The Key to Developing a Strong Vocal Tone for Professional Singers
Have you ever heard someone sing who had an absolutely amazing voice. No matter how high or low they’re singing his or her voice is beautiful. Not only is the voice beautiful but it’s full and controlled. It’s not a particular register that they’re singing it. It’s their overall tone that captivates you. This is because the singer you’re admiring has a rich, strong vocal tone. A vocal tone is the quality, color and overall sound of your voice in general. Every voice has an unique vocal tone. Most of the time you recognize your favorite singer by his or her tone. A lot of aspiring singers desire a rich vocal tone. It’s actually one of the sought after voice trait most singers long for. Here are some amazing tips on how to build a strong vocal tone for aspiring and professional singers.
What is a strong vocal tone?
Before we list the top tips to develop a strong vocal tone for professional singers a few things have to be understood about the voice. We know what a vocal tone is in general. Once again it’s the quality and color of your voice. Sometimes its referred to as the timbre of your voice. However, what exactly is a strong or rich vocal tone? A rich tone is a tone that’s strong, warm and full. It doesn’t sound weak or nasal. A rich vocal tone has a natural evenness and and clearness to it. Some people naturally have rich vocal tones. Some have a rich, warm tone due to extensive singing lessons. For most it’s a mixture of both. To dig deeper into music education for a singer or aspiring vocalist you may want to know where vocal tone comes from. Vocal tone comes from your natural voice your born with, the make up of your vocal cords and the shape of your face. For people with slimmer faces majority of the time your tone will be slender. For people will full, round faces majority of the time the tone will be fuller. Below are a list of singing tips to help develop a rich, full tone.
1) Keeping the tongue flat
The most important factor for professional singers when developing a rich tone is the tongue. In order to have an amazing vocal tone with beautiful timbre you have to keep your tongue out of the way. This is why all great, professional singers have a flat tongue when singing. Think of your tongue as an item that’s in the way of letting your amazing voice flow out. The only way to keep it out of the way it to keep it flat. Keeping a flat tongue will help you create a rich tone because it’s not moving around in the mouth. It gives the mouth space. It also allows your voice to flow freely. Another reason why the tongue being flat when singing is so important is due to where the tongue and vocal cords are placed in your body. The root of the tongue is directly above the vocal folds (cords). This is why the position of your tongue plays a vital role when singing. To get your tongue to remain flat position your mouth as if your yawning, but also raise the top of your mouth. It should feel as if you’re yawning and smiling at the same time.
2) Creating space in the mouth
The second most powerful tip for professional singers to develop a rich vocal tone is to create space in the mouth. The more space created in your mouth the better quality tone you have when you sing. Think about it. You can’t get a grand, beautiful voice to flow out of a small, closed in area. It makes a lot of sense why the mouth amazing singers have wide mouths when singing. A perfect example of this is extraordinary vocalist and singer Whitney Houston. She has the perfect mouth position when singing. Her mouth is wide open and her tongue is completely flat. If you’re wonder how to get your mouth open wide then just like to achieve a flat tongue, it’s all about the yawn position. Position your mouth as if you’re about to yawn but make sure it’s a large yawn. However, as you do this technique make sure it’s structure to it. You don’t want to open your mouth completely wide and spread all over the place. This will just make the sound go all over the place. You want to open your mouth wide but in a structured, skilled manner. Make sure as you achieve the yawn position your mouth is moving vertical (up and down). Also make sure the top of your mouth is raised. This way the yawn position has structure, technique and purpose.
3) Release tension from the face
Another important factor for professional singers when building a rich vocal tone is releasing tension. When you sing your face and every area of your face should be completely free of tension. A lot of amateurs make the mistake of thinking you should focus all your energy on your face. You may see a professional singer make unique, funny faces when singing. You may see a singer jaw vibrate as he or she sings. This may cause you to think the singer is forcing this effect. The reality is this effect is actually happening naturally due to the singer releasing all tension from his or her face. When you have tension while singing you cause your body to stiffen up. This cause your vocal cords to stiffen up and messes with the quality of your voice. Yes your face is coming out of your mouth which is placed on your face. However, your mouth and face shouldn’t be doing all the work. The work should be coming from 1 place only, your stomach. Your mouth should just be the tunnel that your voice flows out of. The less tension in your face the more controlled and rich your vocal tone will sound. To release tension from your face are a list of exercises below that you can do. You can also watch online tutorials that help with this.
Tension releasing exercises
- Massage cheeks and underneath the jaw area.
- Do 5-10 fake yawn exercises (let out a big sign with each fake yawn).
- Relax the jaw and tongue while saying the syllables “ah” or “ya” (make sure the tongue is flat each time you say it).
- Sing the syllable “La la la la la la la la la” each time ascending and then descending on the musical scale.
- * You can also watch this amazing video by vocal coach Marnell Sample on how to release facial tension when singing > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXdKAiz_Sno
4) Sing with an open throat
You may have heard the phrase “sing with an open throat” before. Maybe you haven’t. However, most professional singers have. But exactly what does it mean? It means exactly what is says. When you sing your throat should be open. There’s a difference between having an open mouth vs. an open jaw when singing. Anyway can simply open his or her mouth when singing. But to get that strong, rich sound aspiring and professional singers long for you have to open your throat. This means opening your mouth but doing so in such a structured manner that your throat opens up too. The best way to do this is to make sure your mouth is open wide internally and externally. The tricky thing about singing with a wide mouth is how you open your mouth. In order for a wide mouth to produce an open throat you have to make sure the internal muscles inside your mouth is opening and not just the outside of your mouth. Once again the best way to do this is to open your mouth as if you’re about to yawn. The yawn position really works wonder for the correct mouth position when singing. Try to open your mouth regularly without really thinking about it. Now try to open your mouth but do so as if you’re yawning. You should feel the difference. You should feel the internal muscles in your mouth opening as well as your actual mouth when you do it with the yawning position. This is the correct position to get your throat open. Singing with an open throat is a great way to create a smooth, rich vocal tone. It gives your voice more space, control and more airway that will in return give you a strong tone. Below is a link to another great vocal coach who has a video showing you how to sing with an open throat. Be sure to check it out.
- Video link – How to sing with an open throat by Freya Casey > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7pqOeYod1I
These 4 quick vocal tone tips for aspiring and professional singers are very powerful. Don’t underestimate them. Yes, they are simple and fast but they hold a lot of power in them. They truly do work. You’ll be surprised at how much of a difference in your tone these tips will make. The key to seeing a huge difference is to apply these tips daily. The best way to practice these tips is in front of a mirror and also with a voice recorder. This way you can see your actual mouth and you can record your singing results. Below are a list of phenomenal singers with great vocal tones that have also practiced these tips. Feel free to study these vocalists and some of your own personal favorites.