Singing is an art. Some people are born knowing how to sing, but this does not mean that they are the only people who can sing well.
An online singing lesson can correct the faults, as also enhance the technique of those who already know how to sing. In this article, we shall present some tips for you to make use of your voice with more assurance and show how to practise singing in a simple way.
Let us now look at 10 steps to singing well. The first step is:
1) Learn how to find your vocal range
First of all, it is important to know at what pitch you feel most comfortable when singing. A difficult and inadequate pitch may make your voice lose strength and power, and also have an adverse effect on your vocal timbre and put stress on your vocal cords.
But what is it that defines your vocal classification? The main factors are the size and the shape of your larynx. But relax, you do not have to get a ruler to measure your vocal range. All you need to do is to have a straightforward test, as there is a basic classification system for male and female voices.
For male voices we have tenor, baritone, and bass. In the case of women’s voices, we have contralto, mezzo-soprano, and soprano. To understand what these names really mean, it is important for you to grasp the concept of an octave. When, for example, we talk about Do 3, Do 4 and Do 5 in this explanation, the number to the right of the note shows which octave we are talking about. Do 4 is one octave higher than Do 3, and one octave below Do 5. For you to find out what this means, you should know that Do 2 is the note on the fifth string, the third fret of the guitar. Do not worry if this terminology is complicated, at the moment, as during our singing course we shall explain this through practical examples.
To see the correct placing of these octaves on the piano, please refer to the illustrations in the article: how to read sheet music. However, calm down: there is no need to know everything about scores in order to learn how to sing!
So let us start. The tenor is the male singer who feels most comfortable singing the octaves between Do 2 and Do 4.
The baritone is most comfortable singing between La 1 and La 3 (Note that the 5th loose string of the guitar is La 1).
Finally the bass has a vocal range between Fa 1 and Fa 3 (Fa 1 is the sixth string of the guitar, first fret).
If you are male, take this test together with your instrument, to see which of these octaves you can reach, and at which octaves you feel most at ease when singing. This way you will find out if you are a tenor, a baritone, or a bass.
If you are female, take the same test but considering the following octaves:
Soprano: Do 3 – Do 5.
Mezzo-soprano: La 2 – La 4.
Contralto: Fa 2 – Fa 4.
There are other categories, but these that are shown here are the most common. We shall not continue with the step-by-step process, so you can learn how to sing well:
2) See how to sing in your preferred musical style
Now that you know which pitch you manage to sing at, you should choose a musical style that you like, to practice. There are many details and “characteristics” typical of each style of music; for this reason, it is interesting to see how singers exploit vocal techniques within their styles, in order to train and enhance these techniques at a later date.
The third step is very important before the exercises get under way:
3) Learn to warm up your voice
It is very important to warm up your voice before starting your performance. First, sing the notes that are in the middle of your vocal range; then go to the lower-pitched notes of your vocal range and return to the middle. Then do the same with the notes of higher pitch, everything being done with the help of a musical instrument.
Practise at least 10 minutes every day for each region of notes, and never force your voice if you cannot reach a certain note. Just relax and try again. Do not worry, as even if these exercises seem to be “a waste of time”, in fact you are already learning to sing through these exercises, as they are part of the process of development of your voice. After that, you shall be ready to practise the exercises.
4) Practise vocalises
To make vocalises is to sing many notes in sequence (do, re, mi – for example) using some specific phoneme, such as ma, mu, pa, po, la, or just an open vowel such as a, e or i. You choose the phoneme and sing the notes together with a musical instrument, Vocalises are very important for practising the tuning of your voice (singing in tune is the most important thing of all, so be sure to give special attention to this point).
This is excellent for training your voice and for acquiring vocal precision. Do this by using musical scales, such as a major scale, the pentatonic scale, etc. This will also help you in the future, with improvisation. However, do not worry about theory too much right now. Theory will be important in the future when you are studying more important topics.
5) Train your singing speed
Perform vocalising exercises, also practising the speed at which you manage to shift from one note to another while maintaining precision. Start slowly, going and returning, and then gradually increase your speed. This shall make your voice more flexible. For beginners, this could be a bit difficult to begin with, but then, slowly but surely, you shall succeed in executing this step.
Within the speed training you can also work on your rhythm. Observe the speed at which the singer utters every phrase, and try to imitate the singer.
6) Learn how to work on your vocal dynamics
Vocal dynamics can bring a new lease of life to your interpretations. Choose a comfortable tone, and start expanding your voice to a louder volume. Then decrease again, to a milder and less intense voice.
7) Pronounce vowels correctly when singing
Good diction is also essential for good singing. Practise vowels a lot, also sustaining some excerpts from well-known songs containing open vowels, such as: “Am[aaaaai]zing Gr[aaaaaai]ce”.
8) Follow tips regarding posture, to sing well
A singing lesson is also a lesson in posture! Try to stay erect, standing up, with one foot a bit in front of the other but aligned with your shoulders. This shall enable easier breathing. If you are sitting down, the same rule applies to this scenario. Keep both feet on the ground, without crossing your legs. An aligned body allows greater control and sustenance of the singing voice without any tension. This is a very simple detail, but learning to have good posture means that a beginner in singing can already act as a professional.
9) Eat well
Fruit, especially citrus fruit, can be a great help in improving your voice, as they have adstringent action, cleaning and thinning the saliva in your larynx. More specifically, apples help to avoid throat clearing (throat irritation) which hurts the vocal cords.
Of course, do not forget to drink a lot of water at room temperature, as this is very important for the lubrication of the vocal cords, which also makes it easier for your voice to reach its most pleasant tone.
10) Record yourself singing a song
To better analyse your voice as a whole, record yourself singing and then listen with close attention. Try to find errors in aspects such as tuning, dynamics and the like. Analyse your voice carefully, and try to correct the errors by carrying out the exercises we suggest here. Then record your voice again and see if things have improved. Try to step up the level of difficulty of the songs gradually, learning to sing each part of the song separately.
11) Learn how to sing by looking at the most common mistakes:
It is very important that you know what you should not do. Many errors often go unnoticed, meaning that we need to identify such mistakes and correct them. In the following lesson, we present the most common mistakes made by those who are starting to learn how to sing.