How To Sing Louder Without Cracking Or Straining Your Voice

Pitch. Tone. Technique. Singers have many areas to address on their journey to becoming better versions of themselves.

Many singers will come to the point of wanting to sing louder or project more. This is an essential skill to learn, but learning to project without cracking, straining, or otherwise hurting your voice can prove a challenge.

Here we’ll look at how to sing louder without cracking or straining.

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Why You’re Struggling With Projection

There are four key reasons why you may be struggling with singing louder.

You’re Not Ready To Sing Loudly

Learning to become a great singer takes time, and the simple truth is many singers aren’t quite ready to sing louder. They are lacking experience and practice.

If you practice regularly and consistently, not only will you improve your breathing and technique, but your voice will also get stronger.

Practicing can seem like a drag, and I admit it’s not my favorite thing to do, either. I used to practice for hours as I was preparing for recording sessions at my producer’s recommendation, and I didn’t enjoy the process. But it gave me a solid foundation to build upon.

Nowadays, I rarely practice unless I’m recording or have a performance coming up.

Nevertheless, you’ve got to put in the hours if you hope to master essential skills. We’ll talk more about the specific things you need to practice to be able to sing more loudly later.

You’re Not Adequately Warmed Up

If you’re a more experienced singer, and you’ve been able to project well in the past, then chances are you can do it again.

It could be that you’re a little out of practice. More importantly, it could be that you’re not adequately warmed up.

I know how easy it is to skip those warmups… But just as a runner would not attempt to go full boar in a race without taking the necessary time to warm up, it is a bad idea to go from resting to singing as loudly as you possibly can.

There are countless warmup exercises you can use, and nowadays you can even find apps with entire libraries of exercises, some of which you can access for free. Yes, warming up every day may seem tedious, but there is simply no excuse not to.

Before you injure your voice unnecessarily, get into the habit of warming up, especially before attempting to project.

Your Technique Is Off

Just because you’re trying to sing louder doesn’t mean that your technique should change.

It’s hard to catch yourself doing the wrong things, so if possible, you should get a singer friend or vocal coach to observe you as you’re working on singing loudly.

Often, when new singers are attempting to sing more loudly, they will tense up or change their posture unnecessarily. They will get stuck in their throat instead of letting the notes flow freely from their diaphragm.

To be able to sing well and maintain proper vocal health, you will need to learn proper singing technique and employ it no matter what you may be attempting to sing.

Failing to do so can lead to injury, so it would be in your best interest to develop your technique before you try anything crazy.

You’re Lacking Confidence

Singing louder will inevitably mean being heard more clearly by more people. If you’re practicing in a soundproof room, that’s one thing, but otherwise, the sound will leak and be audible to others.

As a result, many singers end up fearing the act of singing more loudly. They become self-conscious because they feel like they might make a mistake or do it wrong.

Understand one thing – most if not all singers struggle with self-confidence at different times. So, it’s not a problem. Commit to doing the things that will help build your confidence (such as practicing), and you will overcome it.

Even the legendary Mariah Carey is said to have avoided performing in the early days of her career due to stage fright.

We’ll look at specific ways you can build your confidence a little later.

But as with anything, you can’t overcome your fear without doing something about it. If you’re nervous about public speaking, for example, you can’t expect to overcome your fear without taking some chances to speak in front of people.

Messing up in front of an audience once or twice is usually par for the course. But these can prove some of the most valuable learning experiences.

3 Things Every Singer Needs To Work On

Whether you want to improve your projection, pitch, or even extend your range, there are three areas every singer needs to focus on.

Warming Up

As suggested earlier in this guide, you can’t expect to sing at your best without warming up your voice. Warming up isn’t just for recording sessions or singing live. You should be warming up before every practice session too.

You should also pay attention to your body as you’re warming up. If your body isn’t relaxed, you won’t sing at your best, and in some cases, you may end up straining your voice (which can lead to injury).

Some singers find that stretching can help them relax. In most cases, breathing slowly and deeply can also help.

Remember – your jaw, neck, shoulders, chest, and stomach / diaphragm should all be loose and relaxed while you’re singing.

Breathing

Singing is about the flow of air. If you don’t master this aspect of singing, then you can’t expect to be able to sing with power.

Some of the essentials include:

  • Breathing from the diaphragm. This is distinct from the way you normally breathe as you go about your daily activities. Singers need to practice diaphragm breathing, and they need to get to the point where they can do it without thinking.
  • Breathing exercises. Breathing exercises can help you learn to better control your breath and the flow of air. There are many to choose from. Experiment and find what works for you, or better yet, find a vocal coach who can set you on the right path.
  • Cardiovascular health. Cardio workouts can help you gain more control over airflow. See if you can work exercise into your schedule a few times per week for the best results, whether jogging, stair climbing, kickboxing, cycling, jump rope, or something else that appeals to you.

