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Master Riff Singing Like a Pro
by Training Your Riffs
Singing is all fun and rainbows until you hit the tough spot. It may seem like being stuck with a riff is sucking out all the fun you had so far. While vocal riffs may not be the most crucial part of a song, they add few cute little details that can make your singing more lively and soulful.
Never let a few bad attempts stop you from perfecting your riff singing. With the right techniques and practice, you can soon find your way to effortless riffing.
Let’s get down to business and get accustomed to some wonderful techniques that will help you train your vocal riffs.

So What Are Riffs and Runs in Singing?

Riffs are like an extra beautiful decoration or embellishments added to singing and can come up anywhere in the song. Longer riffs are called runs. Whitney Houston's 'I Will Always Love You' is one best example where you can find riffs right from the starting line of the song.
A riff usually contains note changes sung within the same breath. Thus, making a smooth sound that glides between notes without feeling disrupted in the middle.
As you can imagine, to master riffs and runs, you should already have a solid singing technique. Your voice should be able to support complicated note changes. This takes a lot of practice and safe techniques. So, start slow and try to do simpler versions of the riffs first, master them, and continue to improve your agility as you practice.

Here are some tips to get you started with training your riffs. Ready to start practicing? Check out the MyVo app with theory & daily practice.

How To Riff Singing

Get All The Right Notes

To learn a riff, you have to know the exact notes first. Most riffs consist of a short pattern of notes in the range of 2 to 4 notes. Learn the melody first.
Listen again and again until you have a clear picture of the melody and the rhythm embedded in your mind. You should be able to visualize the melody by yourself without errors.

Use Consonants On Each Note

Riffs can sound sloppy when you hear your breath through them. When your breath breaks in between as you riff, it can sound rather disconnected. You need to be able to hold your breath to prevent the sound from interfering with your vocal cords. A good way to avoid leaking air and achieve this would be to use a consonant in front of your notes.
Use the consonants g or b in front of your notes or vowel sounds. As you keep practicing, you can drop the number of consonants in some places and keep improvising on your breath control. Continuous practice will help you achieve the voice control after which you can completely drop the use of consonants.

Use Narrower Vowel Sounds To Practice

Practice your riffs on a narrower vowel-like an 'eeh' or 'oo' instead of wider vowels like 'aah' or 'uuh'. Wider vowels can make it difficult to adjust your vocal cords to subtle note changes. Hence, practicing with narrow vowels makes it easier for beginners to get the hang of the riff as it demands lesser effort from vocal cords.

Activate Even Breath

Make sure to inhale enough air before starting to riff and slowly exhale as if you are slowly carrying the air from the bottom of your ribs.
Focused even breathing is a necessary part of good singing practice. Incorporate some breathing exercises as part of your practice to get better control at singing your riffs.

Use Fish Lips

As you keep practicing, you may feel stiff as your facial muscles and tongue tension could add stress to your larynx area. To avoid this try making fish lips. Fish lips can relax and loosen up your jaw and face muscles and keep your voice box neutral. Sometimes fish lips are also referred to as an embouchure technique that helps in improved singing.

Riffing Down

Some people might find it challenging to sing downward riffs compared to riffing up. This could be because riffing down usually creates a sense of lowering energy and causes people to lose focus as they hit lower notes.
One way to avoid this is to visualize a mental picture of thinking up even when you are riffing down. Make use of visual cues like the upward motion of hands to help you sing with better energy and even breathing.

Repeat and Practice

As you get the hang of your riff in singing, slowly increase the tempo and make sure your notes are clean. Keep repeating your riffs until you have perfected it. Repetition also helps build muscle memory and will thus make it easier for you when you have to sing similar riffs.
To further excel at singing runs and riffs, take the help of MyVo. It is an app that is designed to help you sing better. What’s more, it is extremely user-friendly, and resulted oriented as well! The app is going to be released pretty soon. Be the first to test it.
While waiting for MyVo, you can also learn how to sing melismas by checking our Instagram videos.

Here Are Some Useful Vocal Riffs And Runs Exercises That Can Help You