Hi everyone as a vocal conditioning and performance coach. I get to work with a lot of great singers of all ages and levels of ability. From absolute beginners to established recording artists and touring performers.
One question that seems to come up regularly among my new students and also with new aspiring artists, is:
How can I learn how to deliver a more powerful or electrifying , show stopping vocal performance? I want my audience to really sit up and connect strongly to my music.
The top singers from any musical genre, have the ability to simply make you believe and feel every word that they sing. These kinds of singers enjoy career longevity, ie they sell more records and book sold out tours. They also enjoy massive loyal fan bases that offset shallow -short lived fickle trends in music!
Chances are you can still recall where you were and what you were doing , when you first discovered that special singer or artist that seemed to reach right into your soul and connect so powerfully with you ,that they made you want to run out and buy there album or single straight away?
As a Singer. Thats the power of learning how to connect deeply to your emotions and allowing the emotions to seep into your vocal performance, ( put simply the vocal chords are an incredibly expressive instrument) capable of conveying not only a melodic message but also an emotional message to your audience.
When singers learn how to tap into there emotions and use them as a performance tool.They are capable of deliverying a performance that not only sounds good but can capture the audiences collective hearts and imaginations!
If you've been following my previous blog's then you will know that there are multiple components to master, in order to be able to deliver an authentic, electrifying, or compelling vocal performance. Regardless of your particular chosen music genre the vocal techniques and perfomance methodology are the same!
Check out my previous blog's to gain a good understanding of how the voice works including tips on how to make you a better singer.
1. Vocal Mechanics
First and foremost a singer needs to learn the correct vocal techniques to allow the vocal chords to vibrate freely when they sing on any pitch in there vocal range. This also requires a good understanding of how to engage your diaphragm to support your singing voice, to ensure that when you sing, that your using the correct minimum tension on the vocal chords balanced with the minimum amount of air passed over the chords so that the voice can resonate freely.
Typically if your a beginning singer and have had no previous singing tuition, most of my students learn to dramatically improve these two cordinations in the first 6-8 weeks of coaching.
Okay now that we've addressed the importance for the basic mechanics of the voice to be able operate freely and naturally.
We can move on to the 2nd component of how to learn to deliver powerful compelling vocal performances.
2. Becoming a method singer (Learning how to colour the voice with real emotions).
Put simply; great singers (share a lot in common with great actors). Both are entertainers, both draw on there ability to portray the full range of human emotions to deliver a compelling heartfelt performance. Both singers and actors have to allow themselves to become emotionally vulnerable, in front of an audience in order to deliver an authentic performance!
To become a great singer we need to be able to draw on our full range of human emotions and
learn how to colour the voice with these emotions when we perform so that the audience is not just hearing our words they are literally feeling the corresponding emotions through our voice!
How- to tip for singers to improve there ability to convey emotions through there voice.
A. Never try to manufacture an emotion, when you sing.
ie if your singing a song that is sad try to let the sadness creep into your voice, (draw on your own past experiences) and experiment with how much emotion you can add at the vocal chords with out over loading there ability to operate freely.
B. Use this exercise to experiment with all of your emotions, ie happy, sad, angry, excited, scared etc. A good singer needs to be able to access the full range of there emotions.
C. Find a balance point that allows you to convey the desired emotion through your voice and still allow the vocal chords to operate freely and efficiently. This is important if you add too much emotion in your voice your central nervous system will believe you are feeling what you are telling your brain to feel and the vocal chords will respond accordingly.
This is not so good if you are over doing a sad emotion because you might trick your central nervous system into crying for real which will disrupt not only your vocal chords but also your breathing, this kind of excessive emotional overload will actually cause your vocal chords to loose there vocal coordination and prevent your voice from singing freely.
The same goes if your singing heavy rock . Dont over do the angry emotions etc.
(remember we want to add just enough of that authentic emotion) so the vocal chords transmit a healthy kind of angry energy and sound but we must avoid intentionally, exerting excessive tension on the vocal chords because the voice will loose all ability to maintain its melodic edge.
The above exercise is really valuable to help you discover the just right amount of emotion you can add to your voice and still maintain your vocal freedom and vocal control. Introducing the right amount of balanced emotion to your voice has one additional performance benefit it actually stimulates and energises the vocal chords to become more flexible and your chords can produce additional vocal effects, that the audience can feel as much as they hear!
Method acting definition.
a technique of acting in which an actor aspires to complete emotional identification with a part, based on the system evolved by Stanislavsky and brought into prominence in the US in the 1930s. Method acting was developed by Elia Kazan and Lee Strasberg in particular, and is associated with actors such as Marlon Brando and Dustin Hoffman, etc.
Once you get really good at been able to call up your emotions to colour your voice you will begin to discover a whole new range of subtle variations that you can introduce into your vocal tone. In other words you will have discovered new tonal colours that you can incorporate into your singing voice to improve your story telling capabilities and allow you to make stronger connections with your audiences.
As always if you think you need help to draw on your emotions while singing, or if your not sure if your doing the exercise correctly? Your welcome to email me, or call me with your questions.
Some singers will find this exercise easier to do than others. That's because every singer is different we all have different vocal challenges that we need to over come in order to be able to sing and express ourselves freely.
Better Singing everyone.