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If you’re someone who loves to sing, it’s likely that you’re familiar with the terms “singing from your throat” and “singing from your diaphragm.” Professional singers have long debated whether it’s better to sing from the throat or the diaphragm. The consensus is that the latter is preferable if you want to belt out notes and make the most of your vocal ability.
And while every human being possesses the innate ability to sing, not all singers have had the proper training to harness the diaphragm’s full potential.
That’s why we’re going to show you how to breathe correctly, how to properly utilize your diaphragm rather than your throat to produce sound, and avoid putting strain on your throat to prevent damage to the vocal cords.
We’ll share with you the best tips and tricks for developing great breath support, relaxing your body and releasing tension to help you reach your voice’s full potential.
Many singers, especially beginners, put pressure on their laryngeal and chest muscles to produce sound rather than using their abdominal muscles and diaphragm to maximize the airflow to the lungs and have complete control over their vocal range and power. And although switching from throat to diaphragm singing is challenging at first, it is not impossible.
Let’s check how you can improve your skills as a performer and do some simple voice exercises that will help improve your vocal stamina and achieve a richer, fuller sound.
Why do people sing from their throats?
The larynx, often known as the voice box, is a hollow tube in the back of your throat that houses your vocal cords. The vocal cords vibrate and produce sound when air flows through them. Therefore, your voice ALWAYS originates from your throat.
So, what “singing from the throat” actually means is that you’re relying more on the use of your laryngeal muscles to provide the air pressure needed to cause your vocal cords to vibrate, rather than the abdominal muscles employed in “diaphragm singing.”
Singing from the throat is everyone’s natural response because that is how they typically communicate on a daily basis. When you switch from singing with your throat to singing with your diaphragm, you have to break years of repetition and the habit of placing full pressure on your larynx, neck, and chest muscles. This is a process that takes time and effort since it requires you to retrain your voice.
Most people aren’t taught the proper vocal techniques and methods to relieve tension from the throat and let the diaphragm do most of the heavy lifting. When used correctly, the diaphragm will help you avoid vocal fatigue, throat dryness or discomfort (which can occasionally be extremely painful), and tension on your vocal cords.
It will also lead to better breath control and a more powerful voice. However, since diaphragm singing doesn’t come naturally to most people, they use their throats instead, putting excessive strain on the wrong muscles.
How to stop singing from your throat
Your top priorities before beginning to sing are to loosen up your neck and shoulders muscles, maintain good posture while standing up straight, relax your throat and keep it hydrated, learn how to control your breath, and focus on putting all the pressure on your diaphragm instead of your throat.
It’s easy to encourage someone to quit singing from their throat and start using their diaphragm instead, but doing so takes practice and dedication on the singer’s part. There are many tips you can follow and exercises you can do, and these are some of the best ones we could find, and we encourage you to put them to good use.
1. Discover your Diaphragm
Before we urge you to sing from your diaphragm, it’s important to know what your diaphragm is and where it’s located.
The diaphragm is a large dome-shaped muscle situated below the lungs at the base of the chest and separates it from the abdomen. When you inhale, it contracts and flattens, creating a vacuum effect that draws air into the lungs. When you exhale and the air is forced out of the lungs, the diaphragm relaxes. It is the primary muscle used for breathing.
But since you can’t really feel your diaphragm, you can do this quick exercise to understand how it functions.
Place your hand on your upper stomach right above your belly button, and start panting. When you pant, you’ll notice that your upper stomach is rapidly moving in and out. This is caused by the diaphragm’s up-and-down movement.
Feel free to check out this video for a 3D medical animation of the diaphragm.
2. Relax your Body
Maintaining maximum muscular relaxation is essential. The more relaxed your mouth, throat, neck, and shoulders are, the easier it will be for your vocal cords to vibrate, resulting in a more pleasant tone produced with less effort. If you’re tense, your diaphragm won’t be able to contract and release properly, which is why it’s important to do some stretching exercises before singing.
You can do this neck stretching exercise either by standing up or sitting down. Just make sure that your neck is in line with your spine and keep an upright posture.
- Start by slowly inhaling and moving your chin to the left over your left shoulder. Hold for 3 seconds while you exhale.
- Repeat the same thing on the right side.
Perform five reps at least twice a day.
The purpose of these neck exercises is to relax your neck muscles and prevent your neck from becoming tense. If you want to stop singing from your throat, you need to relax your vocal cords, which will be impossible if your neck is tense. You can relieve the strain on your vocal cords and improve your voice by stretching and strengthening your neck muscles.
It’s also crucial to unwind and release any tension from your throat muscles. Give this throat exercise a try.
- Place your fingers on your throat’s cartilage (or Adam’s apple.)
