Rock Screaming and Belting

I have read the FAQ section, and one of your visitors asked how they should approach “screaming/belting”, most often found in rock music. While I could not fault your advice, I wondered if your visitors might like to benefit from an experience I had…

At the young age of 15, I decided to form a rock band, and took on the role of singer. I didn’t realise that there was a right way and a wrong way to sing, so I set about copying various heavy rock singers while having no proper training. What I wanted to do was hit the high screams traditionally found in this kind of music, but each rehearsal left my throat sore and hoarse. Over the months, I noticed that my voice took longer to recover after each session, and gradually my range diminished. This started to concern me, and I went to see a throat specialist. Finally, on my 19th birthday, it was found that I had distorted my larynx, and had to give my voice a long rest!

I then began a course of speech therapy, designed to “re-build” my voice, which lasted several months, and then I decided that if I wanted to resume singing, I had to take singing lessons.

These lessons went on for over 4 years, and for the majority of that time, I focused on building up the strength in my voice. I also practised my singing 6 days a week, every week. It was only towards the end of the 4 years that I had enough strength in my voice to learn the correct technique of singing with a “rough” tone, while hitting exceptionally high notes, which gives the “scream” sound.

This story does have a happy ending though, because now at the ripe old age of 29, I have developed a formidable rock singing voice, and can now quite happily copy my singing influences – I just wish I knew earlier that there was a right and wrong way to do it!

My advice to any other singers looking to copy the “scream” sound in their singing would be:

a) Get some proper guidance from a singing teacher
b) Build up substantial strength in your voice before even attempting the “scream”
c) Practise….a lot! It is a long journey, but the results make it well worthwhile!