7 Steps To Expressive Singing
Sing With Feeling and Meaning
Using Your Emotions To Sing Expressively
As a singer, your ability to communicate to the listener is the most important responsibility you have. The singer may have perfect vocal technique, but if his singing is void of emotion, the listener feels nothing and believes even less. This robs him of the whole singing experience. When you combine the basic skills of singing and the ability to communicate you can count on a good performance.
Not everyone has the natural ability to sing with feeling and express themselves freely. A vocalist may have a beautiful tone, natural and controlled, but still unable to execute a song with any emotion. This is because the singer fails to feel his own emotion.
It is generally agreed that emphasis should be upon expression first and technique second. I tell my vocal students, "Do not be afraid to emphasize the emotional aspects of singing for it is the key to enthusiasm and success."
But it's also true that learning vocal technique will set you free. With sound skills you then have the freedom to sing expressively. With proper singing principles under your belt you no longer use all your concentration on breath control, diction, remembering the words to the song, or adding a touch of vibrato to beautify the tone. Because you've worked long and hard to instill these necessary techniques they become automatic. Then you are free to live the song, free to express your own true feelings and free to reach out and touch another persons heart and soul.
Singing Expressively - Being Versatile With Your Voice
What About Those of Us Who Have Trouble Expressing Ourselves When We Sing?
Even though some may find it next-to-impossible to sing expressively, to sing with feeling can be learned. Let's begin by first finding the reason for why it's a challenge in the first place.
Here are 11 Reasons for non-expressive singing:
- We're taught to repress our own emotions early in childhood.
- We have a fear of being laughed at.
- General nervousness.
- The fear of forgetting the words.
- We are easily distracted.
- Not knowing how to use the microphone.
- Feeling uncomfortable on stage or in a new environment.
- Fear of being evaluated or judged negatively.
- Lack of confidence.
- We fear tapping into our emotions - being vulnerable.
- Too high with our expectations of our self. Being a perfectionist.
When we constantly worry about how we sound to others, we lose our spiritual connection with music.
7 Steps To Expressive Singing
If you don't believe the words you sing neither will anyone else. Be absolutely convincing. Relate to the words as you sing each phrase. Use past experiences to help you stir up forgotten emotions. Once you capture these feelings you will be able to apply them as you sing.
Take a look at the following suggestions for discovering your expressive side:
- Eradicate fear. Be vulnerable and show the real you. When you conceal who you are you also bury your feelings. When these feelings are locked up inside of you there is no possibility of expressing them.
- Extend an ending note. Holding a note longer than indicated can help the listener to experience their own feelings.
- Sing with impeccable diction. This helps in concentrating on the emotion found in the word itself. If needed, hire a vocal coach to help with this important step.
- Enjoy the song as you sing. Through joy your feelings are set free to be used for self-expression.
- Select the right material. Why have you selected this song to sing? Do you even like it? With so much material available stick with songs you love to sing.
- Make absolutely sure the song is written in your key. If you struggle for hitting the high notes, the music is not in your key. It is said to be out-of-your-range. The same rule applies for any song that contains low notes. If you can barely reach the lowest note, forget it.
- "Scatting." Learning how to scat with a note is a great and fun way to begin styling your vocal sound. Listen to vocalists like Ella Fitzgerald, Celine Dion or Louis Armstrong for the best lesson in scatting. Checkout the video below as well.
Make the song yours. If you're singing cover songs avoid duplicating the original artist. This is a big mistake. Find your own style because you do have one. It's inside of you longing to be set free. Don't be afraid to take liberties here and there but don't overdo it.
Incredible Scatting and Delivery
To Convince Others You Must First Convince Yourself
Gloria Rusch, singer and author of "The Professional Singer's Handbook, has this to say about expressive singing:
"When you sing you need to know how to create the place (environment) suggested in the song. You need to be able to communicate exactly where you were at that moment in time when you felt in the emotions you're singing about. And you need to be able to do this whether you're singing to a live audience or into a microphone at the studio."
I'd like to add the importance of being able to express yourself even when you're singing alone - in the shower. No one will believe you if you don't believe yourself. You must live the lyrics and feel the emotion with every fiber of your being. You must convince yourself first if you want to convince others.
Singing is Your Birthright
Two Very Important Tips For Singing Expressively
- Always sing the song as if it were the first time. If you find yourself getting bored with a song because you've sang it so many times before you are missing something.
You must always sing the song as if you're singing it for the first time. Apply all the passion and emotion you've given before - whether it be the first time or the 500th time. Your audience deserves not to feel bored just because you do.
While earning my living as a professional singer in Hawaii, I was asked to sing "The Hawaiian Wedding Song" well over 500 times. This is the most popular song in Hawaii and is performed at virtually all weddings. Can you imagine how a wedding couple would feel if this song were performed with complete boredom?
2. Know your material well. In other words be prepared. There is no excuse for not remembering the words to a song. If you have a hard time memorizing lyrics, you may have to practice repeating those lyrics over and over again. It may take up to 10 times each day or even 20 times a day. It may take a week or it may take a month.
The lyrics must be ingrained within you. Regardless of the conditions or distractions, you, as a singer, must know every word of every song you sing. Only then will you have complete freedom to express those lyrics.
Until you 'sing it like you mean it' you are only going through the motion of singing. Singing is a gift you give to yourself. Unwrap it gently and enjoy it daily. But be grateful for it always.
Thank you for being here. I welcome your comments in the section below.
Sing with joy!
Compare Low-Note Scatting And High Note Scatting With These Divas
Which of the above three Divas are your favorite?
“If I cannot fly, let me sing.”
― Stephen Sondheim
© 2016 Audrey Hunt