Melodies soothing one’s soul, songs with quirky rhythms, and fun lyrics can make one stand up and shake a leg. Millions of stories are told, innumerable emotions are felt, and countless lives are touched through the art of singing. You must be interested in this art form and if you want to learn to sing you have come to the right place. In this blog, we will be talking about how to learn to sing. We will explore different topics, and go through a few basics that are extremely essential for beginners. Let’s dive in!
Can I Learn to Sing?
There can be many of you who are reading this blog and might have various questions going through your mind. Such as “Aren’t I too old to start learning how to sing?”, “What should be the correct age to start my musical journey?” or “Is it even possible for me to learn how to sing?”
I would like to put all your mind at ease and would happily let you all know that “Anyone can learn how to sing at any age!” Learning how to sing does not depend on one’s age. The things one must possess in order to learn how to sing are determination, interest in singing, perseverance, concentration, and genuine love for music. For some, singing might come easier and naturally but don’t be disheartened. Your road might be longer but if you put ample amount of hard work and constant effort you will surely reach your goal. Do not give up!
Exploring the basics for singing
To learn singing one must first pay attention to the basics. Basics are extremely crucial. Having strong basics automatically helps you in elevating your singing skills. Furthermore, it also helps in learning and picking up new techniques and skills in a much more efficient and effective manner. The basics include posture, breathing, and tone of one’s voice among others.
First and foremost, one must focus on their posture. Having the correct posture while singing helps in preventing the creation of tension in specific places in one’s body. Furthermore, it is essential when projecting vocals or for proper breathing. To attain the correct posture, one must focus on the alignment of their body parts.
Feet and Hips
Begin with standing on your feet. Now try to distribute your body weight equally between the heels of your feet, the small toe, and the big toe. The three points together are called the tripod. It will help you in getting a good hold on your balance. Try not to put weight specifically on one of the points as it creates tension in one’s body. Many might prefer to align their feet according to their shoulder width. It may work for some and might not work for others. In such a case, align your feet under your hips. Try to align your hips in the centre position. The correct position of the hips helps in the alignment of one’s back as well.
Shoulder, Chest, and Spine
Relax your shoulders and position them slightly back and slanted downwards. While doing so try to put your chest out. Putting your chest out will help in the lengthening of one’s spine. Try to lean a bit forward. Avoid slouching or putting your chest out excessively as it will result in the locking of your lower back and spine.
Head and Chin
Try to put your head into a neutral position. Improper head posture will result in neck tension. The position of your chin can easily help you in determining the correct posture of your head. The chin should always be parallel to the floor.
Breathing for Singing
One of the essentials for any vocalist is to learn how to breathe properly. Correct breathing automatically helps in improving one’s singing skills. Proper breathing provides support and strength to the voice of the singer. It also helps in preventing and minimizing the pressure and stress on one’s vocal cords. There are plenty of ways to learn to improve proper breathing and breath control. We are going to explore a few of those ways.
The technique of breathing through the diaphragm helps in inhaling a greater amount of air. Which acts as a support when singing. Let us first identify your breathing pattern. Breathe in and breathe out, when doing so notice your body movements. If your stomach goes inside while breathing in and goes out when breathing out, then you are not breathing through your diaphragm.
You can compare this technique of breathing to the act of filling air into a balloon. When air is filled inside a balloon the balloon expands and when the air is released from the balloon it contracts. Just like that when you inhale your diaphragm should expand and when you exhale it should contract.
Diaphragm Breathing Exercise
- The exercise mentioned below can help you to learn the diaphragm breathing technique.
- Stand in the correct posture; body aligned.
- Put your hands on your stomach and breathe.
- When you inhale stretch your stomach outwards
- Push your stomach inwards when you exhale.
- If you are initially having trouble getting into the breathing pattern. Use your hands that lay on your stomach to guide your movement.
Learning how to take quick breaths trains you to sing faster and beats and notes like the 16th or 32nd notes. To do so try the following exercises:
- Gasping: Gasp in shock. When practicing gasping use, the diaphragm breathing technique. Thus, push your naval out when gasping.
- Panting: Panting helps in developing stamina. Stick your tongue out and relax your tongue. Choose a note and say “ha” on that note. Pay attention to the movement of your diaphragm it should go in and then move out.
Warming Up Your Voice
Before you start practicing never forget to “Warm Up” your voice. Just like before any game athletes stretch and warm up their bodies. For attaining the full functionality of the muscles. And also, to prevent any harm to the muscles of their body. We also use different sets of muscles when singing whether it be the facial muscles or the muscle which make up our vocal cords. Warm-ups can consist of different types of vocal exercises that target different areas of the body which are required for different sets of skills when singing. Here are a few exercises that one can do to warm up their voice.
