Learning Style with Imitation

girl singing on stageOnce you have learned the basic elements of good vocal production and have learned the basic components of improvisation, the best way to improve your library of potential style elements is imitation. Just as we learned to speak as babies by imitating single words, then phrases, eventually learning to creatively form our own sentences, we learn musical style and discover our own best style by imitating other artists.

Sometimes I hear singers say I don’t want to imitate anyone else – I want to sound like myself.  Agreed, the final goal is always to become a unique and individual artist. However, just like the baby, we have to imitate correctly before we can make up our own creative combination of the elements of style.

Imitation is the way humans learn best. And don’t fear – you will never, ever sound just like someone else. Voices are more individual than fingerprints. What you are doing with imitation is compiling a library or catalogue of inflections, riffs, runs and stylistic devices that you can combine in your own creative way to create your own style. Once you have learned the language of style, you are free to do anything you would like with it.

Experiment and Find Your Identity!

Learning and experimenting will help you to expand your repertoire, go past your comfort zone and ultimately may help you discover who you are as a singer. Once you give yourself permission to try some of these ideas, you may well find that some of them really speak to who you are as a person and as a singer.

Don’t feel silly or stupid if you can’t do them perfectly at first; you may have to live with some of them awhile before they become second nature. Try them on for size, live with them awhile and then decide which ones feel right to you. You never know what you might evolve into by experimenting with new things!

Sing Like A Star Studios offers private lessons for individuals of all ages and experience levels in East Cobb and Alpharetta, Georgia. To learn more about the studio and to schedule a class, contact us online today!

2 Responses to “Learning Style with Imitation”

  1. Edward Rivers

    I am extremely interest in finding what key I sing in ( it is embarrassing when you do not know what key you sing in when playing with a guitarist or keyboard players). I have been singing for nearly 40 years , and I still do not know how to determine what key I sing in. Karaoke gave me a career in the early 80’s, but I always went by (+ or -, not C or Bb). So if you can show me like I am a child, exactly how to determine my key I would greatly appreciate it. In closing, do they have listening devices on line (or programs) that will tell the actual key if I already have the songs recorded in my key (+ or -, How Embarrassing)

    Thank you very, very much for being out there for individuals such as myself, It’s is high time I took my profession seriously

    Respectfully yours,

    Edward Rivers (aka) Eddy Rivers.


    I do have a website, but it is not letting me put it in. It is as follows:


    • Tricia Grey

      Hi Eddy
      I often get the question “what key do I sing in?” and the answer is that, for each song you sing, you have to determine the key that is correct for you. Songs are written in many different keys, usually they are published in the key that the original singer performed the song in. That key may or may not be right for you. So, the answer is, you don’t sing in just one key for every song, each song has it’s own unique key. There are basically 12 major keys and 12 minor keys. One thing that might really help you is a software program called “The Amazing Slow Downer”. You just drag your recorded track and then you can use a slider to move the key higher or lower. If you are straining, move the key lower. If some of the notes are too low, move the key higher. Hope that helps!


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