Shelby Rollins @shelby-rollins Blogs

3 Ways To Immediately Improve Your Vocal Tone

One of the main questions I get from my students is, "how do I improve my tone?"

This is an incredibly important issue to tackle in every singer's voice. Because if you have an unpleasant tone, it is incredibly difficult to sell your music unless you are that interesting of an artist with excessive amounts of quirkiness that can cover up awful vocal tone. But who wants to be that contrived? Plus, that's exhausting attempting to cover up all of your inadequacies and be something that you're not. It's a lot easier to just be who you are and be the best version of yourself. So let's talk about that…

The first way to improve your vocal tone might sound so simple that it's dumb. But I am floored at how neglected to this one simple thing is from so many of my singers. That one thing is opening your mouth!!! Let me go ahead and just tell you it doesn't sound cool to mumble in your songs. First of all no one has any idea what you're saying. Second of all, your vocal tone is so smushed inside of your mouth when you barely open it at all, that no one can really hear the depth and richness that you are capable of. Be dramatic and over-the-top with it especially at first. If you don't feel ridiculous when you open your mouth dramatically in songs, I would venture to say you aren't doing it enough yet. Watch yourself in front of the mirror. And ask other people you trust to watch you try this and let them tell you if it's a little bit too far. Usually, what we think is excessive and awkward looks completely normal to our audience. You have to get used to doing this otherwise you never will on stage. Keep working on it so that it becomes familiar and not awkward.

On a technical note, opening your mouth engages more square footage of your mouth resonator. As long as you are not yelling and pulling up chest by utilizing your mouth more, then the result will be a richer tone that you would have otherwise never accessed because it was stifled with your closed mouth approach.

The second way to improve your vocal tone quickly is to increase your airflow especially in sustained notes. Most of the time singers squeeze or compress way too much and end up with a strident vocal tone. Increasing your airflow helps to balance out your compression and open up a sweeter sound that is more pleasing to the ear. Use a few air texturizing exercises like the syllables "vuh" or "juh" to get the air moving!

The third way to easily improve your vocal tone is to increase your pharyngeal resonance. A lot of singers sing with a muddy chest heavy vocal tone that gets dull and splatty as the range ascends. Use exercises like "meow" or the good ole standard nasal "nay nay nay" to access more nasality. 

Don't be afraid of increasing your nasal resonance if you are a belter! Most people are afraid of sounding too nasal so they swing the pendulum to the opposite it end of the spectrum and sing with far too little nasal resonance. The result is a dull boring voice. Commercial voices that sell have a great bite or ping to their tone that comes from a balance of resonance. This means that the voice needs to resonate out of both the mouth and the nasal cavity in order to find a neutral balanced and authentic tone.

So there's 3 quick ways to immediately improve your vocal tone. Still struggling? Give us a call and set up a one on one session and we can dive deeper in to your unique voice!