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How to Pronounce Better and Sound Clearer as a Singer

articulation pronunciation

 

Intro

 

Good pronunciation or rather, articulation (as we call it in the singing/music world) is essential to a pleasant sounding and emotionally expressive voice.

Singing feels easy for singers who have excellent articulation. They have more control over their voice and therefore have more freedom to express their emotions.

I am speaking from experience because English was not my native tongue. I used to feel singing in Mandarin Chinese was so much easier than singing in English. When I improved my English pronunciation, singing in English felt more effortless as well.

 

Theory

 

I would like to show you 2 exercises to help you improve your articulation.

First, I want to quickly talk about the theory behind it. If you would rather not know about it, feel free to move on to the next section.

Our articulators are our lips, tongue, jaw and teeth. We move our articulators (our mouth) to pronounce different vowels and consonants.

Our vocal tract is the space between our vocal folds and our lips. It changes size and shape to make different sounds.

When our articulators move, they change the size and shape of our vocal tract.

Here's the secret: our vocal tract needs to be in a specific shape/size in order for us to pronounce the corresponding vowels/consonants well.

If it is in the correct shape, the sound comes out effortlessly.

If not, tension happens and the vowel/consonant will sound off.

Now that you know why articulation is important, I want to show you 2 exercises to improve your articulation.

 

Exercise 1

 

This exercise is for making vowels easier to sing.

Say the words of the songs you are learning while making the vowels longer.

Watch the video above for a demonstration.

Even if you're from a different country, I'd recommend aiming for a general American accent because it sounds more forward and brighter - which makes it easier to sing.

I want you to really feel and visualize the shape of the vowels, like you're massaging them.

 

Exercise 2

 

This is for making consonants easier to sing.

Take these five Italian vowels: EE EH AH AW OO.

Now add a consonant in front of the vowels and say them.

For example, if I add a B sound:

BEE BEH BAH BAW BOO

Or if I add a G sound:

GEE GEH GAH GAW GOO

Go through the alphabets until you've practiced all the consonants.

You don't have to do all of these at one go.

Choose a few different consonants everyday and practice!

Watch the video above for a demonstration.

 

Conclusion

 

Practicing your articulation can be quite tedious at first, especially if English is your second or third language.

Aim to practice a little everyday. The results will add up over time, your articulators will get stronger and your efforts will pay off.

 

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