Try Tongue Twister…Vocal Warm-Ups


Precise pronouncing is your path to prevailing in performance –says Mark DeLisser

Singers often consider their tone to be the one of the most important parts of their voice.

Stage presence, confidence, vocal range and agility also feature as important areas.

Seldom do singers consider the need for crisp, clear and precise articulation to complement and add to their vocal delivery.

Many years ago whilst watching a live music show I witnessed what good articulation can do in a big arena when there is a power outage.

The singers simply used what acoustic instruments they could and gave a truly ‘unplugged’ performance that was truly unforgettable. Every word was heard and understood.

Know Thy Articulators

The articulators are the tongue the teeth the lips and the jaw.

Make sure that you have enough specificity for consonant sounds and good flexibility in the jaw, tongue and lips when shaping our vowel sounds.

All of this will give your words greater clarity.

Consider the following as a way of increasing your level of clarity through your articulators:

Both lips form your – (P, B, M, W and WH)’s

Tongue Tip and alveolar ridge – (D,L,N,R,S and Z)’s

Lower lip and upper teeth – (F and V)’s

Back of tongue and soft palate (K, G and NG)’s

Jaw, tongue and lips – (A, E, I, O and U)

Try This Weird Warm Up

My suggestion is to find some tongue twisters online that use the letters listed above for the specific areas.

If you know you have a problem pronouncing your D’s for example, work on this area first.

It’s important not to put too much tension into the articulators; we are only looking for increased muscular flexibility in these areas that will give us increased clarity.

Also, try and make up a melody for these tongue twisters so that you are connecting the whole singing process.

While we are not looking for speed in the initial stages of this process, it is something that you can you over time to gage your progress.

Finally, record yourself doing this so that you can hear the areas that need more work.

My Reactions to This Week’s Peer Review Vids

John Taratsas – Stone Roses (Cover)

John, You have a very tidy room! Really nice playing and there is a subdued enjoyment coming from you which I like. There are many pitching issues throughout this song. You really need to increase your level of intonation which would come from a more supported sound. You would also benefit from greater dynamic control. Maybe start the song softer and really engage with the words and have this build as you move into the choruses and the end of the song. A good performance generally.

That Dude Alex – Gotye (Cover)

Nice whistling intro. Good guitar playing which wasn’t difficult, but had good feel and solid tempo for the most part. I enjoyed the dynamic shift from verse to chorus and the use of the higher octave. I feel that you could have started the song a semi tone up as it felt a little too low at times in the verse. This would have meant that you would need support the top notes however. Maybe standing would enable you to contact this support more. You also need to breath more. You are not taking in enough breath to support these notes and the redness of face proves this. I enjoyed it.

-Mark DeLisser

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Mark De-Lisser is a vocal coach, vocal arranger, choir leader and vocal producer who has worked with some of the top vocal talent in contemporary music today including Jessie J, Olly Murs, Jamie Woon and Beverly Knight. Mark has taught at many recognized music institutions and held several high profile TV roles including Vocal Coach on BBC’s The Voice UK. Mark actively leads the renowned ACM Gospel Choir and has published “Sing Out!”, two volumes of pop songs for contemporary choirs. Find out more on Mark’s website: www.markdelisser.com

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