Singing For VO


Singing for Voice Over

Singing offers a lot of tangible advantages to anyone in Voice Acting.
For those of you who sing, I know I’m preaching to the choir! (rim shot)

But how long has it been since you’ve had a refresher?
And if you’re in VO and don’t sing, why not?

Although I’ve been in many musicals, sung with choral groups, and even performed musical improv, it had been a few years since I really sang.

Time for a tune-up!
I recently started taking lessons with a new teacher, and it’s given me a renewed sense of confidence in my vocal abilities.

Here are just a few of the areas singing can help with:

  • Tone:
    The pitch of your voice… high, medium, low (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone Bass)
  • Breathing:
    Proper breathing allows you to better control your sound.
  • Timing:
    Learning musical rhythm can help in setting your pace for both segments of the copy and for the overall read.
  • Vocal Placement:
    Chest voice, Head voice, Throat, etc. Placement is especially useful in creating characters and accents.
  • Core Support and Strengthening:
    A strong core is related to your breathing, and can give you more power and energy in your voice.
  • Volume Control:
    Knowing when to sing soft is just as important as being able to belt out a tune. Having a solid control of your volume takes practice.
  • Conveying Emotion:
    Even in a language you may not understand, songs can elicit a great deal of emotion. Learning how to deliver that to your audience is directly applicable to VO work.
  • Communication of Ideas:
    Clear communication is another win for any voice work. Knowing how to form your words and phrases so that they convey ideas is the core of it all.

My friend Marc Cashman even has a chapter in his book “V-Oh! Tips, Tricks, Tools and Techniques to Start and Sustain Your Voiceover Career” dedicated to the concept of “Finding the Music in Copy”. Here’s a short excerpt:

“Copy or text is musical. It has ebb and flow and different keys. It has sharps, flats, rests, words that are held, chopped off, high or low, soft or loud, all the same emphasis or wild ups and downs, with dynamics and crescendos. Copy reads (or plays) like a story/song, with a beginning, middle and end.”

(Marc’s book is available on Amazon, or click here to order an autographed copy)

Sometimes, I’ll even sing the copy just to get a different feel for the way it flows.

Do you sing? If so, how long has it been since you performed or had lessons? It might be time for a refresher to tune-up your instrument!

To close, here’s a number that I’ve been working on.
It’s called “I Won’t Send Roses” from the musical “Mack and Mabel” – Enjoy!

      I Won't Send Roses (Joe J Thomas)


All content written and voiced by Joe J Thomas online at:



5 thoughts on “Singing For VO

  1. Yes, coaching must be the thing. I used to think I sang okay, not to entertain but bathtub reasonable.
    Then I tested my intonation on the VocalLab app. What a shock. Every note wobbling half a semitone above or below the stave. The trace looked like inebriated worms. A good singer creates fairly straight lines, only deviating for deliberate effect.
    What I did find, though, was that with only 15 minutes of determined practice, my worms got less wiggly. So there’s hope.
    Maybe intonation could be included in your list, Joe? Maybe vibrato is the pro’s answer to wobbles?

    • Thanks, Howard.

      Vibrato is a good addition to the list. It definitely has it’s place in the singer’s toolbox.
      (when used for good, that is 😉 )

      I’ll have to look into VocalLab – sounds interesting!

  2. I used to be able to sing without any conscious effort when I was a kid. Now it takes a good deal of concentration to sing and I am not always happy with the result. Sometimes I feel I am covering up the fact that I can’t hit the notes by adding vibrato.. so it feels like a crutch. I’m much more satisfied if I can maintain a clear tone/note solidly.

    • Straight tone is tough, even for uber-pros. Don’t be so hard on yourself, Elie. Sing for the joy of it, and your voice will shine through. Just think of all the “stars” with horrid voices. The technique is important, but emotion and other factors weigh in as well 😉 (now get out and karaoke!)

  3. Pingback: Music Monday! - Joe's DumpJoe's Dump

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