Pronouncing the words in a song is as crucial as performing the song with a great voice. If the singer has a great vocal range to die for but has bad pronunciation of the song lyrics, chances are, the song is a real let down to listeners.
Amateur singers have to understand that it is not only the ability of knowing how to sing correctly that matters to the audiences, but also the meaning of the song. But how can one understand the message of the song if the words are pronounced incorrectly? So if you are dead serious in establishing a career singing, then take it from the pro or the masters, who believe that starting from the basics is the key to a successful singing career.
One way is through fine tuning the vowels and consonants. Vowels and consonant, either spoken or sang, have to be specific and clear, so the audiences can understand a word you say and get the message of the song. You can do that by increasing your awareness of vowel and consonant sounds, thus you can improve your singing style as well.
Let it be known, though, that singing in different languages may require special vowel sounds for special effects. Nevertheless, the approach in creating a beautiful tone is by using exclusively the pure Italian vowel sounds at its early stages. In other cases, some vowels are easier to pronounce for different singers.
To develop a free, easy sound, practice on a difficult phrase to your most comfortable vowel sound first, prior to including the words. Then leave the consonants out, go ahead and sing with the vowels of the words; this is a little bit hard, but pays well for the effort.
Consonants, on the other hand, transmit the message of the word and bring excitement and edge to it. Take note that it is essential to stress the consonants when singing. To produce a consonant is to create a percussive sound, not like vowels that are made by shaping a stable tone.
Consonants are created in any one of the four basic ways:
• Strike the lips together momentarily
• Strike the tongue against the teeth or palate
• Give a swift impulse to your diaphragm (e.g. sound of h)
• Make a stroke with the glottis (glottal stroke or stop)
Let us consider the consonants in the English language. Though the English language may look inconsistent with the usage of pure Italian vowel sounds, it’s reasonable to do so. English consonants are most suitable for Music Theatre repertoire singing in English, while Italian vowels are the easiest or simplest sound to use to create a very pure tone. Besides, Italian vowels are exclusively used for pure vocalizing.
There are several other ways to classify a consonant and enhance your vowel sounds, in order to pronounce words properly. And as you go through your practical sessions with a vocal coach, you will be taught on how to deal with more pronunciation and singing basics as well.
But you have to realize that voice quality, good pronunciation, pleasing personality, and overall attitude are equally important to make it in the industry. If TV or radio commentators, announcers, reporters, and newscasters study how words are properly spoken on air, same thing goes for aspiring singers. Self-realization allows you to act on the problem and find solution. To lack one of these elements is to spoil your chances of making a name in the industry.
Final word: Remember that you have to work real hard to achieve all these together, to be able to learn how to sing correctly, but the challenges along the way should not stop you from learning.