vocal tip

Improve Your Singing With Phrasing! (video)

In this video, you’ll learn how to Improve Your Singing With Phrasing. Do you know we can tell a great singer from a good singer by his phrasing? Yes Sir! Let’s hear it all about phrasing and how it can help you sing better.

You’ll find several definitions for the word phrasing. My favorite is one of my own (let’s not be humble hum!):

Vocal phrasing is how we bring a song to life.

Actually, vocal phrasing could be seen as a mix of melodic phrasing and lyrical phrasing so I’m going to explain both right here. I give you singing examples in the video so check it out if you can.


What is Melodic Phrasing?

It is the way we shape a sequence of notes in a part of the song to express an emotion or an impression.

How do we do that?

We interpret the music and we can play with the notes altering tone, tempo, dynamics, articulation, inflection, pauses… It’s really shaping the raw sound that goes out of our music box.

For that, we use our breathing support, our mouth (tongue, palate, larynx, lips, jaw…), we change the resonating places (chest, throat, nose, palate, cheeks…).

What is the result of a good Melodic Phrasing?

By playing with the sound, we emphasize something in the music so the audience feels the music.

For example, singing with a pushed phrasing, like Michael Jackson, can give a sense of urgency or excitement.


What is Lyrical Phrasing?

Lyrical Phrasing is more about the idea of lyrics forming several segments in the song. Each segment makes up a complete thought. It can take 1 word but it can also take 2 sentences.

How can we use it to improve our singing?

The secret is to understand the story behind the words. Easy? Not. Depending on our level of singing and on our connection to the song, we can just sing being boring!

Take the lyrics of the song you wanna sing. Read them out loud as if playing a part and being George Clooney (or your favorite actor). Take your time, pause each time a thought is over.

Example: In “Issues” by Julia Michaels, those 2 sentences make 1 thought and the idea is the same from “you” till “too”. So the feeling you wanna express is the same.

  • You don’t judge me
  • Cause if you’d do baby I would judge your too

What is the result of a good Lyrical Phrasing?

The result is you are really taking the audience on your journey because you are telling a story that speaks to them.


If you’re a beginner or if it’s a difficult song you’re working on, take a moment to spot where the original artist is breathing. I still do little crosses on my lyrics sheet for difficult songs. Silences are as important as the notes you sing. Too much singing legato and they don’t listen to you anymore…

Also, take a part of the song, let’s say a part of the chorus, listen to it carefully and try to sing it the exact way the singer is singing it but DO NOT MIMIC the sound of his voice. We wanna learn riffs and runs but we don’t wanna sound like someone else, don’t we?

The day you’ll feel like it, you can then change the song to make your own cover of it but stay true to the original, always.


You can really improve your singing with phrasing. By combining melodic and lyrical phrasing, you’ll be able to take your singing one step higher and that will make a whole lot of difference!

Share your covers of Issues in the comments or under my video to let the whole world hear your beautiful phrasing. We don’t have to be ashamed of our singing. Let’s not be humble!

Further Readings