Singorama – Essential Guide To Singing.
1 : Learn to Sing
Have you always wanted to become a singer? Many people dream of singing, but few take the steps required to learn. Here are some quick tips that will teach you how to learn singing, on your own or with assistance:
How to Learn Singing – Before You Begin
Before you begin, listen to a lot of different songs in many genres. This will help you settle on a style that best suits your voice and personality. Do you want to sing rock music? Opera? Maybe country and western or rhythm and blues suits your style best.
Next, start practicing to find your natural vocal range. Sing a note that you can comfortably hit. Then sing progressively higher notes until your sound quality decreases. Go back to the first note and then sing down the scale to find the bottom of your range.
This is an informal exercise, but it will help you get an idea of which notes you can comfortably sing, and which ones you need to work on.
How to Learn Singing – Self-Study
Many vocalists teach themselves to sing. Learning to sing by listening to other singers, without formal training, is called ‘singing by ear’. While some classically trained vocalists frown on this approach, it can lay the foundation for strong pitch recognition.
The problem with learning to sing by ear is that you can develop bad habits that are difficult to break later in life. Professional lessons can be expensive, though. Many singers find middle ground by using self-study courses.
Self-study singing courses typically contain videos or audio files that guide you through warm-ups and vocal exercises. They can help you expand your lung capacity, control your breathing, increase your vocal range, and sing smoothly across your vocal breaks.
If you decide to go this route, read reviews before you purchase a product. Some systems are better than others, so user reviews can be very helpful. You can find self-study singing courses online, or at your local library or book store.
How to Learn Singing – Professional Help
If you would prefer to do your learning face-to-face, consider signing up for singing lessons. Look for voice coaches in your area, or get a referral from friends who have had a good experience with a particular instructor.
If the cost of voice lessons is a little steep for your budget, try joining a choir at your school, church, or community center. This will give you access to an instructor and other singers that you can trade tips and techniques with.
How to Learn Singing – Advanced Techniques
After you’ve spent some time practicing, you might decide that you really enjoy singing and want to do more of it. It can be a little daunting to sing solo when you’re accustomed to singing with a group, but a little practice will decrease nervousness.
You can use your self-study course or your instructor to learn advanced techniques like perfecting your head voice, reaching into your falsetto range, and developing a vibrato. You will also learn to read music and transpose your favorite songs into a different key so that you can sing them easily.
Now you know how to learn singing without putting a huge dent in your bank account. Have fun experimenting with different musical styles and gaining confidence in your voice!
2: Vocal Exercises
There are a number of vocal exercises that you can use to improve the tone and quality of your voice. Some of these exercises can even help you develop a much broader vocal range. Here are a few classics to get you started:
Vocal Exercises: Warm-Ups
Your vocal chords need to be warmed up before you sing. Warming up helps protect your pipes from injury, and it also helps you sing a lot better.
To start, practice singing up and down the C chromatic scale a half-step at a time. This will force you to hit lots of subtle notes, and will give your voice a smoother quality.
The yawning technique is another approach. Open your mouth and sing a note. Now, without pausing for breath, keep singing the note while you change the pitch. Think of the way your voice gets higher when you yawn. This exercise should have a similar effect. Use it to go from the bottom of your range to the very top.
Try to spend at least 10 to 15 minutes warming up before you rehearse or perform.
Vocal Exercises: Range
One popular exercise to help you increase your vocal range involves playing notes on an instrument and singing along with them until you can’t sing any higher (or lower). With the help of a tuning device or a musical instrument, you can quickly identify your natural vocal range.
Other range-expanding vocal exercises focus on building a strong middle voice, which is a voice that combines the chest and head voices. Practice singing across your natural vocal break. As you sing, pay attention to where each note vibrates in your throat. Chest voice notes will vibrate lower in your vocal chords; head voice notes often vibrate at the back of your soft palate.
Practice these notes until you can routinely produce them with good quality and voice control. Go a step higher each week until you can sing well above your natural range.
Vocal Exercises: Pitch
Perfect pitch comes naturally to a rare few individuals. Most of us have to practice at it. Fortunately, there are vocal exercises that can help you improve your pitch.
The easiest way is to play a note on an instrument or in a sound software program, and sing that note as it plays. When you match the pitch perfectly, there will be a resonance that isn’t present when you sing off-pitch.
You can also practice pitch with other vocalists. Try harmonizing with another singer or two, with one singer taking the higher notes, one taking middle notes, and one taking lower notes. When you’re all on pitch, the result will be a resonating harmony.
Vocal Exercises: Volume
Volume is another important part of vocals. Sometimes you will need to sing at a higher volume, especially if you sing opera or rock music, or if you sing with a band that plays loudly.
