Have you always find yourself in awe of the powerful singing voice of the people you watch and hear on the radio, TV shows, and concerts? Do you always hear yourself wishing that you have the same powerful voice as theirs?
But in the end, you think to yourself that everything is just wishful thinking because there is no way in the world that you can be able to sound like Mariah Carey—especially not with a voice like yours.
We have been raised to believe that if you haven’t blessed with a great singing voice, you have no chance of performing better. Sadly, this is the very reason why our singing skills never improve.
For your information, you have all the chance of learning how to sing correctly. All you need to do is to study the basic techniques and be wary of the common mistakes almost all people make.
If you want to improve your voice, the best way to learn to sing for beginners is to enroll in an online class. Classes are usually taught by an expert voice teacher who will teach me how to sing and provide you all the things you need to know to sing better.
But if you want to get started as early as possible, we are here to help you out! In this article, our mission is to share with you some of the best practices that newbie singers can apply to improve their voice in a short amount of time.
If you’re ready to find your voice, finally, let’s get started!
How to Start Singing: A Few Tips for Beginners
As promised, we are here to help you how to learn to sing. That means we will be tackling the basic techniques that you need to master. These are as follows:
Find your vocal range.
Before we talk about tips that can help you improve your singing voice, we should first try to determine your range. This is because one of the best things that you need to learn to become a better singer is extending your range, but you can only do that if we can identify what kind of singer you are. In this way, we know what we are working with.
Vocal range refers to the number of notes that you can hit in a natural way using the voice type that you have. By naturally, we mean without your voice cracking or croaking I being scratchy or breathy. Voices are categorized as one or two of these types– include soprano, alto, mezzo-soprano, counteralto, bass, and baritone
To help you find out what your range is, we will share a simple exercise with you. Here it is:
Step 1. Download a piano app that has the full range of the keyboard (88 keys) on your phone or tablet.
Step 2. Sing a vowel. It can be “ah”, “eh”, “ee”, “oh”, or “uh”.
Step 3. Begin singing your chosen vowel at the note near the middle of the piano then work your way to the lowest note that you can hit comfortably. Write down the lowest note that you have sung without straining.
Step 4. Try the note near the middle of the piano again, but this time, work your way to the highest possible note that you can sustain without struggling. Your voice should not be breathy or airy. Again, write down the highest note you have sung without any difficulties.
The notes that you have written down in your paper will be considered as your general voice range. Now that we know this, we can continue to the next practice or tip.
Now now, we know that this is the last tip you would want to hear when it comes to learning to sing. However, the benefits of hydration go beyond just health—it is beneficial for your skills too!
A dry throat is one of the greatest hindrances in achieving a great voice. That’s why you must drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. Water helps to moisten your throat and prevent your voice from getting hoarse.
We know that nothing feels better than having an ice-cold water slide down your throat, but please, as much as possible, drink only room temperature water. Ice cold water may feel good, but your throat and voice will pay for the price later on.
If you’re looking for something to drink aside from water, you can also try hot tea as it can soothe the throat, allowing it to produce the best sound your voice can be.
In line with that, you must also avoid drinking coffee (iced or hot), or any other sugary and carbonated drinks.
Learn proper posture.
The way you stand on that stage (or your bathroom or bedroom for that matter) can have a significant impact on how your voice will sound and how your performance can go. In this regard, it is crucial that you practice proper posture at all times and not only when you sing.
When performing in front of a crowd or just practicing, you should observe proper posture at all times.
Always stand up straight with shoulders back and chest high. Never tilt your body to your sides, front, or back. You will tend to do this when you are trying to hit a specific note. Don’t. It’s not going to help you do that. It may even mess up your performance.
You should point your chin downwards too. Avoid lifting your chin even if you are trying to hit a high note.
Your abdomen must be flat, firm, and expandable. Hands and arms must be placed at your side, leaving a small gap between them and your body.
Lastly, feet must be at least shoulder-width apart. Position one foot slightly in front of the other so you can maintain proper balance. Lean the weight of your body on the foot that is positioned forward.
Try not to lift the chin when hitting a note.
As an addition to proper posture, you should never lift your chin higher when performing. This is probably one of the most common mistakes that people make.
You can see a lot of amateur singers doing this. It’s as if they are trying to visualize the transition from low to high notes by raising the chin. But in fact, what they are doing may prevent them from doing the thing they are trying to achieve—sing better.
When you lift your head when you sing, you are straining and stretching the front portion of your throat and, at the same time, pressing down on the back of your throat. Doing this will put stress on your throat and activate unnecessary throat muscles. As a result, you may experience a sore throat. Moreover, your throat muscle will quickly get tired and put you at risk of producing a cracking voice.
