What Is “Singing”?
Singing is a physical manifestation of our increased emotional expression, state and personality, through the production of musical sounds, a larger and sustained form of speech. The act of singing consists of three components:
Body: Skilful use of the body parts in order to sing properly, also known as vocal techniques.
Mind: Consciousness, habit, concentration/focus, musical creativity and intelligence, muscle memory.
Emotions/Soul: Motivation, desire, interest, joy and passion in the act of singing, emotional release or total confidence, as well as the portrayal or delivery of a certain character’s emotional state.
All three components work together to produce a “perfect” vocal performance (“perfect” because emotions are entirely subjective).
Talent Versus Training
Everyone can be taught to sing well simply because everyone possesses vocal cords. For example, Minkyung learned how to be an above-average singer during her days as a trainee and further improved her singing on “Immortal Song 2“.
Our vocal cords all produce the musical sounds the same way. Being able to sing well means you are capable of adjusting your vocal cords at their optimal position during vocalization; or in other words, sing with power. Voice lessons can help you achieve that, so in a physiologic sense, anyone, whether they have vocal talent or not, can learn to sing well.
Singing is 98% mental, while the rest is physical and emotional. You need to apply the correct technique every time you sing, you need to make it a habit every time you vocalize, and your brain needs to remember every sensation and muscle memory that happens when you sing. This is why singing is mostly a mental/habitual process. Training the mental part of singing highly affects your vocal consistency, which is the most essential aspect for a good vocalist.
One way to determine the presence of “talent” in singing is the speed of vocal learning, as “talented” people in a field tend to learn the skill in question faster than others. However, “talent” is basically superficial because there’s no set definition as to what it is and it’s pretty much immeasurable.
That said, regardless of whether one has talent or not, it does not change the fact that everyone needs to be vocally trained in order to sing well. A raw talent NEEDS to be trained. Talented singers such as Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and Beyoncé all had vocal training to develop their talent and become virtuoso singers.
Differences Between A Vocalist & A Singer
Vocalist: Someone who has COMPLETE control, manipulation, and authority over their voice, similar to an instrumentalist. Hence, they are judged by vocal technique and consistency.
Singer: Someone who uses their voice to deliver a message musically and convey emotions. They are partly judged by technique, but mostly subjectively judged by sense of interpretation wit, musical and vocal delivery, musicianship, and musical and vocal creativity.
22 thoughts on “An Introduction to Vocal Pedagogy”
Ummm, I don’t really get what you mean by ‘Mind’ as one of the components. Intelligence and conciousness were mentioned and I just don’t get it (not exactly intelligent orz). Could you explain, please? ><
Basically the mind is the conscious part of singing which affects your emotions which then trigger reactions in your body that cause the voice to sound a certain way. So like you’re gonna sing a high note, your mind thinks the note is too high which then makes you anxious which then causes the muscles in your throat to close and tense up, which then cause the voice to sound strained. Yknow what I mean?
Ohhhh, so it’s like, linked? 😮
Yeah it’s all linked ^ ^
Ohh okay! Thank you!<3 ^^
It’s really interesting how much the mind influences our abilities because as a dance instructor, I tell my students that most of their ability comes from their mind, not their body since it’s their mind that can either hold them back, make them self conscious and mess up or push them forward and make them willing to learn new things as well as performing with confidence.
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Who would you say is the best vocalist out of Beyoncé , Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, and Whitney? Or could you rank them quickly like just 1 is…. she’s a …. vocalist and a whatever soprano or mezzo-soprano and so on for the four? Or would that take too long?
Well Christina shouldn’t ever be compared to any of those other three vocalists. I’d consider the other three Excellent Vocalists and I wouldn’t try to pinpoint who’s slightly better than who. Beyonce is a mezzo, Whitney used to be a Spinto then became a mezzo due to drug abuse, Mariah is a Soprano. Christina seems like a mezzo and she could at some point been an above average vocalist or competent maybe but currently? She could be average if she’s on a good day. She’s the one vocalist out of the three who doesn’t have 3 connected well developed registers and doesn’t support consistently. Beyonce has C3 ~ F5 ~ D6 at least, Mariah has had E3 ~ G5/G#5 ~ C6 at least, Whitney has had E3 ~ G5 ~ C#6 at least, considering they all have control of pitch, agility and dynamics throughout that whole supported range of approximately three octaves for all of them. Christina? She may have A3 ~ G#4 currently. Maybe.
