Every time I sing, my voice has a hushed tone to it. I know I can sing louder, but I just don’t know how. So, how do I sing louder?
A lack of volume while singing can be the result of many things. But, if I were to take a guess as to the issue of your problem, it’s probably a combination of a lack of cord closure and a lack of resonance space. In this article, I’ll include a video that gives tons of info on resonance space, and will further describe cord closure below.
You see, the sound of our voice is created when our vocal cords (or vocal folds) come together and vibrate. This happens in our voice box, which is located at about the mid point in our neck.
However, some people when they sing (and even when they speak) don’t bring those cords all the way together. This results in a weak, breathy sound that usually has issues projecting. Make sure your Breathing While Singing right first with this article.
An exercise you can use to get past this is to aggressively sing scales on a “goh” or a “gah.” The “g” will help to build up a more air pressure under the cord, while the “ah” vowel will give you a little bit more of an edge as well (if you don’t have issues with a weak, breathy voice, this isn’t something you need to do as it can get tiring relatively quickly). Don’t press this too much, but lean into the fullness of the sound and get used to how that feels. Then, start playing with other vowel and consonant combinations.
The other way we create more sound is by using more resonance space. You see, the vocal folds create the sound… but resonance space creates the fullness of the sound (I described this concept more fully in the video above).
Think of it this way… if you thump a wine glass, it’s going to make a loud ringing noise. But if you fill that wine glass with pennies and thump it again, then the ringing noise is reduced to a mear thud. So why does the wine glass make more sound when it’s empty? That’s right, because it’s hollow.
When a sound has good space to resonate, it grows in volume. This is completely effortless… no muscles are required. So, another way to grow your sound is to make sure you have good space for resonance.
Good posture can assist with this, as well as opening up more. I could go into more detail about open space, but for now let’s just focus on keeping good posture, because doing just this can easily grow the volume of your voice.
Play around with this a bit and let me know if it helps.
Best of luck!
Vocal Coach Ken Taylor