Written by Cindy Vaughan
Yes! Singing any kind of vocal music you love can make you a better singer! But duet singing offers great vocal training in ways that other kinds of singing does not. When you sing a duet, it brings heightened awareness and new skills to many aspects of your vocal production and musicianship. The unique interplay between two voices teaches both singers to follow, lead, harmonize, and blend in ways you are not challenged to do in any other type of vocal music. Ok, so what do these have to do with becoming a better solo singer? EVERYTHING. Let me explain, dissect and geek-out for a few minutes.
Duet singing creates a better solo singer.
I’m a vocal coach. I am obsessed with vocal production. As is true with all vocal coaches I have been, still am, ever will be a singer. I have been extremely lucky my entire life, to have always had difficulty deciding what type of singing I wanted to do! :) OR, to state it a different way, you could say I have always been seeking new ways to use my voice and intensely interested to learn how it all works! The more variety of genres and environments, the more exciting the potential discoveries. I continuously ask, ‘What are the commonalities of voice production between genres? What aspects of the voice are unique to certain styles of music? What vocal sounds are damaging, what are not, and why? Vocal health, vocal resilience, vocal stamina … vocal everything! Learning to sing is usually a solo voice experience - in voice lessons it’s just our voice, then in practice we are alone again. All solo. But when using your voice with another singer in a duet, there is an explosion of new parameters!
How so? Well, singing of course incorporates the use of air (breath support), resistance (vocal cord closure) and vibration (resonance). All pieces are dependent on each other. But when you add your voice to another voice in duet singing, all things that were dependent upon each other in your solo voice now combine with the other voice, creating a beautifully simple complexity. (Cool phrase huh?) In Duet Singing, the air and resistance are internal and privately controlled by each singer, but the resulting vibration must work in tandem with the other voice, an outside source. How your vocal vibration affects and is affected by the other is called blend. How you blend requires attention to and coordination of many parameters - among them, intensity, dynamics, pitch and timing. When two voices find alignment with these (and the many other parameters), a beautifully simple, yet complex system becomes pleasing, and creates an harmonious sound.
So what am I babbling about? Some of the main fundamentals of solo singing come into hyper focus when singing with another singer, making it a great training ground for the ear, (pitch) breath control, phrasing, articulation, rhythm, intensity, dynamics, unity, blend, and on and on ….
In order to “Duet” (can that be used as a verb?) you must have supreme control and coordination while also performing the song with feeling. So by working on the aspects of good duet singing, you are heightening your musical awareness, and fine tuning your physical coordination of good vocal production. Building control over these aspects of singing creates a better voice - for any application. Duet singing becomes an effective training tool for becoming a better solo singer. OH AND IT’S REALLY FUN, TOO!
So there’s the answer. Yes, Duet Singing can make you a better solo singer. Try a Duet Singing Membership and find out how it improves your solo voice! (And have fun, too!)
Sign up for Vocal Duet Lessons - It's a 4 week program that meets for one hour and begins during the first week of each month. Optional performing and recording opportunities to sing your duet will be available at the completion of each month's program. For more information about this program click the link below, and give us a call at 614.451.1976 to reserve your time. See you soon!"