5 songs with sneaky vocal exercises

by Kathleen Meakin

Hello – Kate Miller-Heidke – SPLAT breath exercise

Hello is a song from KMH Telegram EP released back in 2004. This EP is one of my favourites and I would recommend giving the whole thing a listen to.

Start the track at 3.26 mins and sing along with Kate as she sings 3 ‘Hellos’ slowly. Then sing along a whopping 25 more times in quick succession. This is a great way for us to practice our SPLAT (Singers, Please, Loosen, Abdominal, Tension) breaths.

Hello – SPLAT – Hello – SPLAT – Hello – SPLAT …. 25 times

It’s super quick but it’s really fun once you get the hang of it!

In my own time – Delta Goodrem – Vocal run and agility  

Australian treasure Delta Goodrem has one of my favourite voices. I first fell in love with it when she released her ‘Innocent Eyes’ album back in 2003.

Start the track at verse 2 which is around 1.15mins. The words are “Whispering thoughts in all different ways”. She then sings a really intricate vocal run which is super fun to sing. Slow it down with the sheet music and sing each note clearly on the Ah vowel shape.

Speed it up until you are back at the speed delta sings it. It’s a great run and it’s good to keep our vocal folds flexible!

Look at what I found – Lady Gaga – Belting and M2 switch

This song is epic. Lady Gaga really sings this well and I am currently working on the piano part so I can sing karaoke with myself at home.

Cut to 1.30min. “Look what I found” is all sung in M1 (chest voice) then she changes to a breathy tone “Somebody who loves me” sung in M2, then straight back into M1 and then back into M2. This quick change in registration happens quite a lot in contemporary music. Try this out at home making sure you are changing registers clearly without straining or over pressing. It’s tough, but it sounds epic once you master it.

I knew you were trouble – Taylor Swift – Quick change M1/M2

Think we’ve mastered the transition between M1 and M2 already? Let’s try it a LOT faster. The chorus of this bop is a lot more vocally challenging than it first seems.

Head to the chorus at 0.39 seconds and listen to Taylor sing. BOLD is M2(Head voice)

‘Cause I knew you were trouble when you walked in
So shame on me now-ow
Flew me to places I’d never been
‘Til you put me down, oh
I knew you were trouble when you walked in
So, shame on me now-ow
Flew me to places I’d never been
Now I’m lyin’ on the cold hard ground

Galway Girl – Ed Sheerhan – Articulation, SPLAT breath, Phrasing

HAAALLLLLPPP!!!

This is a great song to work on articulation, SPLAT breathing and phrasing. Let’s start with the very first verse.

/ I meet her on Grafton street right outside of the bar
She shared a cigarette with me while her brother played the guitar
She asked me, “What does it mean, / the Gaelic ink on your arm?” /
Said, “It was one of my friend’s songs, do you want to drink on?”
She took Jamie as a chaser, / Jack for the fun
She got Arthur on the table with Johnny riding as a shotgun/
Chatted some more, one more drink at the bar
Then put Van on the jukebox, got up to dance

/ = breath

There are a lot of words to be articulated here, make sure you give each word their own space and move your mouth around the words clearly. Deep belly breath to start with and sustain the consistent air flow throughout the phrases then when you reach the time for a breath, take a quick SPLAT breath and keep going! Don’t panic and relax! This can be a lot of fun once mastered!

Well there you go! Try these 5 songs and sneaky exercises throughout! Connect with us by tagging @downtowncreativestudios on Instagram and Facebook with your tries of these exercises.