Dynamics in Singing
From playing classical piano throughout the years, I’ve always been aware of the nuances of volume in music. In written music, dynamics gave me a framework to conceptualize the form and feeling of the piece. Likewise, in Classical singing, specific dynamic markings are indicated in the written score. In Contemporary singing, we can be creative in our choice of dynamics. Explore a range of dynamics to support the storytelling within each section and phrase of the song; marking your lyric sheet accordingly.
Becoming intentional with your dynamics in singing will help convey emotion and add impact to your vocal performance. There are many ways to incorporate vocal dynamics, from using various volumes, phrasings, and pauses. Varying dynamics will make your storytelling more interesting, and will help pace your vocals, putting less wear and tear on your vocal instrument.
Study different great singers’ (and instrumentalists’) use of dynamics. Listen to their approach, and try it on for ideas and inspiration. Then go beyond imitation and cultivate your own authentic dynamic expression. Allow the lyrics to guide you emotionally. In the vocal gym (skill training), always start with Flexibility in your warmups to have a responsive instrument for singing (i.e. fast glissandos and scale patterns). Then include Range-based (i.e. Slow glissandos) and Strength-based exercises (i.e. Volume Swells) in your training before singing.