Vibrato is also an issue when discussing vocal health. Wow, where to start? Okay, if you are using enormous amounts of vocal acrobatics, i.e., runs, trills, etc, but have difficulty holding a single note in the middle of your range in tune for more than two beats, STOP! You will never be a good singer by constantly covering up your weak spots, especially if your ‘weak spot’ is something as basic as holding a single note in tune! All it does is flash a bunch of mirrors, kind of like a fun house, if only the lights would stop flashing so we could really see ourselves! We really want to hear your voice, your unique tone quality and beauty, and though trills are great, having a unique ‘sound’ is even better, and a healthy vibrato is a major part of that.
Vibrato is a naturally – occurring pulse of sound in our voices that is unique to each individual. Your vibrato is your ‘stamp’, so to speak. Technically speaking, vibrato occurs when we release the base of our tongues from all tension. This is why classically – trained singers have such prominent vibrato. They have spent years learning how to release all tension at all times to let their truest voice flow out. Contrary to popular belief, all that a classical singer is doing, is showcasing the human voice in its purest form. It has less to do with ‘pomp and circumstance’, and more to do with ‘raw humanity’ than many would believe.
So, if you are a folk singer or gospel choir singer wanting to sound like a soloist, here’s how you find your vibrato.
o You simply take in a deep breath, either standing or sitting with your elbows on our knees and face toward the ground, and hold any note for as long as you can. As you run out of breath, you will find your natural vibrato come in.
o You can also ‘make’ a vibrato. For those of you who feel you have no vibrato, this may work well. Sing a note with what you think your vibrato should sound like, and, again, as you run out of air, your ‘fake vibrato’ will make way for your real one. You will feel the base of your tongue release, and your beautiful vibrato will flow naturally.
For those of you accustomed to manipulating your vibrato or singing straight- toned, this may be uncomfortable at first, but keep at it. Freeing yourself from tension does not mean you are no longer in control!
Vibrato is the result of a voice that is free from tension. So, loosen up! Let it flow!
Other techniques are:
o Raising one arm above your head, and dropping your arm as if it is lifeless while singing a note or end of a phrase.
o Singing as if your tongue is ‘heavy’
o ‘Falling’ into the wall and letting your hands ‘catch’ you