As a performer, learning how to stop singing from your throat is a challenge that all singers face. Whether you’re a new or experienced singer, throat-singing is a bad habit that we can all subconsciously fall into, and over time it can lead to long-term singing issues, such as vocal nodules and damage to the vocal cords.
However, there are things you can do to prevent throat-singing and to engage your diaphragmatic muscles.
This is exactly what we’ll be discussing below in this article.
How to stop singing from your throat – Top 12 Steps
Below we’ve provided some of the most effective steps to take in order to prevent throat singing.
1) Warm Up Your Voice Before Singing
Before singing, it is important to warm up your voice. This can be done by doing some vocal exercises or by singing some scales. By warming up your voice, you will help prevent vocal strain and will be able to produce a better sound.
If you don’t warm up, your vocal folds may feel sluggish and stiff. As a result, warming them up will help to make them more flexible.
Warmups may be overlooked because you believe they are not necessary for successful singing; nonetheless, they are. Why, well muscles support your vocal cords, therefore they must be warmed up before singing. Your face muscles are also important for good singing. It will also assist if you warm them up.
Don’t feel embarrassed if you make a lot of noise while distorting your face during warmups. It will be beneficial if you make vocal warmups a habit before singing. However, performing warmups is not enough; you must also allow your voice folds and vocal muscles to cool down. You may find several vocal warmups and cooling down exercises online that will be useful to you.
2) Be Aware Of Discomfort, Tension And Pain
Although this might seem like an obvious thing, it’s very easy to ignore subtle signs that you’re straining your voice. That’s why it’s really important to be aware before, during and after a singing session of how your throat, jaw and mouth feels, and the way that your voice sounds. Any signs of tension, discomfort or pain demonstrate that you’re not singing correctly and that adjustments need to be made.
3) Develop Good Vocal Habits
According to reputable sources, it takes 21 days to create and solidify a new habit. Therefore, it’s crucial that you’re putting these steps into practice every time that you sing, over a prolonged period of time. Practice makes perfect, and prolonged practice creates these healthy habits, which will improve your singing and reduce throat tension.
4) Relax Your Throat When Singing
Other than using some of the other steps which we’ve outlined in this article, one of the best ways to relax your throat when you sing is by drinking plenty of fluids on a regular basis, before, during and after singing. Be sure to stay away from caffeine and alcohol, as they will dry out your throat and make it more difficult to sing.
You can also use a humidifier/steamer in the room where you are singing to help keep your vocal cords moist.
5) Always Sing within Your Vocal Range
Your vocal range is the array of notes that your voice/vocal cords are able to oscillate at, to achieve a particular frequency. The stronger and more well-trained your vocal cords are, the wider and more full-sounding your vocals will be.
How can you find your vocal range, this is usually determined by a vocal coach. If you have had previous vocal tuition, you will already know your vocal range. However, it is changeable given multiple factors, such as your age, level of practice, and health.
Therefore, singing songs that are in a key outside of your vocal range will in-turn lead for you to strain when reaching the upper/lower notes. So it’s important to transpose the songs that you’re looking to sing into a lower/higher key, best suited to your vocal range.
6) Refrain from Oversinging or Forcing Your Voice
It’s extremely important that you don’t force your voice to sing, or in fact oversing. You should sing at a level which is natural and doesn’t cause vocal strain. Pushing your voice will cause tension on the vocal folds, and will damage them over time, leading to poor vocal health.
If you are experiencing pain or hoarseness, you’ll want to take a break from singing for a day or two, to give your voice a rest. And ensure you’re drinking plenty of fluids.
7) Develop Solid Breath Support When Singing
Your lungs contract and expand to allow you to breathe. The diaphragm is the major muscle that allows the lungs to contract and expand.
As a result, diaphragmatic breathing will aid in supporting the tone. Your breathing acts as a cushion for your voice, allowing you to achieve higher notes. When you run out of air, your vocal folds begin to contract. Learning how to breathe properly for singing is the best way to develop diaphragmatic singing.
How exactly can you do this? Well, you can start in a seated position with your elbows on your knees. Take a deep breath and feel your lower back expand. Exhale, but don’t let your lower back collapse. This exercise, if done consistently, can help you acquire that sense of lower stability and openness.
