How To Hum So You Can Have A Rich, Warm, Full Singing Voice…Fast!
It’s hard to be heard when your voice is stuck in your throat.
No matter how loud you go to sing, your voice is always wooly and lacks clarity.
The answer is you need a forward tone.
So how do you get a forward tone?
That also gives you a richer, warmer, fuller singing voice?
You learn how to hum.
So let me show you how to hum so you can have that forward tone and a clear sound that helps all the subtle in your singing come through.
How to hum – (Step-By-Step Guide)
Read the transcript below to get the full details.
You also learn how to apply the hum to singing a song.
And it’s packed with extra tips or you could watch the video… or do both!
Very cool 🙂
If you want a richer, fuller, warmer sounding voice that projects well then knowing how to hum is a must.
Once you know how to do a hum you can use it on vocal warm ups and on song melodies to make sure that the voice is forward and resonance when you go to sing.
OK so in order to learn the hum (we will be learning the M hum here raither than an N or NG hum) I’ve broken the hum down into steps.
The first section (the first 4 steps) are all about you just having fun and letting go. You see, far too often we get lost in all the detail. And what that actually does is restrict the voice leaving us with an unnatural singing voice rather than freeing it.
So we need to get some sort of reference of how the voice should feel so we can keep this in mind throughout the fine tuning steps. So Just let go and have some fun responding rather than trying to break everything down as we will do that in the fine tuning section.
OK so that is how you are going to learn the M hum…
Oh, and I have also put timestamps in so as you read you can easily then watch the exercise you need help with in the video.
How To Do A Hum (M Hum) (1:50mins into the video)
Note: Before we get started if you can record your voice down on your phone ( or any recording device) so once you’ve been through the steps you can see if you’ve improved. This is super important in learning to build that singer’s ear which will be your invaluable guide on your singing journey.
Cool. onto step one. Remember these first few steps just have fun with it.
STEP 1: So firstly, an M hum is based on an M hence we call it the M hum. So “M” as in the word, mum, so start by just saying “MUM”
STEP 2: Next step. Now we’re going to say mum rapidly mum,mum,mum,mum,mum.
TIP: It’s important. You get that rhythm in there. Here’s a top tip for you. Rhythm is a great way of releasing tension in the voice. If you do a fast rhythm, it will really help you release tension. Just hear me do it and respond without too much thinking…have some fun making up rhythms of your own.
STEP 3: now we are going to work on holding that last “M”.
STEP 4: Next step. We’re going to get rid of the mum at the beginning. So we’re just left with our m hum. So it’d be like this,mum,mum,mum,mummmmmmmmmmm. Now once you can do that for a whole breath and you feel comfortable with it, then it’s time to move on to that fine tuning section. So keep practicing and I’ll see you there.
Okay. So you should be comfortable now that you can hold an M hum by triggering it by thinking the word mum and holding the beginning M.
Fine Tuning Your Hum – These Are Game Changers! (5:00mins into video)
All right. So let’s look at the fine tuning.
LIP TENSION: If the lip tension is too tight then it can make your voice very pitchy so what we want to be able to do is bring the lips together lightly and quickly with just the right amount of lip pressure. And we can do that by doing the rapid mums from step 2 while focusing on how lightly the lips come together.
TIP: if you struggle to keep up with the mums on step 2 then that is a sign that you do have too much tension in your lips so work on the exercise at a slower pace without the video and make up your own rhythm until you can keep up with me.
JAW TENSION: Okay. So the next thing we’re going to look at is the jaw. When the jaw is tense, it closes off the sound and creates a lot of restriction, just like the lips did. So a correctly relaxed jaw is actually slightly open and the teeth aren’t touching. To help us release the jaw tension we need to be aware of it being there in the first place. A great exercise for this is the “Oh,Dear” face. This will help you to notice when your jaw is tight and feel for when it tightens up so you can release it.
All right. So that’s the second thing. So we’ve got soft lips, and a soft jaw now…
TONGUE TIP POSITION: Next. We want to fix that tongue position. Okay. So let’s take a look at the tongue tip position. The tip of the tongue, should be either touching the back of the bottom lip or behind the bottom front teeth. It should never be jammed right down the back as this position creates a restricted sound. All right. So that’s the tip of the tongue position.