Finding your natural volume is a lot like finding your natural range. Simply start out at a regular volume, singing in your speaking voice. Sing gradually louder until you can no longer sing comfortably. That is your natural volume range.
You can increase your volume by identifying your diaphragm (the band of muscle beneath your ribcage) and using it to push out your voice as you sing. Exhale sharply; the muscle that tightens when you exhale is your diaphragm.
These vocal exercises will help you identify and increase your natural range and volume, and add power to your notes. Practice daily to develop the best tone possible.
3: Singing High Notes
Many singers wonder how to sing high notes with power and richness. The notes that fall within speaking voice range are easy to sing, but higher notes are notoriously difficult for beginners.
If you’d like to learn how to sing high notes without compromising your vocal quality, use these tips to get started:
How to Sing High Notes: Finding Your Upper Limit
You can find the upper limit of your vocal range by singing progressively higher notes until you can no longer sing comfortably. The highest note you can sing without straining is the top note on your natural vocal range.
Use a guitar, organ, or other properly tuned instrument to help you identify the notes in your range. Play a note, then match your voice to it. Keep doing this until you reach the top of your range.
Any notes above the top of your vocal range will require some practice. The goal is to learn how to sing high notes with good vocal control and without straining your voice.
How to Sing High Notes: Spanning Your Vocal Break
As you reach the top of your range, you will notice that there is a point where your voice changes in quality. The deeper notes are sung in your “chest voice”, which is close to your regular speaking voice. This is the voice that resonates deep in your throat or chest.
At some point, your voice will shift to a lighter, airier sound that reverberates in the top of your throat or back of your mouth. Some people describe this voice as nasal, but that’s not accurate. This higher, thinner voice is known as the “head voice”, because it resonates higher in your head.
The point where this switch occurs is known as your vocal break. Beginning singers find it difficult to sing notes immediately above and below this break, but with some practice, you can learn to bridge this break and sing most songs seamlessly.
How to Sing High Notes: Improving Your Head Voice
There are two major steps you can take to improve the quality of your head voice. First, you’ll need to develop your “mixed voice”, which is a combination of your chest and head voices.
The mixed voice is the result of practice; most people don’t come by it naturally, but experienced singers incorporate it so smoothly that it’s impossible to tell when they switch from chest voice to head voice.
To strengthen your mixed voice, you need to sing the notes around your vocal break. As you sing progressively higher, you should practice using a bit less of your chest voice and a bit more of your head voice. You can practice this skill by paying attention to where each note resonates in your throat and mouth, and putting slightly more emphasis on the “head” notes as you go along.
Over time, you will learn to place the notes where you want, making the transition from chest to head voice very smooth.
How to Sing High Notes: Breath and Diaphragm Support
The second part of singing higher notes with ease is learning to use your breathing and diaphragm to support the high notes. Without breath and diaphragm support, your head voice will sound thin and reedy. With breath and diaphragm support, it will sound rich and strong like your chest voice.
Practice rationing your voice as you exhale a note, not letting it out too fast. This will help you sustain high notes and give them just the right amount of breath support.
Your diaphragm is the muscle in your stomach area that flexes when you laugh or exhale sharply. Practice flexing it as you sing to give extra support to your high notes for a more powerful sound.
With your full vocal range and the power of your breath and diaphragm behind you, you’ll soon learn how to sing high notes like a pro – and how to belt out money notes your audience will never forget!
4 : Singing Lessons For Beginners
Learning to sing can be a bit daunting at times, especially when you’re not sure where to begin. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to find singing lessons for beginners. Whatever your budget or skill level, there is a type of singing lesson that’s right for you.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Singing Lessons for Beginners: Private Lessons
Private singing lessons with an experienced vocal coach are perhaps the quickest way to develop a good singing voice. They are also the most expensive way, since you pay hourly or by the half hour for a series of lessons which could take months.
Private lessons give you one-on-one time with your instructor. This gives you the opportunity to ask questions, receive highly personalized advice, and work on overcoming bad habits you may have developed.
Look for a vocal coach in your area by searching through the classifieds, scrolling through the phone directory, or asking friends and colleagues to recommend a good one. Even if you only take a few private sessions, you could end up with valuable knowledge that will benefit your voice for life.
Singing Lessons for Beginners: Group Practice
If private lessons won’t fit into your budget, consider joining a vocal group instead. This could be a school choir, a church choir, or any vocal ensemble in your area. Look for classified ads or notices in your local music stores. Some junior colleges and community centers have singing groups that perform at local events.
