If you have ever wanted to learn how to sing but were worried about your ability, you will be happy to know that you do not need perfect vocal cords to have a good singing voice.
Vocal cords are the muscles in the larynx also widely known as the voice box that vibrates to produce sound. They stretch across the throat and can be brought together or apart by various muscles. When the muscles pull on each of the vocal cords, it causes them to vibrate. This vibration produces sound. They are two bands of muscle tissue that stretch like elastic bands from the thyroid cartilage at the base of the tongue to the top of the trachea known as the windpipe.
Recognize your Best Cords!
Vocal cords are like fingerprints, which vary from person to person and so does the voice. The thicker the vocal cords, the lower and richer the voice of the person, while anyone with thin vocal cords will have a higher and a little pitchy voice, the one that might shake your very soul at times.
Although it is not possible to completely change your vocal cords, one can always practice some of the exercises to strengthen them, thus learning how to control the vocals, which is the most crucial part of singing. It is more like learning to pluck the strings of the guitar: though difficult, one can practice it and eventually master the technique of controlling the vocal cords according to oneself, similar to the way your fingers slide from one string to another to play the required tune.
Let’s discuss a few exercises that might help you to gain control over your vocals.
Strengthening the Vocals!
Singing is indeed the best way to gain control over the vocal cords, but that alone would not suffice. Practicing certain exercises along with singing will help you in the long run. Let us glance through some of the ways by which we can do this.
1. Roll Your Tongue
These will help you to improve your vocal cords, also increasing the strength of your respiratory system. Some techniques that involve the tongue are also called vocal cord mobility exercises, which are performed by stretching the vocal cords and opening them up by pulling the tongue away from the back of the throat. One can also roll the edges of the tongue towards the centre, thus creating a space in the middle, and repeat this a couple of times. Tongue exercises eventually help one reduce any weakness in the vocal cords in order to improve the voice quality.
2. One Breath at a Time
Strengthening your larynx using certain breathing exercises will make it easier to sing with clarity and power and build up your lung capacity to hold breaths in for extended time periods. This will also help you to maintain a healthy voice over time.
The larynx, being the voice box of our body, plays a major role in voice regulations as well. Stand or sit straight, use both your hands, and put them on your diaphragm. Then breathe in as deeply as possible and wait for a few seconds, post which you can breathe out. These simple exercises will not only make your voice smoother but also stronger. Find more such useful breathing exercises that will boost your breath control and lung capacity here.
3. Utilizing Diaphragm to Full Potential
What we usually do is breathe in a way that results in only the top of the lungs being utilized. What the singers do to improve the quality of their voices is breathe using the diaphragm. This will help you to control your voice and you can hold the notes for a longer time than usual as you would not be running out of air frequently. Spending a few minutes every day on this would be enough. As Neha Kakkar also mentions in her singing course on FrontRow, learning when to let go of the air and exhale slowly is the key. For this technique, you can observe your diaphragm and if it goes in and out. If it does, voila! You are doing it right.
4. Training Your Soft Palate
If you open your mouth wide open in front of the mirror, you'll see just see a tiny drop of flesh hanging towards the starting part of the throat: that is the soft palate. With a little effort, one can also see it moving. Ever seen the opera singers singing gracefully to the highest pitch possible and transcending into different notes smoothly?
Singers often exercise this part of the mouth and it contributes a great amount to the strengthening of the vocal cords. Open the mouth wide enough to let the air flow freely. This exercise allows you to utilize the soft palate and with regular exercise, one can also use it to create vibrations in the song. The increase in the airflow results in a better and richer voice, which can also be controlled better. The songs sung then also become better to listen to!
5. Never Force Yourself to Sing if it Hurts
I know that you can sing. I know that you have been singing for a long time (in one setting or another). But if you are going to sing, please do not hurt your voice. If your voice hurts, then you are doing something wrong. If your voice hurts it means that you are stressing your voice out. When you feel pain in your voice, stop singing immediately. You see, your voice is very delicate and sensitive to changes in the environment and to stress on the body in general. You must protect it for it is the means for you to pursue your passion, and maybe even make money and earn a living for yourself.
6. Strict No Smoking Regime and More
Singing is a delicate art, and in order to protect the lungs from smoke-related damage, singers have to abide by certain rules. The first step is to quit smoking if you’re a smoker. The second step is to follow a healthy diet. The third step is drinking plenty of water. Singing is a very stressful activity for the body, particularly because of all the pressure put on the lungs and vocal cords. This pressure can cause health problems, including permanent damage to the voice if a singer smokes while they are performing or recording. It is important for singers to understand that smoking can cause long-term damage to their voices and that even a single cigarette can harm their performance. Fortunately, it is possible to quit smoking with the right help and support.
7. Humid Room and Humid Throats
Humid rooms for singing are a great way to keep your voice healthy. If you're an aspiring singer, you know how damaging vocal strain can be. You could lose your voice entirely or your singing could sound raspy from all the strain. These are both terrible outcomes. That's why you need to ensure that you protect your voice whenever possible. Creating a comfortable space for yourself with a humidifier is a good way to do this.
Mouth and throat dryness is a common problem for singers. The tongue and throat can become extremely dry when singing, especially in a warm environment. This can cause the voice to sound squeaky and the singer to feel uncomfortable, as well as lose their voice quicker. After performing a vocal exercise that requires lots of air, a singer’s mouth often feels drier than before. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to drink enough water during a performance. This is why many people turn to beverages with electrolytes, such as sports drinks, to keep their throats moist while they perform.
If you are committed to becoming a better singer, I can help you out. Check out my live classical singing course, where I take you through the A to Zs of classical singing and put you on the path to your singing career!