do have a purpose.
I don’t sing a song because I want to sing, and then just do the exercises for fun.
Some of the exercises are for a long time, and others are just for a short time.
I figure out which exercises work best for me and what music will be most beneficial.
What I practice at first will change, and some days I’ll work on more exercises than other days.
But the important thing is to not stop when you get frustrated with a certain exercise.
Instead, keep at it, and at some point, you’ll probably find that the exercise starts to work better for your voice.
So, it’s important to keep at it.