The downside to vocal groups is that you might be required to audition before you can join. Brand new singers might find this difficult. If you manage to get into the group, though, you will be able to learn from the instructor and the other vocalists. You will also be able to practice harmonizing with other singers.
Singing Lessons for Beginners: Online Courses
Online courses can be very helpful for aspiring singers who don’t have a voice coach or vocal group nearby, or for those who would rather pay a one-time fee than pay for ongoing lessons.
Most online singing courses contain video or audio lessons, informational books and charts, and sound recording software programs. These programs allow you to record your singing and play it back to identify trouble spots and measure your progress.
Many of these courses were developed by professional singers or voice coaches, and they are affiliated with web sites and communities where you can ask questions and receive tips from other singers of all skill levels.
Since online courses can be pricey, you should read several unbiased user reviews before settling on one. Choose one that fits your budget, contains plenty of content, and comes with a money-back guarantee.
Singing Lessons for Beginners: Other Study Guides
Of course, you can also find self-study singing guides in print and on DVD. Look at your local bookstores or check out a course from your local library. You might be able to find some good deals, along with user reviews, on Amazon or eBay.
Whether you take your singing lessons from a private instructor, with a group, or on your own, remember that practice is the key to becoming a skilled singer. Natural talent can give you a leg up, but daily practice sessions will help you become more polished and confident.
5 : Develop Vocal Range
All singers have a natural vocal range; that is, they have a series of notes that they feel most comfortable singing. For some, this is a range of low notes. Others can sing higher notes without difficulty.
Do you know what your vocal range is? Do you want to expand it? There are ways to measure your vocal range and techniques you can use to master the notes above and below your range.
Measuring Your Vocal Range
Unless you have the help of an instructor, you will need some sort of tuning guide to help you measure your range. This could be a piano, organ, guitar, or a tuning software program.
First, make sure the instrument is properly tuned. Then play a middle ‘C’. Match your voice to the note that the instrument plays. Then play up the C chromatic scale (C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, C) and match your voice to each note in succession.
Keep going up the scale until you switch from your chest voice to your head voice. This natural shift is called your ‘vocal break’. The chest voice is deeper and resonates lower in your throat. The head voice is thinner and resonates at the back of your soft palate.
The highest note you can comfortably sing without straining is the top of your vocal range. This will change over time; singing exercises and regular practice can help you sing higher, and factors like age and tobacco use can deepen the voice.
After you’ve found the upper limit of your vocal range, play down the scale (C, B, Bb, A, Ab, G, Gb, F, E, Eb, D, Db, C) to find the lowest note you can comfortably sing. This is the bottom of your range.
Expanding Your Vocal Range
It takes time and practice to develop a wider vocal range, but vocalists do it all the time. To start, practice singing the notes near the top of your range. You might notice that you have some difficulty singing them with good quality and control, but that will improve over time.
Begin by adding 1 to 3 notes to the top of your vocal range. These might be notes that transcend your vocal break. If so, you will need to develop a mixed voice that combines your chest and head voices in order to sing these notes smoothly.
When you learn to sing in a mixed voice and produce seamless notes that cross your vocal break, this is known as ‘bridging the gap’. The better you can sing the notes around your vocal break, the smoother your vocal performances will be – and the higher you can comfortably sing.
Vocal Range Extremes
Most people sing in the middle vocal ranges, with a much smaller number having very high natural singing voices (sopranos), or very low singing voices (basses). Women typically sing mezzo-soprano, alto, or tenor. Men typically sing contralto, tenor or baritone.
While most people can learn to sing high notes well above their natural range, it’s important to recognize the difference between your head voice and a falsetto voice.
The head voice is slightly airy, lacking the deep resonance of the chest voice (which is closer in tone and quality to the speaking voice). With practice, you can give your head voice a richer sound with more power behind your notes.
Falsetto is a range above your head voice. The easiest way to tell when you’ve switched to falsetto is to press your fingers against your throat as you sing. As you produce progressively higher notes, you will notice that the notes vibrate higher in your throat and in the roof of your mouth. When you switch to falsetto, your vocal chords will not vibrate at all when you sing.
No matter your starting point, regular daily practice will help you expand your range and improve the quality of all the notes you sing, high and low.
6 : How to Sing and Play
Singing comes naturally to some, but for others it’s a learned skill. Guitar-playing is another skill that takes time to develop. If you’d like to learn how to sing and play guitar at the same time, get ready to devote a lot of time to practice.
Singing and playing guitar, also called “strumming and singing”, looks easy when the pros do it. But if you’ve never tried it before, you might be daunted the first time you try to strum and sing.
