How to Sing "Silent Night" - Pop Singing vs. Musical Theater

Time for a ridiculous, holiday-themed video that explores the differences between pop singing and musical theater singing!

More specifically, I will sing "Silent Night" two different ways, all while wearing an ugly Christmas sweater.

The gist of the two approaches is:

  1. Musical theater singing features pure, open, sustained vowels and is more faithful to rhythm.
  2. Pop singing lets you have more freedom with pronunciation. Play around with diphthongs, rhythms, breathiness, and vocal fry, as these simple adjustments can instantly change the genre of the singing. If you struggle with how to sing pop, hopefully these simple approaches can help you start to reshape your sound.

This isn't a detailed musical theater or pop singing tutorial per se, but it's a fun 'n' silly video that contrasts some key approaches that can help make your singing sound more pop-py.

(Because I personally am a beginner pop singer, I would consider this pop singing for beginners. 🙂 )

xo Fel

P.S. Don't forget to get on the waitlist for my 8-week online singing course Singing Transformation, re-opening January 2017! The experience begins with a free 90+ minute singing webinar that is pretty awesome. Hope to see you there!

P.P.S. And if you're struggling with last-minute holiday gift ideas, you can give your singer friends one of my other online singing courses!! Here's how.


Felicia Ricci

All stories by: Felicia Ricci
  • Noémie

    Great Video!!! There's a very nice thing going on with your voice on the "is" of "all is calm". I usually try to reproduce things that I like in singing by I can't understand how you do this... I think the Fel pop signature is gorgeous.
    Happy holidays 🙂 xxx

  • Rachel

    I frankly can't decide which one I like more.

    You are so funny and so cute. I seriously hope I get to meet you live one day.

    Thanks for all the wonderful, wonderful instruction. I am using the singer's vowel cheat sheet every day and it is SO freaking helpful.

    Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and all good things in 2017.


  • Lydia :)

    It's so interesting how changing the vowels also helps you change your voice placement without you having to overthink that! Love these videos and how they give different perspectives. Thanks for these videos!

  • Cheri

    Great video and one of my favourites.

    Such a contrast between the "straight" versions sung by choirs, and the more relaxed or lazy way of performing.

    It really is about the vowels or interpretation.

    Happy holidays to you also and nice sweater.

  • Pam Trevino

    Hey Fel! Thanks so much for the information on pop singing! I really enjoyed the video! Would like to take one of your singing courses once I get the money together!
    Merry Christmas to you and a Happy and Prosperous New Year too!
    Pam T.

  • Needra Bucholtz

    Thanks for sharing your experience, love it and have shared with others. Hope to begin small singing group for gospel music this next year and you have been such an inspiration and encouragement . You have a beautiful voice. Loved the variations on " Silent Night". Loved you singing "Adelle".

  • Dee McSweeney

    Merry Christmas, Fel!!! Also, Happy New Year. Wishing you and your family continued success, much happiness, peace of mind and blessings upon blessings in life. I, too, wrote down your "vowel cheat sheet" and put it into my computer so I can constantly reference it. That was extremely helpful . . . thank you. ALL of your videos are helpful.

    In all seriousness, and I know what I'm talking about because I watch very funny and "deadpan" funny actors often, Fel, if you ever want to try something new and exciting but you're not exactly sure what that new path might be, I encourage you greatly to try comedy acting . . . whether that is stand-up comedy or auditioning for a comedy sitcom, that can be one of your life's callings if you so choose.

    You are VERY funny naturally, without trying. It is demonstrated that it is in your DNA. Whatever family member passed that down to you, you should use it if you feel that you'd enjoy it as an alternative way to make money.

    You're very good, animated but in a natural way. The camera loves you. You make people want to watch you as if they were in their living room talking with a friend. Another good avenue for you would be a TV Program Host. You could do it for a program similar to what you promote now, or for a talk show/musical variety show. Harry Connick Jr. came out with "Harry" in September. It is a format somewhat like the Andy Williams Show (you are too young for that but you can Google it). Something to think about in case you get the "What now?" that many of us come to in life.

    All the best, always. Dee

  • isabel

    Merry Christmas Fel,

    and congratulations for this video and your explanation about how to sing silent night .

    I've enjoyed it. Keep in touch. isabel from barcelona

  • Bethy Willcox

    A little late, but thank you so much for this! This was really helpful, and you cracked me up with that last 'slee pin hevenlih pee..........................................s'!
    In all seriousness though, all your tips and videos have helped me progress so much, thank you! <3

  • Shanna

    That ending was hilarious. I love your subtle comedy. I'm finding that it's super easy to learn from you. I've only watched a few videos but I'm already much better than I was! Now I'm committed! Lol

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