How to Use Your Voice to Make Art

Are you ready to get loud? Explore different ways to make art with your voice!

Let’s get noisy and create our own sound art with performer Scarlett Lassoff!

Have you ever watched a performer in front of a crowd and thought - I want to do that! Throughout history, lots of different groups and solo artists have used sound-making as a way of sharing messages and exploring what it means to be human. So let’s take a look!


Sonia Boyce OBE
Exquisite Cacophony (2015)

In Sonia Boyce’s artwork Exquisite Cacophony she invited two performers to use their voices to respond to topics suggested by the audience. The performers rhymed, rapped and sung as a way of exploring different viewpoints. Can you think about the last time you felt really passionate about something? Our voices come in handy as a tool for letting others know how we feel! You can try in a group or by yourself.


Before we start to use our voices, let's work on the message we want our performance to have. What do you care about? Brainstorm some ideas on a sheet of paper - or use the following as a starting point if you get stuck:

  • The environment
  • The future
  • Something that makes you angry
  • Something that makes you happy

Now think of a message for one of the above - this could be a statement, or a question. Even if your inspiration is something BIG, imagine you are in the room with it. Like, if you had a meeting with a world leader, what would you want to say? Or - maybe you just want to sing about what you had for lunch! Remember there’s no right or wrong.

Bob and Roberta Smith
Make Art Not War (1997)


Want to be a star performer? No worries, you can try this out on your own! First, make sure you've warmed up your voice and body (follow the warm-up in the film if you like) then try out the following steps.

  1. Take one of your words from the message you wrote down earlier and repeat it a few times. If you don't want to use a word you could also use a sound - like "HA!" "SH!" or "CK". Try playing with saying it in different ways - could you whisper, SHOUT, rap or say it backwards? Once you're happy, remember this sound - it's your first part
  2. Record yourself singing the first part - you can use a phone or laptop, or ask someone else to record you. Try saying it between 8-10 times
  3. Time to add your melody! Go back to your full message. Try saying or singing it so it has a rise and fall. Remember the meaning behind it - do you want it to sound passionate? Happy? Serious? This line is the second part of your song
  4. Play the recording of the first part, then sing your melody over the top!

Now you've done one version of your song - how will you add to it? Perhaps this time you can use an app like Audacity or Garage Band to warp the sounds, add an echo. Or try singing in the style of your favourite artist!


Noise-making can be extra powerful when we use our voices all together. Do you have some friends, carers or family who would like to join in? Once you're warmed up, form a circle and try out the following:

  1. Everyone starts by stomping a beat to the count of 1,2,3,4 and continues this until the end of the activity
  2. One person then reads a word from the message they wrote down earlier - they can whisper, shout, sing or rap it, and even do a dance move too if they're feeling adventurous!
  3. Everyone else copies them once, in time with the stomp-beat
  4. The person to their left introduces a sound and does the same thing
  5. Go around the circle until everyone has shared a sound

You could even make a sound collage where everyone introduces their lyrics or noises at any point! This is interesting because you’ll create lots of layers with sounds - and have to really tune into the other people in the room to know when to start or finish. It might even sound a bit like nonsense! There's lots of ways to use your voice - we can't wait to hear what you've made.

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