Vocal Technique

Every singer must learn proper vocal technique if they ever hope to be able to sing without strain. Pay attention to the following areas:

  • Posture. Ensure that your chin is parallel to the ground, lift your chest and shoulders (stand up straight), and keep your abdomen straight as well. Keep your feet about hip-width apart and avoid locking your knees. Relax your arms and hands and keep them at your side. A natural, comfortable stance is ideal.
  • Sing from the diaphragm. Mastering airflow is largely dependent on you learning how to sing from the diaphragm. As noted earlier, learn to breathe into your diaphragm. Use breathing exercises to strengthen your muscles.
  • Sing how you speak. Your voice is at its most natural and relaxed when you’re talking. Learning how to speak-sing will help you sing more naturally, helping you avoid cracking and straining.

Additionally, practicing the following can help you improve your ability to sing louder:

  • Humming. Hum your scales. Try both open- and closed-mouth techniques. Also, try holding each note for about five to six seconds.
  • Arpeggios. Arpeggios are broken chords. Unlike singing scales, it’s singing just the first, third, and fifth notes of a chord. A C chord, for example, contains the notes C, E, and G. Practice singing the notes in both directions – ascending and descending. Singing your arpeggios can help you improve your breath control and strengthen your vocal cords.

Building Your Confidence

As noted earlier, it’s not at all unusual to feel self-conscious while singing. It is, after all, your voice, which is a unique expression of who you are. Having someone judge your singing is kind of like having your voice judged.

If you’re still new to singing, there’s a good chance you don’t feel like you’ve got your chops together yet.

If you don’t feel confident about your voice, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to sing loudly and clearly at a moment’s notice.

But there are things you can do to build your confidence. Try the following.

Practice & Become A Better Singer

The more you sing, and the better you get, the better you will feel about your voice.

At first, anyone who’s honest and self-aware hates the sound of their voice, especially the sound of their recorded voice.

It’s one thing to hear your voice with your ears. Quite another to hear your voice being picked up by a microphone or sound recorder.

But you don’t have much of a choice, do you? Your voice is your voice. The only worthwhile thing you can do is learn to love it, flaws, and all. You will never sound exactly like anyone else, even if you do learn to emulate certain singers.

Becoming a better singer will support you on your journey to appreciating your voice more.

No, you may never come to the point of absolutely falling head over heels for the sound of your recorded voice, but you will at least come to the point of accepting it.

Just as people sometimes avoid looking at their bank accounts when they’re trying to solve a financial issue, sticking your head in the sand, and hoping for the best is unlikely to work. You need to listen to your voice if you want to do anything about it.

You can practice by yourself and become a better singer. There are plenty of tutorials and apps available, some for free.

Of course, there are some downsides to practicing by yourself – no accountability, no guidance or direction on your specific strengths or problem areas, no step-by-step structures for accomplishing your specific goals, risking injury, etc.

The most surefire way to safely improve as a singer is to take a course, hire a teacher, or both.

Prepare For Your Performances

It’s amazing the number of singers that have a gig, recital, open mic, or some other performance opportunity coming up, that end up sitting around waiting, procrastinating, doing nothing to prepare.

Don’t let fear paralyze you. That’s the worst thing you could do.

Let’s say your gig is a month out. Sure, in a month you might not transform from an average singer into an incredible singer. But think of all the ways you could improve in that time:

  • You could find a key signature (for the songs you’re going to perform) that’s comfortable for you.
  • You could memorize the lyrics to the song(s).
  • You could find ways to navigate problem areas (especially with expert guidance).
  • You could work on your warmups, breathing, and vocal techniques (even if you don’t end up mastering any).
  • You could demonstrate your ability to be a true professional (professionals always come prepared).
  • You could instill good practice habits, which will help you prepare for the next gig.
  • And more.

To be able to sing confidently, you must know the song forward and backward. So, procrastinating is going to work against you. Putting your best foot forward in preparation will allow you to sing more freely and with more power when the occasion arises.

Calm Your Nerves

Some of the most experienced singers and performers still get nervous before a performance. Anecdotally, some like to shoot pool while waiting for the gig to begin. Other strange rituals and habits abound if you go looking for them.

You won’t know what will work for you until you try. But some things that are known to work relatively universally are:

  • Some form of exercise earlier in the day. Stretching, walking, working out, or yoga Before the performance or recording session.
  • Massage. Loosening up your tense muscles can relieve anxiety, improve blood flow, and boost your mood significantly.
  • Deep breathing. Slow, deep breaths are known to calm the nervous system. Athletes and military people are often trained in deep breathing under pressure scenarios (because it works!).
  • Meditation. This can easily be combined with deep breathing. Meditating for longer periods (30 to 50 minutes) can significantly reduce anxiety, clear your mind, and even improve your mood.

