One thing most singers want is a more powerful singing voice. Once that is sharp, full and cuts through the music easily. Unfortunately most of us go about achieving that by simply pushing and forcing our way through notes, phrases and melodies. Today I’ll talk a little bit about what causes a weak, airy voice and give you one exercise you can do to help improve it.
The most important thing to develop in order to strengthen your voice and get rid of airiness is something we vocal coaches call “cord closure”. Cord closure refers to how well your vocal cords come together when you’re singing or speaking. For most people who have never done any kind of training to develop them, the vocal cords do come together, but they’re not very strong so that “seal” is not very good. As a result, much of the air you send up to produce the sound you’re trying to make goes unused. This produces the airy, weak sound we hear when we sing or speak.
But then a domino effect of sorts starts to happen. You see, when your cords aren’t using air efficiently you run out of air much faster. As a result most singers start compensating by gasping for more and pushing harder. All of this wears the vocal cords out much faster and makes singing much harder. To improve this condition we have to strengthen those small, thin edges of the vocal folds that come together to produce sound. We want them to produce a much tighter seal when they’re together, so more of the air you’re sending up to produce sound actually gets used.
One example I like to use is a car window. If you’ve ever been driving down the street with your windows up, but you could still hear wind coming into the car, you understood that even though the window was up all the way, it hadn’t made a complete seal with the top of the door. So you reach over, give the button one more hit and the window moves just that small fraction it needs to make a good seal and stop the escaping air.
This is what we want to do with our vocal cords, and that’s really what “cord closure” exercises are all about. But because everything is so amazingly and wonderfully connected to everything else in our body, improving cord closure will not only give you a stronger voice. It will improve breathing, increase your range, overall vocal tone, make high notes easier….I mean, wow! There are several such cord closure exercises you can use, but today I’ll show you just one.
Today we’re going to use the sound we make when speaking the word “AT”, as in “at the store”, or “at the cross”. Only we’ll get rid of the T on the end.
To start out, let’s use the same 5 tone scale we used in this lesson . We’re going to sing this Aaa-aaa-aaa sound “Staccato”, which means very short and detatched. You’ll do it right if you simply focus on attacking the “A every time. Avoid slurrring through the notes like this: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa”. Rather, attack each note of the 5 tone scale like this: Aaa-Aaa-Aaaa-Aaaa-Aaa.
Remember to take your 5 tone scale up and then back down, then move up a half step to the next note and do it again. Keep going until you reach the highest place you can do this COMFORTABLY.
You should NOT be getting any louder as you do this. Allow that edgy, choppy, closing feeling that creates the sharp “A” for you to do all the work. Don’t use any kind of force or reach for notes in any way.
After you’re used to this exercise, I want you to try using it in a song. This is actually a great way to train when you’re singing a song that has just one note you’re having trouble reaching. The idea is to take the actual words of the song and substitute them with this Aaa-Aaa-Aaaa sound. But you must always do this “Staccato”- meaning, very short, detached and choppy. Doing it this way is what exercises the edges of your vocal folds and helps them get stronger.
If you do this on a regular basis along with the “low larynx” exercises we learned in my previous article you’re going to start hearing and feeling some amazing changes very quickly. If, like me, you’re a more visual person, this may be hard for you to grasp on paper. Most people need to see and hear it demonstrated.
That’s why I created Vocal Ministry Breakthough, my full length home study vocal training course. Vocal Ministry Breakthrough includes over 20 video vocal lessons with yours truly, taking you through powerful vocal workouts that feature exercises like these and many more. And for a limited time it’s 40% off for the holidays. Get started on your path to a stronger, more powerful singing voice now while the price is still discounted.
Till Next time,