Professional singers often find themselves performing in more than just one style of music, so if you’re a beginner it’s to your advantage that you study a variety of singing techniques! Take some time to explore the different genres of singing as well.
Today’s musical world includes everything from opera to heavy metal to gospel, and there are even several sub genres! To get you started, here are five different singing techniques that can enhance your sound – when done properly.
5 Singing Techniques to Enhance Your Sound
One of the most common vocal techniques in musical theatre and pop music is belting. Other styles that include belting are gospel, R&B, and modern country music.
The best way to describe belting is that a singer is taking the chest voice (where you speak) into a higher register than usual, creating an exciting and very powerful sound!
Without the guidance of a voice teacher however, many beginning belters can end up hurting themselves when they strain to make the desired sound. Think of belting as a “controlled yell” or an “extended, belly laugh.”
A well known belter is Idina Menzel. In the video above, she demonstrates this singing technique beautifully – especially at the end!
Falsetto is a vocal technique where one sings outside of the “normal” range. This can often result in a “breathy” sound when coming from an untrained voice. However, there are many singers who have made careers out of it – just look at the Bee Gees, for one!
Falsetto is common in pop, R&B, rock, and classical music when considering the countertenor voice. This is another one of those singing techniques where a beginning singer can run into trouble if they are not light enough in their approach.
It is best to be patient when studying falsetto and to work with a skilled voice teacher to help you, starting with simple exercises like sirens and slides so you can explore your range. The video above features the king of falsetto, Frankie Valli, demonstrating how falsetto sounds when it’s very strong!
Riffs and runs are also known as vocal melismas, and to do them requires some serious musicianship! This is a form of vocal improvisation, which takes a lot of practice. The best way to master riffing is to start small at first.
Start embellishing a simple song – even as simple as a nursery rhyme! Add just one additional note (thirds or fifths are usually best) to one word. Once you build confidence, add another note, and then add another simple pattern to an additional word.
Vocal runs are especially popular in R&B and gospel styles, but melismas actually have their roots in classical music. Singing with excellent articulation and support is key to mastering this vocal technique.
From a stylist standpoint, you want to avoid overdoing it to the point where the melody of the song is unrecognizable. Watch the great Whitney Houston above demonstrating the right way to add vocal runs to a song.
This is one of the more controversial singing techniques. Many students ask their teachers if it’s possible to yell or scream in a healthy way for hard rock and heavy metal. The answer is yes, but you must work with a good voice teacher to master this singing technique!
Although you will give the impression of yelling, a healthy yell is quite different. Real yelling can cause phonotrauma (where the cords bang together at a fast rate and can wreck your voice). The trained rock yell is more like belting, where you rely on using serious lower body support more than anything else.
By putting focus on the lower body, you will protect your cords and have a much stronger sound. Paired with the technique of “vocal fry” (also known as the “creaky door” sound), rockers can get that desired, rough yell while being safe at the same time.
One man known for lots of good rock yells and screams is the late Ronnie James Dio. He was a trained singer who admitted in interviews that his experience as a trumpet player helped his breath control immensely! Check him out in the video above.
Don’t be fooled – this fun singing technique goes way beyond corny Swiss folk songs! Country and bluegrass singers can benefit greatly from mastering this skill.
Yodeling is a type of singing where there are very fast and repeated changes of pitch between two vocal registers: the chest voice and the head voice.
A good voice teacher can help a singer improve their yodeling skills by starting with simple interval drills to get this big sound out in a healthy way! Watch Dolly Parton demonstrating how vocal techniques like yodeling can spice up any classic country song.
Before Getting Started
These are just five of the most common singing techniques that vocal students seek to learn. No matter what style of music you’re into, good vocal technique is paramount. But before you delve into special singing techniques, it’s always best to get a handle on the basics.
This means learning to sing with reliable breath support, as well as having a confident ear. Singing with support eliminates the chances that you’ll sing with a breathy or weak sound. Having confidence in your ability to match pitch and sing rhythmically makes it a lot easier for you to make progress!
Ready to start learning new vocal techniques? You’ve come to the right place: TakeLessons has a tremendous variety of voice teachers specializing in many different genres of music. You can also try online singing classes for free to learn the basics in a fun, group setting!