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Tips and tricks for giving an emotional performance.

Facial expressions and gestures while singing.  Facial expressions and hand gestures are a great way to help communicate inward emotions to your audience. Communicating emotion with your facial expressions and hand gestures enhances the particular mood of the song, adds dynamic and helps the audience connect with your performance.

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Another way to add emotion is to learn to effectively use vocal compression. Vocal compression is when a singer uses the arytenoids (the cartilage in the larynx which the vocal chords are attached to) to compress the vocal chords, giving your vocal tone texture and flavour. Learning this method adds a sense of urgency and emotion to your voice, so it’s well worth investing the time to get this technique into your repertoire! *A small warning – overuse of different larynx techniques can damage your vocal health and affect your voice permanently, so use sparingly.

One of the most important things is to think about when giving an emotional performance is whether you’re connecting with the song. Trying to sing a song that you do not feel an emotional connection to will be plainly obvious to your audience, so a top tip whilst learning how to sing with emotion is to pick songs you understand and connect with.


Now it’s time to apply your newly practiced vocal techniques to a well-known song. A repetitive song (such as Aloe Blacc’s – I Need a Dollar) works well to do this, so you can test each phrase using a different larynx movement. Record yourself so you can see and hear how each position adds various emotion and edge to the delivery of your lyrics.

  • Use facial expressions and hand gestures to help communicate the emotions in the song. Communicating emotion with your facial expressions and gestures enhances the particular mood of the song without distracting the listener.
  • Don’t be afraid to play around with songs. Try changing the tempo and style that you sing it in to help you establish your own vocal capabilities, and find your own unique style.
  • Change notes, keys and rhythm. Add catches in your voice, growl, laugh, trill notes, harmonise and play with the song.
  • Spend some time recording yourself and listening for emotion in your singing. Pick up on the areas where your emotion is strong and pick out the areas where you’re struggling and practice!

One way to ensure you’re not over-doing it is to examine song lyrics carefully. Read them through, and think about how they could be interpreted. Which words or sections evoke the overall mood of the song? Which passages require a particular emotive delivery? Once this has been established, you’ll know exactly where to work in your different vocal techniques to help to you achieve a more emotional performance.


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