Singing ROCK takes a specific approach, really excellent vocal technique and a firm understanding or resonance, grit, delivery and most of all – ATTITUDE.
Your breathing is your foundation – without a solid foundation of diaphragmatic breathing, your house of rock will fall hard. When we speak, we actually only use around 20% of our breathing capacity, and depending on your native tongue or accent, you might not even be using your diaphragm at all. Treat “singing” differently to “speaking” and you’ll make leaps and bounds with your singing technique – it’s popular lately to try to sing like you speak, but that mainly works for a light pop sound (that will be autotuned heavily). You should use your diaphragm to breathe with, you can try it yourself now:
- Breathe quickly through an imaginary straw held in your lips – do you feel your stomach expand?
- Hold the pose of ‘shooting an arrow sideways’ (your head should still be forward) and breathe in – can you feel it now?
- Lie on the floor with a book or cup over your navel and breathe in – does the cup/book move?
Congratulations, that’s diaphragmatic breathing! Now you just need to work on your breath support (you can book a session with me in the calendar to your right when you’re ready to power up your breathing!). Here’s a free tutorial I released on singing with diaphragmatic breathing for a ROCK tone;
Placement and resonance
Placing your voice forward with a bright, resonant tone is the only way you’re going to achieve a punchy, powerful “rock voice” – If you want to learn how to sing Rock, then learning placement and resonance should be your first stop after breathing. Try it now yourself;
- Sing “above” your mouth rather than “out” of your mouth – the sound should resonate behind your nose
- Work on building twang frequencies by singing an “N” or open “NG” sound
- Inhalare la Voce – Inhale your voice (figuratively)
- Place your voice forward rather than back in your throat
Can you figuratively “place” your voice and create a bright, healthy timbre?
Diction and Enunciation
Ditch those consonant sounds and develop a way to sing them in an open fashion – my student resource center has a whole list of consonant sounds and the way you should be creating them (My students call it “The Consonant Bible!”). Try it now by singing a word that starts with “W”, like “Worry” or “War” – can you feel how constricted and tight that “W” is? Now, try it with an “OO” instead of a “W” (bear with me) – can you feel how easily that W sound comes out without even thinking about it? Congratulations, that is proper diction in the form of an open consonant sound. Log in to my Student Resource Center for the full list!
Learning to modify your vowel sounds as you ascend is how you’re going to take that natural Johnny Cash range right up into Robert Plant and Myles Kennedy territory – as you sing higher, you need to subtely change the character of your vowel to allow for different resonant spaces, it’s easier than it seems. Try it yourself by singing towards an “AWE” or “clAW” sound as you get close to your vocal break/before it feels constricted, can you feel your voice open up and release all that tension? That is a vowel position – or what is commonly called a vowel modification. Log in to my Student Resource Center for my simple steps-based approach to vowels, it’s super easy!
The middle is key…
The middle of your voice, or, “mixed voice” is the key to singing with POWER, resonance and ascending through your registers without getting weak or worse, shouting – develop a proper mixed voice approach and you’ll learn how to sing ROCK in no time!
If you’re ready to build your own powerful rock voice with the above techniques and more, book a session with me in the calendar to your right!
Feel free to leave a question or any feedback below!
Kegan DeBoheme is Bohemian Vocal Studio’s resident vocal coach and voice expert. He teaches professional singing and voice technique to students all around the world and enjoys providing tutorials like this one on how to improve your voice.