You should attempt to develop a singing voice that brings out the best qualities in our voice, but how exactly do you do that? How do you take your “best” vocal qualities and develop them in a way that is different from everyone else? How can you make your style engaging and pleasing to the listener? In short, how do you create your own unique singing style?
First, you need to understand the fundamentals of vocal technique. A great way to start is to peruse our articles on vocal technique.
Second, and more specific, you will need to learn about resonance. Resonance describes the process of producing a tone, transforming it, and projecting it outward until it eventually fades out completedly. It is the result caused by air traveling through the vocal chords, which producing a tone and pitch that is carried outward on sound waves. In other words, resonance is what you hear when you sing using proper vocal coordination.
Resonance may be more easily understood when thinking of the speaking voice rather then the singing voice. Public speakers and business professionals, for example, fall into two categories. In the first category, they speak from the throat or nose, where there is only tone, but no resonance. This results in a harsh shouting sound for men and a shallow squeaky sound for women. In the second category, they speak from a place that produces a slight “humming”. This “humming” combined with tone from the vocal cords projects a firm and confident voice that smoothly and warmly communicates each word. All great speakers achieve a balance between tone production and resonance, which combine to produce a perfect pitch.
When we produce tone only and do not modify it with resonance, blending the deeper pitches from the chest with the higher pitches from the head, the result is unbalanced and unpleasant to listen too. Lack of resonance results in long-term vocal cord damage and keeps you from reaching your potential. You will be unable to sing in a contemporary manner and will limit the variety of styles you can sing.
Guidelines for creating resonance and your unique singing style:
- As tone is produced in the vocal cords, lifting the tone above the vocal cords and placing the sound forward in the front of the mouth will allow you to have creative freedom and the ability to locate the exact spot where you resonate your unique sound.
- Use proper breath control to move the tone upward and into position.
- Keep your mental focus on the front of the mouth and not on the throat to avoid unnecessary pressure around the vocal cords.
- When practicing, warm up the scale singing gently. Let the feeling of singing the scale guide you. Do not maneuver or impose the sound, as this will not give you the results your need.
Once accomplished, you will be free to perform in your unique singing style rather then being concerned about cracks, breaks, or pitch. You will be able to sing up and down your entire range easily, without tension. Your larynx will stay seated, not rising up to high notes. You will feel a vibration in the head and/or chest. While similar for everyone, each person is slightly different, so you will need to experiment.
It is very easy to fall into old habits. To avoid doing so, stay focused on the long-term benefits and resist short-term thinking that will limit and likely stunt your ability to develop your voice and grow beyond your current limitations.
The exact point where you create resonance is the same place where you create your singing voice; modify and amplify the sound; and make any adjustments necessary to express a song in whatever way you choose. This is where all of your training takes action. Enjoy the process, push your creative boundaries, and dare to be who you are musically. Everyone will be glad you did.