5 Exercises to Increase Singing Power Like Crazy!
Let’s be real:
Everyone wants more vocal power.
After all, there’s no shortage of breathy or soft singers out there!
That’s because most beginner singers end up singing light because they don’t know how to increase their singing power.
Now, don’t get me wrong, singing with a breathy voice is an important vocal effect.
But it’s the singers who can belt that get the spotlight.
Why is that?
I mean, is there anything more exciting than a great vocalist singing a note with tons of vocal power?
But I’m going to let you in on a little secret:
Increasing your singing power is EASY when you use the right vocal exercises.
Unfortunately, we’ve all seen that singer that just strains and pushes their voice to get more vocal power.
But here’s the truth:
Real vocal power comes from using the natural power that’s already in your voice; not pushing it.
And if you’re forcing those notes, usually they don’t sound good.
But we love the singers that get that easy power into their sound!
You know who I’m talking about:
Freddie Mercury, John Legend, Adele, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Aretha Franklin…
And we love these singers because they make singing with power look easy!
But it doesn’t matter whether you’ve been singing 20 year or you’re just starting out:
You can sing with more vocal power.
It just takes practice and the right singing techniques.
So today, I want to show you my 5 favorite exercises to sing more powerfully without destroying your voice.
And I promise that if you practice these exercises daily, you’ll increase your singing power like crazy!
Let’s get started…
What is Vocal Power?
We all know vocal power when we hear it:
Freddie Mercury at Live Aid:
Or Adele at the Echo Awards:
The list of remarkable performances goes on and on…
But what is vocal power really?
Here’s what you need to know:
Vocal power is a singer’s ability to sing at a loud volume or dynamic.
So vocal power means singing with a lot of volume, right? That’s easy!
Well, not so much.
If you just push for more volume, you could end up straining your voice or yelling.
So the real trick is to increase your singing power without destroying your voice.
And that takes skill and practice.
So how can you massively improve your vocal power easily?
Here’s how it works:
How to Increase Singing Power
Let’s face it:
Singing power is the most in-demand skill a singer can have.
If you sing Rock, Pop or RnB vocal power is a must!
Even most musical theatre auditions list vocal power as a requirement!
But how do you actually increase your singing power?
In order to understand that, let’s talk a little bit about how the singing voice works.
Here’s what you need to know:
Singing power comes from the interaction of your breath and your vocal cords.
To put it simply:
Vocal Power = Breath + Muscle
What does that mean?
Well, most people understand how important breathing for singing is.
After all, breath is the fuel for your singing voice.
But what do I mean by muscle in singing?
Well, when you sing, the muscles in your voice that create sound (the vocal cords) come together to vibrate.
In case you’re not familiar, the vocal cords are the pair of layered folds of mucosa and muscle in your voice box.
When you sing, the vocal cords come together to resist the air from your lungs.
This resistance causes the vocal cords to vibrate together to create the sound that we hear as singing!
Now here’s where it gets interesting:
You have to have the right balance of breath and muscle to increase your singing power.
If you have all muscle and low air, there’s very little sound.
Low Air + High Muscle = Little Singing Power
Because if there’s not enough air for the vocal cords to vibrate, there won’t be much sound.
These are the guys that are straining so hard to sing that their voice sounds squeezed shut.
There’s just not enough airflow to get the right amount of sound!
Or if you have a ton of air and no muscle, again there’s very little power.
That would look like this:
High Air + Low Muscle = Little Singing Power
That’s because if there’s not enough muscle to resist the air, the air will simply leak out in the vocal tone.
These are the young girls that are singing so breathy and light that there’s no real tone in their voice. There’s just not enough muscular resistance to get a powerful sound!
But if you have air AND muscle working together, you’ve got a recipe for amazing vocal power:
High Air + High Muscle = Tons of Singing Power!!!
Now before you go and blow out your voice singing as loud as you can, let me say this:
Real vocal power comes from the right combination of breath and muscle.
If one of those ingredients is out of balance you’ll either have a vocal break or strain your voice.
And that’s the opposite of vocal power.
