how to practice singingHow to practice singing while performing is a fun way to develop your voice. As a full time musician, it’s hard to find the right time to practice my vocal exercises. I rely on my music career to keep my income coming. I can’t afford to take months off at a time and solely work on my singing voice. So for me, I practice my vocals during the day quite often, but at night even more so.

Every night before I take the stage, I run through my warm up, and throw a few new exercises in to try new things with my voice. I come across a lot of different songs that enable me to challenge specific areas in my vocal range. So I make note of these as they come up.

If I am about to sing a lower song, I will direct my focus to connecting in my chest voice, and making sure I have the correct power there that I need. Then I will back off the intensity. I don’t want to sound like I’m about to sing “Old Man River” fortissimo, when all I am singing is “Forever in Blue Jeans” mezzopiano. Of course this all starts before I walk in the door.

As soon as my feet hit the pavement I think about cleansing my lungs. As a former smoker who now walks .5 miles to work from the parking lot, I know that supercharging my blood and lungs with fresh oxygen is a good way to start the process of singing. It’s nice to just breathe and exist. Plus I like to cut my walk time down quite a bit each night. I look forward to staying in great fitness shape.

As I walk to work I slightly connect my voice. I rely on my speech to be the level where I start. But I will do some simple vocal fry exercises, humming, and lip rolls as I walk, maintaining a speech level output on my voice. So I’m not singing while walking. Just stretching the voice. Singing on the level of speech requires elasticity in the voice and body. I want to have a flexible voice, and a relaxed body when I sing. This produces the greatest output vocally.

If you notice in the picture above, I am keeping my head perfectly level as I sing Mark Cohn’s “Walking In Memphis.” I’m singing in mix in that photo. It was taken at my wedding. The eyes closed and expression was a selling point for my wife’s family who had never heard me sing. So I had to show off a bit.

As I sing different songs throughout the night I keep a close awareness on my vocal folds. What are they doing right now? Am I pulling up chest voice? Am I relaxed in my face, and is my head level? If not, I need to make a correction. I recently started lowering the keys to many of my songs for two reasons. One, to allow my chest voice to develop more, as that is the area of work I need the most. And two, it just sounds better. My voice isn’t falling apart after work, and I am warming down, and keeping a healthy voice. Healthier than I ever had before.

Applying some simple awareness to my voice, and even speaking some of my vocal exercises to my audience without them being aware of it has also made it possible for me to practice while I am performing. As we talk to our audiences every night, I sometimes slide up and down in pitch while speaking sentences. I even use the “hey” exercise when I greet guests. I simply speak the word “hey” a few times while sliding from low chest into mix. They think I just sound silly. But it’s a great way to evaluate how warm my voice is.

Develop a few little tricks you can apply to help create and elastic voice and reap the benefits of healthy singing! If you can learn how to practice singing while you are already performing you can improve your voice on the job.

How To Practice Singing

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