Emotional Expression


Who is your favorite singer? What is your favorite song? Do you listen because the singer has perfect pitch? Unlikely.... we listen to music because it moves us, transports us from one emotional state to another. We sing because it brings us to a state of JOY. But this is often hit or miss for the singer. When you’re rehearsing, working at something it’s usually a miss. So how do we do this as a singer, move ourselves and take the audience on the ride consistently? Great technique provides the tools that allow the voice to function at its best so the singer can focus on the artistic soulful experience. Like an athlete who gets into “the zone” where we experience effortless effort.

A singer tends to focus too often on sounding good which will leave one the majority of time unhappy because mostly you’ll feel short of your goal, of sounding good. One also can’t actually make your voice sound “good” consistently.  Imagine spending your day trying to “look good”. What kind of an experience would that be? Can’t laugh, be goofy, look silly, trip, be human! So 99.9% of your personality is repressed while you attempt to only reveal 1%, looking good. So confining!And chances are high you’ll look worse trying to look good, right? That’s exactly what trying to sound good does – blocks your personality from being expressed, represses the variety of shining sides of your character and is confining both vocally and emotionally.

What defines “good”? Hitting all the notes? Well, you’ve already realized that’s not what you value in a singer. … so where do we start?

Start by saying the words. As a singer, your number one job is actually to pronounce pure vowels – this affects the mechanics of your larynx and cords which affects the pitch, resonance and tone. So you want to improve pitch and tone, start by pronouncing pure vowels.  By saying the words you also get into the story of you song – be affected by it, let it move you and allow you to express, share what you are feeling. The beauty, melody, tone and emotional expression all come through the vowel. The vowel rides on the breath so be sure you are releasing air as you pronounce. (If you think you don’t have enough air, chances are you’re holding it.)

No Drama! Do not be dramatic while singing  – it’s not emotional, just vocal tension or fake. It may seem boring, but simply say the vowels on a melody with rhythm. See what happens. When you try to express something emotionally thru your voice by manipulating the voice, all you really do is remove your emotional expression.  When you share what you’re feeling with a balanced voice your emotions come out freely, spontaneously.

Record yourself rehearsing, you’ll be surprised how emotional a performance is when you’re not trying to be emotional and you let go of the ideas of the song. Oh, you think it’s a sad song? Really, what song dictates an emotion? None! A song may make you feel sad, which is then what you get to share through the song. But the song is not inherently sad. And no one is sad for 3 minutes and 33 seconds, other emotions have to come out. If they aren’t you’re forcing your ideaof the song not allowing what you’re actually feeling to come through.

The next step has to do with plugging in what you’re feeling more consciously, purposely … we’ll get to that in another post. It’s enough and actually a lot to digest and practice this. Your vocal tools – having a balanced voice are the key, the foundation that allows the emotional life to come through with ease and joy. Give it whirl! Have fun. Singing is all about sharing. Sharing your heart, not hitting the note pretty

Want to learn vocal tools more effectively?  Download the VocalizeU App for daily workouts and warmups!