How to Improve Vocal Tone – Top Tips on How to Find the Perfect Vocal Tone

Published Categorized as Singing

The vocal tone tends to be one of the first things you notice about a singer. If you list all of your favorite singers, you will notice that they all vocally sound different from one another, even if they are practicing the same vocal techniques.

This is due to their own individual vocal tone and most likely if they are a professional singer their vocal tone will be good. Knowing how to improve your vocal tone will help you become a better singer overall.

In this article, we will explore what types of vocal tones there are and how to make sure you achieve a good balanced vocal tone.

How to Improve Vocal Tone

Table of Contents

Can You Learn How to Sing?

A lot of people believe that you are born with a good voice and if you are not born with this talent, then that’s that. Well, despite popular belief, it is not that simple and there is hope for wannabe singers that are not born with the natural gift. You can learn to sing, over time and with practice.

Some of your favorite singers, even though they want you to believe that it is a very natural thing for them, often struggled with certain aspects of singing when they were learning. Most mainstream and popular singers have full-time vocal coaches and take the vocal coaches with them on tour.

These vocal coaches are there to help a singer warm up their voices, perfect parts of their songs, and vocally support them on a tour. There are several ways you can start teaching yourself to sing and the internet is full of videos that demonstrate this.

Firstly, vocal exercises are key, and choosing what part of your voice you would like to work on. If you struggle with anything at home and you just can not seem to grasp it, then you can always seek the help of a vocal coach. A vocal coach is not just for professional singers, they can help beginner singers too. You can also get help from vocal coaches that are specialized in certain areas of singing.

The best way to find a vocal coach is either to ask around the local area, look online at their websites or ask a music shop. A music shop will most likely have a list of people they can recommend and will have lots of connections that they can help you with. When you start a vocal coach class, it is best to set up a few trial classes before you pick which teacher is for you.

In your own time you can practice singing karaoke songs & acapella songs.

Starting to Learn Tone

If you are starting to learn to sing and the main area you would like to work on is vocal tone, then this article can help explain how to start giving your vocal tone the attention it needs. The best way to treat the voice is as if it is like a physical instrument. It is easy to not look at the voice this way as it is part of you and you can not psychically see it but your voice is just as much of an instrument as a guitar, piano or saxophone is.

Therefore, you must treat your voice with as much care as you would a physical object. For example, you would not overplay or mistreat your guitar and therefore you must treat your vocal the same. Having this attitude is the first step to really improving your vocal long term, especially your vocal tone.

Learning how to improve the sound, color, or timbre of your voice will take time and will not be an overnight achievement. It is worth putting the effort into your vocal tone as this is what many people judge when listening to a new singer. If you would like to build your vocal tone to sound just how you like, then putting in the work will be key.

What Is Vocal Tone?

Okay, let’s go back to basics. So what exactly is the vocal tone?

Vocal tone is the sound of your voice when you sing. The vocal tone describes if your voice sounds airy, or strong and generally summarizes the characteristics of your voice. The vocal tone is the general way how you sing. Therefore, it is fairly easy to change your vocal tone and manipulate how your vocal tone sounds, even throughout a song.

When it comes to vocal tone, every singer sounds different. Just like every voice is different. Although, there are different tones you can sing in and different sounds you can implement which will change your vocal tone. These are fairly easy to replicate and you most likely already do it to a certain degree.

Your choice of vocal tone could be based on a stylistic choice as you may want your voice to sit nicely within a particular genre. The vocal tone could also be referring to the type of voice you have.

What Are Voice Types?

There are six main types of voice types that your voice could be a part of. When someone is referring to your voice type, they are generally referring to what range of notes you can sing. Depending on your range of notes, you are then classed as a certain voice type.

Out of the six different voice types, three-voice types are more likely to be female voices and three-voice types are more likely to be male voice types. This is because the voice types range from one end of the keyboard to the other, Males have deeper voices in the morning especially, and are more likely to reach the bottom of the keyboard whereas females have higher-pitched voices and are more likely to reach the top end of the keyboard.

The six different types of voices are called bass, baritone, tenor, alto, mezzo-soprano, and soprano.