Relax your throat and tongue.
Tension is one of the biggest enemies of a singer. The singer tends to tense his throat and tongue when trying to hit a note or control their breath. That is a no-no.
Tension in these areas usually takes place when the singer is trying to alter the timbre of their voices to make it sound better and stronger. In your head, you may be achieving your mission. For the audience, the sound you are producing is unnatural and uncomfortable.
This is because when the tongue contracts, it bears down on the larynx, placing unneeded pressure on your vocal folds. In the long run, your vocal folds might get damaged too.
If you tend to do this, try this simple exercise:
Step 1. Do a thumbs-up gesture.
Step 2. Gently and slowly position the thumb in the soft tissue behind your chin and under your jaw.
Step 3. Press it with your thumb. You will feel the base of your tongue if you do that.
Step 4. Let your thumb stay there for a while. While your thumb is there, slowly release your tongue and melt it down under the thumb.
Step 5. Holding that position, sing a descending five-note scale on an “ah.”
When you do this exercise, and you feel your tongue pressing down against your thumb, you have a lot of tension to address. The key here is to let your thumb remind you of the tension that you must remove. While you go down the scale, try to let your tongue soften around your finger and slowly release the tension as you sing lower notes.
As you are doing this, you will feel as if your voice is less resonant and a lot lower. Let it be. The sound you are producing is not the way you hear it inside your head.
Relax your jaw
Another part of the body that tension targets the most is the jaw. Tension in any body parts, can hurt your voice and performance.
Another type of physical tension to watch out for is the jaw tension. Most singers tend to clench their jaw to control their notes. When you do this, you will be unable to stretch your soft palate. As a result, you will have some problems reaching your upper register.
Often, you don’t have any clue that you’re doing this. To help you determine if you’re guilty of this, try doing this simple exercise.
Step 1. Make a soft and easy smile and let your jaw do that smile for a while.
Step 2. From this smile, try to open and close the hinges of your jaw.
Step 3. After that, chant “ya-ya-ya” and “la-la-la” alternately. Do this in a single pitch while going down on a 5-note scale. Make sure that your tongue is the one moving when changing the vowels. On the other hand, the jaw should be working when changing the consonants.
If your jaw moves with the vowel, locks, or closes when changing the consonants, you need to address it. You can do this by closing your mouth then swallowing. After that, breathe through your nose, then smile. Try to feel your eyes widen as you smile. Afterward, let your jaw drop again and repeat the exercise. Do this until your feel your jaw is already free enough to change the consonants.
Sing from your diaphragm.
Another common singing mistake that you should avoid is singing from the chest. You should sing from your diaphragm. This is the muscle found below the rib cage. You know you are singing from your diaphragm when your stomach expands and contracts as you sing.
This muscle pushes downwards when you are singing on an ascending note. On the other hand, it releases and pushes back up when you sing on a descending note.
To know if you are breathing from the diaphragm, follow this simple breathing exercise:
Step 1. Place your hands on your stomach.
Step 2. Inhale through your nose.
Step 3. Exhale through your mouth. As you do so, try pushing downwards and contracting your abdomen. Make a hissing sound as you breathe out. Then allow the air to go out until your stomach has flattened slowly.
To check if you can access your diaphragm, your abdomen should be pushing out when you are breathing in. Also, make sure that your chest is not moving upwards during the exercise.
Once you already know the difference, try singing a note instead of the hissing sound when exhaling. Repeat this until you can sing from your diaphragm naturally.
Train your ear.
A big part of hitting the right pitch is identifying the pitch. Being tone-deaf is the main reason why a music learner can’t seem to hit the right pitch. To address that, you need to undergo ear training.
By ear training, we are talking about the ability to hear the note, recognize it, and be able to sing it properly. With that in mind, there are two aspects of ear training that you should work on—hearing and recognizing the note and getting your voice to hit the right note.
This may seem like an easy thing to do. However, getting both of these aspects right comes with lots of challenges. Some people find it easy to spot a note but struggle when it comes to hitting it.
Lucky for you, there are plenty of exercises that are designed for ear training. Here’s one that you can try:
Step 1. Create a cup shape using your hands. You can do this by folding all your fingers toward your palm.
Step 2. Place your cupped hands behind your ears. Your fingers should be placed at the back of your ear.
Step 3. Sing the note or song you are practicing.
This is called the ear cupping exercise. It works by trapping the sound waves at a smaller pace, allowing you to hear yourself a lot. In addition to this exercise, you can also try making use of the ear training apps available for phones and tablets.
Warm up your voice properly
A proper warm-up is vital for knowing how to sing. Why is this important? When you sing, you are using your vocal cords and the inner pharynx muscles. Both of these are quite delicate, so they must be treated properly.
