What is Diction?
So you are wondering what is diction? All singers have to focus on their diction fairly often, it determines how people hear the words you are singing. Poor diction results in singers singing the wrong words or the listener hearing a wrong word that is sung right. Once you know the lyrics to a song you will automatically hear when someone sings a wrong or right word.
How does poor diction affect you as a singer?
As a singer you need to concentrate on what words people are hearing. Poor diction is when you listen to a singer and afterwards say “what were they even singing?” A singers words need to be clear!
A good example in recent pop music is (a singer i do love, especially in her older country days before being famous in the UK!)
Taylor Swift – Blank Space lyrics “Got a long list of Ex Lovers”
This was widely received and sung by youngsters as “Starbucks Lovers”
Ways to Create better Diction
When you Practice get someone to listen to you sing (if they don’t know the words or the song…even better!) Get them to mark down each word they don’t understand.
Send them out of the room – Practice the song pronouncing and emphasising EVERY word. Over exaggerate the words with your mouth as big as you can possibly get it. It may feel unnatural at first but trust me it will help get those problem words out.
Make sure you are concentrating on every vowel and consonant as you go through the song, find ways of singing words differently and decide which one sounds clearer. once you have done this sing the song through to be clear which ways you are singing them (print the lyrics and mark them down if you have to)
Finally get the person who heard you sing the song first of all (even on another day so the first version isn’t still fresh in their mind) Ask them if they can hear the difference and also mark down any places again that don’t sound quite right. If there is less on that sheet then you have achieved!
Remember singing takes time and is an ART. Diction is one of the many building blocks that help make a great singer, there is nothing worse than listening to a fantastic singer but you can’t understand a word they are singing. Singers… take your time and listen to how the words sound. Will people hear the words you are singing? After all a song is a story, you are the voice putting all the emotions behind the lyrics, diction is key to get these words through to your audience.