Hey all! Vocal coach Ken Taylor here and now it’s time for us to talk about resonance and how it helps a singer. This article begins the second section of the Sing Smarter, Not Harder series. So if you’ve found your way here without reading through the first section, you’ll want to do that first. Here’s a link.
But if you’ve been through the first section and practiced the material in it, then you’re ready to move on. But remember, no amount of learning can take the place of practice. You must practice these ideas in order to make them habit in your voice, so be sure that you’re doing just that.
Ok, so with that out of the way, I want to begin this article with a question…
As a singer, what creates the fullness of the sound?
When you listen to the radio, you hear singers that have epic sounds that seem to test the bounds of their upper range. They seem to have endless amounts of energy and strength. When we hear our favorite singers do this, we often try to join in mimicking their energy and sound. Problem is, most of the time, we end up pushing like crazy to create that fullness, and that’s no good! Pushing is not how we sing smarter, not harder.
Instead, we want to use resonance to create the fullness of the sound. That’s how the best singers out there do it, and that’s what you want to learn to do too.
So why does accessing more resonance help us create a fuller sound? Well, it’s easier to imagine a scenario.
Imagine I have an acoustic guitar and an electric guitar. Both make sound in a similar way – by strumming a string. But, the result is very different. When I play the acoustic guitar, the chord comes out full and vibrant, filling the room with glorious sound. But when I strum an unplugged electric guitar, it sounds dull, flat, and lacks any real presence.
There’s a huge difference between the volume and tone of the two instruments. But why? Why do these two guitars have such a different sound? Well, the biggest difference comes from the body of the guitar.
The acoustic guitar has a hollow body, giving the sound somewhere to bounce around and grow. The electric guitar is solid and therefore has no available resonance space for the sound to bounce around and grow.
Your voice functions in a similar way. From you vocal folds to your lips is your vocal tract. This is your main resonator as a singer. As a general rule, when you make this space bigger, you create more sound without extra effort. When you close this space off, the sound becomes much smaller and less appealing.
What most people do to sing louder is push harder. This idea is similar to plucking the electric guitar string harder. It works to an extent, but at some point it starts to sound bad and eventually the string will break. Instead, focus on utilizing more resonance space in the vocal tract, then you’ll create more fullness and volume without any extra muscular effort. That’s how you sing smarter, not harder.
So now that you understand how resonance works, let’s move on and discuss how to get more resonance.