When you sing, DROP THE JAW! This is one “good habit” worth acquiring. (Unlearn faulty habits, kids.) Let your jaw unhinge quietly as you open the mouth. The action is similar to yawning.
Some people may sing the right notes but do not always possess the beauty of the full, ringing tone in the voice because they have not developed the VERTICAL sound. Yes, many singers today fall short. Sadly, even the fans have accepted the mediocrity of their “idols” and emulate these poor role models.
Many people have said Josh Groban has an angelic voice. This is very true. If you will listen as he sings the likes of “You’re Still You” and “Always” you will momentarily fall into a state of trance, to say the least especially if it is your first time to listen to him. Why is that? He captivates your ears with that pure, clean, and ringing voice so beautiful your eyes start to moisten. Look at the way he opens his mouth. That’s the way to do it. Let us take a moment to talk about it.
When we yawn, our mouths naturally open downward. This is our body’s natural (instinctive) way of opening wide our oral cavity to facilitate a wide room and passageway for the large amount of air we take in and eventually breathe out. Now, let’s learn from it. If we are to produce good sound, we must open our mouth vertically. It also provides an arch at the roof of our mouth which serve as a natural sounding board. Take a look at these images.
If I may say so (without hearing any one of their voices), these people are singing properly; at least in this one area of singing. I extensively coach my singers to sing this way. The resultant sound is a whole lot better than when singers sing otherwise-i.e., horizontally. The voice is fuller, richer, and robust.
The reason I brought this topic is I observe many chorale directors forsaking this very important element in singing. Surely, we are already so familiar with the use of the diaphragm, the correct posture, the enunciation of the lyrics, et. al, thus I prioritized the “vertical sound” here given that it is always neglected by the very people who should have known. But of course, time will be given for those other equally important facets of singing.
Suffice it to say that we produce better tone when we sing vertically. Conversely, singing horizontally will tighten the throat and facial muscles which could result in a strained and less full voice. Or worse, this faulty singing habit could lead to vocal problems and even to serious medical conditions. This is how a singer looks like singing horizontally. It is straining to the vocal chords.
Many singers develop nodules due to the punishment they unconsciously inflict their vocal chords. So, be warned.
Practice Makes Permanent
I remember a voice coach repeatedly remind singers and say PMP. Make it a habit to sing vertically until it becomes second nature. Even in public speaking, it is being taught, if one wants to project a commanding voice and presence. As a matter of fact, we started out speaking this way. Did you guys notice the babies/kids on the singing images? Do you think somebody taught them to sing that way? It is in fact, innate in them. As people grow, they imbibe and absorb the faulty speaking and singing styles so prevalent in today’s music industry. These need to be unlearned if one aspires to sing correctly.
So, there. My initial tips on good singing. “Vertical vowels” and “Practice Makes Permanent”.