SOFT/RELAXED TONGUE: The other thing that we need to do here is make sure that the tongue is soft and relaxed. We can do that by taking our thumb, running it along the jaw, bone, running back until we lightly touch the throat. Then bring your thumb forward a little, keep it there.Make sure it’s the soft part of the tip of your thumb and not the nail as you will not feel anything with the nail. While keeping your thumb there swallow. As you swallow, you’re going to feel, there’s a point where the tongue softens and lifts up under your thumb at that point you have a soft tongue.. That’s how soft you want to keep your tongue as you hum.
Have a little play with the tongue tension by humming and then intentionally press the tongue down onto the thumb can you hear and feel the tension. Not nice right. You may not have tension as bad as that but you may have a little so it’s worth playing with making that tongue as soft as possible and seeing how much more you can warm up your tone just by this simple but powerful trick!
RESONANCE PLACEMENT/FORWARD TONE: So now that resonance placement, so this buzzing, I keep going on about, it’s like a tickling on your lips or in your face.
We want that resonance on the M hum to be either on the top lip or right between the lips. Now, when the resonance, that buzzing feeling is quite intense there. What that’s telling us is the back of the tongue is forward and out the throat. As the back of the tongue being in the throat, acts like a muffler and stops your voice from projecting. And that fullness, that warmth, everything is absolutely blocked off by the back of the tongue. So we want that back of the tongue. Nice and forward.
And a good way we can do that is to just gently stick out the tip of the tongue . so you do this by starting to hum and as you hum gently stick the tongue out until you feel the resonance (buzzing /tickle) increase between the top lip and your tongue. Now slowly draw the tip of your tongue back in without losing that intensity of resonance on the top lip.
Make sure not to over extend your tongue as this will block off the sound and feel uncomfortable at the base of your tongue and in your throat.
OK, so that’s the fine tuning for the hum. Now let’s stick it on a song.
How To Hum On A Song (14:57min into the video)
HUM ON A SONG: So the first thing we want to do is take our song melody. And as before, record your voice down, singing this one line of a song, it should be a song that you know really well. So you don’t have to focus on it too much, not too high, not too low at the minute because you’re just learning how to use your M hum.
NOTE: Record your voice down now and record it down again at the end of this sequence of steps. So you can hear the difference.
STEP 1: Step one. Sing your song. sing it a couple of times, until you’ve the melody locked in.
STEP 2: Now I’m going to hum the song melody. Hum the melody line at least 3 times but ideally until you feel the resonance (buzzing) increase on your lip as this tells you your voice is relaxing more. Remember we want soft lips, soft jaw, tip of the tongue in the right position. Nice and soft tongue.
TIP: if you do your song melody and you feel your jaw tense then work on releasing it as this will translate into your singing as a tight tone ( so if you don’t like the sound of your voice it could be simply that your jaw is tense).
TIP: if you’re struggling to feel the resonance stick your tongue out a little until you feel the resonance and then bring it back in while keeping that same intensity of resonance.
STEP 3: SING IT! Now sing your song while keeping your focus in the place you felt the resonance(the resonance will be less when you sing but the place you feel the resonance will be the same). Make sure that the lips, jaw and tongue are all relaxed but not so relaxed that you sound mumbly.
TIP: alternate between humming the song line and then singing it until both feel as free. Did you know that it has often been said that singing is just speaking with the mouth closed!
TIP: if you are struggling on your melody as some of the notes are high then puff a little air out of the nose (as if you were going to blow your nose really gently) before you hum on that pitch as its air flow stopping that often creates this problem.
There you go. So you now know how to hum and how to apply that hum to singing. NICE!!!!
BONUS TIP: As you hum higher you will feel the resonance move as it starts in your chest on the lower notes then moves up to your mouth and then on the very high notes to the back of your head and in your ears! This is a normal part of resonance and should be allowed just make sure that you feel a little on the lips all the time. The amount you feel on the lips will get less as you go higher and increase as you go lower.
Okay. So you now know how to hum and how to hum on a song using the M hum. So did you get a lot of value from the video and this blog post? I hope you did. If there are any points that you’d like me to elaborate on, why not leave some comments down below in that comment section and subscribe to this channel, stick that little notification bell on. So when I do another video, which will be soon, you can then go and check that out too. All right.
Have a great day singing!
I’m Vocal Coach Dylan 🙂