How to Sing with Vibrato | Learn the 3 Types | Sing Better


Vibrato – what is it and how can we leverage it as singers?

In this video, I cover all areas of vibrato. There are 3 types a singer can use: Diaphram, 1/2 step, and Machine Gun. Do you have to learn all 3? No, but if you do, it will absolutely make you a more versatile singer.

Vibrato gives movement and emotion to a melody. I would hope you’re using at least one of the 3. However, just because a singer has a great vibrato, it doesn’t always mean he/she should use it 100% of the time.

In this video I also cover when you shouldn’t use it. The great thing about vibrato (concerning style) is that rules are made to be broken. Some of the topics on vibrato I cover in this video are purely opinion. You can choose what you like to show off your style and your voice.

Have another method on how you use vibrato? I’d love to learn about it. Leave a comment below.

If you have more questions on vibrato, please leave it below as well. I am here to help. If I can’t answer your questions through commenting, I am available for one on one and group lessons.

Thank you so much for watching. I will see you next week!

-Michael

42 thoughts on “How to Sing with Vibrato | Learn the 3 Types | Sing Better”

    1. Michael Mingoia Music

      Nolan Denny good question- actually you are engaging the diaphragm anytime you sing but some methods use the diaphragm a lot less like when using machine gun vibrato. So to get a good machine gun vibrato, don’t think about using your diaphragm. Instead focus more on your larynx and twitch the pitch in your throat. Think of Woody Wood Pecker or even imitating sheep might work. Try imitating these and even a machine gun (which is why it’s called that). Even if you aren’t “singing” at first when you do it, you’ll be getting the fundamentals down of this type of vibrato.

      Hope this helps.

      -Michael

  1. Can I do the vibrato if I’m singing softly and quietly? Or must i be loud? I’m singing silent night to my nephew and can’t do the vibrato.

    1. Michael Mingoia Music

      Hi Nkauj Noog – are you asking me if it’s healthy to sing softly with vibrato? The answer is yes it’s definitely safe for the voice and won’t harm it. If you’re telling me you can only sing vibrato at a low volume, then that is another issue. I’d love to help you more. Can you clarify?

      -Michael

  2. Edwardians corner 1912

    Singing is my passion and I love singing but of one thing I was very stressed about,“ Vibrato”. I didn’t have Vibrato at all. I was very tensed about that if I couldn’t sing with vibrato as I loved songs with Vibrato like My heart will go on, Sleeping sun, Let it go and many more songs that is focused on Vibrato. Then later I’ve watch some videos of developing Vibrato and then by practicing different methods like Vocal vibrato exercise and many more. That resulted amazing. Now I can sing with Vibrato but somewhat not perfect. So I’ve to try my best to develop Vibrato…… if you can help me then can you make a video of developing vibrato or any tips for that…..?

  3. Edwardians corner 1912

    Singing is my passion and I love singing but of one thing I was very stressed about,“ Vibrato”. I didn’t have Vibrato at all. I was very tensed about that if I couldn’t sing with vibrato as I loved songs with Vibrato like My heart will go on, Sleeping sun, Let it go and many more songs that is focused on Vibrato. Then later I’ve watched some videos of developing Vibrato and then by practicing different methods like Vocal vibrato exercise and many more. That resulted amazing. Now I can sing with Vibrato but somewhat not perfect. So I’ve to try my best to develop Vibrato…… if you can help me then can you make a video of developing vibrato or any tips for that…..?

    1. Michael Mingoia Music

      Hey Best of Beauty – Just like most things, singing with vibrato that is natural sounding and strong, takes practice. Did anything in this video help you? If you apply some of the tactics and start slow and consistently practice a few days a week, you should see big results.

      Did you try some of the methods in this video yet?

      -Michael

  4. there is another kind of vibrato I discovered ; Jaw vibrato . I do it by vibrating my lower jaw . It works best at notes that do not require opening the mouth too wide . Its quite snappy and fast .

