6 tips for singing jazz
It’s not necessary to have a range or an extraordinary technique to sing jazz, and it’s important to know it, especially if you’ve never heard it before. Singing jazz standards is above all exploring the sounds of your voice and learning how to bring your personal touch to a song. And the best way to start is to immerse yourself in the music of the greatest jazz singers such as: Billie Holiday, Ella Fitgerald in women or Louis Armstrong or Tony Benett in these gentlemen. Once you’ve found your inspiration, here are 6 tips to learn jazz!
1- The microphone: an important role
The evolution of sung jazz owes much to the development of microphones. The better quality microphones have allowed much more vocal subtleties such as whispering for example . As you progress, you should get used to hearing your amplified voice and playing with it . It is also very interesting to register to try to get away from the vocal imprint of the artists who inspire you, and so focus on your voice and realize what you need to improve to become better.
2- A good singing book
When you buy a book to practice singing, make sure it contains some great classics of the American jazz repertoire , such as songs by Cole Porter or George Gershwin among others. You can choose between scores written from a piano accompaniment or scores for singing only. The second option is usually preferred because it allows more freedom in the choice of musical accompaniment.
3- Find your voice style and tone
To learn any song, finding the tone and the tessitura in which you are comfortable to sing is essential. For that, try different registers then use a piano or a guitar to know in what tone you sing. Tip: your tone may not match the note you sung first! It is important to know your tone because when you are accompanied by a group , it will allow them to tell them the tone in which you sing and adapt their game.
4- Know the lyrics of the songs
To progress, train yourself by learning the lyrics and melody of a well-known standard. Start with the lyrics and try to memorize them like a poem . Then, move on to the melody, singing using “la-la-la” or just saying the vowels to highlight the nuances of your voice and articulate well. Once done, add the lyrics to the melody and sing them to be as comfortable as if you had composed them yourself.
5- Master the changes of rhythms and the tempo
One of the pleasures of interpreting jazz is the freedom to break away from the rhythm of a song to bring intensity. To train with rhythm changes, take a song and let go of the timing of each sentence. Try to shorten or lengthen different notes as you sing a phrase and pay close attention to how the change in rhythm affects the emphasis of certain words: this will help you bring your personal touch to the song.
6- The swing
To interpret a piece of jazz, it is essential to know how to swing. To do this, start by highlighting the setbacks in everything you sing. You can initially snap your fingers on the setbacks and then as you mark them with your voice!