Singing seems to be one of the best ways to develop speech and is used by parents of young children in almost every culture across the world.
Singing is all about breathing, posture and then resonating our vocal chords as well as we can. Here are some simple exercises:
- Lie on your back with your hands on your stomach. Breathe in and out steadily. Feel where the movement is. It may well be lower than you would guess. There will also be some movement in your back. This is where you need to breath to get the best out of your voice for singing.
- Try the same thing standing up. See if you can get the same muscles moving as you did lying down. If you don’t get the same feeling, lie down again and check out which muscles move.
- Breath in for a count of 4. Then hold your breath for 4. Breath out for 4. Finally hold your breath for 4 before starting the cycle again. Each time you repeat the cycle all the counts remain 4 except the final breath hold which gets longer: the second time to 6, the third to 8 and so on.
- Imagine that your arms, hands and fingers, are controlled by a puppeteer. Shake them, whirl them around, waggle them around a bit at a time, tense them up. Then the puppeteer goes away, leaving your arms flopping down by your sides. This is where they should be for singing.
- Now imagine that the puppeteer has just one string. It is attached to the crown of your head and goes straight up. This is where your head should be for singing.
- It can help to start getting your vocal chords working by humming. Hum as low a note as you can. Swoop up to the very top of your voice and back down again. Repeat, each time trying to get the swoop as smooth as possible.
- Hum a note somewhere in the middle of your voice. Try making the sound as “buzzy” as possible. Feel where it buzzes in your face, especially around your nose and sinuses. Don’t worry about the sound, just go for maximum buzz. Repeat as many times as you like.
- Repeat the previous exercise but this time after humming for a couple of seconds, keep on humming and simply drop your lower jaw. You are now singing and sounding much better than you would have imagined.