Understanding how your voice makes sound, starting with breath management, can boost your confidence in your vocal ability and your creative choices.

Before I work with a new coaching client, I ask them questions to figure out what they’re wanting to focus on plus a few wellbeing questions. 

I also ask them, “what is your fear or frustration in relation to your singing voice?”

Today’s question I’d like to answer is “not understanding your voice enough to be able to develop its good qualities.” 

A great place to start is with some sound production 101 so that you can understand just a few of the moving parts involved in producing sound.

The two key fundamentals I like to start with are:

  1. Vocal Health
  2. Efficiency of sound production

You are creatively most free to express when you have no physical barriers like pain, stress, tension or performance anxiety.

A quick vocal health checklist:

  1. Sleep
  2. Hydration
  3. Nutrition
  4. Release tension
  5. Daily Vocal Care Habits ie, Speaking voice mindfulness, Sirens, 
  6. Vocal rest
  7. Excellent singing technique!

If you need some help with your vocal health, check out my Vocal Health Tips for Singers e-book.

So moving on, I’m assuming that you’re in great vocal health, that you are aware that your body houses your instrument and that you are mindful of neutral postural alignment to make sure that the air can move freely and create sound efficiently. 

How your voice makes sound

1. Breath

Air is the power or the generator for the sound. That energy in the form of air pressure moves from your lungs via the airway towards your vocal folds.

When you close your vocal folds, they are able to resist or hold back the air pressure and that will vibrate your vocal folds. A soundwave is then produced.

If your vocal folds are open, you are generally in a relaxed position, usually consistent with breathing.

2. Vocal Folds

The vocal folds are the source of the sound. They vibrate to produce a sound wave or air particles that move into the space above your larynx into your oral cavity and nasal passages. 

3. Vocal Tract

This is your filter or resonator. Your vocal tract is made up of the space above your larynx, your oral cavity and nasal passages. 

How you choose to  shape your vocal tract or “place” and direct the sound energy gives you the resonance, timbre or tone of your sound. 

4. Articulators

Tongue, teeth, lips, jaw. These articulators help you to produce sounds, syllables or words which are made up of consonants and vowels.

We sustain the sound on the vowel when singing.

Watch the video to see me demonstrate an exercise you can use to explore your breath management and to understand how to adjust your breath based on the task you are asking your body to do! 

If you have a breath management or singing question you’d like me to answer, comment below, jump over to the YouTube channel to subscribe so you can see when I post the other two parts to the how your voice makes sound series, go live or post bonus videos answering your question!


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