Hello, haha this is going to be really awkward bc i really didnt know where to write this. im on mobile and i cant really do html so it might be a lil messy sorry in advance ><
So I’ve been lurking around this site for quite long… I have read about 2 different versions of Baekhyun’s analysis (before it got taken down for editing) and also different versions of Tiffany’s analysis (before it became the one today) … and I think I might even have seen Seohyun’s one but didnt manage to read it… Basically when I first found this site I think it was still relatively new and in its developing stages, with only about several posts.
I stumbled upon this site when I was trying to look for a good analysis on Luna’s singing (apart from the usual brief and sometimes biased reviews on other sites). And when I first read through some of these analyses I was blown by all the vocal terminology that I have never heard of, like “placement” and “resonance”, stuff like that. But at the same time, I was really happy bcos this was exactly what I was looking for. It was basically my dream come true.
The site when I first saw it was a lil disorganised bcos different contributors had different format and criteria, and also the system used to rank vocalists wasnt very unified eg decent vs competent, bad vs weak. Some analyses were really long and detailed while others were pretty short with most of the content in bullet points. But ofc that has changed 🙂 and organisation has really improved till what it is today, with a similar format (strengths, weakness, agility, musicianship etc) for all analyses as well as the ranking (and the point system, which is great) and I’d really like to appreciate and hug all of you for making that huge effort to unify and organise everything 🙂 I also really liked how you organised the vocalists according to their categories (weak vocalists, average to above average etc)
This site also exposed me to the world of vocal techniques (I watched youtube vids of resonance, chest voice vs head voice etc bc I wanted to understand this site better, haha) and I really learned so much from it. I’ll probably watch even more youtube vids in the future bc there are still some things I wanna learn, and also to understand some of the stuff written in the analyses even more.
Basically I kinda stalk this site. Haha I admit at first when I read analyses of my biases in kpop I went “ouch” because my favourite singers werent as flawless and perfect as I had thought. But it also gave me a much more in depth understanding of vocal techniques and why some kpop vocalists werent as good as I had thought them to be.
I also stalk the comment section and like, I see you guys getting hated so often bc of immature and defensive fans (esp in Junsu’s one) , I hope you guys are ok. Anyway even with all these hate Im sure there will be many more supporters (like me!) who will continue supporting this site and defend you guys against haters like these haha
The point of this long comment is just to show how much I love this site and thank you guys for the great analyses. Sorry for the bad grammar and formatting, i wanted to get my hands on a computer bf commenting but im too busy… anyway, keep up the awesome work! And i will definitely continue stalking this site in my free time haha 🙂
Wow first lemme start off by saying I’m on an airplane and so I’m using my phone to comment too LOL don’t worry about format and grammar haha you wrote a great comment and I’m really happy to read it
Lemme also add that actually I wasn’t even active as an analyst last year because I didn’t know exactly what to say and I didn’t like those short 100 words analyses we had so this year after I felt like I could follow a detailed format I tried to organize things into categories, to make it all clean, add a detailed criteria, make it easy to follow and stuff. It’s my Virgo coming out. LOL the more time that passes the more I think this blog is getting better so I’m happy to read this because everybody worked hard to start this! I hope we keep bringing you quality k-pop analyses.
Thank you for your love and support and I’ll stalk you back later haha it’s just nice to know someone appreciates us and understands the biased butthurt fans haha it’s super tiring how defensively aggressive ppl are on the Internet, I wonder if they’re that rude in person.. It’d be more fun that way.
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Firstly, thanks for all the work put into this blog! I’ve learnt so much, and even built up the courage to get vocal lessons myself ^^
I read somewhere in the comments that there were no, or very few, backup vocalists in kpop who will rank higher than average. So I’m wondering to which extent this is due to lack of vocal training? Or is it just that they don’t have the ability to get any better? Of course this will vary from person to person… But, take Suho for example, who trained under SM for eight years, but still is a weak vocalist even though SM seems to have rather good vocal coaches. Would he be able to sing any better than he does?
