In Indian classical music, it is pretty essential to sing in a good, pure voice, which not only keep your vocal chords in a comfort zone, but also seem soft and sweet for the listeners. Music of every community or country has its own peculiar style and intonations, but probably, almost all the musical cultures believe in the pure and full-throat voice which leads to aesthetically sound music. I am trying to explain some some proper ways to improve the voice quality while singing, which has incredibly helped me a lot in rigorous practices and vocal recitals as well.
- Five to ten minutes of breath exercises especially Bhatsika (full deep breath), Anulom-vilom, Bhraamri. During breath exercises, sit in a comfortable cross-legs posture with arms on knees. Start with deep-breathing exercise, i.e, inhale deeply holding breath for 5-7 seconds and exhale. Focus on breath. This is the best exercise for throat and stomach. It also results in the increase in concentration level. After doing this for five minutes, do anulom-vilom, i.e, deep inhale-exhale from the nostrils. Close one nostril to inhale from the other (with a finger) and then exhale from the one which was closed and again close another nostril to inhale with the other and exhale with the same. And last one is bhraamri, which is practiced by humming voice with closed mouth and ear and eyes also shut together with fingers.
- Sit straight and make sure your spinal cord is straight while singing. Voice-culture has a direct relation to stomach and spinal chord. You’ll surely notice the difference in voice coming directly from the stomach while sitting straight and the voice produced by sitting bent and lethargically.
- Try to sing with stomach with less use of throat. There are three sources from where the sound is produced : head voice, throat and stomach. Pure and real voice is produced from the stomach. Ideally, throat should only be the source of producing voice. voice should be originated by the stomach so that the throat is not hindered and you can sing as long as you want without exhaustion of throat or vocal tract.
- Sing in SPEECH TONE i.e., normal, natural talking tone. That tone is actually real and pure. Not when you are angry or agitated but when you talk normally. Do not change your voice while singing.
- Rendering vowels O, A, AA, E, AE, OO and Hmm (closed mouth) on any particular scale for fifteen minutes or so. Sing vowels in real voice with full breath and most important mouth shape should be same as the vowel. This method increases sustainability and air component in the voice.
- Keep a mirror while rendering notes and see your mouth shape. Mouth shape plays a vital role in voice texture. Try to maintain the big circular shape of the mouth throughout one note rendition like AA…which is completed in one breath. Circular shape of the mouth helps in proper and soft voice throw without increasing the volume.
- Volume of the sound while singing any note should be SAME throughout. Keep up with natural volume.
- Do not try to sing loudly or harshly. Turn your deaf ear to anyone who teaches you to sing loud. He/she is destroying your vocal chords, your range, your voice quality, your expressions, your versatility and the divinity and soul of your voice.
- Singing in LOWER octave provides weight and resonance to the voice. It also increases the ability to modulate the voice correctly when needed. Go to the lowest possible note in your real voice, and then return to the base note. Pay attention to your volume at that point.
- Gradually head towards higher notes EFFORTLESSLY. Maintaining the same level, start going up, in a moderate speed. Not too fast, slow would still work. Watch how many notes can you cross in one breath, maintaining the same volume as the lowest one. Its interesting to see how your voice will change, how your vocal chords will re adjust as you go higher. Go as high possible without straining your voice, making it shriller as you go up,( you can take a fresh breath from wherever you lost it) and then note down that highest Note. Now come down in the same speed. Back to the starting note.
- Never use artificial or modulated voice INITIALLY in any genre, as it harms the throat. Later, you may sing in false voice when you are aware which is natural and which is false voice.
- Take a very deep breath every time you inhale, maintain the same volume, do not strain your voice, sing easy, in sur or right pitch, and with every effort, gradually try touching a note higher and lower.
- When you sing, sing as if someone is watching you.. you’ll develop a habit of cautious and correct singing.
- Drink a lot of water and eat juicy fruits in order to keep the vocal chords moist in all circumstances.
If you do this right, you should soon be able to see a drastic increase in your range and breath.