improve your singing

Preparing To Perform

Choosing A Song

  • Choose a song you are comfortable with and know well
  • Pick something within your capabilities – don’t try to over impress
  • Make sure the song is appropriate for the occasion

Get The Essentials

  • Song lyrics
  • Sheet music (for the accompanist)
  • Backing track (if needed)
  • Check whether you will be singing with a PA system or without
  • Will you learn the lyrics or have music on a stand?
  • Take a bottle of water with you

Rehearsing The Song

Always allow yourself a good amount of rehearsal time – preparation is the key to a good performance!

  • Listen to recordings of the song and work out an arrangement that suits you
  • Hum the melody of the song before adding words – this helps to secure your tuning and knowledge of the melody. Words can get in the way at this stage!
  • Make sure you know your entries (particularly if you are using a backing track)
  • Try to memorise the words

Before The Performance

  • Choose a comfortable outfit
  • Imagine yourself performing the song – with a good outcome
  • Find out where you are in the programme
  • Arrive in plenty of time
  • Make sure you warm up properly!

© 2008 Helen Sanderson-White, Little Eliza Music (copying is prohibited)

Getting the most out of your microphone technique

How To Use A Microphone In Live Performances

Once you’ve a got a great song to sing and you’ve worked on your visual performance, you need to start working on your microphone technique. Sadly, many singers ruin their performances through lack of microphone control and PA system knowledge.

The Microphone

The microphone has a ‘field of sound capture’ around its head – the size of the field varies depending on the make and model of the mic. Usually they have a sound field of about 9cm or 10cm from your mouth.

Good Techniques

When singing do the following:

  • Hold the metal barrel of the microphone
  • Hold the microphone close to your mouth to start with
  • Move away from the mic when singing very loud notes
  • Move in close to the mic when singing soft/quiet notes
  • Stand near the monitors so that you can hear what you are singing
  • Watch the sound engineer during in the song (especially at the beginning)

Bad Techniques

When singing don’t do the following:

  • Cup the mesh screen of the mic with your hands – this causes feedback
  • Hold the microphone by the lead or swing it around
  • Wave the microphone near the monitors – this causes feedback
  • Move your microphone hand away from your mouth
  • Don’t yell at the sound engineer in the middle of you performance

Remember: the important thing is to enjoy your performance and to sing and perform to the best of your abilities! Don’t worry if some of the mic technique goes out the window!

© 2007 Helen Sanderson-White, Little Eliza Music

Simple Ways to Improve Your Voice

Helen singing at Nikki's 40th birthday1. When singing, always drink plenty of water. Dry vocal cords don’t perform well.

2. Take some deep breaths before you warm-up; if you are relaxed you will sing better.

3. Make sure you stand up straight with your feet hip width apart. Slouching prevents you from breathing deeply and can produce a shallow sound.

4. Always warm-up before you sing, this will help prevent a vocal injury or voice strain and will help you to perform well.

5. Smile when you sing: a bright face helps to keep you in tune!

6. You can improve your singing by listening carefully. Concentration will help prevent basic mistakes such as lack of breath control, poor pronunciation and volume.

7. Always check your volume. So many singers struggle with breath control because they are singing too loudly!

8. Never shout or force the sound out when you sing as this can out stress on your vocal cords and cause injury.

9. Regular practise helps build a stronger voice. Don’t skip or skimp on your practise. It pays off in the end!


©2009Helen Sanderson-White, Little Eliza Music.