It will take time, but you can learn how to sing and play guitar by following these simple rules:
Rule 1: Choose the Right Song
Watch video footage of singers who play the guitar while they sing. Chances are, they are performing songs specifically written to be sung and played at the same time. Even rock singers are probably strumming along to the rhythm while they play instead of trying to sing and play a complex melody.
Choose songs that lend themselves well to strumming and singing. If you just can’t figure out how to sing and play guitar on a particular song, you might need to make an easier selection until you’ve advanced your skills.
Rule 2: Memorize the Song
You’ll have an easier time learning how to sing and play if you have a natural sense of rhythm and timing. You’ll have a much easier time if you don’t need to think about the song’s lyrics while you play the guitar.
Practice singing the song several times a day until you can easily sing it from memory. Then keep singing it until the words flow on their own, without too much thought from you. At this point, you’ll have become so familiar with the song that you will be able to sing the words while you concentrate on playing the right chords on the guitar.
Rule 3: Take it Slow
When you’re first learning how to sing and play guitar, don’t try to master fast, difficult songs with lots of complex fingering and vocal acrobatics. Start off with a simpler tune that is easy to remember and fits your natural vocal range.
By starting slow and taking your time, you will learn proper techniques. If you rush things, you could pick up bad playing habits that keep you from realizing your full potential as an artist.
Rule 4: Master Your Basic Chords
By the time you learn how to sing and play at the same time, you should be so familiar with basic guitar chords that you can play them without a lot of concentration. Practice your chords and scales daily until you can play them largely from muscle memory.
Later, after you’ve mastered the basics, you can work your way up to more challenging riffs without sacrificing the quality of your strumming or your singing.
Rule 5: Give It Time
It takes a while to learn how to sing and play guitar simultaneously. How much time? Some experts estimate that it takes the average person six months or longer to be able to sing and play easy to moderately difficult songs. That’s with a half hour of practice each day.
Don’t get discouraged if it takes longer for your skill to develop. It might take a year or longer to get the hang of difficult songs. Practice makes all the difference, so make time for it every day.
7 : Guitar Singing Lessons
Many people want to learn how to sing. Many others want to learn how to play the guitar. What if you’ve mastered those skills separately, but want to learn how to do both at the same time?
Numerous guitar singing lessons have cropped up online, and music teachers have begun to offer classes in singing while playing the guitar. Here are some helpful tips for anyone who wants to improve their “strumming and singing” skill:
Guitar Singing Lessons: Professional Help
If you’re a beginning vocalist or guitar player, consider signing up for some professional lessons to teach you how to combine your skills. Even a few sessions with a pro could give you valuable insights into what it takes to sing and play guitar at the same time.
Look for local instructors in your phone directory, or go online and search through message forums and songwriting blogs. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool; if your friends and colleagues recommend someone, give that instructor a try.
Guitar Singing Lessons: Self-Study
If there’s no room in your budget for guitar singing lessons, try a self-study course. You can find plenty of these on the Internet or at your local book store or library. There are self-study courses to suit every budget. While you frequently get what you pay for, the most expensive systems aren’t necessarily the best ones.
Choosing a singing and strumming guide is a lot like choosing an instructor: Word of mouth counts for a lot. If your musician friends recommend a course, give it a try. Otherwise, go online to look for unbiased user reviews of each system.
Look for systems that include a blend of written instructions, video or audio lessons, and software tools that allow you to record your songs and listen to them to identify areas which need improvement.
Guitar Singing Lessons: Timeframe
Singing while playing is a skill that is developed over time, with practice. It’s not something you can learn overnight. In fact, renowned guitarist and instructor Jamie Andreas suggests that it could take six months to learn how to play and sing reliably, assuming you practiced for 30 minutes a day, every day.
Some people pick up the skill faster than others, but you should anticipate spending 3 to 6 months learning to sing and play guitar. It could take a year or longer to master more challenging chords and vocals.
Don’t get discouraged if you don’t feel like you’re progressing fast enough. Just stick with your lessons and remember that every great singer/guitar player has been in your shoes at some point.
Guitar Singing Lessons: Challenges
As with any instrument, there is a proper way to strum and sing, and plenty of improper ways as well. Unfortunately, learning to play and sing without proper technique can make it challenging to move from basic chords to more complex songs.
Some common challenges that beginners face include changing chords smoothly while singing; singing a challenging melody while they strum; and muscle tension that comes when a guitarist uses their arm and shoulder muscles to compensate for underdeveloped hand and finger muscles.
Each of these challenges can be overcome with time and practice. By taking guitar singing lessons, either by yourself or with an instructor, you will avoid developing bad playing habits that could keep you from meeting your full potential.