As a singing student, one of the most effective ways to improve your vocal abilities is by practicing a diverse range of songs. Each song presents unique challenges and opportunities for growth. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced vocalist, incorporating a variety of genres and vocal techniques into your practice routine can help you explore and expand your vocal capabilities. In this blog post, we’ll explore a handpicked selection of songs and the reasons why you should practice them.
Please note that most of these songs are sung by female artists, but if your voice doesn’t adapt to these keys, you can always transpose the song to fit it to your vocal range! If you want more info about this feel free to email me.
Reason to Practice: Vocal Expression and Larynx Control
“Summertime” is a timeless classic that demands emotional depth and vocal control. As a singing student, performing this jazz standard will allow you to experiment with your phrasing, dynamics, and expressiveness. In addition to this, jazz offers an opportunity to experiment your larynx control to give your voice many different colours within the same song. The song’s languid tempo provides an opportunity to work on sustained notes and smooth vocal transitions, helping you develop better breath control and vocal finesse.
2. Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Reason to Practice: Vocal Range Expansion and Storytelling
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is an iconic ballad that requires vocal range and emotional storytelling. By singing this beautiful song, you can work on your vocal registers, ensuring smooth transitions between your chest voice and head voice and working on mix voice. Focus on conveying the song’s narrative through your voice, allowing emotional nuances to shine through.
3. Don’t Know Why – Norah Jones
Reason to Practice: Mastering Quiet and Breathy Vocals
Norah Jones’s “Don’t Know Why” is a great song for honing your quiet and breathy voice and learning how to use aspirate gradual onsets. This style of singing requires control and finesse, and by practicing it, you’ll learn to strike the perfect balance between softness and clarity. Additionally, this song can help you understand how to maintain pitch accuracy even with a hushed vocal delivery.
4. Born to Die – Lana Del Rey
Reason to Practice: Speech Quality, Head Voice, Tilt, Low Larynx
Lana Del Rey’s “Born to Die” presents a unique opportunity to explore speech quality vocals, transitions to head voice, and thyroid cartilage tilt for a softer vocal texture. In addition to this, the song has a wide vocal range that will give you the chance to work with your lower notes and experimenting with low larynx positions. This song’s dreamy and ethereal quality calls for a delicate approach, allowing you to experiment with vocal techniques that blend chest, head and mix voice.
5. Tears Dry on Their Own – Amy Winehouse
Reason to Practice: Developing Twang
Amy Winehouse’s “Tears Dry on Their Own” is a soulful track that allows you to work on your twang, a vocal resonance that adds brightness and intensity to your sound easily and without too much effort, without “pushing” too much air from your lungs. The main characteristic of Amy’s voice is a very powerful twang that you can bring into your singing voice. The song doesn’t have a particularly high range, so it’s accessible for lower voices, but it has a very tight phrasing which will challenge your timing and articulation and will prepare you for the fastest phrases. It also has subtle melismas and ornamentations which, if practiced properly, will give your voice exquisite tools that you can add to any other song and will make you sound even more professional. Practicing this song will challenge you on multiple fronts but it will teach you many new things about your voice.
6. 1234 – Feist
Reason to Practice: Thyroid Cartilage Tilt
Feist’s “1234” is a simple and easy song with an accessible range that can easily be learned by anyone with a few listens. It offers an opportunity to work on thyroid cartilage tilt and mix voice for soft vocal delivery. These techniques create a gentle and intimate sound that can be particularly captivating in the right context. By mastering these techniques, you’ll be able to convey a sense of sweetness, vulnerability and authenticity in your performances.
7. I Have Nothing (Whitney Houston)
Reason to Practice: Powerful Belt, Melisma and Emotional Expression
Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” is a vocal powerhouse of a song that requires strong belting abilities and emotional depth. Practicing this song will help you develop the strength and control needed to deliver powerful notes and intricate melisma, while also learning to infuse your performance with genuine emotion.
8. Other Side of the World (KT Tunstall)
Reason to Practice: Speech Quality, Yodel,
“Other Side of the World” by KT Tunstall allows you to explore speech quality and fast changes from head voice to chest voice (and viceversa), the technique used in yodeling. The song doesn’t have a massive range, making it accessible for most singer. This song’s unique vocal stylings provide an opportunity to experiment with different vocal textures, giving your performance a distinctive and memorable quality.
9. The Voice Within (Christina Aguilera)
Reason to Practice: Belt, Expansion of Vocal Range and Melisma
“The Voice Within” by Christina Aguilera showcases her impressive vocal range and control, combined with an excellent vocal agility. Practicing this song will challenge you to hit high notes with precision while maintaining vocal stability. It’s an excellent song to practice belt and mix voice, and its intricate ornaments will challenge you to build up your stamina and vocal agility. It’s an excellent choice for refining your technique and building confidence in tackling challenging melodies.
10. Uninvited – Alanis Morissette
Reason to Practice: Twang, Speech, and Head Voice
Alanis Morissette’s “Uninvited” is an excellent song for developing twang, speech, and head voice. The song has an approachable range for any singer, but its intensity will also help you develop your dynamics and expression. Alanis’s voice goes from moments in speech quality to “shouty” twang, with some phrases in head voice, giving you the chance to practice different vocal texture in the space of a few phrases. Plus, its haunting quality provides a platform to explore different vocal resonances, enabling you to convey a sense of intensity and emotion in your performances.
Incorporating these diverse songs into your singing practice can be a transformative experience for any singing student. Each song challenges you to explore different vocal techniques and emotions, broadening your vocal horizons and helping you become a more expressive and confident performer. Remember to approach each song with an open mind, a willingness to learn, and a passion for the power of your own voice.