The vocal onset is how you approach a note when you sing. It’s described as the way you start singing a note. It’s about the breath and vocal cords (folds) come together at the start of a note. One of the first things I tell a singer as they begin a song, is to capture the audience’s attention with the first word(s) that you sing. Don’t start on a limp, wishy washy note. Start on a solid, strong (diaphragm and breath supported) note; that does not mean loud, you want a clear, precise and well supported note.

There are different ways to approach a note when you are singing to create a mood or feeling. You can use a coordinated onset, which is a balanced and smooth sound. This technique gives the singer a well-balanced, connection and natural sound. The aspirate onset is a soft, breathy approach to singing a note, giving the singer a Marilyn Monroe type of sound. Or you can use a hard onset (hard attack) which is used quite a bit in rock and roll. Another technique used to sing a note is the vocal fry, which is a growl used in gospel, rock and jazz.

For most singers, the coordinated onset is encouraged. The coordinated onset creates a well-supported and clear note that is without tension. Every singer is different and it depends on what they natural lean towards. Make sure the aspirate, hard and vocal fry onset techniques are done correctly, otherwise you can damage your voice. So please find a professional vocal coach to learn how to do these techniques properly and take care of your vocal cords! Listen to Audrey Diaz singing “Be The One” and how she starts the song with a solid, well supported note and how she approached some of the notes in the chorus with a harder attack at the beginning of the words.


Why did the chicken join the band? Because he had the drumsticks!

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