A common problem many singers are having, is that visualizations and tipps they find online about singing, are leading them straight into overthinking what they are doing, and in turn will hinder their progress. There is no easy visualisation that will get you to understand the physiological priciples of singing well, without lots of practice, and eventually first hand experience of those principles.
This is not to discourage aspiring singers, quiet the opposite: don’t worry if you don’t „get“ the visualizations you stuble across. They can range from the most basic to the most absurd approaches, some of which we have listed below.In fact, you will probably understand what has been meant in retrospect, once you have discovered the natural way of singing that feels well by yourself.
All visual instructions of singing „high up in the head“ aside, you are probably using your ears too much in order to sing. A natural habit of most people who are not professional singers yet, will be to constantly „check“ the pitch and tone of what they are singing in their head, namely using their ears. This will keep you from using the full power and range of your voice, since this thinking path of „checking what comes out of your mouth“, will not allow you to free your voice. Now you might think, „of course I have to use my ears, how else am I gonna hit a note?“ But the focus ont his can be a flawed approach. You will be able to sing much more accuratel once you focus of the feeling of vibration. Of course you will still use your ears while singing, no doubt about that, but you need not to actively focus on them. Instead of what you are hearing, you should slowly shift your focus down towards what you are feeling, especially in your chest and stomach, try to feel the vibration of the sound you create rather than hearing it. At first this will be hard to accomplish because it has to do with letting go of what you think is the control over your voice. In reality it will be much easier to control and intuitively use your voice, once you have learned to utilize the feeling of vibrations in your body without fear.
The following tips are commonly head and should be taken with a grain of salt. Overthinking these aspects can lead to more tension than it does you well:
“Keep your shoulders low”
Once you have built up enough strength in your Diapragm, stomach and back muscles, you will naturally increase your ability to relax your shoulders during singing and also during rest. The instruction to keep your shoulders low is counter-productive for most people, because it will introduce tension and too much focus on the shoulder area, when you are actively trying to hold them down during singing. Your mental focus should always lay in the center of your chest, expanding from the bottom of your diaphragm up to your throat and tounge, but always inside of your body close to your spine.
“Keep your larynx low”
The little cousin of “keep your shoulders low” is to keep your larynx low. The same principle applies than above. By actively trying to lower your larynx during singing, you will create tension instead of relaxation, the exact opposite of what you want. To have a naturally relaxed and „low“ position of your larynx (low is probably a fundamentally wrong description), you are gonna need muscle strength in the base of your tounge, and other muscle groups that will develop over the course of time with practice.
“Keep your throat open”
You have probably heard somebody tell you to open your voice, or sing with an open throat. This can be very misleading, because this tipp is based on resonance. To achieve resonance it is not your throat you need to open, it are the resonance chambers in your hear and chest. The resonance chamber of your chest are actually your lungs. You can practice to open chest resonance by standing straight with your chest pushed out without curving your back. Try to make yourself tall without streching. Just imagine yourself growing a couple of millimeters, then breathe in without creating tension. When you sing, try to not let the feeling of resonance kreep up into your troat and head only, but try to keep the vibration as low in your chest as possible.
“Push your belly out”
What this should actually mean, is relax your abs. If all of your abs are relaxed it will benefit a deep diaphragmatic breathing. In order to achieve the right amount of relaxation you will need a correct body posture, one that does not requiere your ab muscles to hold tension.
“Breathe as if you are breathing though a pin hole”
This tipp originates in the feeling of breathing in and out when your tounge position is high enoug. If it is too low, you will struggle to apply the right amount of tension while breathing. Basically this tention with a high tounge position is needed to make more air flow through the vocal cords. By practicing to keep the back of your tounge up high in your mouth, you will develop the feeling of a resistance while breathing out (in a good way), which will help you to completely fill and empty your lungs consciously. Breatihing: counter part to your diaphragm is your tounge. keep your chin paralell to the ground try to make yourself larger without using force.
If you take these tips with a grain of salt they might help you in visualizing the correct way to sing. Remember, singing has to be learnt by repetition, and the correct way to sing will manifest within you by feeling the vibrations, rather than focusing on controlling your vocal chords accordingly.