Here is a definition of what notes all these different voice types can reach:

  • Bass voice type: You will be a bass voice type if your lowest note sit between E2 to E4 and your highest note sits between C2 to G4.
  • Baritone voice type: You will be a baritone voice type if your lowest note sit between A2 to A4 and your highest note sits between F2 to C5.
  • Tenor voice type: You will be a tenor voice type if your lowest note sit between C3 to E3 and your highest note sits between C5 to E5. Here are some recommended tenor songs for male & female singers.
  • Alto voice type: You will be an alto voice type if your lowest note sit between F3 to A3 and your highest note sits between F5 to A5. Here are some recommended alto songs for male and female singers.
  • Mezzo-soprano voice type: You will be a mezzo-soprano voice type if your lowest note sit between A3 to D3 and your highest note sits between A5 to C5.
  • Soprano voice type: You will be a soprano voice type if your lowest note sit between C4 to F4 and your highest note sits between C6 to F6.

The Different Types of Vocal Tones

The different types of vocal tones are based on how the vocal sounds. This could be to do with tone color or expression or how much air the vocal has. Vocal color is a term used to describe how the vocal sounds when it moves from one voice register to the other, or even one voice type to the other voice type.

Words like warm and bright can be described for vocal tone and really refers to the style in which the vocal is being sung and how the vocal ends up sounding in different areas of the vocal register.

Every singer has their own unique voice and often they will have different vocal tones. This is how you are able to tell one singer apart from the other singing when they are playing at the same time.

When a vocalist is trying to express emotions this can also change the tone of voice. This is to do with resonance as resonance plays a big part in how your voice sounds when you are performing.

Here is a full list of the different types of vocal tones you can produce with your voice:

  • The onset or attack tone
  • The nasal tone or sing through the nose
  • The throat tone
  • The forced tone
  • The breathy tone

The Onset or Attack Tone

The is a voice type that is based on a vocal technique. A vocal attack is a sharp, firm, and loud vocal sound. This vocal sound is created by the vocal folds when they gently come together after you have breathed in deeply. The vocal folds slightly seal which then creates a clear tone and is also beneficial when it comes to airflow and breathing technique.

The reason the attack tone is good for breath control is that only enough air passes between the vocal folds to make them start vibrating. The airflow is passed through the vocal folds steadily meaning that the voice is strong. The method of singing allowed the tone of the voice on how to sing on pitch and volume.

When you are applying the attack vocal tone, if you make sure that the lips are firm this then means that the glottis will react better. The glottis is a word to describe the vocal folds and the space in between the folds.

Keeping your lips tight when applying to attack vocal tone means that more resistance will be created with the air which means you will need less air to allow the vocal folds to start vibrating. This method is a healthy way of singing that will not allow your vocal folds to strain as it is a very controlled technique.

When you exhale from the attack tone the slower you allow the air to pass through the vocal folds means that the notes you are singing will last longer. Practicing the attack tone correctly will mean that you are able to sing for longer, especially during difficult vocal phrases. The less breath you need to draw in these long vocal phrases, the more control you will have over your vocals.

The performance will automatically sound better to the audience. The reason many people need to catch their breath is that the air is leaking through the vocal folds. When the air does not leak through the vocal folds, that is when you will not need as much air to sing your note. If you do not have very good control over your breath, this can alter the tone of your voice and your voice can feel pressured and you may start to wobble on the pitch of your notes.

How to Produce an Attack Tone

This movement with the vocal folds is something that happens naturally when we talk. This is only when the vocal folds are functionally properly and healthily. When you are applying the attack tone during a singing performance, you will need to make sure that the breath you allow out hits the focal point on the hard palate. Many vocal coaches will refer to this as the placement of breath.

When you are singing vowels, each vowel has a different focal point, or as vocal coaches like to refer to it as is different. This is exactly what happens with different pitches too. The breath will need to go to the top of the palate and tongue.

When vocal coaches teach the perfect attack, this method will require acquiring many of the supporting muscles. This can be hard to teach initially as a beginner vocalist may not know how to control these supporting muscles. This can be worked on over time, with the guidance of a vocal coach.

