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!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Vocal Scooping- How To Get This Style Trick Right

Scooping a note is a style thing. It's like salt, though... a little goes a long way and a lot can hurt you in many ways!

First: Why do we scoop notes?
  1.  For style purposes. Certain genres are by nature 'scoopier' than others.
  2. To help reach a note. Yep. Admit it.
How to tell you scoop too much (too often, too deeply) when you sing:
  1. Your listeners get seasick.
  2. Your producer gets agitated.
  3. Your pitch swims like a warped record (lps, you know... 'vinyl').
  4. Your pitch is sliding around so badly the tuner pulls it to the wrong note.
  5. The actual melody is lost in the peaks and valleys of scoops.
  6. You can't keep up with the drummer because the time it takes to scoop is weighing you down.
What to do about it:
  1. This may fry your brain so be patient: Take some quality time and practice singing with NO... and I mean NOT ONE... scoops. Try singing your songs completely straight, sort of like a formal choir style version. You may need a coach to help you know whether or not you scoop a note. Scoops are vocal quirks that get memorized pretty easily and become almost subconscious. You may be shocked to find out how many scoops you did during a song or even just a phrase.
  2. Practice bouncing scoops up quickly instead of sliding interminably (and usually inaccurately). Try to scoop weightlessly from 1/2 step or less under, rather than a whole step which would be like trying to get up from a plush, deep couch.
  3. Your voice will now have options. Try singing again, experimenting with and without scoops here and there.
  4. Have enough good vocal technique to be able to control your voice. That way you can avoid the deadly scoop that stays down too long to ever get up! And you can actually make style choices.. because you ... can!
Hit me up for a vocal lesson (in office, Skype, phone) if you need help.

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  • At June 25, 2014 at 8:15 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

    I don't know what a scoop is.

  • At June 25, 2014 at 10:36 AM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    David... hey, a scoop is also known as an upwards slur or slide into a note, instead of hitting the note dead center. Does that help?

  • At June 26, 2014 at 9:13 AM , Anonymous Ron Oates said...

    Scooping is a terrible habit... or crutch. A little bit of something like that goes a long, long way. If you have something in your arsenal of vocal tricks that is compelling, use it in small doses, or compelling quickly becomes irritating. If you have something that is a great identity lick, leave’em wanting more. Make it something that, when people hear it, they are attracted to you without even knowing why. You only need to check out a lot the singers of the National Anthem at major sporting events, some label artists as well as most of the amateurs. I keep expecting the announcer to someday say, “And now, ladies and gentlemen, please stand while Podunk Records recording artist, Blahvinia Slidenotes, scoops the National Anthem”. Cameras pan the players and the fans and, if they are listening at all, many of them are smiling, some in derision. And when getting vocals in the studio, if the artist is doing a lot of scooping, you can bust a studio budget pretty quickly trying to punch in twenty-five or thirty scooped words. It is almost impossible to “fix it in the mix” without leaving some artifacts here and there. Not a pretty thing.

  • At June 26, 2014 at 9:56 AM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    Oh wow, Ron, coming from your veteran voice, this comment is a powerful admonition. Serious singers, do take note.. when, where and how much to scoop or slur... MATTERS. Thanks for taking the time, Ron!

  • At July 8, 2014 at 4:05 PM , Anonymous Jon said...


    I'm also not sure I understand what "scooping" means. Can you possibly post a clip or a link to a song demonstrating this effect?


  • At July 9, 2014 at 4:38 PM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    Will do... I'll let you know when I get the video uploaded, Jon. Thx


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