Rock singing techniques
Singing ROCK requires a certain finesse and of course, POWER, POWER, POWER! Rock singing techniques are based around a healthy foundation of proper breathing, diaphragmatic control, resonance, vowels and many more proper voice techniques that allow you to create a rockin’ sound without actually putting your voice at risk.
First step? Build. Your. Foundation! Building a strong foundation is the cornerstone of a powerful singing voice – your voice is only as strong and robust as the foundation on which it has been built, so make sure you brush up on diaphragmatic breathing, vocal placement and setting up your posture the right way in my complimentary foundations courses so you can implement these Top 5 rock singing techniques.
The Top 5 Rock Singing Techniques
These 5 rock singing techniques will help you build a powerful voice and show you the steps you need to take to learn how to sing rock like your favourite singers. Let’s get started with the top 5 Rock Singing Techniques you’ll need to learn how to sing ROCK music.
#1 – Appoggio
Appoggio is one of those classical terms that simply can’t be beaten when it comes to singing ROCK and building a powerful voice. Appoggio is tied to your breath support and posture, but really effects almost every aspect of your voice that we’ll be working on in this list of the top rock singing techniques.
You can set yourself up for Appoggio singing technique by widening your ribs when you set up your singing posture. A great way to do this is to raise your sternum without breathing in when you set up your posture – this will allow you to control your breathing entirely from engagement of the diaphragm rather than contraction of your ribs like we often do in speech.
Learning to breathe and control your air pressure in this way will lend itself towards building a powerful voice that is rich, expansive in range and of course easy to control for a great ROCK sound.
#2 – Compression & Breath Support
Supporting your voice by moderating your air pressure and limiting your air flow is known as compression, or simply Breath Support. Any good rock singer is compressing their air for a pressurised vibration in their vocal chords that results in the powerful and free resonance that we know as singing. Compression is a rock singing technique that should be build and developed over time so that you are only engaging the appropriate muscles and following the right process to support your voice without pushing. As an example, If you want to learn how to sing like Chris Cornell, then compression should be one of the very first rock singing techniques that you develop to support that incredible singing range and give you your first taste of strain-free power and distortion.
#3 – Adduction
Adduction is the fine art of vocal chord closure, in essence bringing your vocal chords closer together to create a tighter band of frequencies which vibrate in a rich and powerful way. Learning to develop proper chord closure actually starts with your onset, so make sure you watch the following tutorial on balancing a coordinated onset in the best way to aid adduction of your vocal chords as you ascend in range.
Learning to adduct your chords properly is the only way to ensure a powerful and strain free resonance that allows you to ascend into your high range with ease.
#4 – Shape your vowels
Singing and speech are unrelated. Sure, they utilise the same mechanism – but with a completely different application, process and outcome. Learning how to shape your vowels correctly is the only way to phonate your words in the correct manner while singing. During speech we often pronounce our vowels using our articulators like the lips and teeth, but in singing, the shape of our tongue needs to EQ the resonance we are creating, while the width of our vocal tract fine tunes this resonance so that it resounds in our various resonators as you ascend in range. My favourite way to illustrate this important concept is to have a new student sing an EE vowel, the most narrow vowel sound, and then alternate between an AH vowel, the widest vowel sound. Can you feel the difference in your vocal tract width between these two vowels, narrow on EE and wide on AH? If you try it again, but this time pay attention to the back of your tongue, you will likely realise that your tongue is “high” at the back for the EE vowel, and low and concave for the AH vowel – congratulations, you just shaped and tuned your first vowel sounds.
Learning proper control over your vowel shapes and vocal tract width is an important part of any great rock singing approach, so make sure you ditch your pronunciation in place of a resonating vowel shape that is tuned and formed in the right manner for efficient resonance.
#5 – Mix voice
Mix voice is a direct coordination between your chest register and your head register, in essence creating a third register that is know as “mix” or “Middle Voice“. This coordination allows you to connect chest and head voice, along with building a fluid and powerful middle range tonality that extends from your low register well up into your high range just like a Pro! Developing proper control of your middle voice takes time, dedication and a specialised approach – my favourite approach to teaching my students is my own approach of either projection of ‘classroom voice’. Watch the following video for a great way to access your mix coordination:
Building a powerful mix is the key to learning how to sing like Chris Cornell, Robert Plant, Myles Kennedy and any other classic singer who is a master of rock singing technique.
Since launching in 2010, Bohemian Vocal Studio has become synonymous with POWERFUL voices, the most practical approach to vocal technique and steadily grown into the premier vocal studio for professional singing lessons online. If you’re ready to take your voice to the next level and build a powerful range, you can book a Skype session today to learn the best rock singing techniques online!
Feel free to leave any feedback or questions 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.