A good attack tone may be described as a good onset. A good onset requires the vocalists to keep the glottis contracted and together after the lips and the vocal folds have been brought together. Once this has been applied to a note and essentially the note has been ‘attacked’, you will then need to maintain a closed glottal position to achieve a good onset and good attack tone.

This is easier said than done and the singer may easily open the throat as that is what feels natural. If the throat is then opened, this is a bad vocal technique to learn and is referred to as the closed-throated technique or high-larynx singing. This technique when done wrong can cause excess pressure on the laryngeal.

The Nasal Tone or Sing Through the Nose

Singing through the nose is one of the most common learners’ vocal tones. It is also described as the nasal tone. This kind of vocal tone is caused by too much nasality in the tone. This is very noticeable, especially on the higher notes of a singer’s vocal range.

The nasal sound can sound like a siren when applied just by itself, but when mixed it can give the singer either a whiny or twang sound to their vocal tone.

There are many well-known singers, across a range of genres that sing with a nasal sound as a stylistic choice. Often it is a stereotypical voice tone of country singers, especially with a southern twang to their singing accents. R&B music is also a typical genre that uses a nasal vocal tone.

Throughout R&B music, male and female singers are fond of the nasal vocal tone especially when singing riffs, embellishments, or vocal runs. Even though some genres are full of nasal vocal tones, the tone itself is not as flattering on the voice as other vocal tones.

Many people view that a nasal vocal tone is not desirable and more of a stylistic bad habit rather than a stylistic choice. The reason many people do not like the basal tone is that it can be hard to listen to for long periods of time.

When a singer sings with a nasal tone, it often sounds very good to them as it has a characteristic sound but to listeners, the sound is very different from what the vocalist can hear in their head. Many singers think they are singing better when they use a nasal vocal tone because a nasal vocal tone makes the singer sounds louder.

It is common that with an instrument and even listening to a song, the louder it is the better we think it is. The nasal vocal tone is meant to create more presence when performing although to the listener, it gives the listener the impression that the vocalist’s voice is very restricted.

It can also make the voice sound false and twangy, rather than rich or soft. When a vocalist sings in a nasal style, often their body is very tense. A nasal vocal tone is often a bad singing habit that has been picked up along the way and can take a while to unlearn. A nasal voice type can be unlearned, but it takes days of practicing healthy vocal tones and specified vocal exercises.

Is the Nasal Tone Unhealthy?

When asking vocal coaches they all state that a nasal vocal tone is considered to be a bad choice of vocal tone for any singer, no matter what style of a genre they would like to sing in. This is because a nasal vocal tone means that the singer adopts bad singing techniques that can be harmful to the voice and it will also limit the voice.

A nasal tone means that the natural vocal tone is altered in several different ways and often the resonance is distorted. To have a good vocal tone, the resonance in a voice needs to be balanced while singing so that the voice can sound warm and have a full tone on all notes that are sung in the vocalist’s vocal range.

By producing a nasal tone, the vocalist is closing off the voice in the nose to produce less resonance. This effect on the resonance means that a nasal tone is actually a  thinner tone that can also affect some of the notes in a vocalist range, especially in the higher end of their vocal range. This closed-off effect on the voice can sound as if the singer either has a cold or allergies.

If you find that you are producing a nasal sound this could be because of a few different reasons. The first reason is the placement of the tongue. If you find that your tongue is raided back, this could be affecting the voice. A lowered soft palate and a forward jaw position could also be affecting the way your voice sounds and creating a nasal tone.

When the back of the tongue is raised, the amount of space available is cut off and so is the breath. This is when the vowels in your singing will not be able to be pronounced or sung properly and therefore you should aim to not sing in a nasal tone.

Will Nasal Singing Hurt Me?

Yes, if you sing in a nasal tone, over time it could start to hurt your voice. If there is too much nasal tone when you are singing it could actually cause chronic nasal allergies or nasal congestion.

Can You Have Good Nasal Resonance?

Yes, there can be. The nasal cavity is important when looking at the production of any vocal tone as it is needed for many different vocal techniques. If the naval cavity is overused and becomes what defines the vocal tone of the voice, then this is when it is not good for both sound and the care of your vocal folds.

