The vast majority of singers do not know how to growl or how to growl sing, this is mainly due to the fact that they are not singing songs that actually require them to growl, and as they lack any kind of experience in growling it will be fairly difficult to learn at first. One major problem with growling is that if you do not do it correctly you can injure your vocal cords and throat, so if either your throat or vocal cords start hurting then take a break.
You can growl like a lion, tiger, dog, wolf or a bear by using your imagination, developing a powerful chest voice, controlling your air pressure, breathing in deeply, growl while inhaling, growl by using your nose and mouth, and by taking note of your phlegm and mucus.
If you want to record your growling then you will find that a lot of microphones will distort the recording as they are mostly made for recording the spoken voice, my personal recommendation is to use a cardioid condenser microphone Click here to check it out on Amazon.com
There are some kinds of songs that do require you to growl, this is commonly known as growl singing. Growl singing is a fairly advanced singing technique which, not all singers can pull off. The main problem with growl singing is that it is very hard to pull off without actually injuring yourself. Singers who often growl sing tend to develop a lot of health complications related to their throat and some even have throat surgery.
One of the most common types of growl singing is done by imitating animals like lions, tigers, dogs, and even wolves. Although from a vocal standpoint these might not seem too different from each other the truth is that you will use different techniques to growl them as they actually should sound. As I mentioned before growling no matter what kind of animal you want to imitate isn’t for beginner singers as you can injure your vocal cords and throat by doing this fairly easily.
However, if you still want to learn how to growl like a lion, tiger, dog or a wolf than my recommendation is to first read my article about breathing techniques Proper breathing technique for singing ( Top 12 Techniques ) as you will need as much breathing power as you can possibly have. One common thing between growling like different animals is that you will have to use your imagination, you will have to put yourself in place of one of the actual animals to be able to growl like them.
There is not much difference between growling like a lion, tiger, dog or a wolf, the only difference between them is the actual pitch so I won’t be going into much detail for each animal.
These articles take a long time to write, please consider sharing, it will make this old lady very happy
Use your imagination
You will have to use your imagination in order to growl like an animal. You as a singer will need to have the ability to imagine yourself for example in a jungle to be able to growl like a tiger. The problem with most beginner singers who attempt to growl like a wolf, for example, is that they feel awkward and shy doing that. Sometimes the expression of the singer changes radically while growling and in some cases, this might look extremely funny.
If you as a singer would want to learn how to growl like an animal you will have to have at least some imagination to achieve it. By far one of the easiest ways to learn how to growl is to imagine yourself being a dog or some other kind of animal and imagine the scenario in which they would actually use their growling. Generally speaking, most animals growl when threatened, cornered or when they want to intimidate.
Although it is fairly hard to imitate some of these scenarios, my recommendation is to imagine the animals in a scenario where they want to intimidate, and this way you could growl out your inner animal no matter what it is.
Develop a powerful chest voice
Growling is all about your chest voice, and you as a singer should have as powerful of a chest voice as you possibly can. Generally speaking the more powerful your chest voice is the more impressive your growling is, especially if you want to growl like a tiger or a lion. The chest voice is fairly easy to develop and to make it more powerful as most people do rely on their chest voice every day while speaking.
The main problem with having a powerful chest voice is the actual size of your chest. Simply put the bigger your chest the more powerful your animal growl is, while this might be a blessing for one it might be a curse for another. People with smaller frames tend to have smaller chests which might be extremely difficult to develop in such a way that your animal growl actually sounds good and intimidating.
My recommendation is to check out the above article which I have linked to, as breathing exercises will improve your chest voice. In addition to this, you can use some other techniques to improve your chest voice which you can find in my article How to develop a strong alto voice? ( In 16 Easy Steps ).
Control your air pressure
You will have to learn to control your air pressure, which is simply how you fast or slowly you growl. The problem with this is that most people simply force the growling out as fast as possible, which might sound good but after just a couple of growls you as a singer will probably start feeling pain in your neck and throat area. This is because the air you have inhaled gets released so fast that it might actually hurt your vocal cords and might lead to further complications if you continue doing it.
My personal recommendation if you never growled in your life is to growl like a dog or like a wolf which does not require so much air pressure and chest voice. Once you get the hang of how to growl like a dog and a wolf then you should advance to other animals like lions and tigers, once you get the hang of these growls only then you should start learning how to growl like a bear.
