2. Scoops

After watching the video - see Activity Ideas below!

Scoops / Activity Ideas 

  • Listen to a recorded vocal soloist performing a song you like, and see if you can find places where the singers makes creative use of scoops.
  • Choose a recording by an expressive singer to analyze. Print out the words of the song and listen specifically for when the singer scoops into a word. Make note of the words that are scooped, and circle them on the page. Do you think the motivation was lyrical (based on the meaning) or musical (based on how the note itself felt to sing)? 
  • Choose two singers who sing in the same genre (for example two pop singers or two jazz singers). Pick a song for each of them that has a similar tempo, then do a side-by-side scooping comparison. Listen to a 16 measure passage of each recording, and write down how often the singers use the scoop technique. How do they compare? 

         Variation #1: Compare your two singers singing the same song (providing you can find versions that are at around the same tempo.)

         Variation #2: Analyze the two singers performing three different songs in three different tempos. This will help you get a much broader perspective of their scoop style. 

         Variation #3: Do the above scoop comparison again, but this time with the two singers singing in different genres (for example, one country singer, one R&B singer). How do they compare?

  • Find a recording of a singer who uses a lot of scoops, and isolate one or two phrases. Listen closely, and then sing along with the recording, trying to imitate the scoop style perfectly. Record yourself singing the phrase a cappella. How closely did you come to matching the scoops on the recording? 
  • Choose a song with lyrics you like. Read the lyrics out loud and identify words that you tend to stress more than others in natural speech. Circle those words. Sing the melody, then add a scoop to the circled words. Evaluate – did the scoops sound natural with the melody? Did it enhance the meaning? Record yourself to get a better perspective. You are building a mental library of style ideas! 
  • Choose two meaningful phrases in a song. First, sing the phrases without any style (no scoops), just going straight to each note. What emotion does that sound convey? Secondly, sing the phrases with scoops on the important words. Does adding scoops change the emotional feeling? 

Note: It’s easy to assume that singing without any scoops will sound plain, and singing with scoops will sound expressive. However sometimes when there are no stylistic scoops, a line can still convey strong emotion - for example sad or vulnerable or innocent. And a line with scoops may sound more outgoing or bold or mature. Don’t assume that using scoops will always give you the right level of expression. They are one of many different tools that can be used to tell the story!