There’s a new instrument that bands have been adding over the years, and it’s called scream singing. Lead vocalists of metal and hardcore bands now often offer more than just your standard singing voice, so it’s a fantastic skill to add to your arsenal if you can.
Scream singing is an art that takes effort and technique. Screaming is NOT about yelling at the top of your lungs. Doing this will only result in damage to your vocal cords and it won’t sound very good at all. Fortunately, the following 7 do’s and 3 don’ts have been prepared for you if you’re wondering how to scream sing.
You will not become a decent scream singer overnight. It simply doesn’t work that way. You’ve heard the phrase “practice makes perfect”, right? Well, it definitely applies to learning how to scream sing.
We suggest starting small and building up your practice time as you gain experience. This means you will slowly get to grips with how to use your vocal cords, protecting them from damage.
Don’t get discouraged if at first you don’t feel you are not making any progress. It’s a skill that is definitely attainable, but you need to put the hours of practice in before being able to call yourself an expert. Patience pays off when it comes to scream singing!
Do Use Your Diaphragm
The thing about the diaphragm is that it’s a muscle. It helps your breathing, ensuring you get plenty of airflow in your body. It requires training to make sure it’s in top condition. We recommend doing frequent breathing exercises if you can.
Do Use Technique
Scream singing is a very emotionally driven style. However, this doesn’t mean that the singing itself should rely on emotion alone.
Instead, as another key factor to learning how to scream sing, you should focus on singing in a clear and balanced tone when you first start your practice sessions. Use tones that are familiar to you and use your full voice. Falsetto is often the best one to begin with, as it’s often the easiest for people. Once you get your falsetto screaming technique down, work on the rest of your range.
Do Start With Simple Exercises
Most people will be tempted to begin their scream singing journey by trying their voices on their favorite rock or metal song. Big mistake. You need to crawl before you can walk!
We suggest starting with basic exercises. One great exercise is to sing the vowel AH (as in, father) in falsetto. You can choose the note that you can go highest in, as long as you can sustain it without too much tension on the vocal cords. This foundational pitch will be used to train your voice.
Once you can keep this one going for 30 seconds steady, without straining, cracking or anything else, you can move on to more difficult exercises. These would be on higher notes and keeping it going for a little longer than 30 seconds. You’ll get there!
It may seem a little boring to start off with simple exercises, but it’s absolute key to building the right technique, balance and you will be protecting your voice from long-term damage. These exercises will form the foundation of your screaming, so make sure you invest the right amount of time and effort till you get them right.
Do Familiarize Yourself With Your Vocal Cords
When you scream low notes you will find that there is a slight tension on your vocal cords, whereas high screaming notes produce high tension. Being able to feel the change quite clearly is very important for learning how to scream sing. Practice with the different notes and see how you feel. Get to know your voice.
Do Scream To Music
Remember to include your favorite pieces of music when you do your screaming sessions. After all, this is exactly how you’ll be performing on stage! Pick the songs carefully, try and start off with easier tracks first.
Do Record Your Practice Sessions
We’re talking audio and video here. It’s important to build from your previous mistakes to ensure you get it right the next time. You will see and hear things you hadn’t noticed before and it will lead to a huge improvement in your performances.
The professionals are perfectionists and often go over previous sessions just to make sure the sound is just right. If you want to get to a similar level, give this tip a try!
Don’t Overdo It
It’s tempting to keep practicing, especially when you’re first starting out and you’re keen to get it right early on. However, this is only to give you trouble in the long run. Your vocal cords are sensitive and require plenty of rest, so ensure you provide it.
Try and keep your practice sessions consistent and with proper breaks in between! Do NOT overdo it, or you could cause some serious damage to your voice.
Don’t Consume Cold Food Or Drinks
The temperature of your food and drink is crucial to your performance. Stick to room temperature drinks, no matter how much you fancy drinking a nice cool drink. It’s only going to have a negative effect on your scream singing.
Instead, try tea with honey. This will coat your throat and will protect it from damage. If you’re already feeling a little bit of pain, this drink will soothe your throat as well.
Don’t Forget To Take Care Of Your Voice!
Singing can have a major impact on your voice, that’s a fact. Heavy music can be particularly taxing, so it’s very important that you don’t forget to take good care of your vocal cords during your journey of learning how to scream sing.
Gargle warm salt water before and after every session, just to soothe your throat. Use a moisturizing throat spray as well; just make sure it’s a non-medicinal version.
These tips should get you well on your way to becoming a screaming superstar! Just make sure you plan your sessions carefully, take care of your voice and be patient. Over time, you will see huge improvements in your screaming.