Singers: do you know what a glide, a swoop, and a fry are?
All are vocal “stylisms” (vocal effects) for use in different musical styles. Sing Anything – Mastering Vocal Styles is a book/CD/website companion set by Gina Latimerlo and Lisa Popeil that shows you in detail what stylisms are and how they are used. But that is really just the beginning of this great book that is designed so that beginning and advanced singers alike can get a complete grasp on how to sing any style of music.
Sing Anything isn’t just a book about basic technique or how to simply improve your natural singing voice. There are a lot of those out there. And Gina and Lisa don’t leave that out as the book begins with a complete explanation of the primary tools you need to learn to sing well, including an explanation of the body parts and muscles used and a detailed breakdown of how your support system – what we call the combination of posture, breathing and muscle support – is and how it works.
But this book goes one step further, by offering a complete description for each style of singing – pop, rock, jazz, classical, country, musical theater, and R&B – with a complete breakdown what each body part will be doing to create that sound. Ever wonder how to create country twang? Or that smoky breathy jazz sound? Gina and Lisa show you how, right down to a picture of how your mouth will look while singing and a diagram showing the positions of the larynx, pharynx, tongue, jaw, and soft palate, and what the resonance will feel like in your face.
They also offer exercises specific to each style, and a list of 5 or 6 suggested songs that you can study to practice the style. The Sing Anything website offers links to the sheet music online, and downloadable mp3s of the stylisms and the exercises, as well as a question and answer section that is really like getting another whole book about singing, with answers about the vocal folds, belting, different vocal registers, how to sing vibrato, how to figure out your range, throat remedies and just about any other question you have about singing.
This book/CD/website covers a lot of ground without being long, technical and boring, and with all the illustrations you need to understand it clearly and start applying all the concepts right away. They also include physical exercises you can do to improve your support system and a complete glossary of definitions for terms related to singing. If you’re already getting vocal training, this book will still be invaluable to you as the detailed explanations of how the body parts work together is something that you won’t likely cover in a 30 minute practical lesson, or if you do, are probably going to forget shortly afterwards anyway. If you’re a degreed vocalist, you’ll appreciate this as a resource that puts all of the elements of each style in one easy to use reference. Advanced singers who do more professional singing than training will also find the book and examples helpful in reminding you of how to keep all the stylisms at your fingertips.
Sing Anything is a great book with tons of information about voice that is difficult to find in one place. More than anything, as a pro singer who’s worked a lot in cover bands and settled into a comfort zone, I found it incredibly fun to revisit all of the vocal tricks in the different styles and even try out a few that I had totally shelved over the years or never really perfected for real-world use.
Lisa Popeil is a stellar voice master based in Los Angeles with years of experience and a great approach to teaching voice. Her Voiceworks™ method has been developed into seminars, a DVD series, and several audio programs. And she offers awesome online video tips from her Youtube channel. She also blogs for Live2Play, so check out her complete blog list on our site HERE. You can learn more about her by visiting her website.
Gina Latimerlo is a prominent Bay Area voice coach. Check out her complete bio HERE.
If you’re serious about singing, you’re going to want to get a copy of this book. You can order it directly from the Sing Anything website. $19.95.
Andrea Bensmiller is a Live2Play blogger, gear reviewer and a professional vocalist working in Las Vegas. She also teaches voice, piano and guitar.