Tuning your voice is one of the most important parts of singing. There is no way you can sing well if your voice is not tuned. However, can one train the tuning of the voice?
Yes! The pitch of the voice is something that can be trained and encouraged. Each person is born with a certain inborn skill for singing, so it is only natural that some people have more talent than others. However, this can all be trained and developed, even if nowadays you sing very much out of tune.
The ideal situation would be for you to practice for many days, always trying to imitate the correct sound.
What does it mean “to sing in tune”?
You have surely heard a lot about singing in tune and well know that, out of all the skills shown by a “good singer”, singing in tune is very important! However, just what does it mean to sing in tune?
In a nutshell, the skill of singing in tune means being able to hear and perceive a note and accurately reproduce it.
This process starts with hearing the sound that reproduces an “image” in our mind (this is known as hearing perception) and then, in the end, the brain instructs our muscles (vocal cords) to emit the desired sound! This is very interesting, isn’t it?
If you have ever had the opportunity to sing with a large group of people who have never had lessons in voice preparation, you will probably have noticed that, within the group, some of the voices “stand out”, meaning that these people, having difficulties to perceive or reproduce the notes correctly, end up disharmonising the choir. Dissonance is something that really stands in the way of any singer!
Types of dissonance
When we talk about dissonance, we can think of two types of people: those who show dissonance in most chords of a song (and who end up bringing great distortion to the melody) and those who show dissonance only in a few notes of the song.
The situation can be reversed in both these situations! Despite the difficulties, singing in tune is a skill that can be enhanced and even CONQUERED! You just need the patience and the perseverance to achieve these goals!
To improve the harmony of your pitch
The Simplifying Music team has prepared a checklist especially for you, to check the harmony of your pitch. These are practical tips that shall help you to sing with a much more harmonious pitch.
- Do a lot of exercises!
As we have already said, singing in tune is a skill that can be conquered and learnt. The learning of new skills includes the acquisition of habits. This means that it is necessary to practice one same exercise many times, until it becomes a habit. In this way, we shall construct learning: by REPEATING and REPEATING exercises, over and over again. (Remember when you did your multiplication sums? You had to do the exercises many times, right?
There are some apps (available for iPhone, iPad and Android) which have excellent exercises for you to train the your singing pitch.
Below we present some of our recommended apps:
The Voice Training app plays a note, or sequence of notes, on the piano. Then you sing what you have heard, and the app tells you if you have sung the piece of music correctly.
In other words, the app simulates a practical singing lesson, with the piano being used as a ‘guide instrument’ for the notes.
The Musical Perception app, available for Apple and Android) is excellent for the training of your perception of musical sounds, but here you need to have some prior knowledge of reading scores to perform the exercises. In the part with the title of “melodious exercises”, you need to listen to the sequence of notes and recognize the pitch (intervals) by clicking on the alternative that corresponds to what you have heard. This app does not let you move on to the next phase if you do not get it right, but do not give up!
- Listen many times to the piece of music that you wish to learn, and concentrate on the sound of every note you hear. Use earphones so you will be able to pay more attention.
- Practise breathing exercises.
Breathing is the “fuel” thanks to which we can sing the notes. Therefore, if there is shortage of air, we lose our breath, meaning greater difficulty to sustain the note, meaning that in the end we may sing out of tune.