Warm up exercises help to stretch and relax these muscles before singing. Through warm ups, these muscles are loosened, and excess mucus is removed. As a result, your risk of injury is reduced.
With that in mind, here is a warm up exercise that you may want to try:
Step 1. Stand in front of the mirror.
Step 2. Relax your cheeks and lip muscles.
Step 3. Position your pointing fingers at the sides of your cheeks. The ring fingers will be placed at the corners of your mouth.
Step 4. Push your cheeks against your teeth. Afterward, lift your cheek upwards.
Step 5. Breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. Now, this is a lip trill.
Step 6. While you do your lip trill, try to create a long note which is in the middle of your vocal range.
Step 7. Once you get the hang of it, try experimenting with melodies and glides.
Practice proper breath control.
How important is breathing when it comes to singing? Just keep this in mind—you can’t sing if you can’t breathe. It’s that simple, but it is one thing that we often forget.
If you do not learn and practice proper breathing exercise, you may experience running out of air, huffing, and puffing, and taking catch-up breaths while singing.
There are three breath control techniques to practice, which can help improve your singing skills.
The first one is to perform breathing exercises. An easy one is the book method. You can do this by lying on the ground and placing a book in your stomach. Sing a note that you can comfortably sing. While singing or exhaling, try to make the book rise.
The second technique is learning how to inhale quickly. You can do this by inhaling while pretending that the air is heavy. Allow the air to fall deeply within your body then breathe in faster while still pretending that it is heavy. Keep on doing this until you can inhale a lot of air at the quickest time possible.
Lastly, you should control your exhalation. It is a must that you work on achieving a sustained and smooth exhalation if you want to sing well. One exhaling technique that can help you achieve this is what we love to call the blowing on a feather technique. You can do this by getting a feather and try to blow it in the air for as long as possible through one long breath.
Find your chest voice.
Chest voice refers to the voice register that you usually use when speaking. It is also your lower, warmer, and thicker tones.
To find your chest voice, place your hands on your chest, and do an m hum. The resonance buzz must be felt in between your lips while the vibration must be felt by the hand on your chest.
Start to hum at the note that you speak on. Slowly go up. As you do so, there will be a point wherein you will feel the resonance in your nose, and the vibrations in your chest are reduced. This is the shift to the head voice.
The voice that produced the strongest vibration in your chest is your chest voice.
Find your head voice.
As mentioned above, there will come a time that you will feel a shift to your head voice. It is the voice you produce to reach higher notes to the point that you will feel the sound or vibration inside your head. That is the head voice.
Sing with a mix of both chest and head voice.
After finding your head and chest voice, here comes the tricky part– finding the voice of balance between the two and using it to sing.
At this point, you need to find your mixed voice, and that is the voice you would want to sing with. This is not an easy journey, but there are lots of exercises that can help you do it. One of these is the slow controlled voice exercise which you can do by performing the following steps:
Step 1. Start using your head voice and try to bring it down to the lowest possible note before the transition to your chest voice.
Step 2. Use your chest voice and try to bring it up to the highest possible note before the transition to your head voice.
Do these steps again and again until you can develop and identify your mixed voice.
Fix your vocal break.
You know you have indeed found your mixed voice if you are using your head and chest voice at the same time without any vocal cracks or breaks. With that in mind, you should also learn how to fix your vocal break.
One exercise that can help you with this is the bratty nay. Here are the steps that you should take:
Step 1. Say “nay” in a nasal, ugly, and bitchy tone that kids use when they are throwing tantrums. In short, in a bratty voice.
Step 2. Sing the bratty “nay” in a comfortable note at the bottom of your voice. For females, try G3 and C3 for males.
Step 3. Sing an octave and a half-scale with each note replaced with a bratty “nay.”
Do this regularly to achieve great results.
Improve your vocal range.
This is an advanced technique that beginners would also benefit from. Since you already know your voice range, your next step should be to extend your vocal range.
You can do this by following these steps:
Step 1. Open your piano app again.
Step 2. Hit the lowest note in your range. You have written this down in our previous steps, so you already know this.
Step 3. From there, sing to the note that’s at the left of the note you just sang. You should do this without your voice becoming breathy, raspy, and scratchy. If you can’t achieve it yet, keep on practicing.
Step 4. Hit the highest note in your range. You have already written this one too.
Step 5. From this, sing to the note that’s at the right of the note you just hit. You should also be able to do this without your voice cracking. Practice if necessary.
You can keep on extending your range by continuing to work your way up or down by a half-step.
Don’t force your voice.
When it comes to singing, nothing should hurt. If something hurts, you’re not doing it right.
