The basics of singing are the same for everybody — vocalists should be aware of unnecessary tension in your throat or body, maintaining good breath support, and never forcing your voice beyond its natural range. The principles are the same whether you are singing opera or rock.
However, there are elements of vocal technique and style which apply to different genres and voice types, and some singing tips for guys that are as important for the next budding Pavarotti as for the aspiring death-metal frontman.
The most basic and important thing to establish is your vocal range. Although voices can undergo considerable change as you mature, the basic sound and pitch of your speaking voice can give a good indication of where your voice might sit comfortably. For example, if you sound like you’ve gargled with gravel when you speak, no amount of training is going to turn you into a high tenor! The basic classical voice types for guys are:
- Tenor – the highest natural male voice range, and usually the hero in operas, or the young male lead in music theatre.
- Baritone – the most common voice type for untrained male voices, often used for “everyman” roles.
- Bass – the lowest male voice range. True basses are really quite rare, and bass roles are often cast with “baritones with low notes.”
Another less common male voice type is the male alto, or counter-tenor. Singing exclusively in the falsetto (high) range, this voice type can sound other-worldly, and is used to great effect in classical music, particularly in the baroque era.
It’s important not to force notes that you don’t really have. You can’t turn someone into something they’re not – again, use the colors in your singing voice as a clue. Even if your range is relatively limited, a brighter, lighter sound implies that with training, you’re likely to have a higher vocal range.
Additional Singing Tips For Guys
- Know your voice — not just your range, but how your voice works when you’re not feeling your best. Avoid singing when you’re sick if you can, but since we are our instruments, we all have days when we’re not 100%, but still have to produce the goods. Know what you can and can’t do comfortably on these days.
- Avoid anything that will damage your voice — this means smoking, some prescription medications (talk to your doctor), excessive alcohol consumption, and throat clearing. If this is a habit for you, break it as soon as you can.
- Get plenty of rest — not just for your voice, but for your body too.
- Exercise — again, not just scales and vocal exercises, but find a physical activity you enjoy, and stick to it.
Singers and Singing Styles
No discussion of singing tips for guys would be complete without considering artists who have taken their art form to a world-class level. Let’s consider probably two of the most distinctive male voices of the last century — the great Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti, and Freddie Mercury, the charismatic frontman of British rock supergroup Queen.
Even though their musical genres couldn’t be further apart, they have more vocal similarities than they do differences. They both have extraordinary vocal facility and freedom. Pavarotti’s golden, bright, rich-toned vocal style incorporated the Italian “sob” — a technique particularly used in verismo (“realistic”) operas. Mercury’s extraordinary vocal agility, attention to words, and stunning musicianship made an impression on many.
As you improve your singing skills, keep these tips in mind and always keep your particular vocal style in mind. You’ll begin to notice what works and what doesn’t for your range, and capitalizing on that will make you an even better singer!
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