How to Learn Singing “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” from Nina Simone

Mastering “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” by Nina Simone

To effectively learn this iconic piece by Nina Simone, we need to dive into her unique vocal technique. Simone’s distinct style incorporates elements of classical, jazz, pop and blues genres and allows for expressive articulation, storytelling, and diverse dynamics.

Understanding the Song Structure

Like many Jazz standard pieces, “It Don’t Mean a Thing” consists of a call-response structure. Get to know the melody and rhythm of the song through repeated active listening before diving into the vocals. Our Pitch Training tool can help you improve your ear for the distinct pitches and intervals found in this song.

Developing a Strong Vibrato

Vibrato is a pulsation in pitch surrounding the main note, creating a rich, warm tone. Examine how Simone uses vibrato to create drama and expressiveness. Learn to sing with vibrato by following our vibrato guide, practicing exercises like the Beggars Bounce and the Diaphragm Bounce.

Mastering Articulation

Simone’s sharp, clear articulation is key to delivering this song’s character. Practice your diction with exercises like the Finger Bite.

Imitating Tone Quality

Nina Simone’s unique vocal timbre blends blues and jazz grit with classical bell-like clarity. To help find your own authentic voice, refer to our instructions on how to analyze your unique voice.

Developing Breath Support

Determine where to breathe for musical phrasing and maintaining vocal health. Check out our resources on breathing basics and follow along exercises like the Farinelli Breathing exercise.

Enjoying the Journey

While challenging yourself with this Nina Simone’s piece, remember that singing is about enjoying the music and expressing yourself authentically. Our tips for overcoming stage fright can help you perform with confidence.

Remember learning a song is a journey. It’s a fun exercise that combines improving your singing technique and refining your interpretative skills. Embrace the process, remain patient, and practice regularly.