That’s why you should never force your voice when singing. If you push your voice to hit a note or sing with more power, you will strain your voice. Worse, it may even impede your development.
Improve your vocal tone.
Most people think that a good vocal tone is all about singing loud, so they exert extra effort in pushing their voice. Instead of forcing your voice, you should try to look for more efficient and safer ways on how to improve your vocal tone.
For your information, a good vocal tone is all about getting the right amount of air. When the air is too much, you will sound breathy, while too little air will sound nasal.
To find the balance in between, here are some of the things that you can do:
- Open your mouth wider when you sing. When you open up your mouth a bit more, you will have more space in your mouth. This can significantly improve not just your vocal tone but vocal placement as well.
- Breathe properly.
- Warm up before you sing.
- Relax your muscles while singing.
Establish a daily singing routine.
Practice makes perfect—this is the most important lesson that you will learn as a beginner singer.
Because of this, you should establish daily practice sessions. To do this, you need a fixed time for your practice session. Also, you need to choose a good practice spot that you feel comfortable in.
In addition to the time and place, you also need to consider what you would do during these sessions. Here are some fantastic ideas:
Practice singing exercises and vocal techniques.
Singing exercises are designed to help improve your tone, diction, and pitch. There are plenty of singing exercises that you can try.
The best ones are those exercises that can help work your voice into your hard palate, perfecting your vowels, breathing exercises and many more.
This is important to help you learn more about the sound of scale, which would come handy when constructing melodies. When practicing scales, you should focus on a wide array of scales—both minor and major.
You should start with one octave of each scale. Once you get the hang of it, you can extend more range by adding two more octaves.
Get inspired by great singers.
If you want to discover your voice, draw inspiration from singers. The first thing that you need to do is determine which genre you want to specialize in. Once you’ve made the decision, look for singers—both alive and dead– who can serve as your inspiration.
Try to learn more about your chosen artist’s life. Where did he get his inspiration? What did he do with his craft? What is it with him that you chose him?
Answering all these questions can help you determine who you want to be in the future.
Find your unique singing style.
The previous tip is about getting inspiration from singers. That is one common tip. However, some beginners would take it too much to heart to the point that they lose or unable to find their style.
Once you are done learning how to sing better, the next step that you should take is to find your unique singing style. Here’s one exercise that you can do to help you find your voice:
Step 1. Choose a phrase from one song that you love to sing.
Step 2. After that, say the word “Mum” (a British mother) at a comfortable volume. You should not be straining or run out of breath.
Step 3. Sing the melody of your chosen song phrase but replace the lyrics with “Mum.”
Step 4. Keep on doing this until you have already forgotten that you’re singing the song.
Step 5. Once you have gotten the hang of it, sing the words with the same relaxed feeling while singing the “Mum.”
And there you have it—your unique singing style!
Practice proper microphone technique.
How you use your microphone can significantly improve not just your voice but confidence as well. With that in mind, it is recommended that you adopt a good microphone technique even during your practice sessions.
To practice proper microphone technique, keep these tips in mind:
- Sing directly into the mic.
- When singing into the mic, make sure that you are one to one and a half inches away from the center of the microphone’s ball.
- To achieve a slower and more sensitive vocal, sing with your lips, almost touching the mic.
- When singing fast songs, you can back off from the mic by one to two inches.
Learn from online video lessons.
You can find lots of online video singing lessons that can give you the nitty-gritty of music theory. If you are dedicated to being a good musician, you can do an online search to find what you need to know.
Most of these videos talk about music theory and learning to sing in detail. From these, you will be able to learn about feedback loop, repertoire, and many more.
Invest in a singing course.
While watching video music lessons online is a great starting point to learning music theory, having a teacher can help you maximize your singing potential.
Online singing lessons are probably the simplest and most effective way on how to learn singing, especially for beginners. These programs have video singing lessons too. The advantage that you can get with these courses is you can have a vocal expert or a singer for a teacher. These people will share with you everything that they have learned throughout the years—overcoming stage fright, song analysis, and many more– not just music theory.
Most online singing courses even come with excellent chat support and an online community where you can meet other aspiring singers, bond with them, and go through this journey with people you can share this fantastic experience with. With this option, learning to sing can be made more fun.
If you want to sign up for any of the available singing programs online, make sure that the investment is well worth it. To ensure this, look for courses with free trials and moneyback guarantees.
Can You Finally Learn to Sing?
Can you learn to sing? Of course! There are plenty of tips on how to sing better for beginners. And while you can teach yourself how to sing, there are lots of singing programs taught by an expert voice coach who can help you be better at singing.
You have all the tips that we have provided in determining how to teach yourself to sing. Put all of these into practice, and there is no doubt that you will be a better singer.