Upon writing this post, we've recently finished playing at a Summer festival close to my home called Red, White, and Boom.
It was a lot of fun with friends, family and visitors. We rocked it as much as we could for an outside venue. Our sound man did an excellent job considering how hot it was and how long of a day he had.
This blog is going to discuss one of the things we worked on before performing at the festival: the fine art of singing.
First, let me admit that my primary instrument is a guitar, not my voice.
Having said that, it seems that the need for backup harmonies and lead vocals has grown in my life in the past 15 years. That means I've had to work patiently and deliberately to get my vocals in a performance-ready state.
Since I did go to music school and had two excellent vocal instructors, it wasn't as hard for me to get it back in shape. But, and this is important, the singing that I did in music school and what I do now are drastically different.
Also, music changes with the times so I had to be flexible and adaptable to new challenges.
I will be the first to admit that my voice is pleasant, but not necessarily a standout. It's enough for me to be able to use it for the venues that I need to and also glorify my wonderful savior, Jesus!
I have learned a few tricks and tips to sing better and will share a few of them in this article.
Tip number 1:
Find a vocal coach, mentor or fellow singer who can help you.
I can't stress this enough. We all have 'blind spots' that make it easy to think how good we sound despite what's coming out. Or maybe it's how bad we 'think' we sound.
Many people like we've seen on 'American Idol' or 'The Voice' have assumed they have what it takes to be an instant celebrity until they suddenly flame-out in front of the judges.
A vocal coach or mentor can help be honest with you and give constructive criticism. It's not easy, but it helps!
Or would you rather get in front of a group of people to try to sing and find out that you weren't trained and prepared?
Tip number 2:
Work on your voice!
Nothing in life comes without practice. You can't expect to be good at anything without working at it.
I'll give you a couple of names that you can look at on YouTube of vocal instructors who are reputable AND honest.
The first is Ken Tamblin, a lead singer and vocal instructor: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6x5NRBmotXDEvLDDFWlLvA
Ken has some good, free instruction about singing without tension and also how to use your diaphragm as the 'engine' of your vocal strength.
The second is Anna from the United Kingdom, a former cruise ship singer turned vocal coach/instructor:
Anna has some excellent warm-up exercises you can use before a rehearsal or performance. You can even learn from her warm-ups how to specifically sing better by gender.
I use both of these channels for warm-ups and tips as I need them.
Tip number 3:
Yes, record yourself! Unless you'd like to sound like one of these people:
You may not have been able to make it through all of these, so I rest my case.
Now that you have a few tips to work with, get out there and sing your heart out. Just make sure you like what you're hearing!