Your Speaking Voice Affects Your Singing Voice

11.10.2016 |

Episode #10 of the course How to sing like a star by Roma Waterman


If you pay careful attention to your speaking voice, it will help improve your singing voice.

We are in our final lesson on how to sing like a star! I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the privilege of teaching you in this course.

My final tip for you today is that how you speak will have a direct impact on your singing voice. If you are constantly speaking in your throat, you may actually be experiencing vocal fatigue because you are speaking all day with poor technique. The rules of posture, breathing, and resonance also apply to your speaking voice.

I have taught many classroom teachers how to sing, and their speaking voice has posed a significant problem for their singing. The fact that they have to talk all day can really leave them fatigued. Often, their singing lessons with me include how to look after their speaking voice as part of their learning.

Many singers think that they are resting their voices for a gig in the evening if, during the day, they whisper or keep their voices low and “breathy.” This is actually more tiring for your voice and will make it worse.


The Solution

Support your speaking voice as you would support your singing voice. Don’t speak too high or too low, but keep your voice resonant and forward—try to speak above the “croak.” Use your breath to support your speaking voice as you would your singing voice.

One way to improve this is by doing some projection exercises; this will help “lift” the voice out of the throat.

A great projection exercise that is really simple is to stand correctly as mentioned when we talked about posture and read from a section of a book, keeping these tips in mind:

  1. Imagine you are speaking to someone 5-10 feet away. This will immediately lift your voice and stop you from speaking in a whisper or in your throat. It’s loud enough to have a conversation with someone directly in front of you, but you are not yelling to someone across a room. It’s a nice, clear voice.

  2. As you read, take note of the sound of your voice. If you hear any “croaks” or fluctuations in your voice, read from the same place in your book and eliminate them.

  3. Allow your voice to sound smooth and clear, eradicating any of the croaky, scratchy tones.


Reducing Hard Glottal Attacks

Take notice of any hard starts to notes or words. For example, often when people say an “A” sound, as in the word “and” or “accent,” the “A” has a strong attack or harshness to it. Imagine saying that sound with a silent “H” in front of it. I say silent because it’s a letter no one else should hear, but it will soften your tone. This strong attack on certain vowels is often called an “attack of the glottis” or “hard glottal attack” in singing terms. This simply means the tone is being pushed and will sound forced and hard. If you do this, you will eventually have vocal trouble.

A great exercise to reduce glottal attack is yawning combined with a sighing sound. Take a big yawn, and as you do, make a sighing sound, starting high and coming down low. Allow it to be relaxed without a pushed hard attack of the voice.


Laryngeal Massage

Tension in the neck and throat can also cause vocal difficulties when speaking and singing. Massage is great for relaxing the muscles surrounding the throat and head. Sometimes I use lavender oil for its relaxing properties and gently massage the throat to help relaxation.

* * *

Congratulations on completing this short email course! If you would like to learn more to keep you inspired on your singing journey, private singing lessons with your own teacher are a great way of receiving personal direction for your specific needs. There are also some great online vocal courses that will help you learn to sing in the privacy of your own home. Enjoy the pleasure of singing, and I look forward to hearing your voice once day!

-Roma Waterman


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