How to sing with Vibrato
The truth is, Vibrato isn’t a ‘technique’ or “trick” that can be taught, it’s not a matter of changing pitch or even your voice wavering – it’s actually an oscillation around the centre of the tone you are creating.
Vibrato is a result of healthy tone production and well coordinated singing technique – not contortion or manipulation. Vibrato is not to be confused with tremolo or trillo. Vibrato is an oscillation of your overlapped vocal chords rather than a physical change in pitch, so it’s important that you’re not trying to lean into vibrato by changing your pitch or using Tremolo.
Vibrato is a ‘release’ for your voice, when you create a correctly placed singing tone and you’re coordinating your voice without strain and tension, your frequencies will pulse and oscillate in a healthy way that builds and protects your voice by managing pressure in an even way.
The secret to a natural vibrato? The energy is already there, you simply need to let it pulse.
Now this is actually similar to how a YoYo or a skipping rope works – you don’t need to pull the YoYo up and down repeatedly, you don’t need to swing the skipping rope – you simply need to keep them supported and they will pulse. Vibrato will only appear in your voice when it is ready – I know that’s disappointing to hear, but it’s the truth. Anything else will fall short of true vibrato, and create bad habits that are very hard to break.
So, vibrato isn’t caused by pulsing of the diaphragm, or the larynx, or a repeated change in pitch, or shaking of your jaw – it should happen without intention. So, the best way to create a healthy vibrato is to ignore it, put it out of your mind and hold a steady, well supported tone. To sing with vibrato, you need to build your resonance and support first, and vibrato will come later. Vibrato is best created as a result of a released and relaxed voice.
Build your foundation
The first thing you need to do to learn how to sing with vibrato is first set up your posture and build your foundation by learning diaphragmatic breathing and resonance placement. Setting up your posture is paramount to a powerful singing voice, so make sure you follow these easy steps to first set up proper singing posture:
- Head up
- Shoulders Back
- Chin Parallel with the floor
- Ribs out
This last step is incredibly important and is often called Appoggio singing techniqe. The easiest way to set up your voice with Appoggio is to raise your sternum without breathing in, allowing your ribs to widen and your stomach to contract when you set up your posture. If you set up your singing posture in this manner before singing, you will be able to control your breathing via extension of the diaphragm rather than contraction of your ribs.
Place your resonance
Placing your resonance is an important skill that every great singer has learned to do. Vocal placement is a limiting of excess and unnecessary frequencies to allow for the most efficient resonance along your vocal tract. Here’s a fantastic video tutorial I’ve put together to show you HOW to place your voice correctly:
Developing control over your diaphragm and learning how to place your resonance are the first steps to learning how to sing with vibrato and build a POWERFUL singing voice. If you’re ready to start building your own healthy voice with vibrato – book a session with me now!
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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.