From Practice to Performance

Songlike exercises are the the key for building your voice for the stage –says Daniel Borch

Hi everyone – I’m really pleased to be with you for the next 8 weeks, watching your vids and sharing some insights.

Today, I want you to consider using vocal exercises that are adapted to your own genre.

The traditional (classical) way of practising vocal technique doesn’t cover all the technical aspects that a rock, pop, or soul singer needs.

After all, the sound ideals of classical music are very far from what we pursue in popular music singing.

That’s why I want to encourage you to practice in a way that reflects the songs you are actually singing.

Songlike Exercises Pack a Punch

By using songlike exercises it’s possible to refine our vocal technique, vocal expression and musical skills.

In fact, I’ve inserted an actual exercise for you to try at the end of this article.

Basically I see these exercises as a way to deal with difficult intervals, rhythmical or harmonic difficulties – a kind of vocal “Kinder Egg” with three things in one:

1. A Vocal Aspect (e.g. Falsetto singing)
2. Developing Your Musicality (e.g. Start on the ninth in a minor chord)
3. Fun (Most of us pop singers find it more fun to sing excerpts from songs or songlike exercises than scales and arpeggios).

As a result of this method you will generally make the transition from practice to performance more effective.

You will also probably find it more fun and it will thereby make you more prone to actually practise.

No wonder some singing teachers have difficulties motivating e.g. a young rock singer to practice arpeggios (or scales on different vowels) in the pursuit of flow phonation when his or her artistic ideals might include loud and pressed phonation with hard onsets and distortion.

Songlike exercises give ALL singers a chance to hone their skills.

During my weeks here at I will present some of these exercises as audio files so you can experience the method yourself.

Try This Exercise

The exercise below aims at expanding your vital capacity (the amount of air you can use before you need breath in).

The challenge here is to not exhale too much on the aspirating consonants ‘h’ and ‘t’.
You are supposed to singing each part in one breath.

The exercise starts out with a female voice – but this is followed by a male voice – so that all VoiceCouncil singers can try it out. Just click on this and you can listen:

Excercise 1 from Daniel 

Give it a try and I’ll check in with you next week.

-Daniel Zangger Borch

My Reactions to This Week’s Peer Review Vids

Bobbi Berracah – Little Girl (original)

Hi Bobbi, you have a great voice with a lot of power. I want you to try lightening up things a bit: your sound will still be big to us, but maybe lighter, fresher and more in pitch if you remove some of the “weight”. Also, taking a lighter approach will help with your tendency to “dig up” the notes from below too much which affects your pitch. Try pushing with less air – it seems to me that you want us to know that you have a big voice and thereby you make it even bigger than you need to.

Cheyenne Hadschieff – Titanium (cover)

Cheyenne, I think your voice sounds great. You might discover some benefits from a more energetic approach to your singing. That would give your sound a lighter touch and the articulation would be clearer. I would like you to find more originality in your singing style – but that is, of course, easier to accomplish and clarify if you sing original material. However, overall, you have a really nice voice and you use it in a good way.


See VoiceCouncil’s Feature Interview with Daniel Borch

If you’re signed up to VoiceCouncil’s Peer-Review, you’ll be receiving unique coaching feedback from Daniel for the next 8 weeks. You can sign up now

Daniel Zangger Borch is one of Sweden’s most recognised vocal coaches. He has been a regular on adjudicating panels for popular TV shows such as ‘Idol’, ‘True Talent’ and ‘X-Factor’. He is also a professional singer, recording artist (with seven albums) and songwriter. Daniel holds a PhD in Music performance and is Head of the Voice Centre, Stockholm. His book “The Ultimate Vocal Voyage” has been released internationally. Hear more about Daniel’s career.
Daniel’s Ultimate Vocal Voyage on Amazon

  • Great advice Daniel. Thank you!  I have more recently begun working on singing brighter so your advice was right on target. I also like your suggestion of song-like exercises and that tends to be what I do most. I am definitely in the “bored with arpeggios” club!  Looking forward to your posts. Best wishes, BB