Using your voice
Home learning focus
Learn techniques to develop your vocal improvising skills.
This lesson includes:
a video to help you understand how to improvise with the voice
three practice activities
There are many ways to use the voice in music - singing, rapping, scatting or beatboxing are just a few.
A fun way to get started is improvising - making something up on the spot.
Watch how Ben, Dujon and Tara improvise with their voices to make up and perform a rap.
Ben uses beatboxing and sets a beat running on a loop pedal, Tara sings some short tunes and Dujon raps.
Beatboxing is using sounds from your throat, lips and mouth to recreate a drum beat. The throat and lips combine to make the bass kick drum and the teeth are used for high sounds such as hi-hats.
Improvising in rap is often known as freestyle. This can happen with or without instrumental beats and the lyrics don’t have to start with a specific subject or structure.
In blues and jazz music, vocalists often use scat singing in their improvisations. Scat is when the singer improvises using nonsense syllables or no words at all, sometimes using the voice to mimic instruments.
Watch this film of a freestyle rap by Soweto Kinch to find out more about how rap can be performed.
Listen to these examples of improvising with the voice
Here are a few ways to practise using your voice:
Have a go at improvising.
Sing - choose a tune that you know well. Sing the tune normally first and then sing it again with some changes. Find a version of your song as a backing track - see if your new decorations work well as you sing along.
Rap - Think of a theme - such as being at home - and write down a few words and ideas that go with the theme. Find a beat that you like and try improvising your words and lines along with the beat.
Beatbox - Listen to a piece of Classical music from Ten Pieces and make a up a beatbox beat to go with it.
Explore more singing tips with Andy and the band.
In this film learn how to warm up your voice by making different sounds and noises.