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Music Director

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Director of A&R

Do you want to improve your singing?

Are you amazed by artists you hear who can really, really sing? Singing is all about connecting with your inner voice so that you can express your emotions through your music. There are many ways to work on improving your singing, as we will cover in this article.

The voice is unique as an instrument in that it physically emanates from inside your body. While it helps to understand and develop your vocal technique, it’s most important for you to realize your creative ability as well. This means learning about your abilities and limitations as a Singer, figuring out what you want to express with your music, and then finding and using all the tools at your disposal.

Whether you love singing in the car or onstage in front of a live audience, if you want to learn more about how to sing and improve your vocal performance it’s smart to connect with some Vocal Coaches, Instructors, and other pros to learn how to sing properly, get some tips, and hone your skills to get to a professional level.

That’s what we did, and here are some of their main pointers and key advice for anyone who loves singing and wants to improve their skills.

Here are 9 things you should work on if you want to learn how to sing better:

  1. Learn proper breathing
  2. Understand proper posture for singing
  3. Stay healthy and hydrated
  4. Practice vocal warmups
  5. Understand your vocal range
  6. Know how to improve your pitch (Intonation)
  7. Study the greats
  8. Practice diction and scales
  9. Build your confidence

The Most Commonly Asked Questions About How to Sing

Can you learn to sing if you have a “bad” voice?

Tom Stein

The voice is a uniquely personal instrument, and no two people will ever sound exactly the same. Some Singers are great imitators while others innovate by developing their own style. Whether a voice is “good” or “bad” is a subjective idea at best; what appeals to one person might not appeal to another. The success of a Singer depends at least partially on whether they can find an audience who appreciates them and their singing.

There are plenty of examples of successful Singers who could be said to have less than great voices: Tom Waits, Bjork, Jimi Hendrix, Randy Newman, and Ringo Starr come to mind. Similarly, there’s not much to be gained by comparing Sade with Celine Dion, or Billie Eilish with Aretha Franklin.

What some Singers may lack in technique can be more than compensated for by authentic feeling and style. Even Adele or David Bowie can be heard singing slightly out of tune if their vocal tracks are isolated from the mix. This doesn’t detract from their vocal performance and might even enhance it since it shows their vulnerability and authenticity in full form.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to improve your singing voice, and there are many ways to do so, as working with a Vocal Coach or Teacher can reveal to you. Almost anyone can learn to sing better regardless of where they stand today if they are willing to put in the time and effort to improve.

How do I begin to sing?

Tom Stein

Most Singers begin by singing along with the recordings they love to listen to. It’s important to first internalize the style of singing that most appeals to you and listening to the great recordings is a good way to start. Careful listening is a useful tool that will never leave you when you have developed the skill to really hear what is going on in the music.

It’s helpful for the vocal neophyte to learn to play an instrument as well; most choose the piano or guitar as it’s also good for self-accompaniment. Learning the notes, scales, and chords and being able to play them on an instrument is super-helpful for anyone learning to sing since you can use them to check your singing voice for accuracy. Don’t be afraid of learning music and music theory, it’s incredibly useful and there’s nothing inherently difficult about it.

Moving forward, it’s very helpful to have a Voice Teacher or Coach, as we discuss throughout this article. Their knowledge and experience can guide you through all the steps you’ll take to improve your singing. Some of the specific things you’ll learn here include proper breathing and posture for singing, vocal warm-ups and warm-downs, improving your pitch (intonation), diction, and phrasing, learning your vocal range (lowest to highest note you can sing), and tips for maintaining vocal health.

You’ll also learn to build confidence in your singing by singing in front of others, whether it’s your Teacher, other musicians in the ensemble, or a live audience. A Teacher can open all the doors for you, and it’s smart to find a good one if you possibly can.

How do you sing beautifully?

