I offer my humble Pranaams to everyone reading this post or watching its video (here). Firstly, I would like to invoke the Divine Goddess Kamatchi, and my respected Gurus Sri Sathya Sai Baba and Om Swami. The objective of this write-up/video is to share my experience as a singer. I have elevated myself to become a decent stage singer within 4 years. I thought my experience could help new and amateur singers enhance their singing ability.
Firstly, why music?
- The Vedic scriptures define God as Nada Brahman, or in other words, music is the soul of Nature! If sung with sincerity, music can invoke deep sentiments in both the singer and the listener. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna referred to himself as Sama Veda, and not as Rig, Yajur, or Atharva Veda. Sama Veda is the foundation of Indian music. In essence, Lord Krishna defined the Divine as wisdom combined with music.
- Since music is the Divine itself, it is the biggest Sadhana or austerity one can perform. When sung with mindfulness, music can generate positive vibrations in the body and transfer our mind into a meditative state. In this world of stress, singing or listening to music even for a few minutes routinely can have a soothing effect on an individual.
- Music can break the barrier of language, religion, caste, and race. It has the power to unite this entire world. If we pay attention, we can find out that we are all naturally attracted to music. Perhaps, this is why our society keeps musicians on such a high pedestal!
With that background, I wish to delve into a few tips for better singing. What I’m sharing here has been obtained after hours of discussion with professional singers and my general notes throughout my musical journey. While I don’t consider myself an expert achiever in music, I have benefitted from hours of practice and simple tweaks. Music is a continuous learning process, and these are just a few pointers that I’ve learned:
- The critical ingredient for singing is our passion. More than anything else, it’s our love for the art that reaches the audience.
- Understanding ourselves! We tend to select songs that attract us. Instead, if we can choose songs that suit our voice, we could perform better. We must observe if the song matches the energy levels we can generate, and the stability of our rendition.
- Sankalpa, or determination, is an essential requirement. We will fail multiple times, but we should keep walking with a vow!
- Perfection in any art form, including music, comes from hours of practice and hard work. There is no substitute for it.
- The power of observation! Most of what we learn is from paying attention, and that is true for music as well. When we listen with mindfulness, we can learn a lot from good singers.
- We see that many average performers reach great heights, but some extraordinary singers remain unnoticed. That is because self-confidence makes a huge difference. Those who are self-assured can handle appreciation and criticism better.
- Finally, patience! Just like everything else in this world, ease in music comes gradually.
In this section, I would like to give some warmup tips to maintain our voice. Singing without this warmup routine can damage the throat.
- Practice chanting of Om for at least 30 minutes in the morning. That will open up the throat, and strengthen the muscles in that area.
- Few stretching exercises to loosen up the neck, shoulder, and upper body can produce better quality vocals.
- Simple Pranayama can help us improve our breath control.
- Discipline in life, particularly with food habits, can help. Cold, oily, and spicy food can damage the throat. Warm water is ideal for maintaining the vocal cords, and general body fitness. Good sleep can also help.
- Maintaining calmness, reducing our speaking hours, and refraining from yelling can protect our voice.
Here are some specific tips for those performing film or light music in the final section of this presentation:
- Apps like Smule are boons for karaoke singing. We can sing with anyone across the world!
- Scrolling lyrics can help while singing. Before recording, it is good to practice at least twice. Once with the focus on the background track, and Thala or rhythm. The second time with attention to the lyrics. That can enable us to focus on the background music, rhythm, and words simultaneously.
- For karaoke singing, it helps to listen to the original song several times intently. Identifying the nuances of those playback singers can improve our performance.
- As always, practice, practice, and practice! That is the only way to perfect the art of music.
Lastly, music is Goddess Sarasvati. If we stay away from speaking lies and don’t indulge in criticizing other singers, our talent will miraculously reach the world. Appreciating other singers will open up our hearts, and this will enhance our singing capabilities. Music is Nature’s gift to us, and singing is our gift to ourselves! Let’s use it to make ourselves and this world a better place.
Om Kanchi Kamakshi Devi Namo Namaha!