- Start yawning while taking a deep breath.
- Sigh as you exhale.
As your throat muscles start to loosen up, you will notice your Adam’s apple beginning to drop.
Do this exercise for 1-2 minutes, and you will definitely achieve a more relaxed throat by the end of it.
3. Find your Vocal Range
Finding the right notes within your vocal range is essential as this will be the range your voice is most comfortable in. As we’ve already established, you should avoid pushing your voice too far beyond its natural range and prevent strain and tension on your vocal cords. So how exactly do you find your vocal range?
The first step in discovering your natural singing voice (or vocal range) is to sing using your chest voice, which is the lower-mid range of your voice (or your speaking voice), and find the lowest note you can sing.
The next step is to sing using your head voice, which focuses on your voice’s high range and finding the highest note you can sing.
Once you find the vocal range in which you are most comfortable (which will naturally be close to your speaking voice), then you’ll have discovered your vocal range.
4. Do Vocal Warm-Ups
Vocal warm-ups are an essential part of learning how to stop singing from your throat. Similar to how you warm up your muscles before working out, you need to warm up the laryngeal muscles that control your vocal cords’ opening and closing and increase blood flow to these muscles before using them to their full potential. Warming up will improve your singing skills and help you avoid damaging your voice. So, keep in mind to perform some warm-up exercises before your lesson to prepare yourself for singing and the more demanding and strenuous vocal exercises.
5. Breathing and Posture
Knowing how to breathe is the secret to having a great singing voice and endurance. You don’t want to be performing on stage only to tire out after a few songs. You should be able to get through an entire set of 15 to 20 songs without feeling worn out. You must learn how to control your breathing and voice because poor breathing techniques will affect not only your singing stamina but also the quality of your voice. You have to keep doing breathing exercises to learn how to properly use your diaphragm and strengthen your abdominal and chest muscles.
Your posture also has an impact on the quality of your breathing. With good posture, you can breathe more comfortably, allowing air to flow more freely through your vocal cords. Your entire body will be relaxed with no tension on your neck, jaw, or shoulders resulting in a better voice and the ability to sing longer phrases.
6. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Sticking to a diet rich in protein and fresh produce is important. Lean protein foods like fish, chicken, and turkey will help you feel full and provide energy.
Protein and good fats found in nuts can help you feel full for longer, which means you’ll eat less and have more stamina to spare. The high water content of fruits makes them a healthy snack that also helps keep your voice healthy and hydrated.
Try to aim for dinners high in protein and vegetables while cutting back on sugary and starchy foods. This will help you avoid nighttime heartburn, which can irritate the throat and vocal cords.
To reduce acid reflux and mucus production, you should stay away from tobacco products and dairy items like milk, cheese, and yogurt. Additionally, fatty foods such as fried foods, eggs, and butter should be avoided because they might lead to acid reflux and dehydration.
Staying away from processed sugar, chocolate, soft drinks, acidic and spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine will also help you keep your voice in check and prevent you from sounding hoarse.
7. Learn How to Enunciate
Enunciation is an essential aspect of singing because it helps the listener understand the lyrics and the meaning of the song. Here are some tips to help you improve your enunciation when singing:
- Practice speaking the lyrics before you start singing. This will help you get a feel for the rhythms and sounds of the words.
- Pay attention to the placement of your tongue and lips as you sing. Make sure you’re not mumbling or swallowing the words.
- Use your diaphragm to support your singing. This will help you produce clear, full-bodied sounds.
- Use dynamics and inflection to emphasize important words or phrases. This can help convey the meaning of the lyrics and add emotion to your singing.
- Use a mirror to observe your mouth and facial expressions as you sing. This can help you identify any habits that may be hindering your enunciation.
- Record yourself singing and listen back to identify areas where you need to work on your enunciation.
Remember that good enunciation is a skill that can be developed with practice. Don’t be discouraged if it takes some time to get better. Just keep working at it, and you’ll see progress over time.
How can I sing from my stomach and not my throat?
What should a singer avoid?
How can I sweeten my voice?
Singing from your throat can negatively affect your vocal health and overall singing ability. It can lead to strain on the throat muscles causing fatigue and hoarseness, poor vocal control that can make it difficult to hit high notes or sustain long phrases, lack of resonance resulting in a hollow and weak sound that lacks depth and richness, and difficulty interpreting lyrics.
To avoid these problems, it’s important to learn proper vocal techniques and sing from the diaphragm rather than the throat.
Today, we’ve focused on some of the best vocal exercises and methods to help you produce a rich, full sound while protecting your vocal health and maximizing your singing potential.
We hope this article helped you learn how to not sing from your throat. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us!