The basis for projecting your voice with less strain on the vocal cords is posture. Think of straight lines. The feet should be spaced at a comfortable distance, no locking of the knees because that causes strain on the lower back and ankles.
Shoulders should be lifted and rolled back. Think of the position girls were made fun of in high school, pushing their chest forward to appear to have larger breasts. That is what you need to do. The neck should be stretched to lift the head from the shoulders. There is an invisible thread attached at the crown pulling you upward.
In the same sense, that thread is also attached to your stomach. To sing from the diaphragm you must resist the pull of the abdominal string. Which means, back straight and tighten those abs. It does take some time to learn proper positioning and master the initial discomfort. However, your performance will be all the better for it.
Once you’ve mastered the stance, pushing the air from your diaphragm becomes second nature. You’ll often find yourself using this method in normal conversation as it allows your vocal cords to be somewhat, lazy. On a side note, whispering is not effective when using your diaphragm.
Singing vibrates the vocal cords. The vibration causes friction that may result in damage and wear on the vocal cords can create discomfort. Hot water and honey can help soothe the aggravation, but will not eradicate it. Proper technique is the best solution.
The diaphragm is a vital skeletal muscle. Without it, the lungs do not function properly. It is placed in the base of the chest, just behind the apex of the ribcage. Bisecting the chest from the abdomen. The simplest way to begin training the diaphragm for vocal projection is conscious breathing exercise.
Start with the posture as discussed above. Contract the abdominal muscle. That string is pulling. Envision it in your minds-eye. You can’t feel it, but the string wants you to slouch. Be lazy it whispers in your ear. Ignore the strings thrum, fight it. You don’t need a six-pack to hold your abdominal wall tight. The muscles are there even if you can’t see them externally.
Breathe in deeply. You should feel the resistance from your diaphragm pushing up as your lungs fill and try to push it away. The resistance is not a natural occurrence. When you breathe the diaphragm automatically goes down on inhale and neutral position on exhale. You are in control and you don’t want natural occurrence. You are telling your body how to behave.
As you exhale force the diaphragm upward. Expel all air. Your the patient that gets annoyed when the Doctor tells you to take a deep breath and exhale before you’ve completed the inhale. Learning to use your diaphragm increases lung capacity which comes in handy for singing.
Now that you are consciously aware of your diaphragm, try adding sound as you exhale. A simple ahhhh, doe, ray, me should suffice. Whatever sound you select, attempt to hold the note until the final burst of air is expelled from your lungs. At first, this type of forced breathing might make you a tad lightheaded, but keep practicing. If lightheadedness occurs, try all the above lying down with the knees bent.
I explain the method while in the position one would typically sing. After all, that’s the way my cheer coach taught our squad. Yes, using your diaphragm works for shouting at your favorite sporting event as well. Singing with your diaphragm will improve your performance and save your vocal cords. Even if you’re tone-deaf, “Sing like nobodies listening,” using your diaphragm.