There are two different kinds of nasal sounds which are squeezed or compressed. A good nasal resonance is created from an open throat. To create a good nasal sound, you will need to make sure that the tongue and soft palate are out of the way, so the throat can be open and the sound does not get stuck. When controlling the airflow, the vocalist will also need to allow a small amount of air to escape through the nasal port.

When learning to sing without sounding too nasally, a beginner vocalist will need to place their tone so that the tone sounds balanced. This will come with the practice of knowing when the throat is open and activated. It is also wise for a beginner vocalist to focus on the tension of their jaw when singing too as this can also prevent a good vocal tone from forming.

To make sure that you are not singing fully through your nose is to try a simple trick. While you are singing, pinch your nostrils together with your fingers and sing a varied amount of vowels at different pitches. While singing the same notes, release your fingers. If you are singing correctly, the tone of your voice should then change slightly.

The Throat Tone

The throat tone is often heard in pop, Gospel, and R&B genres. The way the throat tone sounds in singers is that it makes the voice sound hollow and produces a slight creek to the voice. The throat tone is caused by too much pharyngeal resonance.

Many vocalists use the throat tone as it can make the voice sound louder and wider when applied. The throat tone is mainly used when a singer was to either growl when singing or belt a note. These are common stylistic features and embellishments in popular music today. An example of this kind of vocal tone is Christina Aguilera. The throat tone adds a dark timbre to vowels and the overall tone of the voice.

The throat tone is also applied when a singer is attempting to open the throat while singing. The throat tone is applied here due to poor technique. If overused, the throat tone can produce a distorted resonance similar to the sound of yawning.

Is the Throat Tone Bad?

When the throat tone is applied it can limit a vocalist’s ability to produce volume as it can strip the vocal of its overtones. During singing the throat tone, the resonance from sound is pushed back into the soft tissue of the upper throat also known as the soft palate.

The throat tone can also cause the tip of the tongue to separate from its position behind the lower teeth, which will then cause the spreading of the sides of the mouth. This bad technique will then cause tension in the cheek muscles which will restrict the vocal further. Once there is tension in the cheek, this can cause tension over areas of the body such as the tongue and the jaw which can make the throat tone sound more nasally.

Training your body not to fall into their unhealthy technique will take time and you may not even realize that you are doing it. Regular practice of the throat tone can have damaging effects on the soft palate involvement. Exercises to address correct tongue positioning can improve the vocal tone and help relieve neck tension.

The Forced Tone

Forcing or pushing the voice can create another vocal tone. It can also be referred to as pressed phonation. The type of vocal tone known as pressed phonation is very common amounts all singers and can even be heard during normal talking.

A forced vocal tone has a tense sound and can produce quite a harsh sounding vocal. A forced vocal tone can normally be heard as the beginning of vowels, when the singer’s voice is squeezed, or when the singer is running out of breath mid-lyric. A forced vocal tone is the sound of released tightness that is produced after the vocal folds relax.

A long-term forced vocal tone makes the vocal sound shouty and displays little emotive color or expression due to all the energy being spent on forcing the vocal. This type of vocal tone can be tiring to perform or maintain.

When the vocal is forced this is due to an elevated larynx position. The healthiest way to sing is known as free-flow phonation which is produced with a lower, relaxed larynx.

Belting, which is a vocal technique that is popular with pop star vocalists, is known to need a pressed phonation and forced vocal tone. This is what gives the vocal technique belting a bigger sound.

Is it bad to use a forced or pushed tone?

If you are using this kind of vocal tone all the time when you are singing, then yes. This kind of singing would lead to vocal deterioration over time and therefore it is blessed to sing either in a good vocal tone or use a forced vocal tone occasionally.

When Is It Common to Use a Forced or Pushed Vocal Tone?

It is most common to use a forced or pushed vocal tone when a singer is belting another note. You will also hear a vocalist use their forced vocal tone when their performance sounds shouty. Often, when watching X-factor auditions most of the singers will opt to use a forced vocal tone in order to make their voice sound bigger and better than it is.

Male singers commonly use a forced vocal tone when approaching their middle to high notes in their range. Female singers tend to use a forced vocal tone when they sing higher notes, especially when they think they may not make the note.

