Growling or growl singing is fairly difficult for beginner singers, luckily there are a few steps that you can make in order to be able to growl sing. Practice the below excesses and you will see improvements to your growl singing in a couple of weeks or months.
You can growl when singing by using your diaphragm correctly, although the more powerful your diaphragm is the more powerful your growl singing will be. Growl singing is all about control, you will have to control the airflow and your resonator in order to growl sing without injuring yourself. In addition to this, the position of your lips will allow you to growl when singing fairly easier so experiment with different positions of your lips.
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Growl singing is a very particular singing type, which isn’t meant for all singers due to its high potential of injury if not performed correctly. Growling is simply your ability as a singer to create vocal effects, and these effects can be anything from imitating animals to making even stranger vocal effects like death growls or screaming growls. The truth is that growl singing might seem fairly hard for beginners but with enough practice, you can virtually make your growl sound like almost anything.
By growl singing you are simply distorting the sound which you make, this can be achieved in a lot of different ways, some might lead you down the path of injury, while others can definitely make you growl like anything you want. Generally, speaking usually the singers who are growl singing are metal vocalists, although this is not always the case. If you are a fan of metal bands then you probably know how powerful the main vocalist does sound, especially if he can growl sing without too much effort.
If you are new to growl singing then my recommendation is to start with growling by imitating animals. I have recently written an in-depth article on growling like an animal and you should definitely check it out How to growl like a ( Lion, Tiger, Dog, Wolf or a Bear ), this is by far one of the best and easiest ways to start growl singing. Once you can easily growl like an animal then you can start incorporating it into your singing.
Although growl singing might seem easy for some, but trust me it isn’t. You as a singer will have to practice a lot to be able to growl, the problem is that if done incorrectly growl singing can actually hurt your vocal cords and throat. The trick to learning how to growl sing is to take it slow, there is no need to force yourself as this can easily lead up to swelling of your throat in no time.
Your diaphragm determines how you growl when singing
If you are a singer then it shouldn’t be a surprise that as with most singing techniques, growling also does require you to not only breathe from your diaphragm but also to create more power with it. While most singers are able to sing by using their diaphragm, not all of them know how to make the exhaling part of breathing powerful. The problem is that most people are simply not built well enough to be able to create power with their diaphragm.
There are a lot of breathing techniques that you can use to create power with your diaphragm if you want more info check out my recent article Proper breathing technique for singing ( Top 12 Techniques ). Creating enough power with your diaphragm in order to growl sing will take some time, depending on your dedication and usually, you should see improvements within a couple of months.
Yes you heard it right you will need at least a couple of months to create enough power with your diaphragm, the main reason why it takes this long is that growling is extremely intensive and somewhat even punishing on the body. So you will have to strengthen most of your core singing muscles in order to achieve this.
Exhale with control to growl while singing
Some might even say that you should exhale by somewhat forcing yourself, although this is not a good idea as if you force yourself to exhale then you will eventually injure yourself which you probably would want to avoid at any cost. The main issue with growl singing of which almost nobody is talking is that there is a fine line between forcing yourself to exhale and to exhale in a controlled fashion, and this is why most singers can not growl sing.
Simply put there is no point in exhaling forcefully if you can not do it in a controlled fashion. If you have ever listened to a metal band that is growl singing you probably noticed that while they are singing they are putting themselves through a lot of tension when they are actually growling. While some tension is normal when growl singing, the problem occurs if you are getting noticeably tired or even exhausted while you are singing.
There should be a balance of power, growl singing takes a lot of power and effort, while other parts of the song will not take as much effort and power. You need to practice till you get to the point where you do not exhaust yourself while growl singing, and you can comfortably sing the other parts of the song also.
Control your resonator to growl while singing
Your vocal tract is your actual resonator, and it has the ability to make your growling sound a lot more powerful. The problem with your resonator is that this should be in sync with the actual power of the airflow. If you do not have a powerful airflow through your throat then you will not be able to have a powerful growling, no matter how good you can control your resonator. The trick in controlling your resonator or vocal tract is that you have to relax it before you actually growl sing.
Oftentimes your vocal tract can be tensed up, usually, these happen in the evening when it starts to get tired. My recommendation if you are a beginner singer and you wish to learn how to growl sing is to practice in the morning, this way your resonator is fresh and relaxed, and you will also notice that you will have a far easier time to growl sing than in the evening.