I hope it is clear what I mean, I’m kinda bad at explaining things… I’ve been wondering about it for a while now, since I’m worried I might never be able to sing well as my dad keeps telling me I’m not good at singing..
Backup vocalists, meaning like sub-vocalists, dancers, visuals and whatnot, those who aren’t main/lead vocalists, right? No this has nothing to do with the ability to not get any better. Speaking from personal experience as an instructor, one hour a week of vocal training is not going to make you a better vocalist. I train my students and if they don’t practice on their own, nothing really changes over a week. So with that in mind, it is very likely that these non-main and non-lead vocalists, they just don’t practice their singing as regularly, as correct, as effectively as the others have throughout their lives. Also the vocal coaches in the companies use questionable teaching methods which lead to inconsistencies and questionable results. It works for those who have a basis of support but not really for those who haven’t figured out how to support at all. So no, it’s got nothing to do with you not being able to do it, it’s more to do with how you’re practicing and if you’re actually retraining muscles and fixing bad habits, as opposed to reinforcing them. If you sing the same way today as you’ve sung for this whole past year, nothing will change unless you make a change.
Thanks for the response! Yes that was what I ment, and I guess the answer is pretty much what I suspected.
I have only been taking vocal lessons for about four months now, and only once a month since my vocal coach lives abroad, so I don’t really think I’ve made a lot of progress yet. It’s good to know that it’s possible to learn with practice though!
One more question: Would anyone be able to become “an excellent vocalist” with enough and proper training?
Yes of course, and with enough proper training over a good enough period of time.
In your opinion, what do you guys think are some of the most common myths/misconceptions people have about singing &/or singers? (Sorry if a question like this has already been asked.)
There are so many! People think that singing high is the same as singing well. People think that thick big voices are good at singing and smaller voices aren’t good at singing, even if the smaller voices are healthy and the big voices are yelling. People think singing and dancing at the same time makes someone have good technique. I’ve even heard people say that people who have thick necks are good at singing.. lol Also the whole emotion thing, or the tone thing and people trying to pass those things off as absolute truths…
Lol thick necks?! That one is pretty weird! Also I’m glad that you try so hard to correct these misunderstandings because not many people seem to.
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Can I ask what would be the criterias for Contraltos?
Since we’ve never analyzed a contralto, we haven’t been able to be sure of where they’d be when it comes to supported range. Everything else is more or less the same.
I have a couple of questions, hoping you answer them.
1- Where does the Chest voice resonate exactly? In mouth? I know that mix resonates in mask, how about head voice?
2- If your vocal cords get tired after a excerise mean a good thing? Or a bad?
1. Your Chest Voice resonates in well…your chest. It resonates in your chest and projects through your mouth. When your singing in your lower register, or talk really, you should feel this buzz or “vibrations” in your chest. Your head voice resonates it well pretty much your head…like near your nose bridge/forehead and then projects through your mouth. However, this buzz or vibrations aren’t as easy to feel..don’t know why, Anyway that’s just a quick kind of rough explanation. I think our ABOUT page answers this..not sure lol.
2. Your voice really shouldn’t feel tired after you warm up on after you sing that pretty much means that you did a little bit too much.
Hello again! So I have a question about the voice. My voice has been… let’s say, dying on me this last month. A month ago, my voice became hoarse and raspy, and I have been unable to access the upper part of my mix (the one above where it flips). It just sounds breathy and shallow, whereas previously I was able to produce a fuller sound. Now, I live in Ohio, where the weather has been cold and dry. A week ago I went to California and, lo and behold, my voice was back to its fullest extent! Unfortunately, once I returned to Ohio, my voice slowly went back to the way it was before. I read that high temperatures inside your home and low humidity can cause this. Is it true? And if so, how can I preserve my voice so that it can go back to the way it was before? Would a humidifier or one of those masks that send humidity to your throat work? Thank you in advance!