Song Study

Learning how to practice effectively can make a huge impact on fast-tracking your singing development and a song study should be a key element.

UPDATED 8th January 2019

Having a specific song study to practice your technique with is essential.

Regardless of whether you are a professional singer gigging regularly with a big repertoire of songs or just singing for fun, you need to have a song or two to hone your skills on.

Find a song that you love, find interesting or you feel may be vocally challenging.

Listen to the song & note all the things that draw you into it. The lyrics, melody, note choices (high or low) & any nuances about the vocal delivery.

Elements to focus to engage your technique and help find your signature sound:

Phrasing

How does the singer phrase? Ahead or behind the beat? Do they stress the important words or strange words that if the phrase was spoken, would seem out of place?

Vocal delivery

Are there any specific vowels being sustained or modified? Is there signature enunciation or pronunciation of words? 

Tone

Are they using a warm & dark or clear & bright tone?

Vibrato

Is the singer using vibrato throughout the line or just on the ends of the phrase.

Vibrato helps convey emotion if done tastefully & suggests that the singer has a free clear tone to be able to produce a controlled vibrato.

Embellishments (riffs, melisma, runs)

How are these used to create a signature sound for the singer or build dynamics or memorable moments in a song?

If you want to learn a particular riff, the best way to do this is to slow it down so you can identify the notes & then practice them slowly.

There are apps that can help with this. HighNote or the Amazing Slow Downer are two great resources.

Dynamics

Does the singer use a more conversational tone in the verse and amp up in the chorus?

Range

Always work your strengths by opting for a song that is in a good key for you.

Most of us have a zone or number of notes within our range that when aligned, create a sweet spot where it’s easier to balance your tone & singing is comfortable & free.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t challenge yourself as that is how you extend your range & explore new corners of your voice.

Accompaniment

Even if you play an instrument and can accompany yourself rather focus on your singing when doing a song study.

Grab karaoke backings to practice with iTunes has loads of options and they are affordable at NZD$1.79-$2.39.

Pulling it all together

These ideas just scratch the surface as to what you can take from the song study process.

You can keep the techniques in your trick bag to help deliver killer vocals.

I would love to hear and see your process of song study and the results of it.

Share your YouTube links, please!

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