Monday, May 20, 2024

Singing without using your voice – a silent technique for rehearsing songs on your own

I’ve caught some bug from all my recent travels and workshops. I have a sore throat amongst other things. 

But I have a whole weekend of singing to prepare for and need to sing through the arrangements. What can I do?

The first thing when you have any kind of bug is to rest (see What to do if you catch a cold and a concert is looming). Which is why I’ve delayed any singing until tomorrow at least.

But what if you have to practice but your voice is not up to it?

You might have been over-using it recently (see Why is my throat sore after singing?) or have caught something like I have.

The solution is to sing without using your voice!

It might sound mad, but it’s a really good rehearsal technique when you’re on your own.

Your voice may not be up to it, but also you might want to sing along with a practice track in your earphones without disturbing your room mate or fellow travellers on the train.

There is some evidence that imagining doing physical exercises can be almost as good as doing them in reality. The same goes for singing.

By singing along silently (but in your head) and moving your mouth very slightly to match the vowel sounds, it’s almost as good as practising out loud.

You can use this technique to:

  • help memorise lyrics, especially foreign ones;
  • help nail your own harmony part;
  • get used to singing against the other harmony parts;
  • practise where your breathing points will be;
  • and even notice where any tension creeps in as your reach for the high notes.

All in blissful silence!

Chris Rowbury


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