Singing Power and
Singing Power is one of the common concerns among vocal students, and many of us do admire those whose voices are so powerful that they can drown out everyone else, or even sing over an orchestra!
I was actually inspired to write this section about developing powerful vocals after I received an enquiry from a reader who wanted to know how to train her choir members so that they could sing louder and project their voices better!
I sent her a personal email to answer her queries, but I would also like to share with everyone here some pointers on building a more powerful voice!
Now, before we proceed with learning more about singing power, do make sure that you practise some vocal warm-ups as well as simple breathing exercises for warmup so that your breath and voice are both warmed up and ready for more challenging training.
Developing powerful vocals is actually a complex task, incorporating diaphragm strength, vocal cord muscle strength, using appropriate resonance, as well as jaw and throat relaxation!
Failure to pay attention to any of these various aspects could result in vocal abuse or damage, because many of us may squeeze our vocal cords or strain our throats in order to get a louder singing voice.
An IMPORTANT note for ALL to adhere to strictly: If you should find that your voice or throat starts to hurt during your vocal training sessions, STOP your vocal exercises and REST your voice immediately! This will help you to avoid any vocal damage that might occur during your self-practice.
One very common mistake that singers may commit is to overblow or force too much air through their vocal cords when trying to increase singing power. This is usually achieved by using more force in the abdominal muscles, causing the diaphragm to expel air faster through the vocal cords.
As I mentioned earlier in the overview on vocal exercises, what we need to achieve is a balanced sound, with a healthy mixture of breath and voice. In fact, we really need little air when we sing, and using too much air may result in too much tension being exerted on our vocal cords.
On the contrary, we need to learn how to control our breath using our abdominal muscles and our diaphragm, instead of expelling our breath faster, as we would need to regulate the amount of air we use when we sing loud or project our voices.
Another important point to note when developing singing power is knowing how to place our voices in order to achieve a brighter and stronger sound when we sing. One way to discover good vocal placement is to practise more humming exercises, making sure that when we hum, we feel the resonance and vibrations in our face or near to our nasal area, and also in our lips.
This will help us to place our voice in a ‘forward’ position which is more suitable for vocal projection, allowing us to use less force when we sing. You can also imagine that you are ‘throwing’ your voice across a hallway or room, making it bounce off the wall on the other side and come right back to you.
With a strong foundation in breath and vocal placement, we would still also need to keep our jaw relaxed and loose when singing, and also reduce the strain our throats by treating them as merely a passageway through which our voice is travelling. Practising some of the exercises provided in the links above will help you to achieve a relaxed jaw and throat when singing.
Many singers project their voice by belting, which usually means singing high notes in a lower vocal position or placement, usually in the middle voice, with an open throat and relaxed jaw. This allows singers to sound strong and loud, and not be overly nasal or screechy in the high notes.
Belting takes a lot of effort and practice to get correct, and is certainly one of the more difficult vocal techniques one can try to master. It will require the expertise of an experienced vocal coach who would be able to help you build up your singing power, and point out the bad singing habits you may have when you sing.
The main point is for us not to use t