If you want to get the voice of your dreams, you need to move beyond only singing, although you should certainly do that and do it all the time! To gain an objective perspective of your voice, you must listen to yourself singing in both practice and performance situations.

You must listen to yourself singing regularly if you want to improve your voice.

Me. I said that.

3 Tips for this best practice of listening to yourself sing…

  1. Hardly anyone loves doing this, although some of us may like it, while still others merely tolerate it.
    • But you have to do it if you’re serious about improving your voice and keeping it growing for your lifetime.
    • Much like you can’t avoid facing your personal finances regularly, you must face your voice regularly.
  2. This is your voice. You need to own it.
    • You could rely exclusively on another person’s opinion of your voice. (This is, of course, a service I provide through Laser Coaching Sessions in Keep Singing! program and through the Private Lessons I offer.)
    • But this is your voice, so it benefits you to learn to listen to it.
  3. Start now.
    • You may not be expert at this yet, but you must start somewhere.You’ll get better.
    • Over time, you’ll also be able to assess other factors by listening:
      • Breath-to-voice ratio (connectedness of vocal folds in oscillation)
      • How your onsets and offsets are doing in various spots
      • Tone, energy, and pitch! (More on these below.)

5 Ways to Hear Yourself Singing while Practicing without Using Amplification or Effects:

  1. Hearfones –
    • A full auditory experience of your voice IN REAL TIME!
    • Cheapest & BEST option for consistent use.
  2. Record yourself using a handheld digital recording device, such as…
    • your phone’s audio recording device or video app – and listen back.
    • A cassette recorder (old-school style, baby!)
      • Low fidelity
      • Poor quality in terms of comparison to digital
    • (Not Smule or other sing-along/karaoke-style apps that synthesize, pitch-correct, echo-effect, and otherwise “pretty-up” your voice. There is a place for those, mainly for fun and for socially finding other singers to sing with on a virtual platform; but it’s not good for getting a true read-back of your actual voice. The effects they place on the singer’s voice are the equivalent of photoshop effects on a photo.)
  3. Hold your hand/palm cupped between your mouth and ear, like this:
Adjust your hand as necessary to get the best cupping and the best acoustics for your ear.

Here’s a product that works similar to cupping your hand: VAM

The Vocal Acoustic Monitor
  1. Hold 2 books, magazines, pieces of paper, cardboard, or your hands in a pinch – whatever you have handy – in front of your ears. Sing and hear your voice as it sounds to others.
  • DEMO PICTURE HERE (It should be here, anyways…):
Make sure the books are in front of your ears. The sound will travel in the room before hitting your ears, thus providing you with a more accurate experience of what your voice sounds like to others.

Whenever you’re able, sing in a cathedral, under a cupola or rotunda, in a cave or giant forest megaphone… 

These situations are similar to singing in the bathroom, but, believe it or not, when the architecture has specifically been designed for amazing acoustics, you’ll experience less distortion and hear your voice quite accurately. 

NOT RECOMMENDED for effective practice and hearing your voice as it actually sounds:

  1. Putting your finger over/in your ear (unless you absolutely can NOT hear yourself any other way).
    • By plugging your year, you’re not hearing yourself as you sound to others; you’re primarily getting the acoustics that are inside your head, plus what’s coming in through the open ear. 
    • NOTE: if it’s that loud where you are, consider the auditory damage you’re inflicting on yourself by being there in the first place and trying to hear yourself and sing over the noise/music. Get outta there.)
  2. Smule and other “sing along/karaoke/sing with others virtually” apps – as mentioned above.

What to listen for:

  1. Pitch accuracy (does it sound “in tune”?)
  2. Tone. (Loud? Edgy/rough? Smooth? Exciting? etc.)
  3. Pleasing quality of your voice. Does it sound pleasant, according to how you desire it to sound? There’s no one right or wrong “pleasing vocal sound,” even in choirs and choruses. It depends on the genre you’re singing, the director’s preference (if a choir), your preference, etc. But it takes time and repetition to become good at assessing how your voice is doing.

How to use this community to help you “hear” your voice:

  • Record yourself singing via digital video or audio.
  • Upload it to our Facebook Group Page. (You have to request to join this private FB-group page. You must be a member in good standing of our coaching program, which I’m sure you are…)
  • Tag me on your post.
  • Ask for feedback from the community.

Happy listening!

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