Tom Stein

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but there are some defined areas which taken together could begin to objectively describe beautiful singing in a live performance:

  1. Intonation: Is the singing “in tune?”
  2. Diction: Can we understand the words?
  3. Rhythmic Interpretation: Is the rhythmic phrasing effective, natural, and appropriate to the style?
  4. Vocal Quality: Does the voice sound clear, full, and healthy? Is there a “rasp” or does it sound thin or strained?
  5. Song Choice and Preparation: Is the song a good song for the Singer to sing? Is it in the right key? Is there an effective musical arrangement to complement the voice?
  6. Stage Presence: Does the Singer use their body/hand movements, facial expressions, and appropriate attire to enhance their vocal performance and connect with the audience?
  7. Dynamics: Does the Singer use variations in singing levels and intensity to improve the listeners’ interest in and perception of the song?

Note that there will always SOME subjectivity in evaluating vocal performances since each listener comes with some preconceptions of what beautiful singing is to them. This is why judges in talent shows sometimes give very different scores. But these seven areas above can give you some insight into what most people would consider beautiful singing. Sometimes it’s fine to like something because YOU think it’s beautiful, regardless of what others think.

Does humming improve Singing?

Tom Stein

According to many voice teachers and vocal coaches, humming is a great vocal warm-up exercise because it doesn’t strain or push your vocal cords. With the tip of your tongue touching the back of your bottom front teeth, hum up and down a major scale with your mouth closed. Make the “h” sound at the start of every note as you hum. Other humming warm-up exercises are the vocal straw exercise and the lip and tongue trill exercises.

For the vocal straw exercise (also called straw phonation), simply hum through a straw. Start from the bottom of your range and slowly and evenly perform a vocal slide up to the top (like a long, slow siren). Then, hum your favorite song through the straw. You can also blow controlled bubbles in a partially full glass of water while you hum for this exercise.  For the lip trill, or lip buzz, make your lips vibrate as you blow air through your mouth and nose at the same time. Hum to make a sound like a motorboat. For tongue trills, curl your tongue, rolling your R’s as you hum through your range from bottom to top These humming exercises are great for both warming up and warming (or cooling) down.

Learning How to Sing

If you’ve been wanting to learn how to sing, you’re probably wondering what the best route is. Can you teach yourself? Should you find a Vocal Coach to help you? What if you can’t take in-person lessons right now?

We asked several respected Vocal Coaches, Singers, and College Faculty for their advice on learning how to sing.

In this article, you’ll learn what this diverse range of professionals suggests for peak vocal performance:

  • Mark Baxter (Vocal Teacher)
  • Debra Byrd (Vocal Coach)
  • Amanda Carr (Jazz Singer & Music Instructor)
  • Cari Cole (Vocal Coach)
  • Teri Danz (Vocal Coach, Recording Artist, Vocal Producer)
  • Jeannie Gagné (Berklee Professor)
  • Mama Jan (Singer, Songwriter, Producer, Vocal Coach)
  • Lis Lewis (Voice Teacher, Performance Coach)

Can you teach yourself to sing?

Cari Cole (Courtney Love, Diane Birch, American Idol & The Voice Finalists)

I taught myself to sing until I started vocal lessons. You can sing along to other Singers, copy their vibrato and the way they’re singing. There’s a lot you can learn just by singing along with other Singers. But at a certain point, if you want to take it more seriously, you do need to train because you want to protect the health of your voice. Studying technique can also dramatically expand your potential.

Teri Danz (2019 Billboard Chart-toppers Sweet Eve, Ximxia, Kian Blume)

You can teach yourself to sing, to a certain point, but it is better if you are taught by someone or come from a musical family that sings. My dad was a musician. He would play clarinet, and he could also sing. When I was growing up, my sister would sing one part and I would sing another. My dad would play another on the clarinet. This is the way that you learn early how to do harmonies.

Also, music is a community thing. It’s not something you can do for very long in a vacuum. Like if you start playing guitar, you want to play wit