You need a lot of stamina to growl when singing
One thing which I do not see any vocal coaches talk about is the importance of stamina. While stamina is fairly important no matter what kind of genre of music you sing but it is even more important for growl singing. Generally speaking, a 3-minute song could have around one minute of growl singing, while this doesn’t sound like a lot of time, the truth is that during this short minute you can get exhausted.
Just watch some live performances from any growl singing metal bands, you will definitely notice that they are sweating and there are all kinds of veins popping off in their forehead and their necks. You can actually see how the singer is struggling to keep the growling sounds, now imagine yourself singing 3-5 songs with growl singing, how long will it take you to simply pass out.
Stamina for growl singing can be achieved in two ways:
- By having a good healthy diet, if you do not eat clean and healthy you will not have enough energy and stamina to growl sing for longer periods of time. Do not underestimate how important a good diet is, especially if you are doing something intense like growl singing. Luckily for you I have you covered as I have written an in-depth article on diet for singers, and you should definitely check it out ( Top 18 ) Foods to improve singing voice.
- By working out, it doesn’t even have to be lifting weights, just find some hobby which will make you stronger in the long term. One of the main problems while some singers never learn how to growl sing is because they lack the actual development of some of the core muscles which allow them to growl. Working out does actually improve your voice, no matter if you are trying to growl sing or by simply singing as a hobby if you want to find out how exactly does working out help your voice, check out my article Does working out change your voice ( Yes! But How? ).
Practice growl singing
You have probably heard from a lot of people that in order to be successful at anything then you need to practice, and the more you do it the better you get. Although there is a catch when it comes to growl singing, and the main problem is that by constantly practicing it you will injure yourself at some point. While this is true no matter what kind of singing you practice, but for growl singing, you have an exponentially higher chance of hurting your throat.
You have to practice with a clear goal in your mind which should be to get better at growl singing. If you are a beginner singer which already practices different types of singing styles, then my personal recommendation is to stick to those for the moment, once you are confident enough in your singing skills then and only then you should start practicing how to growl sing. On the other hand, if you still want to learn how to growl sing even as a beginner singer then, try to practice 2-3 times a week.
Do not overdo it as with growl singing you put a lot of tension on your throat, and if you are also practicing to sing different styles of singing then you could be in trouble after just a couple of weeks. Usually, at that point, most singers do give up growl singing, one bad throat infection is all it takes, so make sure you do not put to much pressure on yourself.
Growl sing from your chest
Far too often singers think that is growl singing is mainly done by constricting their throat, and this is why so many growl singers get injured. Even experienced growl singers do need occasional throat surgery as they mostly use their throats to growl. The truth is that growl singing should be done primarily from the chest and with the help of your throat. If you have read my article about how to growl like an animal you probably already know how important your chest voice is for growl singing and how you can make your chest voice even more powerful.
Channel your growling with your lips
Believe it or not but not all singers actually use their lips correctly, some might do this due to a preexisting medical condition or due to them picking up bad habits. No matter what the actual reason is you should learn how to change your growling with your lips. Simple adjustments to the position of your lips will actually make different growling sounds, and some singers have actually taught themselves how to even make their growling sound more powerful by only using their lips.
Practice growl reading
Reading out loud is proven to be very beneficial for singers, as they learn on which words they should put more emphasis on and how to have a natural flow of singing and speaking. By reading out loud with growling you will put a lot less strain on your voice, which means that you can actually practice growling without any risk of injury. Although if you have never growled before you might find that even reading out loud while growling to be somewhat difficult.
In this case, once you start reading out loud you should think of what you sound like in the morning and try to imitate that actual sound. With some practice sooner or later you will get the hang of it and once you can read out loud with growling you should start practicing how to actually growl sing. Do note that if your throat starts to itch or hurt then you are probably tensing up, mainly with your throat, if this starts to happen just take a break for an hour or so.
Growl singing could be rather difficult for most singers, mainly due to the fact that most singers do not actually know how to growl without hurting themselves. The problem is that even singers who can growl sing often make small mistakes which could get them in trouble later down the line, mainly with an injury to their vocal cords or throat. If you are a beginner singer who wants to learn how to growl sing then my recommendation is to take it slow, slow, and steady wins the day. It is better to stay safe than sorry.