Five Reasons Why Singing Lessons
Will Be a Game Changer for
Your Public Speaking Efforts
Singing is fun. It’s a great way to relieve stress and take your good mood to new heights. You can sing in the shower, as you do daily chores and drive wherever you might go. It’s also good for you, and not just because of stress relief.
Singing is a physical activity. Your body changes the way it works when you sing. Your breathing and tone become more measured and your stomach muscles gain strength. As you hit all the right notes, you become more assured in your ability and delivery.
Public speaking is also a physical activity and it too relies on the skills every competent vocalist exercises. Public speakers must be able to speak clearly and distinctly, modulating their tone to give their presentation depth and meaning. They must speak in the right pitch lest they damage their vocal cords. And they too must maintain good posture to project credibility and authority.
Some people make being a public speaker their career goal. Others may only have to present at an important event once a year. Whatever your public speaking aspirations are, you need to know how taking singing lessons will help achieve them.
Your Posture Will Improve
Have you ever watched a public speaker present? Have you ever noticed a balladeer’s stance as they sing? If so, you likely found their postures much the same: shoulders back, head square, spine straight and hips in balance.
Starting with your first singing lesson, your voice coach will guide you to the ideal posture for voice projection. They might start with your shoulders, making sure they’re neither slumped nor raised. They will probably teach you a few exercises to condition them into the proper position.
Your back and neck will be next, followed by your abdominal muscles. Don’t be surprised if you go home with a set of exercises to do daily. One such might be holding yourself against a wall with your head, shoulders, lumbar area and heels all touching it.
Maintaining good posture will help you condition all the muscles you need to use your voice effectively. It will also make you appear confident and secure. It will lend you an air of professionalism and authority. And your clothes will hang better, too, which adds to your credibility.
You’ll Learn to Control Your Breathing
Every singer and public speaker needs to master breathing techniques. As a public speaker, you probably won’t need to sustain any notes but you must manage your speech flow. Poor breathing could make your speech sound choppy and uneven, at best. At worst, you might end up gasping for breath as you try to get your message across.
Breath control is also important for modulating your tone. You’ll need to add emphasis to key points as you speak, and you should always present each new idea with more force than the rest of the thought. For context, imagine a written paragraph. The first sentence expresses the main idea; the rest is supporting information. When you speak, you’ll follow that pattern.
Your singing coach can teach you how to control your breath and use it for maximum effect as you speak. They might place their hand on your abdomen as you hold a note, press on it and release. You’ll hear the change in tonal quality and feel how your larynx reacts to those gusts. Singing lessons will teach you how to master these techniques for ultimate breath control.
You’ll Be Able to Project Your Voice
Singers and public speakers often use audio equipment to make their voices reach every corner of the room. But those typically not thought of as public speakers don’t have that luxury. Schoolteachers, marketers and company training presenters fall into that category. These public speakers have to learn how to project their voices so the people in the back of the room can hear them, too.
There’s a fine line between shouting and projecting your voice. You can tell you’ve crossed it if your throat hurts after a performance, or if audience feedback indicates you sounded harsh or grating. You can banish any chance of such happening with singing lessons. Your voice teacher will show you how to deliver consistent performances without risking injury.
You’ll likely start with pronunciation. Being able to speak (or sing) clearly paves the way for better voice projection so look forward to diction exercises until you’ve mastered this skill. Resonance scales, lip trills and other drills will work your larynx and mouth such that you’ll be able to create more complex tones. These exercises blend with your breath work to give you a stronger, more confident sound.
You’ll Grow More Confident
As you master all these skills, your body will adapt to being an authoritative public speaker. You’ll find that you walk, sit and stand as though ready to break into discourse at any moment. It will feel natural for you to stand straight, modulate your voice and speak with a depth of tone.
Many singers confess to struggling through bouts of stage fright, even those with decades of live performance experience. But their training and discipline invariably outweigh their attacks of nerves, allowing them to put on amazing shows. When you take singing lessons, you learn the same performance management techniques that your favourite vocalists employ.
Modern society seems to have a penchant for making as many as possible feel as insecure as they can. So prevalent is this condition that it now has a name: Impostor Syndrome. Find your confidence through singing lessons. All the work you’ll do will keep you from falling into the impostor trap.
You’ll learn How to Protect and Care for Your Voice
All of the benefits you derive from taking singing lessons will be short-lived if you don’t take care of your voice. Your career as a public speaker might also be short-lived. To keep that from happening, your singing teacher will show you how to protect and exercise your larynx.
You’ll start with a series of physical exercises targeting your shoulders, back and abdomen. These stretches and flexes warm up your muscles to prepare them for vocal work. Vocal work includes lip trills and humming; tongue twisters will probably feature, as well.
Before you work your vocal cords, you’ll focus on breathing. Every singing teacher has their favourites; mine prefers the ‘hissing exhale’. That involves drawing in as deep a breath as is comfortable, and then slowly exhaling it while hissing like a snake. The ‘straw’ exercise is another go-to breathing drill.
Becoming a better public speaker isn’t only a matter of overcoming stage fright or being knowledgeable about your subject – though that helps. Public speakers must condition their bodies and minds to their tasks. They work on that conditioning every day, whether or not they’re scheduled to give a presentation.
Likewise, being a vocalist isn’t only about being able to carry a tune. It’s about presenting oneself well and delivering magnetic performances. Singers must also work on their bodies and minds daily, whether or not they’re scheduled to perform that evening.
Singers and public speakers share many traits and functions. It should thus be no surprise that they also share many habits and practices, taking singing lessons among them.
About the Author
Sophia (Birk) is a long-time collaborator with Superprof, the international tutoring exchange platform connecting teachers and students. As a former teacher, she has experience as a public speaker. Many of the points in this article are practices she found useful to advance her career.