How to Improve Your Articulation as a Singer
This week, we’re talking about how to improve your articulation as a singer. You might have an idea of what articulation means – a proper sound, clear diction, or extra pronunciation for example. For some styles of music, that’s exactly what you need – to hear every sound clearly. But for many other styles, super clear diction may not be what you want. I think when people are told to articulate more, sometimes what’s really happening is they need to create more connection between them and the audience. So, let’s break down what articulation really means and how to improve it for singers!
When do you talk about articulation?
Often times, articulation comes up when a coach, producer, or someone else listening feels like they can’t understand all of the words being said. But, as an artist and singer, we may not want to articulate more because we don’t want to lose the style or feel of what we’re trying to create. I understand that! There’s definitely a fine balance between enunciating enough to hear lyrics clearly, and overdoing it. We don’t want to be too stiff when we sing. And sometimes focusing on articulation does just that. But it’s easy to add a few articulation exercises to your routine that will help with more than the clarity of your lyrics. It will help with clarity of tone, control, and even agility. Let’s get straight to the exercises!
No matter the reason that you’re thinking about articulation, these exercises can help you learn skills to create a more clear and beautiful tone in your music. Like many things in music, once you’ve learned these exercises and skills, you can find what works best for you and relax what you need to for your signature style.
L’s & T’s Exercise (4:40 in video)
This exercise will help you get your tongue moving. Sing using a “la” a few times in a row. Repeat on a few different notes moving up your range. Once you’ve done that a few times using the piano accompaniment, move to “t-la” to get both sounds. You’ll go back and forth between the sounds to warm your tongue up. After that, you’ll move to a third variation: “la-ti-da” four times on each note. Remember, it’s okay if this feels easy and it’s definitely okay if it feels tricky. Everyone’s mouth and tongue are different, so take the time that you need.
“Gug” Exercise (6:48 in video)
For this exercise, open your mouth and push your hands against your cheek between your teeth. Say “gug” while holding your cheek. This helps the back of your tongue move – unlike the first exercise which is really focusing on the front of your tongue. Sing an arpeggio while holding your cheek. It feels super weird, but it’s important to help your tongue activate.
There’s a few easy exercises to help with your articulation! Again, these will help you create a clearer tone for your singing and music – even if you don’t want all of the lyrics crisp and clean. This skill is going to help you across so many parts of your singing, even your riffs, so make sure you spend time cleaning up your articulation.