If you were to go out and ask 100 singers if singing should feel as relaxed as speaking, I believe 98 to 100 of them will say yes. Ironically, out of that same 100 people, 86 of them will probably sing with unnecessary tension the next time they open their mouth to sing.
Now, I’m not a vocal Nazi, nor do I believe that you must sing one particular way in order to be considered a “singer,” but I do know that most people, even professional singers, sing with more tension than needed.
So the logical question for you to ask me now is,
“Why would anybody knowingly make singing harder than it needs to be?“
My response is simply one word: Habit.
Most singers don’t pay attention to their singing, they just keep doing what they’ve always done assuming everything is okay. This is alright if you’re planning on singing a song or two and calling it quits, but what about when you have to start singing multiple sets? Then you start recognizing that little bit of tension, because the more you sing the more that once little, almost unrecognizable amount of tension grows into something much greater.
But don’t get down… we are all guilty of this occasionally (myself included). But the only way we will get past this habit is through awareness. So, your exercise for today is to sing the chorus of your favorite song. Then, speak it and see if it feels the same.
Now sing something a little bit more challenging… then speak it. Did speaking it feel better, worse, or the same? If speaking it felt better, speak that section of the song again this time being sure to observe just how relaxed it feels. Then, speak the song on pitch slowly bringing it back to full out singing. You’ll be surprised how much this simple exercise can help you identify and correct tensions that you might not have even been aware of previously.
As a side note, if you still have problems getting your song back to a relaxed speech level, drop the words all together and repeat simple sounds like Bye, or No, or Guh, or Mum in place of the words. By repeating the same sound, you simplify the vocal process even more allowing you to get rid of stubborn tensions. Once you can get the feel of it simplified, you’re better able to balance the sound on the actual words.
I hope this little online singing tip helps. Thanks for reading and as always, Happy Singing!