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Singers: Take the Beatboxing Challenge

Dave Crowe beatboxing
The skills required for (or learned by practicing) beatboxing are transferable to singing -says Mister Tim.

Here are my challenges to singers who haven’t yet pushed on their musicianship skills by trying out beatboxing:

  • Learn some basic beatboxing (just google ‘Boots & Cats’).
  • Drum to the radio (or the music in your headphones). You can become a more rhythmic and musical singer by just hanging out with the rhythm for a while.
  • When at rehearsal with your band (or rehearsing with your tracks), drum along quietly. On sections of the song when you don’t sing. Absorb the groove. Be a part of the groove.
  • Set your metronome and drum along. Simple is fine. Do it for 90 seconds.

“But Mister Tim, won’t beatboxing hurt my voice?”

Many accomplished beatboxers are also excellent singers

Brushing your teeth can hurt your voice if you are stupid about it. You have more sense than that. If your voice hurts from beatboxing, STOP.

Many accomplished beatboxers are also excellent singers; many incorporate singing into their beatboxing. You will have some fatigue in parts of your vocal tract because you’re using some parts differently than you have before. That is normal. There might be discomfort. There should not be pain. If beatboxing You’ll probably be very dry from moving a lot of air. Be aware of this and stay hydrated. Start slowly and build up endurance.

The Perks of Beatboxing for Your Singing Life

Many, many singers rely on their accompaniment to do the hard work of establishing tempo, keeping rhythm, defining the stylistic feel, and defining the form of the song. These are things that singers should be able to do. Learning to beatbox can help you learn these, and many other, valuable things.

Tempo: Drummers are tasked with keeping a consistent tempo. When you learn some mouth drumming you will develop more tempo skills. As you singer you want to be able to keep a tempo, and at times define the tempo for a band. Beatboxing will help you do that.


Beatboxing requires a different kind of breath use than singing

Rhythm: Consistency and accuracy of rhythm is vital for good music. Strip away the notes from your singing and work on pure rhythm patterns. Concentrate on rhythmic subdivisions and accents.

Breath Control: Beatboxing requires a different kind of breath use than singing. This can be advantageous.

Diction and Articulation: Beatboxing you will experiment with different sounds than you use in singing, as well as using common singing sounds in different ways. Working the beatboxing muscles will increase your ability for clear diction and articulation.

Vocal Attacks and Releases: Singers can be lazy with attacks and releases. When you are beatboxing you must be very aware of consistent rhythmic placement of your sounds. This can translate to you being more accurate as a singer with your attack and releases.

Stylistic Feel: Rhythm section players work and study to become the stylistic backbone of a band. They pay attention to where the notes hit on the beat, the nuance of the interplay between the players, and the effect the tempo and rhythm have on the music.

Party Trick!: Beatboxing is always an entertaining way to change things up on stage or entertain your grandparents at a family reunion. Who wouldn’t want to add this nifty skill to their box o’ tricks?

My Reaction to This Week's Singing Competition Entry

Sara Sara "Lescano" Antonelli - In My Bed

Fun performance. That was tricky and complicated and you did a bang-up job. Your voice is very well suited for this style of music. You definitely have the chops, run the song 2 dozen more times so it’s
effortless (both the loop actions and nailing the precise harmonies) and it’s going to rock.

I know you are thinking and working hard, but the audience does not want to know that. Anything you can do to look up from the looper will help us feel more involved. Especially once you start singing the solo. Not that you have to look at the camera, but try not to just
stare at the looper. And if you have an ‘Oops’ moment, go with it! I would have thought it was a drum break if you hadn’t put the caption
on the screen.


Mister Tim www.mistertimdotcom.com is a published composer, award-winning recording artist, and in-demand performer, teacher & performance coach. In addition to an active performing and touring schedule with his solo vocal live-looping/beatbox shows, Mister Tim sings with Boulder, CO-based Celtic Rock band Delilah’s Revenge, manages the… Read More