Do you know that singing from your throat can increase your chance of developing vocal fatigue? If continuously done, singing from the throat can lead to a dry and sharp sensation in the throat, and in some cases, to vocal cords deterioration (vocal fatigue). If not appropriately treated, vocal fatigue can lead to the onset of vocal nodules that may require surgery. Hence, if singing is your chosen profession, it will help if you get proper training on how to sing correctly to avoid the usual maladies caused by the incorrect way of singing.
Of course, even if you do not sing from your throat, your vocal folds will still vibrate when you sing. This vibration is normal because there is resonation in the throat to create a fuller sound. What is not normal is the inappropriate tension that builds up in the throat when you sing from the throat. This tension, however, is not present when you sing from the diaphragm.
The power behind singing comes from your breath, and the key to a powerful voice lies in how you breathe while singing. It lies in how you utilize the air that comes out of your lungs. It will be best if you prop up your lungs with your diaphragm when you breathe. If this happens, you will be singing from your diaphragm. When you sing from your diaphragm, you are singing from your core, allowing you to resonate your voice in your chest, face, and pharynx.
Techniques On Refrain Yourself From Singing From Throat
If it is your habit to sing from your throat, it will help if you start learning how to sing from your diaphragm. A good vocal coach can help you get over the hump and develop that new habit of singing from your diaphragm. It will help, too, if you learn the following techniques by heart:
1) Develop Good Breath Support When Singing
Your breathing is made possible by the contraction and expansion of your lungs. The primary muscle that makes possible this contraction and development of the lungs is the diaphragm. For example, when you phrase the lyrics, you let air pass through your vocal cords and let the tone ride on.
So, it will help to support the tone with diaphragmic breathing. Like a cushion, your breathing supports your voice to let you reach the high notes. If you run out of the air, your vocal folds tend to constrict. The best thing to do to develop diaphragmic singing is by learning how to breathe correctly for singing.
Start in a seated position with your elbows on your knees. Then, take a deep breath, and feel the expansion of your lower back. Afterward, exhale, but don’t readily lose the expansion of your lower back. This exercise, if always done, can help you develop that sense of lower stability and openness.
2) Always Sing within Your Vocal Range
The good thing about having a vocal coach is that you will be guided on the correct vocal techniques to protect your voice and achieve your singing potential. Aside from that, your vocal coach can also let you know your vocal range.
Of course, you could know your vocal range intuitively. You can feel that a note is not within your vocal range if you could no longer reach a certain level of higher notes. Your throat would begin to get tight, and you would get a gripping sensation.
It will help if you stop reaching for those notes that are out of your vocal range because you could strain your throat if you go on. However, if you know your vocal range, you can only choose songs whose notes lie within your vocal range. Do not be so ambitious to push your voice beyond your vocal range.
The size and length of your vocal folds, aided by your vocal muscles and body, determine your maximum pitch range. Your genes endow this vocal range. Thus, if you’re singing a song, you should transpose the song’s key to a lower key within your vocal range.
If you are a baritone, do not mimic how Freddie Mercury or Michael Jackson sing. If you are a tenor, don’t try to mimic the voice of Boris Christoff or Nicolaï Ghiaurov, nor try to sing the song of Leonard Cohen. The thing is, if you want to preserve your vocal cords, stick to your vocal range.
3) Learn the Correct Tongue Placement
Another succinct factor that may lead you to sing from your throat is tongue placement. When you sing a note, your tongue’s placement can also play well in the buildup of tension in the throat. Ideally, your tongue should be resting behind the front teeth’s bottom.
To check on the tongue’s position, position your two thumbs below your chin between your throat and jaw. Try to curl your tongue’s tip back as if you are aching to touch your tonsils with your tongue.
Then, try to sing the high notes, and if you feel the tension on your thumbs, it may be because your tongue is causing the pressure. So, you need to unlearn this behavior and learn the tongue’s right position when you try to reach high notes.
4) Learn to Drop Your Larynx
When you sing, you can lower or raise your larynx with the help of neck muscles. You drop your larynx, for example, when you yawn. But most beginners tend to raise their larynx when belting high notes. This raising of the larynx prevents them from opening their vocal folds and making an open and full sound.
