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How To Sing: The Basics

How To Sing: The Basics

Learn To Sing. Singer, songwriter and singing teacher Jules Rendell takes us through the basics of singing technique to help you make the most of your voice.

Jules Rendell is a professional singer and songwriter with classical training from the Royal Northern College of Music. As a singing teacher, she trains beginners and professionals alike in a range of styles from pop to classical, soul, jazz and rock. Here she will cover the basics of good singing technique, to help you make the most of your voice.

Step 1: Posture

When you sing, your body is your instrument, so your posture can make a difference to the sound you produce. Stand feet shoulder-width apart, slightly turned out, with your weight more on the balls of your feet. Your legs should be very slightly bent - don't lock your knees. Your shoulders should rest back and down. Keep your chin down with the back of the neck long, making sure the front of your neck and your throat is relaxed.

Step 2: Breathing

When singing, sound is made by pushing air through your vocal chords which makes them vibrate. Increase the capacity of your lungs by expanding your ribs using the intercostal muscles (between the ribs). Don't think about taking in air, rather focus on expanding your ribs and you will take in air automatically. When you start to sing, support your ribs by holding in your abdominal muscles.

Step 3: Warm up

Before you start singing, you need to warm up your voice like an athlete warms up before a competition. Here are three exercises to do this:

Step 4: Lip rolls

You're going to make a "brrr" sound by relaxing your lips and singing through them. Starting at a comfortable pitch, using a small range and expanding your ribs between each repetition, ascend semitone by semitone and go as high as you can.

Step 5: Vowel Sounds

Making the phonetic sounds A, E, I, O, U, sing a slightly more complex scale. Again repeat up the octave. Keep your jaw relaxed and your mouth open.

Step 6: "Mi" sounds

This time use a full scale, using the sound "mi". This will help you get into your higher register. Take quick breaths between each exercise. This will help to strengthen your intercostal muscles.

Step 7: Performance

Having a nice voice is one thing, communicating the meaning of a song is quite another. Make sure you annunciate your words appropriately, pronouncing consonants clearly and energetically. Also use your face to communicate the meaning of the words. Think about what the song means and allow those feelings to show in your facial expressions.