Phrasing For Singers

The basics to help you get started


Phrasing is part of your overall improvisation technique as a jazz singer.

If soloing is your own intepretation of melody, think of phrasing as the expression you put into those lines; the speed at which you run certain lyrics together, how long you hold back before singing the next note, whether you hold a note for a long time or a short time, etc.

It all adds up to an overall expression, as if you were speaking a poem with feeling.

For singers, phrasing comes into play while you’re singing lyrics and when you’re scatting.

Phrasing can be quite daunting and difficult for beginner singers to grasp, so in this series I’ll give you some ‘tools’ to use which will help you to create a ‘push and pull’ of the melody and add space to some notes while squeezing other notes closer together.

Just use these exercises to get started, then once you’ve gained more of an understanding of the concepts the best thing you can do is to throw out your lessons and develop your own style.

Nicola xx

Practice Exercise

Print out the lyrics to the song you are learning at the moment. (Yes, you will need to actually print them out for this exercise). Then go through the lyrics looking for the natural breaks. If you’re unsure of where the breaks are, have a listen to where the original artist takes a breath and place a little tick above that space.

Then you want to only take a breath where you have placed a tick. If you have used your ticks sparingly then this will be harder than you think. The key point here is that you ‘don’t want to break the line’.


Did you enjoy this phrasing series?

Let me know if you found the exercises helpful in the comments below. 

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This