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Speed Up Your
Trills
by Brett Manning
Q:  I'm working on my R&B/Gospel styling, but my trills are slow and sloppy.  Is there any
thing I can do to speed up my trills?

A:  The first thing we need to do is understand what trills are (also called licks, runs and turns).  A
trill is a scale sung dynamically with crisp delineation, fast vibrato and a clean attack or onset.  In
other words, going from one note to another without slurring or sliding, because slurring notes
together gives the impression of poor vocal control.   On the other hand, you don't want to add an
'H' sound, a staccato or glottal stroke (clucking noise) to your vocal line to achieve separation
between notes.  This will create an artificial and artistically unpleasant sound.  So how is note
delineation organically achieved?  First, start on an F below middle C for the men or F above middle
C for the women.  Now sing up to a G and then back down.  Learn to go back and forth as rapidly as
possible without sliding or losing note distinction until you feel a 'bounce' between notes.  Use a
metronome and start at sixty beats per minute and speed up one or two bpm at a time while singing
eighth notes.  Speed up only as fast as you can while remaining clean in your note delineation.  If
you can get to 200 bpm, then you're up to speed with Mariah Carey and Brian McKnight.  Now you
just have to learn to put together longer patterns of notes within the scales used for the style you
are singing in.  These scales are cataloged in the Singing Success Program.  It's important to
understand that learning is incremental with this.  If you only speed up one beat a day, which is so
gradual that it can hardly be felt, then in less than four months, you can be at 200 bpm.