You should open your mouth upwards, not sideways. That might be the main thing really. Don't open sideways. If you want an example, look at how opera singers do it. Not that you have to do it exactly like them, since you aren't singing opera.

Your breathing would come next, using your diaphragm and such. You can find a lot online about that I'm sure, and a lot in this forum. But the most basic way to put it is that you don't want to use your chest to push air, or your throat. You want to use your abs/stomach [diaphragm].
Last edited by RealUnrealRob at Dec 16, 2012,
Thats pretty common for a beginner to sound whiny. Its because of strain in the voice. Theres excess musle involvement in the neck or under the chin which effects the larynx (adams apple) and when it raises to much it can block the airflow. There isin't one particular piece of advice or exercise that will fix the problem, its all about getting the right coordination down, and for that a singing coach would be best. However you can also improve with a singing program, i use Singing Success, it really got rid of all my larynx problems I was having.

Straining is also a symptom of bad breath support (improper breathing when singing)you have to breathe with whats called your diaphragm. Theres a ton of info out there to learn how, especially on youtube, watch some instructional how to videos on it, its not complex but it does take some time to learn.

I compare singing to pitching in baseball, sure anyone can throw a ball, but to be a good pitcher you have to have good mechanics and build upon muscle memory to throw accurately and with speed. This comes with practicing exercises and learning technique.

Heres some advice specific to the larynx problem you may be having (does your adams apple raise when you sing? check to see)One thing you can try in the meantime is singing "Mum" with a dopey sound (like "Dopey" in the disney movie Cinderalla and the 7 dwarves lol) along to a scale. This will help you out some. I also suggest you learn to "Lip roll" (also known as Lip Trill) to help you warm up your voice and help get rid of strain. Youtube it, and learn there, its a very common exercise that pretty much every professionall singer has done. But again, lessons with a singing instructor is best, next would be a at home program akin to Singing Success.

Hope this helps man, once you get your coordination down your whole voice will open up.
I can't think you guys enough for all of the help I just received. Thank you all so very much.