Vocal Projection | 11 Exercises to Project Your Voice
Many performers wonder how to improve vocal projection because when you’re on stage, you want to be heard. It is very important for performers to learn how to project their voice appropriately for any environment, making sure even the people in the back row can hear you.
Vocal projection is about controlling the volume of your voice. You can learn how to project your voice better with vocal exercises that focus on breathing from your diaphragm, diction and resonance. Improving your diet and lessons can also be a huge help.
Vocal projection is also a great tool in assisting in bringing greater dynamics to the performance. Being able to successfully increase and decrease volume whilst singing is a vocal dynamic that can help enhance your performance and highlight the emotion in the song.
Why is vocal projection important in singing?
It is important to project your voice so that you aren’t shouting when you sing loudly. The projection comes from your diaphragm and won’t put nearly as much strain on your vocal cords as shouting and singing loudly will. It is also especially important for stage disciplines such as musical theatre where you can’t always rely on microphones.
How to project your voice
#1 Exercise your vocal cords
In order to be able to project your voice successfully, you’ll need to start strengthening the muscles in your larynx which hold your vocal cords together. It’s difficult for power and volume to come through in your singing if these muscles aren’t strengthened. Working with a good vocal coach will really assist you in achieving this.
The larynx muscles can be strengthened through volume exercises. One simply volume exercise is to lie on the floor with your arms beside your head and breathe deeply for 2-3 minutes.
#2 Do vocal projection warm-ups
As always, warm up your vocals before trying any vocal projection exercises. You should warm up every time you intend to sing to help prevent potential damage to your voice. A great way to do this is to practice going up and down scales, hums or lip trills.
How to project from your diaphragm
#3 Breathe with your diaphragm
It’s important to remember to breathe from the diaphragm so that the chest rises and your shoulders don’t scrunch. It helps your lungs to increase their capacity and over time will give you more power in your voice.
Breathe deeply and make sure it’s form your stomach, not your chest. This is where your diaphragm is located and will help you generate a lot more projection power.
#4 Practise breath control exercises
Breathing exercises are an easy way of practising your projection. For example, breathe deeply and exhale on a hissing sound for 10 seconds. This will help with your breath control and help warm up your voice for the louder notes.
Forcing the sound out when you’re short on breath does nothing but damage your vocals. It’s also the number one cause of vocal nodules plus it will most likely cause you to lose control and tuning.
How to project your voice on stage
#5 Work on vocal diction
Diction is the manner in which you pronounce your words. Whether you’re singing or speaking, diction is very important to help an audience understand you more clearly.
Learning your lyrics is important but so is your breathing technique and tongue position. To really help improve diction, practice scales with the different singing vowels combined with consonants, such as mah, meh, me, mo, moo.
#6 Improve your vocal resonance
Vocal resonance is more about the tone of your voice. When you sing lower notes, you might feel it resonate in your chest and higher notes may resonate more in your head. Along with your mouth and nose, these are your resonators.
If you want to project better then you need to be using your resonators together. By mixing your chest and head voice, as well as opening your mouth more, you’ll be able to create more overtones that make your voice sound better and louder.
How to project without shouting or yelling
#7 Practise resonance exercises
You shouldn’t be yelling because it doesn’t count as singing and damages your voice. Controlling your breath, diction and resonance might even help you sing louder than you can yell. To help improve your resonance, try doing scales whilst singing Nae, Nja & Ng.
Vocal projection exercises for singers
#8 Be more dynamic
Volume exercises are good to help you practice dynamics. Vary the loudness of your voice when using the sound ‘mmmmmmm’, start with soft sound, then middle and then loud. Repeating this numerous times will help your projection and dynamic range.
How can I improve my vocal projection?
#9 Improve your diet
Certain foods and drinks are bad for your voice and will make it more difficult for you to project. Improving your diet can make your voice much healthier and capable of projecting more effectively. Have a look at our article on a singer’s diet to find out more.
#10 Find a vocal coach
One of the more simple ways to improve your projection is to work with an experienced vocal coach. They will be able to build and develop your singing power and help you to eradicate any bad singing habits you’ve picked up along the way. A vocal coach will be able to help you with specific techniques that will be able to help your voice.
#11 Get into a routine
These exercises must become a routine part of your day rather than doing it a couple of times and hoping it’ll work. Do this for 20 minutes every day and you’ll soon begin to hear and feel the changes in your vocal.
What do you do to improve your projection? Share your favourite exercises in the comments below.