You will often find that if you are having issues with your vocal tone and find that you are constantly singing in a forced vocal tone, it may actually be that you need to work on your breath control. If you have bad breath control you will find that it causes pressured phonation.

Applying breathing exercises to your daily routine could help this. Allowing your body to relax during your warm-up could also help you not to be forced into a pressured vocal tone when singing.

If you are a male singer, applying falsetto exercises could help you not jump to a forced vocal tone every time you sing. These falsetto exercises can work on single notes and should be sung using your chest voice then transition to your head voice with no break in between.

The Breathy Tone

A breathy tone is one of the most common types of vocal tones used. A breathy tone is used across all different kinds of genres, with both female and male vocalists overusing it. When it comes to proper technique, a breathy tone can be seen as a skill and a weakness at the same time.

A breathy tone can be seen as a weakness to the tone of the voice as there is too much air allowed into the voice. Female voices tend to use too much breathiness in their voice when compared to male vocalists. A breathy tone is a stylistic feature and sounds very pretty in acoustic music as well as soul music.

A breathy vocal tone not only exists in a singing voice but also in a speaking voice. A breathy vocal tone can also be described as an airy vocal tone. This tone is caused by air leaking through the mouth and vocal folds when singing.

This excess of air can be heard as sounding like an unfocused tone, very opposite to the forced or pushed vocal tone. The breathy vocal tone can sound wispy. If the breathy tone is overdone, it can start to sound scratchy on the vocal and make the lyrics of the vocal sound unclear and undefined.

The Science Behind the Breathy Vocal Tone

When the singer inhales, the breathy vocal tone is created as the vocal folds separate to allow the air to enter the lungs. After breathing in, the vocal folds come together gently. The air pressure in the trachea rises and the vocal folds are blown apart.

An oval-shaped gap is created between the folds and therefore some air escapes. This then lowers the pressure inside the trachea. An overly breathy tone is created by a tone of air being released while the lyric is being sung.

improving vocal tone

What Is Resonance and How Does Resonance Affect Your Vocal Tonality?

Resonance affects your vocal tonality as it affects the vibrations that actually make your vocal. Technically, resonance is when a harmonic from the vocal folds line up with the pitch of the air in the vocal tract.

When you are attempting to develop your vocal sound, it is important to think about which parts of the body you will need to activate to make that certain sound. For example, if you are wanting to create a clear vocal tone then when singing you will want to feel the vibrations on your head and all over your face.

Good Vocal Tone

This section is the easiest to answer. What makes a good vocal tone is having a balance of everything. Being able to have a clear vocal tone that is not too nasally, breathy, or throaty is what you are aiming for. Therefore the way to achieve a good vocal tone is to make sure that you unlearn bad habits when it comes to other types of vocal tones and certain vocal techniques.

Examples of Good Vocal Tones

When reading an article it can be hard to picture how something sounds. Showing what a good vocal tone should sound like will help you understand what vocal tone you should be aiming for. Here is a list of easy songs that demonstrate a good vocal tone:

  • Confidently Lost by Sabrina Claudio
  • Chandelier by Sia
  • Rolling in the Deep by Adele
  • Therefore I Am by Billie Eilish

Confidently Lost by Sabrina Claudio

Confidently Lost by Sabrina Claudio is a perfect example of a breathy vocal tone. Sabrina Claudio uses her breathy vocal tone to her advantage and creates harmony around the sound. The breathy vocal tone in Confidently Lost is used to Sabrina Claudio’s advantage as it allows her to express emotion through her voice and create an atmosphere with her vocal performance.

Even though Sabrina Claudio has a very breathy vocal tone, the meaning of her words and the fullness of her notes are not lost.

You can listen to Confidently Lost by Sabrina Claudio here:

Chandelier by Sia

If you are wondering what a good nasal voice tone sounds like, then Sia is a good example. Sia uses her nasal voice tone mixed with her chest voice in her song Chandelier. Chandelier is a challenging song for singers as it is a mixture of chest voice, head voice, belting tone, and nasal tone.

You can listen to Chandelier by Sia here:

Rolling in the Deep by Adele

Rolling in the Deep by Adele is a perfect example of a good vocal tone and the use of an attacking vocal tone or known as the onset. The vocal performance given in Rolling in the Deep by Adele is strong and powerful and yet does not use a forced or pushed vocal tone.

