Three Jazz Technique Exercises – download

In this handout you will find three examples of how you can practice singing technique in a jazz context.

When jazz singers practice technical skills, it is really helpful to do this in the proper stylistic context. This is because:

  • Jazz singers usually vary the way they sing their songs, and because of that they never know beforehand exactly how they are going to sing a song. So to be artistically free a jazz singer must have a technical toolbox available with a set of skills that is ready to be used instantly. In other words, their singing technique should be at a level where technique follows artistic intention on the spot.
  • This automatically means that, ideally during practice, a singer practices a song in different ways and in the proper stylistic context: using jazz harmonies and jazz scales, different timings, tempos, sounds and embellishments, and improvisation. In this way a natural connection between interpretation and singing technique can be established.
  • Another subject where singing technique and interpretation meet each other is in deciding the key for a certain song. Singing a song in a higher key leads to a different sound and interpretation and leads to different technical challenges than when you sing the same song in a lower key. This should also be explored during practice.

As demonstrated in the lecture /concert ‘From the inside out: Singing technique for jazz singers’
Helsinki, International Jazz Voice Conference, October 17th, 2015