Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method. Download All Things Vocal podcast on your fav app!

Friday, July 8, 2011

When Drummers Sing

Got a great question from Phil Smith:
Do you have any tricks to get me, a drummer, to make it easier to play and sing ,,and remember lyrics??
Here are some thoughts for you drummers that sing:

1. write the lyrics out a few times longhand... a great memory tool.

2. Make sure your mic is not too far forward from your mouth. You need to be able to have your head back more upright and balanced over your seat so your throat doesn't close.

3. Use facial expressions and communicate with your eyes when you sing. This give more interesting tone and also opens your throat. Be sure and 'make a hole' (open your mouth and don't clench your jaw when you sing). Clenched jaw = frozen soft palate- a definite limitation.

4. Try not to clench your shoulders as you play. Keep tension out of shoulders and neck as much as possible.

5. Try and be 'singer first' instead of 'drummer first'. Practice playing and singing separately, then together... practice, practice, practice:)



  • At July 10, 2011 at 4:51 PM , Anonymous Kim Rushing said...

    I advise people trying to memorize lyrics to
    think of the STORY behind the lyrics,
    that they usually make a natural progression --
    mnemonic devices are good too...

    and to run the lyrics constantly, aloud and silently,
    i use this technique when i catch myself worrying or obsessing about something
    so, it helps turn my mind away from the unnproductive rumination!!

    I really dislike seeing singers looking at lyrics on stage, tho I can understand it in some
    situations (private party band gigs where the leader might call one of many many requests that one hasn't sung in years etc.) -Some singers seem to use them as a "crutch" to help them
    not be nervous about forgetting the words, etc.

  • At July 10, 2011 at 4:52 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

    OK you got me... I am so busted, Kim! I am terrible at memorizing and have been reading too many lyrics at songwriter rounds lately. Sometimes I get wrapped up in the song and forget to look at the lyric which I haven't memorized and then... well then I'm quickly writing new lyrics, hahaha!

    Thx for the reminder... I need not to be lazy. Good suggestions, too.

  • At August 5, 2011 at 7:45 AM , Blogger PhilB said...

    Great advice Judy. I was the lead singer in my band I had back in Missouri, but I was also the drummer. I had to remember to be a singer first...drummer second.

    Practice, practice is right. It took me years before I was comfortable doing both. I started with harmonies, sang lead on a song or two and after years of work...was singing over half the songs. Very gratifying!

    Good stuff!!


  • At August 5, 2011 at 1:49 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Thank you Phil... your feedback from a very practical experience is much appreciated!

  • At August 5, 2011 at 10:55 PM , Blogger Dawn Nichols said...

    When drummers sing without playing drums, it's important to hold the microphone like a microphone and not a drum stick. Judy, you were the one to help me realize I was doing that. When I changed my microphone grip it kept me from having a bouncing microphone. :-0

  • At August 7, 2011 at 9:52 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Dawn... yes, I remember it really made a difference for you. And you, dear friend, are one of the reasons I love doing what I do! Rock on, singing drummer !


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