Hearing yourself better

670px-Sing-Vibrato-Step-1If you haven’t ventured into recording yourself at singing or even talking, you should give it a try. You will find an enormous disappointment at how you sound assuming you are just starting singing. That is because of how the sound travels within you and outside you. Within you, the sound gets conducted by the more solid bones and muscles surrounding your mouth and transmits the sound to your eardrums. However, the space between your mouth and the microphone isn’t as solid – in fact, it is all air. The air has an effect of dissipating your voice and it isn’t so solidly carried forward and you will be quite frankly, appalled at how you sound. That is how it is and you can’t change that. In fact, others have heard your appalling voice all the time anyway so if they say you sound good or bad, just take it as it is. There are a few things you can do to sound better.

1) Use a good microphone. These need not be expensive but not all of them sound great. So you have to experiment with them. One thing for sure, microphones have a break-in period and they sound better over time.

2) Use a pop- and hiss- filter. When you speak, you hear the P’s and the S’s all coming out not at the same tune as the vowels. You can get a simple microphone cover, usually made up of sponge like material, which will lessen the impacts. Some sophisticated microphones will have built in digital filters for these sounds. But a simple $3 screen will work pretty well.

3) Tension: Tension in any part of the body is the killer. Any tension comes in the way of maintaining a good, steady voice. Tension also limits one’s range. So you have to do everything you can to eliminate tension. Proper posture, breathing correctly and position of the head are key things in releasing tension.

4) With proper posture, the head should feel balanced as though it is on the tip of a ball-bearing in a socket.  Your chin should be parallel to the ground – you should neither look up or down. Looking up will restrict air flow in your throat as it narrows down the opening. Looking down will do the same and your voice will sound muffled.

5) Sing with an open mouth. This is key. The reason your voice will sound flat and not carry out to the audience is because of a insufficiently open mouth. With an open mouth, the lower jaw must feel loose and almost hanging free. You will be surprised that the lower jaw is not what control the production of sound or the vowels. It is the throat and the tongue. This is a hard concept for beginners to understand and practice. As I practice with an open throat, I feel I am unable to emphasize the vowels. But I am told this will come with practice. With an open mouth, the sound resonates within the cavity and gets carried forward. Think of an open mouth as a loud speaker which is cone shaped. As the sound gets carried forward, their amplitude or the range of movement of the sound waves increases and having space for this helps it sound louder.


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