8) Learn To Use Correct Tongue Placement
Tongue positioning is another essential aspect that may induce you to sing from your throat. When you sing a note, the placement of your tongue can also help to build up tension in your throat. Your tongue should ideally be resting behind the bottom of your front teeth.
Position your two thumbs below your chin between your throat and jaw to check the position of your tongue. Curl the tip of your tongue back as though you were aching to touch your tonsils with your tongue.
Then, try singing high notes, and if you feel tension in your thumbs, it could be due to pressure from your tongue. When trying to hit high notes, you must unlearn this tendency and learn the proper position of the tongue.
9) Learn to Drop Your Larynx
When singing, you can use your neck muscles to depress or raise your larynx.
When you yawn, for example, you drop your larynx. When belting high notes, however, most beginners raise their larynx. This elevation of the larynx prevents individuals from opening their vocal folds and producing an open and complete tone.
To generate a complete sound, you must learn how to keep your larynx whilst singing. Practice will undoubtedly help you master the falling of your larynx, and over time this will become your natural way of singing.
To do this, begin with a yawn to help lower the larynx, so you can feel the motion, but don’t consciously press your larynx down towards the back of your tongue. Pushing the larynx towards the back of your tongue would result in a tight sensation. This tight sensation is not suitable for singing high notes.
When your tongue goes forward, the distance between the larynx and your tongue is stretched. This causes your larynx to slide down.
When you widen the space between your tongue and larynx, breathe in and out. Keep the larynx in that lower position.
With consistent practice, you can hold your larynx in a low posture while breathing. You can also attempt the drop and slide exercise. Try dropping your larynx and saying, “ah.” Simply rinse and repeat this process.
10) Maintain good health, hydrate, and have a balanced diet
Your voice is produced by your vocal cords, which are muscles. Similarly to every muscle in the body, it requires good nutrition (including proteins), exercise, and adequate hydration in order to operate efficiently. Therefore, your diet and overall health should be a high priority here, not just for your general quality of life, but also the quality of your singing.
11) Correctly Shape Vowels and Consonants
When singing, the significance of how you articulate and enunciate consonant and vowel sounds is very important, not just for ease of singing, but also for delivering the lyrics so that you can be fully understood, and emotions can be conveyed.
There are numerous exercises that you can do to improve your enunciation when singing. One of the most common, yet highly effective methods which singing tutors use is to practice tongue twisters. Start slow, and build up the pace.
Another helpful exercise is to record yourself singing, both audibly and visually, and have someone else, unfamiliar with the song see if they can understand the lyrics. You can then see if your enunciation is clear, and what parts of the song sounded strained.
It’s important that these exercises are brought together with proper breathing, so that you pronounce the lyrics of the song clearly.
12) Learn More About Vocal Resonance
Another skill you must master in order to eliminate strain and not sing from your throat is, resonance.
What do we mean by resonance? It’s the technique of echoing sound in a specific spot within your body is known as resonance. You can feel the location where your voice resonates.
However, there are four general chambers where you can resonate your voice, these include::
To learn how to stop singing from your throat, it’s important to know how to engage these other chambers, to resonate the voice there instead.
Is it bad to sing from your throat?
Singing from the throat is not advised. Your diaphragm is the best place to practice singing. Concentrating on this will result in a clearer and stronger tone from your vocals. Even if you don’t want to sing from your throat, the sounds still pass through it. It also houses the soft palate, which influences how you sound.
How to know if you are singing from your throat
If you happen to be feeling any kind of throat discomfort, pressure, tension, or pain around the throat, neck, and mouth area, it could be from singing incorrectly, I.E from the throat instead of the diaphragm. Another common sign is you’ll hear that your throat is becoming more hoarse after singing.
How to relax your throat when singing
Singing through your throat can be avoided by relaxing your throat and engaging your other muscles. When singing, the more at peace your throat is, the more open it will seem, permitting vocal release and steering away from singing from your throat.
When we’re nervous about a gig/performance, or we’re straining to reach a note, we have muscles that descend down the back of the throat that stiffen and tense.
These powerful muscles, known as constrictors, aid in swallowing. But we don’t want them to be constrained when we’re singing; they should be relaxed.