Stan Bloodworthy, Detroit MI: I sing in a rock band and really enjoy it. I’ve had several people tell me that they can’t understand what I’m singing. My girlfriend says I sound like I’m mumbling? What can I do about that.
Breck: You need to think a bit about articulation. Articulation is best achieved by the ear. This simply means “want to be heard and want to be understood.” Often singers mumble because they’re not confident in some part of their presentation. Maybe it’s their lyrics, maybe it’s their tone, maybe it’s their stage presence. If you want to be understood then be clear in what you’re saying/singing. So much of that is achieved by listening to yourself. Something you’ll hear me say a lot is “the first part of voice is the ear.”
That said, the first thing is to understand about articulation is the concept “Living on the Vowel and Skipping off the Consonant.” We sustain vowels and connect them with consonants. Really learning how to think of singing as “phrases” and not just notes and words smoothes a singer out and makes their singing more liquid. I also like to purify a singer’s vowels early on by teaching them about diphthongs. Diphthongs are two vowel sounds glued together to produce a vowel. For example: “I” = ahh eee and “A” = ehhh eee. You can only sing one of these sounds at a time and be clear.
These are a few of the main things. We’ll talk more about this and related subjects soon.
Have fun seeking clarity.