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Vocal Play

Singing is supposed to be FUN –says Mister Tim

The American a cappella vocal band Naturally7 uses the term “Vocal Play” to describe their skills of instrument imitation and all-vocal funky sound-making.

The phrase reminds me that singing is supposed to be FUN.

In the spirit of vocal play, I offer a bunch of activities to bring the fun back into your voice.

None of these are intended to be taken too seriously; in fact, ‘failure’ may be a good thing.

To show you that I, too, am willing to risk failure, see the video of me trying a bunch of these activities below…

Fun Vocal Strategies

* sing a favorite song in 5 different musical styles (country, reggae, jazz…)
* imitate drum sounds
* sing along to a recording and sing one of the instrument parts

* sing along to a recording of a song you don’t know and pretend that you know the song
* sing a favorite song as if you were a silly stock character (a basso profundo, or a whiny nerd, or a caveman/woman, or…)
* randomly flip through radio or television stations and imitate whatever voices you hear
* improvise a wordless song
* improvise a song that consists of only three single-syllable words (if you can’t think of any words, then try “goat,” “tan,” and “wash”)
* make silly sounds. No, really, get your mouth moving in strange ways and make weird sounds.
* skat sing to every song you hear
* sing the melody to a favorite song as if you are an instrument
* sing a favorite melody while plugging your ears and closing your eyes
* learn a new tongue twister
* sing a favorite melody on repeated rhythmic single sounds (bu, nu, dee, etc. on quarter notes, eighth notes, sixteenth notes…)
* play a well-known song on a kazoo

I Put My Money Where My Mouth Is

And here I take some risks with the kazoo…

My Reactions To This Week’s Peer Review Vid

Nia Fisher – I Wish You Love (original)

You have a clear, solid voice. I like the breathy quality. Some of your important words have some pitch waver, but generally I like your delivery. There is a sameness to the whole song: I randomly jumped to different sections throughout the video and it all sounds more or less the same. How can you spice this up? Variety (in dynamics, in tempo, in texture) could bring even more life to the song. I think you can find ways to insert variety while still keeping the great intimate mood you have created.

-Mister Tim

Mister Tim is a modern voice artist who respects the history of the vocal arts while not being afraid to push into new, uncharted territory. He artistic directs an eclectic array of vocal ensembles that range from traditional choral to cutting-edge, technology-based, ultra-modern vocal rock bands. A published composer, award-winning recording artist, and in-demand performer and teacher, Mister Tim is also a viral video star, sponsored kazoo player, and dedicated husband and father. He created and sings with 2010 Harmony Sweepstakes champions Plumbers of Rome, internet sensations moosebutter, beatbox online teachers and performers Mouth Beats, and all-original vocal band THROAT. He also tours with his solo vocal live-looping/beatbox shows.
www.mistertimdotcom.com and www.vocalitysingers.com

Submit Your Own Video for Peer Review

  • Mr Tim, I think I love you! After watching you put your money where your mouth is I didn’t think I could possibly love you more, but then I watched you play a crap song on the crap-a-zoo and, well, I’m in love! Thanks for an awesome post, I’m off to scat to every song in the shopping mall :-)

  • MisterTim

    Scat, baby, scat!

  • Bill

    Best thing I have heard in months, and inspiring

  • I hope that you, like me, have a Cert IV in Training and Assessment ?

    If not…..you are well credentialled with your outlook and mode of expression to pass with flying colours.

    Therefore as a Certified nutter I hereby bestow upon you the first ever on-line counterfeit and Honorary Cert. IV

    And Timothy……I know I don’t need to remind you that….
    “Training others should be FUN” !

    Good one Mister Tim !


    Poppa M

  • Scat? Shjeeeesh !

    Dahn here in OZ that means Feral Animal Droppings !

    as you mentioned “crap”…..couldn’t but help with the mind association about you that came from your use of the vernacular!