5 Reasons You Should Add Singing To Your Acting Training Regimen

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Are you an actor who shies away from singing because you “don’t have a good voice” or “will never need to sing on the job?” If so, you might want to think again. Not only do many on-screen and theatrical auditions require singing, but your voice is also probably better than you tell yourself. Regardless of whether you ever find yourself singing anywhere but the shower, incorporating singing into your training routine as an actor can yield lots of benefits. Here are just five of them.

1. Improve your vocal range and resonance.
Expanding the range of one’s voice is often a focal point of singing training, in order that the vocalist might achieve not only a wider palette of tone colors but also access to a wider spectrum of pitches. When you expand the range of your singing voice, you’re simultaneously increasing the breadth of registers available to you as a speaker. Where registers are concerned, learning how to sustain pitches in these overlapping areas of your voice will result in increased vocal resonance—even when you aren’t singing.

2. Connect with your breath.
If you’ve ever taken a voice and movement class for actors, you’re probably already familiar with at least a handful of the breathing exercises designed to get the breath flowing and spinning through your vocal instrument. Learning to engage your body in a way that’s conducive to supporting sustained tones through consistent airflow is an important preliminary step in developing not only a powerful voice, but also a healthy one (more on that later).

3. Become better acquainted with oral posture.
Are you working toward precision with dialects? Or maybe you’ve set a goal to enunciate more clearly when you speak? Familiarizing yourself with the nuances of oral posture can prove advantageous when setting out to achieve either result. When training the singing voice, we focus significantly on the points of articulation at which consonant sounds are made, in addition to the ways in which vowels are shaped throughout the vocal tract. Oftentimes, these vowels must be modified across the singer’s range, just as the shapes of our vocal tracts and points of articulation may vary from dialect to dialect, for example, or when aspiring to speech that’s clearer and more understandable.

4. Pursue a healthier voice.
Singing requires the sustaining of pitches that are also employed when we speak. Professional voice users like actors need to ensure that their vocal anatomy stays as healthy as possible through the engagement of the body, support from the breath, and a knowledge of one’s limits at the present stage of training. Because students of singing are introduced to techniques designed to achieve these aims—in addition to vocal control—the incorporation of quality singing training into one’s regimen is a great way to start on the path to healthier speaking.

5. Be prepared.
Perhaps the most obvious reason that it’s wise for an actor to undertake some instruction in singing is because, well, you might be called upon to apply it one day! As more casting notices call for actors to sing as part of an audition, it’s in your best interest to have a back-pocket song handy and ready to go. Of course, one song won’t cover every scenario, but having a song ready to go that shows your authentic voice is a smart step, just in case.

Singing in publicwhether it’s in front of a lone casting director or an audience of hundredscan be a daunting proposition for many. Regardless of whether you intend to share your singing voice with anyone aside from your teacher, however, it’s important for every actor to give serious consideration to how, when, and where singing voice work might fit into one’s training regimen.

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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Adam K. Roberts
Adam K. Roberts is an Austin-based vocal coach, conductor, and artistic director. He is co-founder of TILT Performance Group and Resolution Creative, a faculty member at the Actor’s School and Carol Hickey Acting Studio, and director of music at St. Luke United UMC. His students have performed in principal roles on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in regional theater, been nominated for the Tony Award, and appeared in film, national tours, and on network television.
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