How can you develop an outstanding singing vibrato?
A vibrato that adds a touch of class to your voice everytime you switch it on... And one that you can turn on and off as you please, just like turning on a tap.
How can you do this?
Watch this video to find out!
I want to tell you about a hidden benefit of vibrato.
You see, when vibrato is flowing effortlessly in your voice it means that something good is happening. Vibrato is a sign of good vocal technique. Plus it sounds fantastic...
So where does vibrato voice come from, and how can you develop an effortless one? Let's explore this further...
The Wikipedia definition of vibrato is "a musical effect consisting of a regular, pulsating change of pitch."
So what's vibrato in singing?
Vibrato in singing happens when your voice shifts quickly between two pitches. So if you were to sing a middle C, and then a C# and then a C again, followed by a C# followed by a C, you would be singing with vibrato.
The key to a great vibrato is the speed in which you change between the two pitches.
If you can oscillate between the two pitches around six times per second, you will have a very natural sounding vibrato.
Vibrato is the result of your sound being able to come through in a free and easy way.
Here’s what this means. When your voice is nice and relaxed, and your vocal chords are vibrating freely, they can oscillate back and forward.
This means the pitch or note you are on is changing back and forwards really quickly. This is what gives you vibrato in voice.
Here is a simple exercise that will allow you to see what vibrato when singing feels like.
Please understand that this is not a finished sound. It's an exaggerated version that will later be honed into something more usable.
Here's how to do the vibrato exercise.
Listen to how your voice wavers in a singing vibrato like fashion.
Now it probably sounds a little exaggerated at this point, but this exercise is just give you an experience of vibrato.
Obviously you won't be doing this when you are singing a song!
So now you've had the experience of feeling vibrato in your voice, let's do another exercise that will help you develop your singing vibrato.
Let’s look at another exercise that will show you how to sing in vibrato voice.
Using a simple scale we can use an “Ahhhhh” sound to practice.
If you begin each scale with no vibrato by adding a little bit of tension to your vocal chords. And then when you reach the final note in the scale, back off this tension. Allow the vibrato to come through.
Watch the demonstration below and sing along!
And here is an audio file you can use to practice with.
There's a place in your mouth where you can apply the tiniest amount of manipulation to get your vibrato going. If you feel your sound in this place and then try to "wobble" the pitch back and forward, it will make the vibrato come through easier.
Press play on the video below to watch me demonstrate this.
An important point is that you do not need to move your jaw around (like you may have seen in some famous singers!). This will only cause you tension and make it even harder to get your vibrato going.
You only need a very subtle amount of manipulation. And if that doesn't work, it means you need to go back and use exercises to take the tightness out of your voice.
There are no hard and fast rules about how to use your vibrato.
But there is a method in particular that sounds really beautiful. And it's a great place to start.
The method I’m talking about is to begin a note or phrase with no vibrato. And then just where the phrase tails off, allow a little vibrato to come through to finish the last note.
Once again, you can to this by “thinking” that you are applying a little more tension to your vocal chords in the first part of the phrase. And then letting go of this tension at the end to allow a little vibrato to come through.
Let's now take a look at some examples of famous singers using vibrato to great effect.
Watch this video and see these singers use the technique we just discussed - where they start out with a straight note and go into vibrato as the note tails off.
In this video you'll see famous female vibrato singers such as Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston (and many more!). As well as famous male vibrato singers such as David Phelps, Lee Hyuk, Adam Lambert.
It's a valuable education to watch successful singers and take clues about how they use this vocal technique.
Once you've mastered your vibrato, you can use these performance tips to really create something compelling on stage.
Here’s the bottom line.
If you aren’t able to sing with vibrato it means you are too tight. In other words, there are some muscles tightening up that make it hard for your vocal chords to vibrate freely.
Luckily there are many exercises to help you create the freedom you need to easily sing with vibrato technique. You can check out these exercises here.
Once your voice has loosened up you’ll find it much easier to allow your vibrato to come through.
Because singing with freedom will help your natural singing vibrato come through, let's check out some tips to free your voice.
Using these little "tricks" when you practice will keep your voice nice and free...
... Allowing that beautiful vibrato to happen nice and naturally!
Now let's talk about a different problem.
You might have the opposite program where too much is coming through.
Perhaps your voice always seems to have a vibrato in it. Or maybe your vibrato is really noticeable and obtrusive, when you’d prefer it to be more subtle.
Let's talk about the problem of not being able to turn your vibrato off.
You want to be able to have full control over your vibrato. This means you can turn it on and off whenever you like. And you can add different amounts of it, so each note you sing has maximum impact.
Watch this video to see me demonstrate how to turn your vibrato off (It will begin at the correct place)
Here’s how you do it.
To sing without vibrato you add a little more tension onto your vocal chords.
Doing this helps your voice to produce a note that stays true and solid.
Another way of thinking about it is your vocal chords are holding together a little tighter.
Then you can relax the voice, which allows the vibrato to come through.
Because relaxing the voice will mean the vocal chords won't hold together quite so tightly. This allows the pitch to begin to oscillate or pulsate, creating the vibrato effect.
As I just mentioned, by backing off of this slight bit of tension you’ve put on your vocal chord - the voice relaxes and the vibrato begins to come through.
Singers often ask me:
My answer is that the word “force” is not quite right.
There is a little bit of manipulation you can do to get the vibrato started. Then it continues on effortlessly.
One thing you can do if you are struggling to get your vibrato going is practice singing two notes that are side by side. Go back and forward between these two notes nice and easily. And then try to speed it up so it begins sounding like a vibrato.
If you practice the above exercise and aren’t making progress, don’t worry!
First, developing techniques like vibrato take time and practice. As long as you stick with it, you will get there in the end.
Second, it just means there’s a little too much tension on your voice.
This might mean you’ve picked up some bad habits over the years that causing you to tighten up.
This isn’t a big deal and can be easily fixed. Check out this tutorial on how to sing and go through some exercises that will create more freedom in your voice.
I hope that helps you understand how to create vibrato in your singing!
As you've learned in this tutorial, there are 2 very effective exercises for introducing vibrato into your singing.
And when you get it going it sounds beautiful!
I have a free email course that includes many highly effective exercises that will help you develop an amazing vibrato. You will also learn how to increase your vocal range, improve your tone quality, and gain greater control over your voice.
Check out the link below to get this course.