To begin, I think it’s obvious that the more time you spend on singing lessons, vocal exercises, etc. the more you’ll improve. However, let’s assume you’re a very busy person who has little time to spend on your singing. Is there something you can do which takes very little time, and still improves your voice, range, etc?
Yes. If you are willing to take 7 minutes each day to work with the following exercise you will see dramatic improvement in your singing.
1. Sing the first line of “I’m a little teapot, short and stout.” (If you don’t remember that from childhood, look it up or have someone teach it to you. All you want to learn is the melody to these words: “I’m a little tea”-(stop after “tea”…don’t sing “pot”.
This little 5 note melody is actually the first 5 notes of a scale “Do-re-mi-fa-sol”.
Once you’ve learned this melody sing it using the vowel “ah”.
Then follow the notes back down to where you began. (1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1) All on the vowel “Ah”.
Once you can do this, sing it twice, connecting them together. You’ve just sung a 5 note scale up and down twice. Then do it again and again, each time starting the exercise a little bit higher. Do this until you feel you’re approaching discomfort or straining. Then stop. (Start the exercise on a low note)
Then change the vowel to “E” and do the entire exercise again. Then use “Eh” and finally “O'”
Be very very aware of keeping the back of your throat open, as if you were starting to yawn. (When you inhale, feel like you are starting to yawn.)
As you get better at singing this little scale-melody up and down on the different vowels, start to pay attention to the sound quality you are making. What you DON’T want to do is to feel the sound down deep in your throat, like Sylvester Stallone or a gangster from “The Godfather”. Experiment with the “feel” of where the sound is vibrating, trying to feel it more and more in the forehead. (This sounds crazy, but you really can do it,) Just “think” the sound higher in your head, away from the throat.
As you get better at this, your sound will become brighter and much easier to produce. There are physical reasons for this, but all you need to understand is that it’s possible, and it works. Listen to the top singers and you will hear this quality. it helps to try to imitate their sound.
By Al Koehn