If you’re a beginning singer, you’ve come to the right place. I love to work with beginners. Starting to sing often requires a big leap in overcoming fears, and there’s nothing like the enthusiasm that comes with finally taking the plunge. Plus, beginning singers are usually eager to get the right information so they can get themselveson the right track from the start.

Here are eight tips that will help you get started on your singing journey with good vocal technique.

  • 1

    Sing a little bit everyday and start gradually.

    A lot of singers start out trying to sing too loud and too high. In other cases, beginners put in lengthy but irregular practice sessions. Doing so can severely hurt your voice. Instead, good vocal technique should always feel relaxed and comfortable. Just by taking your progress slowly and steadily, you will notice your range expanding within weeks and months.

  • 2

    Always warm up your voice before you sing.

    It’s extremely important to use scales to warm up your voice before you sing songs. Doing lip trills or singing with an “mmm” sound are two good warm-up exercises. Warm ups should be simple exercises that let your voice go evenly up and down through your range without putting too much pressure on your vocal cords.

  • 3

    Take one or two ideas and focus on them for three days.

    It’s a good idea to keep it simple at first. For example, you might focus on keeping your mouth open and your jaw relaxed. You can do this easily by watching yourself in a mirror or getting your practice session on camera. By focusing on just one singing concept at a time, you develop muscle memory for that particular skill more rapidly. Instead of letting your attention leap from one concern to another, you can keep your mind free and spark your creativity.

  • 4

    Pay attention to tension.

    Often singers make the biggest gains in vocal range by eliminating unnecessary tension from their voices. Using a mirror or video camera, identify the notes that cause you to squint your eyes, raise your shoulders, or tighten your neck. Try out ways of singing the notes that don’t trigger the sings of tension. As you slowly retrain yourself out of habitual tensions, you will improve both your vocal tone and your range.

  • 5

    Focus on breath support.

    As you breathe in, place your hand on your lower abdomen and feel your belly moving out. As you sing, maintain a gentle sense of expansion against your hand. Singers call that expansion “breath support”, and it is key to keeping your voice healthy and strong. You can learn more about breath support here.

  • 6

    Keep your mouth open and relaxed.

    As a rule of thumb, you should keep your mouth open one finger’s width for the vowels Ee and Oo and two fingers’ widths for Ah. For the other vowels (such as Eh and Oh), keep a space somewhere in between. Practice opening your mouth in a smooth and relaxed motion, and you will experience a big boost in the resonance of your voice.

  • 7

    Find an active vocal cord.

    A lot of voice teachers tell you to relax everything in your throat. In fact, if you did that, there would be no sound at all! Every singer should aim to stay relaxed in the jaw and tongue. However, to get an active, buzzing sound, you need to engage your vocal cords. A good way to practice engaging your vocal cords is to make the sound Oo as if you’ve breathed Helium in from a balloon. Learn more about active vocal cords here.

  • 8

    Avoid singing too loud while in chest voice.

    Place your hand on your upper ribs and say “Wow.” Underneath your hand you should feel your chest voice vibrating. If you’re trying to sing high notes, bring your focus to proper blending between chest voice and head voice. Avoid singing too loud or too heavily when in your chest voice. Admittedly, truly blending between chest and head voice is a long-term goal and can take some time. By being aware of it from a beginning, though you can save yourself from serious vocal injury. Stick to that and the rest of these good singing habits, and you can look forward to an enriching and enjoyable singing future ahead.