Vocal Control; a Little Advice from the Vocalist’s Corner

Rehearsals have been going very well. We had a full rehearsal last night for the first time with Bob, the bass player, and I think I can speak for us all when I say that I am ever so pleased with the way things are falling together. We have built the list up to 16 songs and are only shy of about 30-34 more to have a full list. In just a little over a week we have managed to pull together a little over one full set. To be out playing the club scene, or most any venue you have to have 4 sets, which is about 45-50 songs. It’s a lot and fortunately my guys are willing to pick up some of the songs so that I don’t have to try to sing that many every night. Some of the songs have really big vocals and I need breaks throughout the night to give my voice a chance to rest. One of the things you learn being a vocalist is that your voice isn’t like a guitar, you can’t just change a string if it breaks. You have to practice and practice singing over a PA behind a full band to learn how to get the power out behind the big notes without blowing your voice, and that is all about breathing and control.

Singing in front of a full band is absolutely nothing like doing karaoke. I find it funny that people who are really good karaoke singers seem to have this idea that they can jump in front of a full band and sing. I have seen it happen time and again where they get up at a live show with a full band because their friends have egged them on. When they are finished they are embarrassed because they find out they don’t have the power or control that they thought they had when they were singing karaoke. What shocks them even more is when they realize for the first time that they are out of key. Sure, karaoke is a lot of fun, but it is nowhere near the same as playing with a live band and I recommend to anyone that wants to sing professionally that they walk into their bedroom, shut the door, crank the stereo and try to project above the music. Now, record yourself while you are doing this and listen back. You will have a good idea of what your skill level is when you listen back. 

I used to practice by running two stereos. On one I would play the song I was working on. On the other I would have a blank tape and mic plugged in so that I could record myself and listen back to the results. I would do this for hours and hours. It was how I trained myself to hear mistakes, sour notes and flaws in the vocals. It is how I learned control and accents on the vocals. You have to get used to hearing the sound of your own voice because when you are in front of a band your voice is going to be booming back at you through the monitors. One of the more funnier aspects of being a vocalist for me is that I used to practice different cartoon characters voices, different accents and different sounds. Believe it or not it helps to teach you control over your vocal chords and it allows you to experiment with different inflections in your voice that can make a song sound very cool. Not to mention that it sounds cool at a party, LOL.

This song I am posting is just one example of the kind of control of which I speak. On this song I am going from an extreme low low with a lot of power, yet sometimes it sounds almost as if I am whispering. I’m actually pushing a lot of power behind the notes. Then when I get to the high high I am actually backing down quite a bit, but still with that some control. Songs like this that push you into your low range and up to your high range and run through the scale of bottom low to high are excellent exercise for learning control, power and vocal manipulation. This is a song by Pink Floyd that we did about 3 years ago and still perform it live to this day. Hope you enjoy and feel free to ask me any questions you might have and I will answer them to the best of my ability….Stay tuned!

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2 thoughts on “Vocal Control; a Little Advice from the Vocalist’s Corner

  1. Man, nice to know things are picking up speed Jaz -,o

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