Breaking down vocal licks, ornamentation, and embellishments

To enable yourself to be more comfortable with vocal licks, keep things as flexible, light and fluid as you can.

  • Dissect the phrase you are working on by slowing it down and dividing it up into easy chunks
  • Note down the visual ‘shape’ of the phrase
  • Aim for precision by including all of the notes at a slowed down pace, replacing the words with mock sounds such as “ba-da ba-da”
  • Add a ‘dummy’ consonant to the beginning of each note as you sound it, to make it easier to separate each pitch.
  • When you feel at ease with the phrase, remove the ‘dummy’ consonant and sing only the vowel sound.
  • Aim for each note to ‘land’ on the exact pitch you want. Although these phrases often seem to go by in the blink of an eye, if you can visualise where you want each note to be it will sound much more musical.
  •  To build up muscle memory, pace around the room whilst practising in a relaxed way. Keep a certain detachment until it comes naturally, then add feeling and/or rhythmic stresses later

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