ENGLISH VOICE COACHING FOR SINGERS WHO ARE NOT NATIVE SPEAKERS

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR SINGING IN ENGLISH

SIMON’S 5-STEP ENGLISH VOICE SINGING METHOD

  1. MEANING – STORY

READING: SAY AND TELL Technique

2. SOUND SCRIPTING – INTONATION, MELODY, RHYTHM – Sing in tune!

3. REHEARSE, REHEARSE, REHEARSE

4. COACHING 2.

5. PERFORMANCE & Feedback

VOICE COACHING FOR SPEAKERS AND SINGERS has a lot of features in common. It’s important to improve the quality of the voice delivery in both cases, and both require sound scripting and a lot of rehearsal.

In this article, I’m going to deal specifically with how I help singers who are not native English speakers with their singing. What this means is that it’s more than a normal singing class because the language of the song and the sounds are likely to be unknown or unfamiliar.

For the sake of this article, I’ll imagine that you are able to sing the song in tune!

Let’s look at the METHOD and TECHNIQUES I use to improve the way singers use English in their songs.

  1. MEANING – STORY

There are singers who tell you that they sing songs they don’t understand. Great!! Well done! Very often we can tell what feeling the song is communicating by the key it’s written in, the way the original singer sings it, the instrument arrangement, and maybe you simply found the information on the internet.

Whatever, you really need to know what the story is behind the song, and the attitude or feeling that the composer aimed to get across. The first thing I do is ensure that the singer knows what the song is about. You can even watch the video if it’s any good!

READING: SAY AND TELL Technique

The technique I use with songs before singing them is to read them as if they were stories. You should be able to SAY the sentences with the correct meaning and feeling and then you can TELL what they really mean. This may sound strange, but if English is not your first language, it will really help you understand the song in more depth. At this stage we also look at the pronunciation of words and sounds the singer finds difficult.

2.SOUND SCRIPTING

Sound scripting means taking the song and marking different sections of the lines.

For example, we mark the stressed syllables in words and highlight important words in the lines such as nouns and adjectives (stress patterns) and link consonants with vowels (liaison). In a song, you have to follow a melody, although you can change the timing of some syllables, their duration and speed up to a certain point.

Example of Sound scripting

(GALWAY GIRL: Ed Sheeran)

We do this with each line of the song, perfecting the pronunciation, timing, phrasing rhythm and melody.

Sometimes help is needed with articulation (tongue and mouth position) to sing certain sounds, and this is included at this stage.

3.REHEARSE, REHEARSE, REHEARSE

In this next stage it’s up to the singer to really immerse themselves in the song until it becomes automatic, and they sing it in their dreams! Use your phone, a Walkman and some headphones!

There are different techniques.

  1. Listen to a line, repeat it.
  2. Shadowing. Sing the song with the singer.
  3. Use “karaoke”. Great if you don’t have the song without the singing and you can’t play an instrument to accompany yourself (or someone).
  4. Listen to the whole song – repeat (sing) it and record it – listen to your recording. Take note on what you can improve and then repeat the process. It’s like a loop.  
  5. It’s great if you can find someone who you can perform to, as this imitates a live performance (to a small degree).

Once the singer has mastered or at least improved the performance of the song a lot, it’s time for another session with the voice coach.

4.COACHING 2.

The singer will now proudly sing the song for the voice coach. At this stage, it should be a case of tweaking and polishing.

FEEDBACK

An English voice coach looks for great the correct implementation of the vocal patterns and feature such as pronunciation from the sound script.

 The coach listens, takes notes and then gives the feedback after the session, gives advice on corrections and improvements. Feedback is also given on any notes that weren’t sung in tune!

At this stage, we video the rehearsal, watch and listen to it and more feedback is given. This is repeated until the singer is satisfied or we run out of time.

PERFORMANCE

The big day arrives. The singer performs the song. If there is a recording of the song, we watch and listen to it, to see how well it went and if we can improve it.

If you want to improve your singing in English, get in touch and we can talk about taking your singing in English to the next level.

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