Lesson 18: Vocals

A good vocal makes a huge difference in a recording but what makes a good vocal? With wide variety genres and emotions to be expressed in music, there are many types of vocals to accommodate musical needs. Every style of music has its own criteria for a “good” vocal. What makes the vocals of “My Girl” by Temptations good is different than what makes the vocals good on “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” by the same group.

Furthermore, each genre of vocal music has specific characteristics that give it its sound. R&B vocals are usually smooth, rich, lush, and emotionally tender. The only characteristic they share with the hardcore punk style is emotion. Hardcore punk vocals need to be aggressive, in your face, gritty, and harsh. Vocal qualities often mirror the emotion of the music, even within genres. Now consider death metal growls. What makes them good and appropriate for the genre?

We’ll get into what makes a good vocal: timing, presence, projection, emotion, dynamics, style, and more!


Be able to define what makes a good vocal recording.
Be able explain the steps to needed to produce a good recording.
Be able to produce good quality vocals using industry standard techniques.
Be able to understand and utilize basic vocal recording techniques to produce quality vocals.
Demonstrate an ability to effectively process and mix vocals into their tracks.