Adele has a powerful chest voice that is supported by her well-trained breath control. Adele’s low notes are supported by her diaphragm and overall, within Adele’s chest voice she produces a good tone of voice. Learning how to sing from your diaphragm isn’t an easy process, but Adele has mastered it.

You can listen to Rolling in the Deep by Adele here:

Therefore I Am by Billie Eilish

The last example on this list is Therefore I Am by Billie Eilish. Billie Eilish is a perfect example of an artist who also uses a breathy vocal tone throughout her performances. Unlike Sabrina Claudio, Billie Eilish does not support this breathy vocal tone with harmonies but instead uses the breathy vocal tone to create drama and an emotive atmosphere in her song.

Billie Eilish has a strong vocal tone and therefore when she applied this breathy vocal tone, the clarity of her words is not lost and she is able to create a whisper-like performance in her song Therefore I Am.

You can listen to Therefore I Am by Billie Eilish here:

How to Improve Vocal Tone

If you’ve started learning how to sing, then vocal tone may be next on your list to conquer after pitch. There are some easy ways to get started on improving your vocal tone. Here is a list of easy ways to begin improving your vocal technique and your vocal tone:

  • Practise speaking
  • 5-tone vocal exercise
  • Use a microphone
  • Practise correct breathing
  • Care for your voice

Practise Speaking

Speaking and singing have something vital in common which is vocal tone. You can actually start to improve your singing vocal tone by improving your speaking vocal tone. It is good practice to harmonize your singing and speaking voice.

When you are talking, it is unusual for your vocal to be overly breathy or overly forced. When you are speaking, you are more than likely to be talking in a good manner and have not gained bad habits when talking. Therefore, it is a good idea to start talking and studying how your voice sounds when you are talking and watch for if your vocal goes overly breathy, forced, or nasally when you start to lightly sing.

Aim to try and continue the same vocal tone you have when you are talking to when you are singing. If you successfully do this, you will most likely improve your vocal tone overnight. Speaking is also a great way of warming your vocal up before a performance.

5-Tone Vocal Exercise

This exercise is designed to stop you from straining or manipulating your voice. When you naturally aim to copy a stylistic trait in a song, sometimes the force can be multiplied to sound odd and this effect will take away the rich and warm sounds of your vocal tone.

The only way to make sure that you are not starting your voice permanently is to practice vocal exercises designed for improving vocal tone daily. Vocal exercises can help train the vocal cords and vocal tract to work together in a healthy way.

If the vocal cords are loose, you can incorporate a vocal exercise to get the vocal cords to vibrate more which will lead to your voice sounding richer in tone. Practicing a vocal exercise that is designed to relax the vocal tract while the cords are vibrating will help you adopt a good vocal tone.

The best exercise to try is to sing along with a piano singing the sound “gug”. While you sing this sound, make sure that you are singing it to a high volume. This sound when sung will close the vocal cords while it is relaxing the vocal tract. Continue to sing this sound at alternating pitches.

Use A Microphone

The best way of protecting your vocal tone and vocal cords is to make sure that you are not straining your voice. If you do not have good muscular strength or your muscles in your diaphragm are not strong, you may strain your voice if you are trying to sing loudly and accidentally start developing a forced or pushed vocal tone.

The best way to start avoiding this bad habit is to use a microphone when you sing so that you are not pushing your voice for volume.

If you do start to force or push your vogue, you may risk injuring your voice. It is better for your vocal cords to gradually increase how much you sing so that your body starts to get used to it slowly and it is not a bit of a shock to the system.

Practise Correct Breathing

The worst mistake you could make as a singer is to underestimate how much breathing contributes to the sound of your voice and how well you can sing. Having good strong breath control will not only help you sing for longer but your vocal tone will sound overall better and richer.

Learning bad breathing habits can be easier than you think, with many singers used to taking shallow breaths this is a technique that should be on the top of your priority list. There are plenty of breathing exercises that you can do to get you starting on learning how to control your breathing better.

The easiest breathing exercise to do is to simply lie on the floor and practice deep breathing and holding your breath.

