There are several easy to access tools that you can readily access to help you self-evaluated and gauge your progress. These tools are a mirror, a voice recorder of some kind, and a video recorder. If you don’t have own either of the latter two, you most likely know someone who does. These tools can be used to reinforce proper techniques, enhance image, refine skills, and help you with mastering mix on your road to singing success!
Mirror, Mirror On The Wall
All plugs aside, these simple tools are essential to helping you stay the course. Let’s start with the mirror. Even if you have a BMA vocal coach or another voice teacher seeing yourself in the mirror will help you catch mistakes you’re making. You’ll be able to see how much you’re opening or not opening your mouth, see forced or unnatural expressions or tics, as well as noting what you do with your tongue while singing.
Watching yourself while singing or going through exercises and various vocal techniques will also help you refine your personal appearance as a performer. Your attention may suddenly be drawn to something you want to enhance or change about your clothes, your hair, or it may even trigger changes in a style of music or inspire specific material you’d like to cover or explore.
Your Call Is Being Recorded
This is one of those moments of truth that requires an outside source to verify. You need an objective listening device when there is no objective party there to provide feedback. And let’s face it, friends aren’t always the most objective. In fact, people by nature naturally filter perceptions based on taste, their sense of timing or rhythm, and their ear. If you couple all that with the sensitive nature of most singers, it can be hard to sort through. So a recording device is an objective and safe way to self-evaluate.
When you listen to your voice recorded without any background accompaniment on a digital recorder you get that no-nonsense, bare bones honesty that you need if you want to make a career out of singing. You need to become aware of any vocal defects or bad habits such as slurring words or tending to go flat or sharp. These are key areas to work on and master on the road to your singing success.
Before You Tube It
In addition to hearing your voice without visual distraction you need to see yourself performing to get a better sense of the total package. Just as you will cite things to change visually by studying your mirror and will find things to correct by listening to your voice you will note things that are distracting or are out of sync when you view the overall performance.
Watch these clips of yourself several times. It will likely be a bit unnerving at first – or maybe even always, but that’s par for the course. There may also be a tendency to err on the side of being overly critical or dismissive.
For your video clips it is wise to solicit second and third opinions for feedback. There may be things about which you are self-conscious that others may find engaging or endearing. In fact, vulnerability can be a strong selling point for an artist. It’s something the audience can relate to. But nervousness or a lack of confidence can be an annoying distraction that can even undermine the most beautiful, moving vocals.
Location Is Everything – Mostly
Wherever you chose to practice by yourself make sure it’s an open space that doesn’t have a lot of furniture, heavy drapes, and other large standing objects in it. These things absorb sound and make it seem like you need to project more than is necessary. On the other hand a wide open empty space with a hard wood or tile floor will produce a very distracting echo. Do a sound check to listen for muffling or echoes before you record.
Use this time alone to try out new ideas and get comfortable with yourself before sharing with others. But do not exclusively rely on this time alone for finding and developing your voice, image, and performance skills. You need a vocal coach or teacher to point out areas that need to be worked on such as tone and styling, interpretive skills, increasing range, and so. Invest in Mastering Mix and Singing Success to get started and stay on the right track!