    1. Michael Mingoia Music

      yaju singh – Hi! Thanks for your feedback. Yes. you are right and some singers use this. However, many don’t consider this “true vibrato” as it is an external alteration. Singing at a performance (live or in the studio) requires use of the jaw muscles for an extended period of time. The jaw muscles will fatigue much faster than the diaphragm. In my opinion, that is one of the reasons it is frowned upon.

      Another reason is that depending on the note you’re holding out and the vowel shaping, it can look kinda funny to the audience and there’s a chance it can make the vowel “splat.”

      So if you find it’s working for you, then go for it, but I also wanted to take the time and let you know some issues that have come up with singers using the jaw method.

      Hope this helps. Best of luck and keep singing!

      -Michael

  5. Rafael Lomeli

    I posted a couple of videos (3) and I want to know what kind of vibrato I have. I would like to better my vibrato. any sugesstions??

    1. Michael Mingoia Music

      Hi Rafael Lomeli! Great question. I watched your videos. You have a great voice my man! You also have terrific, controlled vibrato .

      You are my kinda singer- one who is a great singer but wants to improve even more. I never want to stop learning and improving.

      After listening closely to your vibrato type, I would say you are using Vibrato type 1 (the diaphragm.

      Try using the other two types I mention in this video because the more you know how to do the more versatile of a singer you will become.

      I hope this answers your question. Thanks for watching. Here if you need me.

      -Michael

    2. Rafael Lomeli

      Wow….i appreciate your feedback. I honestly do. I will continue watching your videos and learning from you. Thank you.

    3. Michael Mingoia Music

      Rafael Lomeli – thank you so much for your support! I am glad to help. Keep singing 🎤

      -Michael

  6. Valerie Woodside

    I’m playing Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music with a theater group that I’m a part of, and I was wondering which category “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” would fit into. It is technically a showtune since it’s from a musical, but it’s in a very operatic style. Should I use the diaphragm method, or should I use the half-step isolations thing?

    1. Michael Mingoia Music

      Hi Valerie! What a great question! Congratulations on getting the role. My answer will depend on what the music director wants. Does he/she want you to replicate the Sound of Music style? If that is the case, then use diaphragm vibrato. You are correct that it has a very operatic or classical sound and that is how I demonstrate it in this video. If the director isn’t married to the original style, then have fun creating your own sound.

      If you are going to try to replicate the original version, I would also recommend watching my other video on vocal placement. In the original version she is singing in placement #3, which gives it that operatic sound:

      I hope this helped. Thank you for watching. Let me know if there are any other questions you have. Good luck and break a leg!

      – Michael

    1. Michael Mingoia Music

      European Kinsman – Hello there European Kinsman. That’s a great question. While both singers probably used a combination of all 3, generally speaking, they employ Machine Gun Vibrato.

      I was singing at a wedding recently and the couple requested a few Elvis tunes to be played. Naturally, I sang using the machine gun method and they asked me how I was able to sound so much like him.

      Knowing little tips like should help you, just like it helps me.

      Thanks for watching and for asking. Did I help?

      -Michael

  7. If you are singing from your diaphram how do you know? Where do u feel it? And should vibrato just come naturally when you use your diaphram or do u have to “activate” it in a sense

    1. Michael Mingoia Music

      jonathan perez – Some singers just sing with Vibrato without even realizing it. It does come natural to some. However, for others singers like you and I, we have to learn how and then practice.

      I didn’t learn how until college actually. There, I learned about Vibrato from the diaphragm. It wasn’t until years later I was taught about the other types of Vibrato from other coaches.

      I tell you this to encourage you to practice and not get discouraged.

      So, since it does not come natural to you, yes- you need to activate it. Check to see where you are “breathing” from when you sing. Sing in front of the mirror. If you take a breath and your shoulders are moving the most then try to shift it so that just your stomach is growing and sticking and when you breath in.

      It’s located at the base of your ribs and is a very strong, dome shaped muscle. Anytime you breath, (cough, laugh, yell, sing etc) it is being activated.

