It’s a challenge faced by many vocalists but is one that can be solved with a few simple exercises.
Find out how not to sing from your throat in four easy steps. Learn how to open your throat, relax it, get rid of vocal fry and build up the diaphragm. In doing this you can strengthen your vocal sound in no time at all, enabling your singing to flourish.
Read on to find out how to lose that hoarse, raspy sound and tired throat. Instead, allowing your vocals to grow strong.
How to not sing from your throat
This type of singing can sound jarring and unpleasant. This is why you should find out how not to sing from your throat. It can also cause vocal damage, an ongoing sore throat and laryngitis. Keeping your throat cleansed and healthy should also be a priority if you are a budding singer. You can achieve this by doing regular singing warm-ups, drinking hot honey and ginger and gargling salt regularly.
Is it bad to sing from your throat?
Singing from your throat isn’t recommended. The number one location you should be practising singing from is your diaphragm. Focusing on this will provide a clear and stronger sound to your vocals. Even though you don’t want to sing from your throat, the notes still travel through it. It’s also home to the soft palate which affects the sound you make.
How to know if you are singing from your throat
Are you feeling a squeeze or pressure on your throat when you sing? Perhaps you notice yourself becoming hoarse after time spent practising. Or worse, you’re losing your voice completely. Don’t despair, with a little know-how you can simply build release that throat and stop singing from it.
Discover how to stop singing from your throat by following the correct steps (and making sure you stick to them long term).
#1 Open it up
This is the first and easiest step. In fact, it may be all you need. Literally, open your throat more when you sing. It should feel like the very beginnings of a yawn when you do this. Remember, never strain to reach notes or create volume.
How should my throat feel when singing?
Your throat should feel free and easy, despite the sound coming through it.
#2 Eliminate vocal fry
This is a style of singing common in rock music. But use it too much and it can become an affectation. Singing with vocal fry can wreck your voice if you’re not doing it properly. Being aware of this style of vocalising will enable you to identify when you are and aren’t doing it. And if you want to learn how to not sing from your throat, you’ll need to give it a miss.
How to relax your throat when singing
Relaxing your throat will help prevent singing through your throat. The more at ease your throat is when singing, the more open it’ll feel, allowing vocal release and steering away singing from your throat.
We have muscles that travel down the back of the throat that become stiff and tighten up when we are, for example, nervous for a singing exam.
These strong muscles are called ‘constrictors’ and help us swallow. But we don’t want them constricting when we’re singing; they need to be chilled out.
How do you relax your throat for singing?
One interesting way to help the throat relax is by placing your finger on your Adam’s apple, which your vocal cords are tucked within.
#3 Relax your throat
Try this exercise…
- Repeat some small yawns, which releases the tension in the throat. Whilst doing this allow the muscles at the back of your throat to relax.
- With every repeating yawn, try to release a big sigh saying “ah” on a note that you feel comfortable with.
- Do this five times and your throat should feel lots more relaxed, making way for those projecting vocals.
Singing from diaphragm vs throat
The first step to stop singing from your throat is to know when you are singing from a vocalist’s ultimate utensil; the diaphragm. To paint a clearer picture, the diaphragm is a dome-like shaped muscle that nestles just below the heart and lungs.
The diaphragm takes the air in and out of the lungs with a flexing and contracting motion. This movement is similar to what a balloon would do if you were to repeatedly blow into it and let a little out. When singing, it’s good practice to breathe deeper than usual to keep the diaphragm super flat.
The flatter your diaphragm sits, the better control you’ll achieve of your breath as you sing out your most favourite ballads. You’ll also be able to add exciting dynamics and expression to your vocal practice too.
This also means you can control at what speed and how much air you lose as you sing. Aim for it to travel across the vocal cords and glide across the soft palate, blossoming into a striking vocal riff.
How to know if you are singing from your diaphragm
Take a deep breath and don’t let that breath stop and swirl within your throat and chest. If you can make sure it hits low down in your stomach, you’ll be singing from your diaphragm and not your throat. A singing success.
It’s all about learning to relax when singing. The more open your throat is, the easier it is to sing from the diaphragm.
In particular, high notes or stage nerves might be a guilty contender for causing throat tightness. It’s a normal struggle that singers come across.
#4 Sing from the diaphragm
It’s a quick and simple solution to easing a tight throat. Just making sure you regularly warm up before singing practice, lessons and performances is a great way to keep the throat at ease. Put your hand on your lower abdomen and breathe down into this area, rather than snatching high chest breaths.
Adding your breathing exercises and a diaphragmatic breathing workout to your warm-up will help even more.
From singing high notes and forgetting to breathe, or not using the diaphragm, singing from your throat doesn’t have to be a vocal obstacle. The throat needs help to warm up in the same way we need some time to wake up on those cold and early mornings. Before you start singing or talking, relax your throat by trying out a few techniques such as repetitive yawning. Lastly, before doing your all-important singing warm-ups, take some time out to do breathing exercises as this will shift focus onto singing from your stomach.
- How do singers keep their throat healthy?
The throat has to keep extremely busy as we sing. Therefore, keeping it happy and healthy is greatly important.
- How do I know if I’m singing correctly?
It can be tough to identify this. Record yourself (ideally on video so you can see and hear what you’re doing) and check your technique. Asking a singing teacher or vocal coach for a lesson to include feedback is a better way of telling if you have limited vocal experience.
- How do I stop my throat from drying when I sing?
To nurture the throat in the best way possible, it’s beneficial to sip on a hot cup of honey and ginger frequently, as the combination protects your throat from irritation. You can also gargle occasionally with saltwater. It may not taste very good, but it can help to keep the throat cleansed.
Have you has to learn how to not sing from your throat? Was it difficult or did you make the change effortlessly? Let us know in the comments below.