4 Steps to Maximizing Your Vocal Development
Singing always seems simple and easy to the untrained listener. How hard can it be? You just sing along to the song, just like at karaoke… right?!?
Sure. Some songs ARE easy to sing to karaoke. But an audience might not pay to hear it. Imprecise pitches from a singer can be very unpleasant to any listener, for instance, simply because we’re all so accustomed to hearing near-perfect recordings. But in the music business, you only get one shot! That means your voice needs to be ready for your shining opportunity ASAP…
Most songs require a fairly wide arsenal of various abilities in order to sound somewhat decent. If you want your voice to be enjoyable to sing with and/or listen to, to sing pitches that are mostly correct yet full and free, to have a natural tone, if you want to sound “awesome”, then you’re going to have to get yourself organized.
Here’s how to do it:
1) Be Clear About Your Ultimate Vocal Goal:
What vocal qualities do you most admire, or are influenced by? What is your vocal goal? There are musical and artistic identity elements that contribute to the making of an awesome singer. But without a doubt, the most important element is the vocal. What do you see for yourself eventually? How and/or what do you see yourself developing into as a vocalist?
2) What are your current vocal abilities and natural vocal qualities as of RIGHT NOW?
We are often shocked to hear the actual sound of our voices played back to us for the first time. Accepting the sound of your voice is an absolutely essential first step of tappiing your own sound. Only after fully embracing it, can you express yourself naturally through it. Can you fully embrace the qualities of your natural voice as it is? How can you adapt your goals to suit where you are vocally? What can you change about your vocal technique in order to move towards your vocal goals without overshadowing or interfering with your natural vocal timbre?
3) Focus on one vocal element at a time
Part of your vocal arsenal will be natural – you won’t have to work hard for it. It will always just be unavoidably there. But the other parts – like pitch accuracy, range, dynamic, tone, intensity, licks, sustains, vibrato, etc. will take some time to get right – to get “awesome”. What issues have you been told, or are you aware of, that are the most challenging for you? Make sure you seek feedback from other people. We are often unaware of the issues most obvious to others. Choose the issue that is creating the biggest roadblock to master first. Don’t be afraid to spend weeks, or months, mastering that one issue in one song before you move on to something. Learn it deeply. Then move on and do the same thing with the next issue.
4) Get regular private training to get accurate feedback quickly
. Good vocal teachers efficiently correct issues, and move you quickly towards your goals. All of these things require critical feedback from an instructor skilled at vocal development. Because virtually every vocal issue is rooted in vocal registration, you need a teacher who understands vocal registration and voice tuning deeply and who can help you address your most relevant vocal issues and adjust them ASAP. Otherwise, you could end up spending years on vocal training that is not addressing root issues, or worse, that is damaging!