The fact is you have to balance the breath and muscle in order to increase your singing power safely.
Just think about it:
If you just add a ton more muscle, you’ll just strain your voice and break.
Or if you add a massive amount of breath support, you’ll just sing super breathy.
But if you can use more muscle AND more breath support, it’s easy to to increase your singing power.
So now that you understand that singing power happens when you find the right balance of breath and muscle, here are my 5 favorite exercises for helping you get your voice in balance.
And when you find this balance, increasing vocal power feels easy.
Sing with Power Exercise #1: The 5-Tone Count
Can I tell you a secret?
The easiest way to increase your singing power is to use the natural power of your speaking voice.
That’s because most people don’t speak too breathy or softly.
However, some of those same people will instantly be breathy and light when they start singing.
So let’s start increasing singing power by using more of your speaking voice.
In our first singing exercise, you’re going to speak-sing the numbers 1-5 on a very simple scale.
That way you can start to get the same feeling of your speaking voice in your singing.
And that’s a guaranteed way to increase vocal power!
Here’s how you do the exercise:
1. Say the numbers “One, Two, Three, Four, Five” out loud at a strong volume.
2. Now find a comfortable note at the bottom of your voice (try C3 for guys and G3 for girls) and speak-sing the word “One” on that note.
3. Finally, speak-sing the numbers 1 through 5 on a 5-Tone scale, where you keep every note as strong as you would speak it.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a piano.
Check out this video walking you through the exercise:
Do you feel how much stronger those notes sound when you speak-sing them?
The truth is that vocal power is easy to improve when you use this “speaking” power when you sing.
And even though you don’t want to sound exactly like you’re “speaking” when you sing, it’s important to start with this kind of sound when you’re increasing singing power.
Sing with Power Exercise #2: The 5-Tone “Gug”
Now that you’re starting to find more vocal power in your voice with the 5-Tone count, it’s time to show you one of my favorite exercises for singing power.
It’s called the “Gug” exercise.
In this warm up, we’ll switch from a single vowel/consonant combination in order to boost your vocal strength.
In this case, we’ll use a “G” consonant with an “Uh” vowel in order to gain more power.
That’s because the “G” sound closes the vocal cords very completely.
And remember, closing the cords more will help you find the right balance of air and muscle when you sing.
Here’s how you do the “Gug” exercise:
1. Say the word “Gug” (as in “Gut” with a “g” at the end) out loud at a strong volume.
2. Next, find a comfortable note at the bottom of your voice (again try C3 for guys and G3 for girls) and sing the word “Gug” on the note with the same strength as you were speaking it.
3. Finally, speak-sing the “Gug” on the same 5-Tone scale I showed you in the last exercise.
Again, don’t worry if you don’t have a piano.
Here’s a video that walks you through the exercise:
Remember to keep an emphasis on the “G” sound when you’re doing this exercise.
That’s because the “G” sound is giving you the vocal power that you want by using more of the vocal cord muscles.
So if you hear any breathiness in the vocal tone, you’re doing something wrong.
Instead, just say the word “Gut, gut, gut” out loud at a strong volume and you’ll be amazed how your singing power increases immediately.
Sing with Power Exercise #3: The Octave Repeat Bratty “Nae”
Here’s the ugly truth:
It’s easy to find more singing power on the lower notes in your voice, but it’s a lot harder to sing with power at the top.
Why is that?
Well, the vocal cords stretch out more when you’re singing high notes.
And when the vocal cords stretch, they don’t vibrate as strongly as in the bottom part of your voice.
If the vocal cords aren’t vibrating enough, there’s not enough muscle to resist the air from your lungs.
So instead of just singing high notes softly, I want to show you an exercise which will help you close your vocal cords more even on high notes.
But I have to warn you:
The next exercise uses a very ugly sound in order to get the vocal cords to work better.
It’s called the “bratty” sound and it’s super helpful in getting the cords to close even on your highest notes.
So don’t worry if you sound silly doing this exercise.
As soon as you learn to sing those high notes more strongly, we can work toward getting a more natural tone when you sing.
