Singing well is quite technical and is far from natural to most people. There are, of course, a few people who have never had a singing lesson in their lives and sound completely awesome. But, frankly, they are very much the exception.
There is a lot to learn, but how to stop singing from your throat is a good place to start. If you can master this, it will almost instantly make your singing sound better. And it will also do a lot to protect your voice in the long term.
Happily, some of the techniques to improve your singing are not overly complicated. Although, they do take a lot of time and dedication to properly master. Despite the hours you will have to dedicate to this part of your singing, don’t be put off. The rewards will be well worthwhile.
Why You Shouldn’t Sing from Your Throat
Singing from the throat is not a good idea. Firstly, it can easily cause damage to the vocal cords. That is because singing from your throat will put unnecessary strain on it, which will often cause your voice to become hoarse. You may get a sore throat, and in the worst-case scenario, even develop nodules on your vocal cords.
If you feel any kind of issues with your throat after singing, you need to give things a rest until everything is back to normal. And if you still feel like you have a sore throat after a week or so, you should visit your doctor and check for something more serious.
In the event you have nodules, you may need to refrain from singing for a month or so. In the very worst case, you may even require surgery, and that will probably stop you from singing for months.
If this happens…
It is almost certainly the result of poor singing techniques. I will be looking more closely at this very shortly. However, before I do, I also want to examine the second reason why singing from the throat is a bad idea.
Other than damaging your voice, if you sing from your throat, it is likely to sound awful. When you sing from your throat, it puts a lot of strain on your voice. As a result, you get a shouty or throttling kind of sound as well as a potentially weak tone.
You may try to do this to add distortion to your voice. But, with good technique, you can create a much more open-throat sound, and still add distortion, without straining your throat and vocal cords. With that out of the way, let’s now look at how to stop singing from your throat for a better sound.
The most crucial thing on the list is to have plenty of air to support your singing. If you don’t, it will not only mean you will likely create a thin and weak sound, but it will also lend itself to overworking your throat.
Deep, supportive breaths are the cornerstone of good singing, and you are likely to progress very far until you properly develop this technique. When you are warming up, it is something you should pay close attention to so you can replicate the same technique when singing live.
Taking big gulps of air and using it properly can be physically demanding. This is especially so when you are choosing songs that require a lot of volume and power. Therefore, you need to be prepared for this. And it may take a little time to build up your resilience and fitness. Singing can be very physical.
One more thing to keep in mind…
When you practice a specific song or set list, it is worth making notes on where you need to take deep breaths to support your voice. This will help prevent you from potentially running short of air or from reverting to singing from your throat. Once you have practiced a song a few times, the breathing points will become second nature.
Singing From Your Diaphragm
This is also a crucial singing technique because if you don’t master it, you will frequently run out of air. So, what is singing from the diaphragm?
Once you have taken a big gulp of air, you use your diagram to control the airflow. With the air already in your lungs, you use your diagram as a means to squeeze the air out and allow it up through your windpipe and past your vocal cords.
It can be best described as tensing the lower area of your stomach. But, importantly, keeping your throat relaxed at the same time to force air up and out. Releasing air like this gives you much more support for your voice and can allow for longer lyrical runs. It also helps to increase your power and belt out the notes more safely.
Doing this properly takes a little practice…
But it is well worth the effort. Once you master this, it will revolutionize your singing and leave you much less liable to injury. The only word of warning is it can be hard work. And it can even leave you feeling like you had an abdominal workout at the gym following a challenging gig.
Relaxing Your Throat
If you don’t do this, you will have the opposite of a relaxed throat, which, as we all know, will be tight or tense. No surprise then that your voice will also sound strained. If you sing without relaxing, you are liable to sound like a shrieking cat or a group of hens or stags at a drunken karaoke.
Techniques to help you relax your throat…
Begin by shaking your body loose before even starting your warm-ups. Try to relax your body. This also includes taking a nice wide stance before you begin to sing. Shake all the tension loose from your body, paying special attention to your shoulders, and then you will be ready to start.
You should also learn to push back your larynx to the back of your throat, as doing so creates a nice open windpipe. You can do this by taking a few deep yawns. Concentrate on the sensation and where it leaves your larynx once you have stopped yawning. These are the positions you want your throat to maintain as you sing.
One other useful and highly effective singing tip I have learned is to slightly open your mouth and smile. This naturally relaxes the muscles in your neck. That makes it a great strategy for singing and helping you to hit those high notes.
Putting more thought into your vowels and considering the shape of your mouth will have an impact on the amount of strain you put on your throat. If you do not move your mouth into the right positions, it can lead to you forcing out the required sound through excessive throat singing.
So, how do you prevent this?
There are plenty of singing warm-up exercises that focus on this specific skill. They generally consist of running up and down the scales with variations and repetitive patterns using the vowels a, e, i, o, and u. These should be used as an integral part of your warm-ups.
Additionally, when you are practicing a specific song, you need to pay attention to where you feel you are not relaxed and may be forcing out a sound. The best way to do this is to listen back to a recording.
Take the time to isolate the specific phrase and see if it is down to poor vowel placement. This is often the cause of unnecessary throat singing.
If you’re not in good health, the chances are that your singing will never be as it could be. If you are tired and crucially dehydrated, you will have problems getting the best out of your voice.
Smoking and drinking are the worst things you can do, and these should be avoided at all costs. Both things cause your vocal cords to become dry. Consequently, any singing can cause irritation and damage.
What’s more, your singing will sound poor. Just think about how you sound first thing in the morning after you have had a heavy night out drinking.
That’s not all…
When you are not in good physical shape, you are less likely to be able to use your diagram and hold all the air required at any given point. Plus, when you are physically fatigued, you are also likely to be mentally fatigued. This can lead you to slip into bad habits and not employ the right techniques to avoid throat singing.
Need More Information on Becoming a Better Singer?
If so, check out our thoughts on Voice Types Explained, Types of Vocal Timbre, the Best Daily Vocal Exercises for Singers, the Best Vocal Range Test Apps and Websites, and the Top Professional Vocal Coaches on YouTube for more tips, hints, and advice on singing.
Also, hearing your voice is a big help. So, have a look at our reviews of the Best Live Vocal Mics, the Best Microphones For Recording Vocals, the Best Portable Audio Recorders, the Best iPad Audio Interfaces, and the Best Portable Vocal Booths you can buy in 2023.
How To Stop Singing From Your Throat – Final Thoughts
I hope this has been useful. And I hope that you now have a better idea of how to not sing from your throat. As you embark on your singing journey, I would advise you to take some recordings of your voice. That way, you can keep track of your progress.
Mastering some of these principles can take a while. And it is good to have an idea of your improvement so as not to get too disheartened. Trust me, all the work you put in will be worthwhile, and you will be pleased you took the time to invest in yourself and your voice.
Until next time, make yourself heard, and enjoy the journey.