A great singing tip for beginner singers is to play with your voice — just make something up! Anything! The scary word for this is improvising. But, I promise, this is really easy.
This isn’t about “being creative,” or inventing things that you’d sing again in front of other people. It’s about letting go of the whole idea of right and wrong, and just getting into a headspace of exploring. You don’t need any musical or singing skill at all to do this, only a willingness to give it a try, and an assurance that it’s ok not to always sound “good” or “nice.”
Make Something Up: Here We Go…
• Start by thinking like a kid. So, you’re not even thinking about singing. You’re just playing. The most important thing is that this
good. And just like a kid, you will learn through play.
• Close your mouth and hum. Start with one steady long sound and really notice how that feels. Notice the vibration in your chest, throat, face and mouth. Next, let your hum start moving around, up and down in pitch, like a siren. When you’re feeling comfortable, (and maybe a little bored or constrained) open your mouth and play around with how it feels when you let your sound expand into different vowel shapes.
• Try Playing with Rhythm. Tap your foot, or tap out a steady beat with your hands on a table, arm of a chair or on your lap. Along with this steady beat, say bah, bah, bah, bah. Don’t worry about getting it right or wrong, just do your best to keep a nice steady beat. And you’re not worrying about SINGING. You’re just saying, “bah, bah, bah.” When you start feeling a little bored with this, let your bah’s move around in pitch — some higher and some lower. Whatever happens is fine — perfect, even!
• Now, go free! Play around with all these sounds. Fill in the spaces between the “bah’s” with other sounds. Go back and forth between the kinds of sounds you made at first when you were humming and siring, and mix them up with the more rhythmic sounds.
You’ll discover, if you stick with this a while, that you’re making your own little song of the moment. Treasure it! Appreciate it!
• Just notice what happens. And here’s the hard part for most of you who are self-conscious about singing and used to censoring yourselves: have fun with it! It’s all good. You’re exploring your voice, you’re exercising new muscles, you’re practicing being compassionate and nonjudgmental towards yourself. You’re discovering your own sounds and finding your voice. All of these are first steps in learning to sing. So, you go!
Want more? Email me and I’ll send you my monthly (ish) newsletter — each one includes at least one useful singing tip like this!