Twist your tongue
Most vocal teachers will say that you can only growl like an animal if you have a powerful chest voice, this is far from the truth and I will show you exactly how can you make your growl sound more intimidating and natural with a simple trick of your tongue. What you need to do is to imagine yourself what kind of animal you would like to growl as, inhale and when you make the actual growl sound then twist your tongue vertically, which is the opposite of the natural position of your tongue.
With the above simple trick, you will be able to make your growling even more powerful and without putting too much pressure on your throat and vocal cords. In addition to positioning your tongue vertically, you should also try to move your tongue in your mouth from side to side as this will change the growling sound a lot. You have to find your sweet spot for which kind of animal you would like to growl.
Do note that you should always keep in mind that if you release the air pressure too fast it might end up hurting your throat. Once you feel that the phlegm and mucus in your mouth start to accumulate you should take a break as these are protective layers of your throat and vocal cords.
Breathe in deeply
In order to growl like any kind of animal, you will need to breathe in deeply, preferably by using your diaphragm and not your actual chest. The problem is if you are a beginner singer you might find it difficult to breathe in deeply to such an extent that you actually produce a powerful growling sound. The truth is that even if you are not able to inhale large amounts of air you can still growl by simply twisting your tongue and focusing on steadily exhaling while you growl, although the ability to breathe in deeply will greatly benefit your growls.
One thing to keep in mind that growling is fairly intense for the body as you not only have to breathe in deeply but you also have to growl. My personal recommendation is that if you do not have any experience growling or growl singing is to drink some tea which will make a protective cover on your throat and vocal cords, for more information check out my article Best drink for singing voice? ( Top 13 drinks to help your voice ).
Growl while inhaling
Most people think that you can only growl like an animal while you are exhaling air, this is mostly because speaking and singing do only work with air being exhaled. Growling, on the other hand, can work both ways, either when you inhale or when you exhale. The big difference between growling when inhaling and exhaling is that growling when inhaling is by far a lot faster and you will not be able to keep up the growling sound for a long period of time.
This is mostly because people tend to inhale a lot faster than exhale. If for some reason you find it difficult to growl while you are exhaling then you should try to growl while you are exhaling. You can use the tongue twister method as this will also work if you growl when inhaling air. Just be careful not to do it too fast and not to inhale too much air, as you probably don’t want to swallow your own tongue.
Growl by using your nose and mouth
Most singing techniques require singers to inhale and exhale either with their nose or with their mouths. Growling actually benefits if you are able to use them both simultaneously. Open your mouth and inhale a small amount of air through your nose and mouth and then abruptly shut your mouth. If you have done it correctly then a growling sound will be right at the point before you close your mouth.
Adopting different positions for your tongue while you are doing this is also a good idea, just watch out so that you do not actually bite your tongue by accident. Another thing to watch out for is not to overdo any of the above exercises as you might hyperventilate with all the excess air.
Take note of your phlegm and mucus
While you are growling you will find that most times your mouth will be almost filled with phlegm and mucus. While some vocal coaches will say that these will actually help you growl better. Honestly, I do not even recommend to my students to continue growling once they get phlegm and mucus in their mouths. While it might seem gross the actual phlegm and mucus do have very important functions when it comes to your vocal health.
The phlegm and mucus are there to make a protective layer above your vocal cords and in your throat. While you are growling you are making a lot of vibrations with your vocal cords and this, in turn, will dislodge the phlegm and the mucus right into your mouth. It will take your body some time to remake this protective layer and if you continue growling you won’t have anything protecting your vocal cords or throat and at that point, the growling could actually be harmful.
In short, if you notice that the phlegm and the mucus are accumulating in your throat then spit it out and that day do not growl or even sing. There will be a point where you will be able to growl without eliminating this protective layer but till then it is better to keep your vocal cords and throat healthy. There is simply no point in being able to growl for a couple of minutes and then not being able to even talk for days due to your throat being sore.
If you want to growl like a lion, tiger, dog, wolf, or even a bear then you will need to follow at least some of the above practices. No matter what kind of animal you would like to growl as you shouldn’t be discouraged as it will take a lot of practice and as this is a fairly advanced singing technique, so just keep practicing and remember to always take care of the health of your vocal cords and throat.