You’ve been warned…
Here’s how you do the bratty “Nae” exercise:
1. Say the word “Nae” (like “Nasty”) out loud in kind of a witchy or bratty way. If you’re having a hard time finding this sound, just picture the sound of the wicked witch from the Wizard of Oz.
2. Next, find a comfortable starting note (try E3 for guys and C#4 for girls), and sing the bratty “Nae” on that note.
3. Finally, sing an octave repeat scale where you take each note of the melody and replace it with the bratty “Nae” sound.
If you’re not sure how to play this exercise on piano, don’t worry.
Here’s a great video that walks you through it:
Try to keep this exercise really ugly and bratty when you’re singing it.
Remember, the bratty sound is what helps the vocal cords vibrate when you’re singing those high notes.
So if you hear any lightness or breathiness in your voice, try to add a bit more of the ugly sound to those notes.
When you do this correctly, you’ll be amazed at how much more power you have when you sing!
Sing with Power Exercise #4: The Octave Repeat “Gug”
Let’s be honest:
The “bratty” sound is super helpful at increasing vocal power, but it sounds terrible!
So now that you’re singing the highest notes in your voice with the bratty “Nae” exercise, let’s see if you can do that on a slightly more normal sound.
In the next exercise, we’ll go back to using the “Gug” sound.
Remember, the “G” consonant is great at keeping the vocal cords vibrating when you’re singing.
And rather than using the “bratty” sound, the “uh” vowel is really great at keeping the voice relaxed.
Without further ado, here it is…
Here’s how to do the octave repeat “Gug”
1. Say the word “Gug” out loud like you’re saying the word “Gut” but with a “g” at the end.
2. Next, find a comfortable starting note (try F#3 for guys and C#4 for girls) and sing the word “Gug” on the same note.
3. Finally, take a breath and sing an octave repeat scale where you take each note of the scale and replace it with the word “Gug”.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a piano, here’s the vocal exercise so you can practice at home:
Remember, the whole point of the “Gug” exercise is to help the vocal cords vibrate more.
And with more muscle and air, you’ll naturally have a louder voice.
But if you’re hearing that those high notes are breathy or light, make sure that you’re enunciating the “G” consonant strongly.
You’ll notice that your singing power increases dramatically as soon as you pronounce that “G” a bit stronger!
Sing with Power Exercise #5: The Octave Repeat “Mum”
Now that you’ve learned to sing those high notes with crazy power, it’s time for a real challenge:
The octave repeat “Mum”
Why is the “Mum” a challenge?
Well, in the previous exercises, we’ve used different sounds in order to get the right balance of muscle and air in your singing voice.
But the “Mum” exercise will give you less support than the previous exercises.
For example, in the “Nae” exercise, we used the “bratty” sound to get more resistance to the air from your lungs.
And then in the “Gug” exercise, the “G” sound helped you resist the air in your vocal cords better.
But in the next exercise, you only have an “M” consonant to hold on to.
So if you’re singing the “Nae” and “Gug” exercises well, it’s time to challenge yourself with the “Mum”.
Here it is…
Here’s how you sing the “Mum” exercise:
1. Say the word “Mum” (as in “Mother” with an “m” at the end) out loud at a comfortable volume.
2. Next, find a comfortable starting note (try F#3 for guys and C#4 for girls) and sing the word “Mum” on the note.
3. Finally, sing an octave repeat scale where you take each note of the melody and replace it with a “Mum” sound.
Again, don’t worry if you don’t have a piano.
Here’s a great video to walk you through the exercise:
Remember, the “Mum” exercise is supposed to be a challenge, so if you’re having a hard time, don’t worry.
Just go back to one of the previous exercises that was working well for you and do that until your voice feels stronger.
Then you can come back and try the “Mum” again.
Once you get this exercise right, you’ll be amazed at how much you’ve improved your singing power.
Way to go!
By now, you’ve learned exactly how to increase singing power and done some of the best exercises to increase it.
But if you’re feeling that your voice is a little bit breathy or light, don’t worry.
The best singers work with these exercises every day.
So keep working on these exercises and you’ll see your singing power increase like crazy!