Thus, if you want to make a full sound, you need to learn how to lower your larynx when you sing. Practice can definitely help you perfect the dropping of your larynx.
Start with a yawn to lower your larynx, but don’t intentionally push your larynx down towards the tongue’s back. Pushing the larynx towards the back of your tongue would create a tight sensation. This tight sensation is not ideal for singing high notes.
The right feeling is when your tongue moves forward, which, in turn, stretches the gap between the larynx and your tongue. This leads to your larynx dropping down.
When you enlarge the gap between your tongue and larynx, complement it with breathing in and out. Maintain the larynx in that lower position.
With constant practice, you can keep your larynx at a low position while you breathe. You can also try the drop and slide exercise. Try to drop your larynx and utter, “ah.”
5) Refrain from Forcing Your Voice!
Do not try to force anything; for anything you force will not come out well. Similarly, when singing, you should not force your voice, for correct singing entails a calm voice. If you push, you will only strain your vocal folds. So, if you feel any discomfort in your throat, you are not singing right.
6) Shape the Vowels and Consonants Correctly
Have you ever heard how Nat King Cole enunciated the words of the songs he sang? If you have listened to him sing, you would notice that he articulated every vowel sound and consonant sound well. Of course, there are various ways to say a word. Yet, when you sing, the impact of how you enunciate vowel and consonant sounds is crucial.
There are many exercises that you can use to improve your diction and enunciation. One is to practice tongue twisters. Another one is to study the phonetics of the song’s lyrics. Moreover, you can try exercising your whole mouth. All these exercises, coupled with correct breathing, can help you pronounce the words correctly and clearly.
7) Conditioning Your Voice Before Every Singing Session
It is a no-brainer that before singing, you should engage in warmups. Your vocal folds may be a bit sleepy and tense if you don’t do warmups. Thus, it will help if you warm them up to make them more flexible.
You may play down the value of warmups because you think that they are not crucial to good singing; yet, they are. Muscles support your vocal cords, and these muscles need to be warmed up before you sing. Your facial muscles are also crucial to great singing. So, it will help if you warm them up too.
Don’t be embarrassed if you are making noise while distorting your face when you do warmups. It will help if you make it a habit to do the vocal warmups before engaging in singing. Nevertheless, it is not enough to engage in warmups; you should also give your vocal folds and vocal muscles enough time to cool down. Online, you can find different vocal warmups and cooling down exercises that will come in handy to you.
8) Exercise, Hydrate Yourself, and Eat Properly
You may not think of them as essential to your voice health, yet, regular exercise, proper diet, and hydrating yourself play a crucial role in your voice’s health. Drinking enough water keeps your vocal folds wet. Remember that dry vocal cords are raspy and irritable. You should also bear in mind that well-lubricated vocal cords work best. Moreover, you will feel great if you hydrate your whole body, and it is good for your overall health.
The vocal folds are not in the path of the water that you ingest. So, it will help if you spray mist into your throat or use a humidifier inside your room. As a rule, the more water you ingest, the better it will be for your voice.
9) Learn About Resonance
Another thing that you need to learn to stop singing from your throat is resonance. Resonance is the process of reverberating the sound in a specific location within your body. You can feel the place where you resonate voice.
Yet, generally, there are four chambers where you can reverberate your voice: chest, nasal, mouth, and head. If you want to avoid singing from the throat, it will help to know how to resonate your voice away from the throat.
10) Understand Vocal Placement
Another thing that you need to learn is voice placement. It is entirely related to the concept of resonance. Voice placement refers to the act of focusing the sound on a particular body part. It also refers to how and where you resonate your voice within your body.
Learning how to sing from your diaphragm is crucial to your success as a singer. It is also important for the health of your voice as a singer. Taking care of your vocal cords also makes you stay longer in the singing business. Hence, if you want to excel in singing and make a mark in the music industry, it will help if you learn the succinct tips mentioned above about how to stop singing from your throat.
There are things that you should also avoid to ensure the health of your throat. Some of these things include coughing hard, drinking cold water, soda, or caffeinated drinks, yelling, straining high notes, and smoking. Although avoiding these things does not necessarily help you sing from your diaphragm, nevertheless, they can damage your vocal folds.