- Body Warm-up: Stretch your body; arms, shoulders, back, and facial muscles release all the tension from your body. Align your body and stand in the correct posture as mentioned above.
- Lip Trills: Also known as lip buzzing. Just as it sounds, press your lips together and try releasing air. The sound should be similar to the sound when riding a bike. And move from a lower scale to a higher scale. They help in strengthening breath control and relaxing your facial muscles.
- Sing Vowels: Try to sing vowels. The vowel “ee” helps in building resonance in one’s voice and, “oo” and “aa” help in widening your mouth and dropping your jaw. Sing these vowels going up and down the scales.
- Try Singing Different Scales: When warming up add different scales in your exercises, such as the major scale, natural minor scale, or the harmonic scale. The audios and the pictures mentioned below are the examples of mentioned scales.
Natural Minor scale
Harmonic Minor scale
Learn to Sing on Pitch
Pitch refers to the frequency that our vocal cords produce when we speak or sing. The faster the frequency higher the pitch of the sound produced and the slower the frequency the lower the pitch of the sound. Singing on the pitch means singing or producing the frequencies that match the pitch of the notes of a given song. You can prepare yourself to sing on the pitch through the following exercises mentioned below:
Exercises for Singing on Pitch
- Let out a Sigh: Take a long deep sigh. When sighing, try to relax and release all the built-up tension in your body. Start with sighing on a higher scale and slowly gradually sigh on a lower scale.
- Massage your Facial Muscles: To release all the tension around your face. Massage all the muscles on your face.
- Yawn and Drop your Jaw: You need to open your mouth and jaw as wide and low as possible. The opening of your mouth and jaw leads to the opening of your throat as well. It results in producing a stronger and more stable voice. Yawn and try dropping your jaw. Keep in mind that you not only want to open the front space that is the chin area but also the back space as well the area between the ear and the jaw.
- Yawn Inside your Mouth: Press your lips together and yawn. You will feel the inside of your mouth and throat stretching. This exercise helps in releasing the tension from inside your mouth and throat.
If you want to know more about singing on pitch. Check out Singing on Pitch. The article covers topics like pitch perfection, pitch matching, and other topics that will be beneficial for learning how to sing on the pitch.
Head Voice, Chest Voice, and Mixed Voice
Focus on identifying and training your head voice, chest voice, and mixed voice. Two different sets of muscles are used when singing in head voice and chest voice.
The chest voice is the heavier, lower sound and is a part of your vocal register. Let’s help in identifying one’s chest voice. Keep your hands on your chest and speak. You will feel vibrations in your chest area. The voice produced is the chest voice. The chest voice has thicker deeper and lower tonal qualities. Whereas belting creates a more brassy sound. If you try singing higher notes through your chest voice, your voice will sound strained and flat. Do not confuse chest voice with belting. This is where the head voice comes in.
The head voice is lighter, brighter, and softer. It is a part of your higher vocal register. Say the vowel “OO” from low range to high range like a siren. You will feel the vibrations in your head. The voice produced is your head voice. Do not confuse head voice with falsetto. The head voice has a clean and clear tonal quality. Whereas, falsetto produces an airy and breathy sound. If you want to be able to hit both high and low notes. Also, make the transition between your chest voice and head voice effortlessly you need to use your mixed voice.
Mixed voice is the blending of the head voice and the chest voice. A well-developed mixed voice can smoothly and easily travel and navigate through the chest voice and the head voice. All singers work towards having a good hold on the mixed voice.
Learning about the head voice, chest voice and mixed voice can help in identifying one’s vocal range and voice type. If you want to find out your vocal range and voice type, check out our article “Vocal range.”
Try learning different singing techniques and methods one such method is belting.
Learn to Belt
After you have sufficiently trained your head voice, chest voice, and mixed voice. Try to learn the technique of belting. Belting is a method where you use the strength of your chest voice and sing the notes of your head voice. To better understand the meaning of belting and ways to learn how to belt. Check our article “Belting in Singing” which covers these topics and more in detail.
Learn songs in pieces
- Listen and Visualize: When you try to learn a song. Listen to it repeatedly. Try to visualize the notes in your mind.
- Emulate the singer: Sing along with the singer, and try to follow the way in which they are singing and pick up the notes. When you are confident enough stop the song and sing by yourself. As mentioned above visualize the notes in your mind and try following them when singing the song out loud.
- Record yourself: To better understand your strengths and drawbacks. Record yourself when singing. You can listen to yourself, and identify the areas in which you need to improve.
Singing is like a puzzle and the skills and techniques are numerous pieces of it. Finding them one by one in our cases learning and putting them together. Makes an ordinary person a singer. Given all the ways, tips and tricks the most important thing is to love music and keep singing.