Avoid the temptation to turn to alcohol or other addictions to calm your nerves. Many musicians have gone down that road, only to lose their lives or experience health complications later…

It’s okay to get the pre-show jitters. It’s perfectly normal. The main thing to remember is before you attempt to sing a single note, relax your entire body.

Learn To Focus

When you’re feeling nervous about performing, the last thing you want to focus on is the audience – the people who’ve come to see you perform. That will only make you more nervous.

It sounds a little weird-headed, but your goal should be to learn how to tune out everything that has nothing to do with your performance. That means anything external that you have no control over.

The only thing you should concern yourself with is the microphone (if you’re using one), the words, the music, the melody, coming in on time, things like that. While you’re performing, everything else, such as what the audience is thinking, is irrelevant.

This, too, you will learn in time… people don’t care anywhere near as much as you think they do!

Sure, you’ll turn some heads if you’re a spectacular singer. And people might jeer or boo you off stage if you’re awful. But outside of that, so far as they are concerned, you are just another singer on a stage.

It’s a rare individual who impresses everyone at their first performance and instantly gets signed to a record label. To be honest, most of these stories either happened over 40 years ago, they are vastly exaggerated, or both.

Put your best foot forward, yes, but don’t concern yourself with others.

And if you do want to make a career out of it, don’t let everything ride on a single performance. You will find that live experience is the best experience there is, and every show you play will prepare you for greater opportunities.

Get out there and keep singing! That’s your ticket to a career long-term.

Why Singing Louder Can Be A Challenge

The pros make it look so easy, don’t they? But the reality is most have spent untold hours practicing their craft and gaining experience. That is why they make it look so easy.

On the other hand, for those just getting started…

Learning to sing loudly will inevitably mean going against some of the things you will instinctually do to sing louder. And that’s just one of the things that can make it a little counter-intuitive.

So, here are the main things that usually hold singers back and how to overcome these challenges.

Failing To Understand How The Voice Works

If you want to become a better singer, it is well worth studying how the voice works. Your voice includes your vocal cords, your lungs, and your diaphragm, and how each of these components interacts with one another.

Solution: Take the time to study how your voice works.

Using Only Your Head Voice To Sing Loudly

You have a head voice and a chest voice.

By default, you will attempt to sing loudly from your head. This doesn’t work very well because it’s forcing your vocal cords to work harder. Airflow will be severely restricted. Cracking and straining are inevitable.

Solution: Learn to sing from your chest.

Issues With Breathing

We’ve already talked at length about the importance of breathing and airflow. Well, when you aren’t moving enough air, inevitably you won’t be able to hold notes for the duration they were designed to be held, never mind singing more loudly.

Once you’ve messed up one note, the problems tend to domino. It makes it hard to catch your breath in time for the next note, and then you might end up coming in late on the next note, and so on.

Solution: Practice breathing exercises.

Head Tilting

You’ve seen singers do this before, and they look so cool doing it. But… it doesn’t do any favors for your voice.

New singers tend to tilt their heads back when attempting to sing louder, but this can tighten, strain, and even damage your vocal cords.

Make no mistake. If you keep this up, you may do irreversible damage to your voice. And ultimately, it doesn’t help you sing any louder. It can even affect your pitch negatively.

Solution: Keep your chin parallel to the ground. Keep your jaw loose.

Nerves

We’ve already talked at length about nerves, but the reason it can make singing louder more difficult is because your muscles tighten up. When this happens, you have less access to air.

Solution: Take whatever steps you can to relax your body before a performance or recording session.

Is Singing Loudly Bad For Your Voice?

If you’re using the proper breathing and vocal techniques, singing loudly should not put undue stress on your voice. If you do it properly, singing loudly shouldn’t negatively affect your voice any more than singing normally would.

If you’re feeling any pain, it’s a sign that you aren’t using proper technique.

Of course, singing too much or singing the wrong way can negatively affect your vocal cords. So, remember to have a proper maintenance and care routine. Warm up, cool down, and don’t over-sing or over-practice. Remember to hydrate and rest your voice as well.

Don’t Give Up & Keep Going

Learning to sing well is generally a long-term prospect. Some are “natural” and grasp the fundamentals of singing relatively quickly. But they are the exception and not the rule. You should not expect to become a great singer without putting in the time and effort.

For aspiring career musicians, this is a good reason not to put all your eggs in one basket. Every performance and every recording session is an opportunity to learn something new and gain experience. If you come at it from that angle, you will enjoy the journey so much more.

If you keep at it, there will come a time when it all seems to come quite naturally – I promise! Until then, don’t give up, and keep going.

Final Thoughts

Bottom line – learning to sing loudly can take time! Learning to sing is like learning any other instrument – you must spend plenty of time practicing and gaining experience.

But remember – it is possible to sing too much. Even if you are singing with the right technique, if you overuse your voice, you can injure it. Sing sparingly as you’re developing, and as your voice gets stronger, you’ll be able to do more.

Good luck!

P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!

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