What is vibrato? Why do some singers have it and others don’t? When I was 16 years old, my first voice teacher told me that if you weren’t born with vibrato, you don’t have it.
For the next 27 years I believed I was one of the unfortunate ones that wasn’t born with vibrato.
She was wrong!
My first voice teacher had her Masters Degree in Vocal Performance. She’d recorded an album of classical music and was a singer and teacher well known in our community.
I’ve come to realize that advanced singing degrees don’t matter when it comes to teaching singing.
I was 43 years old when I found out it was possible to develop vibrato, and within a few months I was able to sing with vibrato!
What’s vibrato and why do some people have it naturally and the rest of us have to learn to do it?
What is Vibrato?
In his book, “Singing For the Stars”, Seth Riggs defines vibrato as:
“A slight but regular fluctuation in your tone. Caused by the normal relaxation and contraction of the vocal muscles as they are activated by alternating nerve impulses. Gives an ‘energy’ to the tone during the vibration process…(pp. 94)
Here’s a straight tone: Ah [Demo] Here’s vibrato: Ah [Demo]
Here are the reasons (I think) why I didn’t have a natural vibrato.
Reasons Why I Didn’t Have Natural Vibrato
- My voice was out of balance.
- My vocal cords were too tight.
- My vowels were too wide
- My air blow was too hard
- My larynx was high and the external neck muscles squeezed my vocal cords, adding more tension.
- I didn’t accidentally discover it. I think some people play around with their voices and discover it by accident…which is a good thing!
- I didn’t believe it was possible.
- I didn’t think it was right to manufacture it, or make it happen. I thought if I had vibrato, it should just start on it’s own.
If you don’t have a natural vibrato, the reasons are likely similar for you as they were for me.
Even singers with vibrato can lose it if their voices are out of balance.
Most of us have heard this sound before: [Demo] That’s called a wobble. [Check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fXdjze3NFM ] Or this sound. [Thanks to: TenelliVoiceGuru. Check out his video examples at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h17jTctswFY ] That’s called a tremolo.
The wobble and tremolo are not vibrato. They’re usually caused by singing with a voice that’s out of balance. Sometimes it’s caused by illness.
It’s possible to rehabilitate the voice and establish normal vibrato by balancing the voice. Proper singing with a balanced voice will allow us to enjoy a healthy voice and vibrato even into old age.
Can I get Vibrato?
Yes you can! There’s nothing standing in your way of developing a balanced voice with a normal, healthy vibrato to enjoy the rest of your life!
Developing and maintaining your voice with vibrato is based on developing a balanced voice. Review Episodes 50-58 for great tips on balancing your voice.
In my next video I’ll give you specific ways for you to develop vibrato.
A great starting point is to understand your vocal type. Your vocal type is not whether you’re soprano, alto, tenor or bass. Your vocal type is what you tend to do when you sing.
Do you know your vocal type? Visit PowerToSing.com and take the vocal test, which I call the PowerTest. Take the quiz and discover your vocal type. Then go to the Knowledge Center and watch the videos about your vocal type. Download the free exercises. They’re designed to help balance and improve your voice rapidly.
I’m Chuck Gilmore with Power To Sing. You can sing higher with beauty, confidence and power.
Be sure and join me in my next episode. I’ll give you some tips on developing or improving your vibrato.
I’ll see you inside the next video.