• elizabeth.kinnear

Storytelling for Vocalists



Last night as I was talking with one of the Kendra Willouer (one of the other voice teachers - check out her bio here: https://www.rhythmmusicstudio.com/kendra-willouer) about teaching voice, and we discussed one really important part of being a vocalist: understanding the song well enough to tell the story. Not only does storytelling (or in some ways acting) tie into singing in musicals and such, it actually can help a vocalist sing better!


Every vocalist should understand the meaning and story of the lyrics they are singing (especially if it is a song they are performing). It can be easy for vocalists to get caught up in riffs, beats, or the melodies of the song without realizing what they are singing about. This is important for a couple reasons:


1. A vocalist may discover that the song is about something they don't want to sing about (or that their teacher doesn't want them to sing about).

This is most prevalent with kids who do not realize that the song they want to sing may be about something that is actually not something appropriate for kids. However, sometimes, a teacher and student can work together to change the lyrics to make them more appropriate.


2. Singing is a form of communication.

Every song with lyrics is communicating some story, idea, or emotion. An actor needs to understand the story of the movie or play they are in. Similarly, a vocalist should know the story the song-writer was trying to convey.


3. Knowing the story helps the vocalist convey emotion and expression.

Once a vocalist knows what is going on in the song, they will better understand the expression, emotion, and even tone of voice that should be used. A vocalist would not sing a sad, pensive song the same way that he would sing an angry song or a song of celebration.


4. Understanding the story of the song helps the vocalist make it their own.

In order to make a story your own, you must be able to tell the story the way it is written. Only then, can a vocalist put their own spin on the song and let their personality shine through! This is the ultimate goal for me with every vocalist I work with. I want to help them be able to make a song their own and tell me the story through their eyes.


While not all vocalists need to become actors or story tellers, they should recognize the role that storytelling and understanding the story of a song can play in growing and becoming a better vocalist.


If you are interested in taking voice lessons, please contact us today at contact@rhythmmusicstudio!

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“Sing and make melody to the Lord with your heart” ~ Ephesians 5:19
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