Vibrato is defined as the fluctuation above and below an intended frequency. This means, in ‘non-nerdy’ terms, that instead of holding a consistent pitch, the singer ‘wobbles’ above and below the note. This creates the impression of vibrato, a much-desired effect for a lot of singers. So why is it that vibrato doesn’t come so easily to some singers? How do you learn to sing with a ‘natural’ vibrato? Your questions will be answered in this short blog post!
Firstly, it is important to understand that due to the fact our voices are born within us, grow with us and we develop from different experiences in life, we learn to use our voices differently. Our singing voices and vocal styles are moulded by the music we listen to, which is great because it means we all develop different styles, however it means that different singers will learn to use their vocal mechanisms in different ways, resulting in various levels of tension (good and bad) in different places! Due to this, vibrato may come naturally to some singers and not so easily to others.
How to sing with vibrato
As a rule of thumb, if you carry a little too much tension in your voice, or if there is an imbalance in your vocal muscles, it is unlikely a natural sounding vibrato will be achievable. Usually these singers will come into the studio saying things like “I can’t do vibrato”. However, we never use the word ‘can’t’ in singing! Instead we learn to fix the imbalances!
Actually, vibrato can be a useful tool in guiding your vocal technique. In order to achieve a vibrato, try singing a comfortable note, super relaxed and weak sounding on an [:o] vowel. Once you have this really take a mental note of what that feels like and what you did in order to achieve it. Once you feel it, you can try taking that sound slightly higher, or trying it a little louder.
Now, as I mentioned, if your voice is imbalanced (for example if you have too little chest voice or too much chest voice) then you will struggle to achieve a natural sounding vibrato. Therefore, your first course of action is to develop a free and balanced range. In order to do this then it is definitely recommended you source a vocal coach who has pedagogic knowledge of the voice. They will be able to diagnose the imbalance and recommend you the correct techniques to work on in your practices. Good breath support is also integral to vibrato. However, if the money bank doesn’t account for this, then try using SOVT’s to balance out the middle of the voice. Straw phonation is a great SOVT which works well for vibrato. You can purchase re-usable straws with singing straw. Just type ‘nicole’ at the checkout for 10% off!
- A natural vibrato will occur when the voice is correctly balanced.
- Try singing super relaxed on a comfortable around the pitch of your speaking voice on an [:o] vowel to get a sensation of your ‘natural’ vibrato.
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