      Does this answer your question or do you need more help?

      -Michael

    2. Michael Mingoia Music this sure does help! Thank you, I’ll continue practicing, if I have any more questions can I reach out to you?

  8. i got vibrato when i was singing at home and i was 8. i’ve gotten better at controlling it but sometimes it just sounds flat idk

    1. Michael Mingoia Music

      qxeen.phuong – Hi! Thanks for watching and commenting. Getting vibrato that Young is fantastic. As far as sounding flat, are you taking any vocal lessons to help you with that?

      -Michael

    2. Michael Mingoia Music i don’t take any vocal lessons. i taught myself how to sing and i’m trying to make my vibrato fit in better with what i’m singing. sometimes it will sound weird bc the vibrato doesn’t go with what i’m singing. it sounds out of place. that also happens when i try to carry out my vibrato longer

    3. Michael Mingoia Music

      qxeen.phuong understood….
      Sometimes the genre can effect how vibrato sounds. Also tempo of the song. You can always send videos of you singing if you want me to take a listen to see if i can help. It is hard to say anymore without examples.

  9. Can you give some examples of famous popular singers whose vibrato travels UPWARD from the main pitch? How about that machine-gun type? Only when you talked about “a half-step down” were you right on, just sayin.

    1. Michael Mingoia Music

      Hi Ron Robbins. Sure, listen to This is It by Kenny Loggins in this song he actually sings with diaphram vibrato during the verse and machine gun vibrato during the chorus.

      As for 1/2 step vibrato, what usually happens is sometimes it starts on the main pitch and goes a half step down and other times it goes a half step up. Many times, the same singers that go down the half step also go up a half step depending on the melody, rhythm and where the note falls within their voice.

      Do you find you do this in your songs?

      -Michael

    2. Agreed, that one isolated example from Loggins is machine-gun-like, but that’s hardly the norm, or the “gold standard,” just like Josh Grobhan who’s been very successful despite his terrible vibrato. And where oh where are those “upward-vibratos” from current pop or jazz icons?

  10. How can I get consistent oscillation using a Major third step vibrato technique so that I can shift my pitch higher and lower in a consistent manner? Some of my inspirations of Power Metal Singers like Roy Khan or Tenge Fuyuki. They seem to be able to control their oscillations without losing any power, intensity and without going off-key. I know in the long run and in the short run it’s all practice but is there any way to consistently use half steps or major third steps in vibrato for a beginner? If so, and if you know some, could you share some techniques or some links if you know any? Thanks for the help in this video, by the way! Great singing voice.

    1. Michael Mingoia Music

      Will Murphy

      Hi Will! Thank you for the compliment and for the feedback. This is a fantastic question. I’d love to help. Can you give me a specific example (song and artist) that jumps to the major 3rd oscillations?

      -Michael

    2. (Karma – Kamelot) Is a good example, especially during the choruses. I’m not necessarily sure if this is a Major 3rd oscillation technique but this and my next link are where I got my idea for this question. (Hyperion – Light Bringer) In the latter link, during the entire the entire song, you’ll notice her oscillation and range hitting relatively low points then returning to normal key. Of course, it’s entirely possibly my terminology could be completely wrong as I haven’t really taken many music theory classes to begin with Hope I’m not just wasting your time. If that’s the case, I humbly give an apology. Thanks for your time regardless, Michael.

      -Will

    3. Michael Mingoia Music

      Hello again Will. First off, please don’t apologize. Even if you didn’t know anything about music theory, I would answer your question. I am here to help.

      Second, I listened to the two song links you provided. I actually really dig the songs! Both singers are using 1/2 step vibrato and they do it very well. The Major 3rd Oscillation you were referring to (at least I think) is that they overdubbed their own voice (sang twice on the same track) and are harmonizing with themselves. The interval between both of the harmony tracks is major/minor 3rds. So, well done in hearing that. The technique I describe in my video is what they are using just harmonizing with themselves. Make sense?

      Thank again for your great question!

      -Michael

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