Care For Your Voice

Caring for your voice should be something you are incorporating into your daily routine. There are many different ways you can start to care for your voice including diet changes and simply rest. Making sure that you treat your voice like the instrument is the first thing you should be looking into.

If you are wanting to improve your vocals naturally, you will need to put the time into it and also the care. Drinking water is one of the best ways to care for your voice as it keeps the vocal membranes hydrated. There are obvious tricks you can try that may help your vocal tone which include not smoking or talking loudly or screaming. Good posture is another way to support the vocals and the body when singing

woman standing front of microphone

How to Improve Tone of Voice and Care For Your Voice

If you do not care for your voice efficiently, then you should expect that your voice may be affected and your vocal tone will not be as good as it could be. There are simple things you can apply to your daily routine that may help your vocal improve in vocal tone and also help prevent your vocal tone from being damaged in any way.

Here is a list of simple ways you can start caring for your vocal tone and your voice:

  • Never strain your voice
  • Avoid dairy and alcohol 
  • Drink good tea 
  • Always warm-up 
  • Avoid using the extremes

Never Strain Your Voice

It is easy to get carried away using your talking voice, especially if you are doing a customer-facing role or if you attend a concert and want to sing along to all of the hardest songs. Straining your voice should not happen every day and you should aim to rest your voice for a few hours each day, especially if you have been overusing it lately.

Caring for your voice in this way will prevent your vocal cords from an injury and could help your overall vocal tone too.

Avoid Dairy And Alcohol

Consuming milk and other dairy products before you start to sing and perform could cause your vocal issues. This is due to the dairy being rich in fat and it can cause mucus to thicken in your throat. This can then irritate your vocal cords and make it more challenging to sing.

Avoiding alcohol if you are a singer is also a good shout. Alcohol can dehydrate the vocal cords causing them to be strained when you are singing.

Drink Good Tea

Knowing what foods to avoid is useful but knowing what foods to add to your diet is even more useful. There are ingredients such as manuka honey that soothe the vocal cords and help care for them in the long run.

Fruit and herbal tea can be very soothing for vocal cords and even contain ingredients like licorice and honey that can be soothing and clarifying for the throat. If you are interested in what fruit tea, then research what the best teas for singers will help.

Always Warm-Up

Making sure you always warm-up will help your vocal cords in the long run. If you start singing long pieces of repertoire straight away before you have started warming up, this could cause an injury to your vocal cords, especially if you start practicing high notes as your voice will become strained.

These vocal warm-ups do not need to take a long time and could even take 5 to 10 minutes before you start practicing your vocals. 

Avoid Using the Extremes

The best way to care for your vocal range and your vocal tone is to make sure that you avoid overly using your voice, especially in extreme singing. Extreme singing would count screaming, reaching for notes that are out of your vocal range, and belting large notes. Extreme singing would also include whispering as your vocal cords have to try harder when you whisper rather than when you sing or talk normally.

Improve Vocal Tone at Home

If you are not at the stage where you need to get help from a vocal coach, then there are ways you can improve your vocal tone at home.

Here are some simple ways you can start to improve your vocal tone at home:

  • Use your chest voice
  • Use your head voice
  • Use your mixed voice
  • Understand your voice
  • Understand the vocal technique you would like to achieve

Use Your Chest Voice

Improving your vocal tone can be tricky, but practicing your chest voice can help. To gain a good vocal tone you will need to apply your chest voice along with your head voice and therefore you will need to make sure that your vocal range is confident your chest voice.

The way to get a good vocal tone is to have balance in your tones and your vocal registers. The best way to practice your chest voice is by practicing scales. These scales can start off small and cover all the notes within your chest voice.

Use Your Head Voice

Just as it is with a chest voice, practicing your head voice is essential to help your overall vocal tone. The combination of the chest voice and the head voice can cause issues with a lot of singers.

Controlling the voice while the voice remains relaxed, especially in your head voice is one way to achieve a good vocal tone. The best way to do that at home is to practice how you apply your breath when you are singing in your head voice.

Use Your Mixed Voice

Mixing between your head voice and your chest voice is all part of your singing range and will eventually develop your singing tone. Often singers find they experience break notes when they change between these two voices and this can strain the voice.

