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Berklee College of Music

Singing Popular Music

Berklee College of Music via Coursera


You've been studying the greats, working on improving your vocal skills, and building vocal technique. Now it's time to take the next step in your singing career to shine as a vocalist. Singing Popular Music provides you with the essential skills to define your own unique vocal style and sing healthfully. The course begins with devices to support and alter your sound including vowel quality, tone production, and breathing techniques. From there, you will learn how to use techniques like mix voice and belting in contemporary singing styles. Then you'll take a cover song and make it your own. Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to confidently and healthfully sing in your desired vocal style as well as understand how you can alter your singing to match other contemporary styles.


  • Welcome to Singing Popular Music!
    • Welcome to the course! Here we will cover all the details about the course and what you'll need to know to get the most out of your experience.
  • Vocal Styles and Tone Quality
    • Vocal style is shaped by language. How you interpret the meaning of the text and phrases impacts your artistry. The tone of your voice—which is essential to your style—is defined by the way you shape and pronounce vowels in words, while consonants give words rhythm. In this lesson we will discuss different vowel shapes and how devices such as vibrato, legato, and dynamics shape your sound. We will focus on gaining vocal self-awareness, practicing breathing techniques, and making style-appropriate choices.
  • Mix Voice in Contemporary Singing
    • The mix voice vocal register or placement is a topic of much confusion. In this lesson, we will take a close look mix voice, how it can be helpful for you, and when to use it or not to use it. We will also continue to fine-tune the elements in your own style.
  • Singing Powerful Styles
    • In this lesson, we'll take a close look at big singing, when you might use it, and how to do it safely. In today's musical landscape, belting is not required to be successful, but to be the best singer you can be, it is good to explore the full extent of your voice. That exploration includes singing with physical power. As we explore powerful singing, we'll look at what it is and what it is not. This method may be an important part of your sound, or ultimately you may decide that it's not for you. Either conclusion is fine artistically, depending on your chosen style and overall message.
  • Developing Your Sound: Style Awareness and Integration
    • In this lesson, we'll focus on how to frame your music, genre-wise. We'll look at whether or not you want to include improvisation in your tune(s), and we'll discuss how to take a cover song and make it your own. Finally, you'll spend time demonstrating your vocal style by covering a song of your choice.

Taught by

Jeannie Gagne

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