Find your jazz voice
in 10 minutes
Your guide in this online mini-course is Ilse Huizinga.
Ilse is listed as one of the 500 best jazz singers of all times in Scott Yanow’s (Downbeat) “The Jazz Singers, the ultimate guide”. She has 8 albums to date and over 25 years of experience performing, recording and coaching worldwide. Yet, despite all this, she still does her own grocery shopping!
“A nightingale with a golden voice.”
“A voice of which other singers only dream.”
“Well, good for you Ilse! But if you don’t mind, I’d like to find my jazz voice. Preferably within 10 minutes.”
You’re right! Let’s get to it.
Mind you, I won’t ask for your email address. It’s all directly viewable on this page. If after this mini-course you want more you’ll find a button at the bottom of the page for that.
So, let’s find your jazz voice. Obviously finding it doesn’t equal mastering it. But you’ll still have to find it first!
Step 1 – Range
You could start by reading any article or blog out loud – not too loud 🙂 – and than slowly add some made up melody to it.
Step 2 – Volume
Make it easy on yourself! The softer you sing – with a mic it can sound as loud as you want it to, but the audience should be able to follow the lyrics – the more room you have to add loudness/volume when needed (for dramatic effect or just to stress some important words in the lyrics).
However, singing in a way that is really comfortable for you is key. Don’t try hard to sing way softer than comfortable unless it is for dramatic effect.
In short, comfort is key!
Step 3 – Clear
Step 3 – Breezy
A breezy sound takes a lot of air, so sing very soft and close to a microphone. A clear sound is the most common jazz sound.
Don’t mistake common for uninteresting though. As lots can be done to ‘color’ your sound. And your natural sound is pretty much unique anyway.
Besides, there’s loads more to singing jazz than just sound alone.
Step 4 – Vibrato
Vibrato is the ‘vibrating’ of a tone. Alternating between a tiny bit lower and a tiny bit higher than the targeted note. It makes a tone sound dramatic yet ‘unsteady’. Not the relaxed sound we aim for in jazz. Only a special tool for some dramatic occasions.
You can make a vibrato wider by increasing the range between which you alternate. And you can increase or decrease the amount of time it takes to go from lower than the targeted note to higher. It’s a waveform. While the jazz sound is usually mostly (!) a straight line.
Step 5 – Melody
Sure, it’s jazz. Anything goes, right? But sticking mostly to the melody (at first) creates opportunity for you.
Next time (or chorus) you sing the melody – for example, after some instrumental solos, or your vocal improvisation – any variation you make on it will be much more easily heard and felt by your audience.
Yes, there’s a world of opportunity. But you are like a general commanding your troops – your possibilities: melodic, rhythmic and dynamic variations. Employ them wisely. Be tactical! Just marching all your troops into battle without strategy isn’t a good plan.
Always keep at least some possibilities in reserve.
Once the audience has heard you sing those awesome variations or high notes, what do you have left to impress?
The 5 S’s
Speak – Soft – Sound – Straight – Simple
Hope you liked it!
If you’d like me to explain all of vocal jazz this way you’re in luck. I do so in my online course ‘Jazz Singers Academy’.
In just three hours you’ll know how to sing jazz with confidence and ease. According to your taste and talent. How to get carefree performances. And how to improvise variations on the melody and/or scat solos. Even without complex music theory.
You might be surprised this includes all the little secrets like how to get the most out of your repertoire or lyrics for example. How to deal with stage fright. Or how to engage your audience. Find and develop your style. And much, much more!
And you also get unlimited access to an additional 7 hours of tailor-made support material. Like step-by-step training programs. A theory guide. A daily routine. Full iRealPro support and more. All tailor made to help you reach your goals as quick and easy as possible.
Suited for beginners to semi-pros. All voices. All jazz styles.
“I love this course. Ilse is a thoroughly engaging teacher who leaves out the fluff and gets right to the heart of the subject. If you are new to jazz, you will learn a lot. If you are a singer with some experience, you will still come away with lots of info and ideas to expand your skills. She gives great resources and ideas for you to practice on your own. Very well done–highly recommended!”
Jazz Singers Academy
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