Singing With Emotion

Singing With Emotion

Use our free vocal exercise to to help you discover singing with different emotions.

What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor is such a well-known song, and it is incredibly wordy, which is great for warming up lips and facial muscles. Also it is an easy song to sing when you need to work on emotive singing Try singing each verse with a different emotional emphasis. Here are some ideas, but you can always include your own:

Emotion 1 – Panicky.

Try to sound worried and stressed.

Emotion 2 – Seasick.

Imagine the rolling motion of a boat and see what it does to your phrasing.

Emotion 3 – Outraged.

Spit out the consonants in fury.

Emotion 4 – Funny.

Do a fake laugh, now sing with that quality.

Emotion 5 – Secretive.

Sing as if you are whispering to a friend.

Emotion 6 – Disappointed.

Put on your best disappointed voice.

Emotion 7 – Flirty.

Imagine you’re seducing someone!

Emotion 8 – Innocent.

This should be your best child-turning-on-the-charm voice.

Emotion 9 – Enjoyment.

Sing this verse as if it’s a pub singalong.


Observe what each emotion does to your voice whilst singing. Do the dynamics change? Does your vocal quality change? Do some verses feel easier than others to sing? How does it come across?  Do you feel different when singing that emotion?   What could you do to improve the feeling you are trying to replicate?   Ask yourself these questions and maybe get someone in to listen to you and let them guess what emotion you are trying to put across.

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Verse 1

What shall we do with the drunken sailor,
What shall we do with the drunken sailor,
What shall we do with the drunken sailor,
Early in the morning?

Hooray and up she rises,
Hooray and up she rises,
Hooray and up she rises,
Early in the morning!

2. Sling him in the longboat ’til he’s sober, (x 3)
Early in the morning!

3. Put him in the bilge and make him drink it, (x 3)
Early in the morning!

4. Put him in a leaky boat and make him bale it, (x 3)
Early in the morning!

5. Put him in the scuppers with the hose pipe on him, (x 3)
Early in the morning!

6. Shave his belly with a rusty razor, (x 3)
Early in the morning!

7. Pull out the plug and wet him all over, (x 3)
Early in the morning!



Emotions – part of our free Singing Lessons – Vocal Exercise.

We at Successful Singing have put together lots of Free Vocal Exercises for you to use. Each voice exercise has an image of the scale (sheet music) for you to follow, along with the audio track you can play on-line to sing along to.   You can also purchase the track to put onto CD/computer/mp3 player to use at your convenience.

Each vocal exercise targets a specific area of your voice, and with regular practice will help improve, strengthen and extend your voice.

Please use our other free resources on learning to sing, and articles about your voice.

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