Practicing sirens and slides in the vocal range between your chest voice and your head voice is the easy way to get rid of these break notes. This is a simple exercise that can be done several times a day at home.

Understand Your Voice

The best way to know how to fix a problem is to first understand what is going wrong. Making sure that you understand what sound and how the sound comes from your voice is key. Knowing how the vocal cords vibrate while singing and treating your vocal cords like a string instrument will help.

Researching this is an easy thing to start working on at home and if there’s anything you do not understand, you can then always approach a vocal coach for guidance.

Understand the Vocal Technique You Would Like to Achieve

Knowing how your voice works and what you would like to achieve vocally will give you guidance when researching what vocal exercises are the best for you. Every singer will struggle with a different aspect of vocal tone. Some singers will be too breathy and other singers will be too nasally.

Aim to research and Understand the fundamentals of the vocal tone you would like to achieve. Learning how and where in the body that tone is produced will also help you apply it to yourself.

Sweeten Your Singing Tone

If you love pop music or R&B, then you most likely would like to replicate the sweet tones of the singers that are famous in those genres. Sweetening your vocal tone is easier than you think.

Here are some simple tricks to try when learning how to sweeten your vocal tone:

  • Learn balance
  • Exercises to control your vocal
  • Exercises to widen your range
  • Practice high notes

Learn Balance

The best way to get a good vocal tone is to make sure that your voice is balanced. This means that you will want to produce a high-quality and stable vocal resonance in your throat and head.

Exercises to Control Your Vocal

Standing up straight and having a good posture when you are singing is the best way to make sure that you can control your vocal tone better. Using exercises like filling up your lungs with air and holding will help you control your vocals.

Exercises to Widen Your Range

Widening your vocal range will help you practice a sweeter vocal tone. Often higher notes in your vocal range will sound sweeter and if you sing them with a soft tone, this will give you an overall feeling of having a sweet tone. It is best to be able to reach these notes comfortably so that you can sing them in a soft tone.

Practise High Notes

Singing your higher notes and making sure that you are comfortable with the top end of your range will give you a sweeter vocal tone. To make sure that you are able to sing your higher notes, practice vocal exercises like sirens, especially in your head voice. By practicing vowel sounds using your higher notes, you can practice making sure your high notes do not include too much air.

If You Know Your Theory, Then Vocal Tone Is Easier to Control

Practicing different types of vocal tones and achieving a good vocal tone takes time and practice. It not only takes time and practice, but it also requires you to have knowledge of what is happening to cause you to have the vocal tone you have.

Understanding the vocal cords and how it works will help you achieve the type of vocal tone you would like quickly as you will be able to know where you should feel the vibration when you are singing. The main thing to avoid when it comes to tone is to not be too breathy, too nasally, or too throaty. A combination of all of these types of voice tones will be balanced. 

FAQs

How can I improve my vocal sound?

To improve your vocal sound, focus on mastering diaphragmatic breathing for better voice support and regularly perform vocal warm-up exercises to enhance range and clarity. Staying hydrated is crucial as it keeps the vocal cords supple. Adopting good posture ensures optimal sound projection. Practicing clear articulation of consonants and vowels can also help. Additionally, allowing your voice ample rest to avoid strain and considering professional training from a vocal coach for personalized guidance can significantly benefit vocal development. Regular, mindful practice is key to making consistent improvements.

How long does it take to improve vocal tone?

The time it takes to improve vocal tone can vary widely depending on individual factors like the starting skill level, natural ability, the specific goals of the vocalist, the frequency and quality of practice, and whether professional training is involved. Generally, noticeable improvements can be seen within a few weeks to a few months of consistent, focused practice. However, significant enhancements and mastery of advanced techniques can take years of dedicated effort. The key is regular, mindful practice and possibly guidance from a skilled vocal coach to ensure correct technique and efficient progress.

By Nate Pallesen

Nate is just your average (above average) guitar player. He's no Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page - wait this site is about acoustic guitars (sorry) He's no Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, or Michael Hedges, wait? who!? He's no Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton or Ben Harper - more familiar? Anyway you get the point :-)

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