Improve Your Voice in 8 Singer-Friendly Steps

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Some people are just natural songbirds. Others, less so. But whether you were born a Lady Gaga or had to become a Barbra Streisand, you can always get better. If you’re looking for more than just tips on how to sing or how to become a singer, read on to learn how to actually improve the sound of your voice.

How to get better at singing

Learn the mechanics

Do you know the difference between your head and chest voice? Do you know your vocal range? How to effectively employ vibrato or achieve certain phrasing or emotional expression? If your voice is a tool, it’s important to understand the various parts of it and how to use it. Of course, there are many different types of singing and techniques. For example, opera singing, pop/contemporary, Broadway, and classical choral techniques are all different styles. Understanding which one you’re performing will help guide you to the right techniques. There are plenty of books, tutorials, and singing teachers out there to steer your singing education. As in all things, knowledge is power. 

Assess your singing strengths and weaknesses

After you’ve gained a better understanding of the mechanics and language around singing, you’ll be able to assess your own strengths and weaknesses. This will allow you to figure out where you can or want to improve. For example, maybe you’re trying to improve your vocal range or control. Do you need help knowing when you’re flat or off-key? Do you know how to sing in harmony or to belt? Perhaps you struggle with holding a note. All of these weaknesses will emerge once you’ve mastered the basics.

Keep your chords healthy

Stay hydrated, don’t smoke, and be sure to get enough sleep. All of these actions, and more, can help prioritize your throat, esophageal, and lung health and undoubtedly improve your voice.

Posture is pivotal

How you hold yourself greatly affects your singing voice. Your spine should be erect in order to properly handle the musculature it takes to sing. Without good posture, your lung capacity will be limited. If you’re not sure what good posture looks like, this video will help: 

Warm up your body…

Any sort of cardio exercise will help get your blood pumping and the parts of your body that you use to sing—your lungs, diaphragm, and core muscles in the abdominals and lower back—ready to work. Try a brisk walk, a light jog, or truly anything aerobic. Cardio will also help with your breath support (but more on that later). 

…as well as your voice!

Vocal warmups include doing scale exercises that help with lip and tongue agility and help to train your ear. Try lip and tongue trills (blowing air through your lips like a horse or on your tongue while rolling your R’s), humming, and tongue twisters for diction, elocution, and enunciation. 

RELATED: The Best Diction Exercises

Breath support

Being able to carry a tune, hold a note, and make a pretty sound come out of your mouth owes a lot to breath support. Learning how to control your lung capacity has a lot to do with cultivating endurance and strength-training your diaphragm and lower abdominal muscles so you can project (and contract) the airflow that fuels singing. 

Breathe in deeply. Allow your voice to climb to the height of your range and fall toward the lower end. Doing this over and over will help you to gain control and understand the full capacity of your singing voice. Unsure where to start in your breathwork practice? Check out our list of breath-control exercises, or watch vocal coach Justin Stoney’s episode on breathing exercises for singing. 

Practice makes perfect

The thing to keep in mind about singing (or anything) is that you have to practice to get better. Consistent work at the items above will help improve your voice over time. Singing is a muscle (that uses many muscles!) and it requires an understanding and control of your craft that, no matter your innate level of talent, takes consistent practice. So don’t get frustrated, just keep at it.

As someone who has been singing since they were six years old—personally and professionally, for stage, screen, and everywhere in between—I can say with a level of certainty that you can improve your voice. My own singing voice has gone in and out of ability whenever I do not keep up with the above vocal maintenance. Thankfully, after you learn these various skills, they stick with you. In many ways, singing is just like riding a bike: It easily comes back to you after you get on with it. Good luck on your journey!