While humming a tune or singing in the shower is liberating and fun, there are several perks that come with learning how to sing like a professional. The most obvious of which are the financial breakthroughs that come with being a professional singer. Of course, before you get to a point where you’re worth paying thousands of dollars for each performance, you’ll need to have practiced and mastered your craft.
Unfortunately, most novice singers never get to stardom, not because their voices aren’t good enough but because they are not reliable enough to produce consistent performances. This reliability comes through daily practice, an individual style, optimum technique, and confidence built through years of practice. Even if your aim is not to become a highly rated, highly paid singer, you can still benefit in other ways by learning how to harness the best of your voice.
Before you can sing better, you need to be aware of all the qualities of an amazing singer, and then you have to embody them. Of course, these qualities don’t come easy and may take years of practice as they have done for most of the famous singers you idolize. We are going to mention all of these qualities, and you can crosscheck with performances by singers like Adele, Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, and the likes to see if these qualities are featured in their repertoire.
At the very onset of your singing career, you need to know that how you breathe tremendously impacts the way you sound. For a lot of songs, you might not get that much time to breathe in and out, and this may be apparent in the way you sing if you do not know how to control it.
The trained ear and eye will quickly note those moments where you take a quick catch-up breath or cannot finish a longer musical phrase since you don’t have enough air in your lungs. People who don’t know about these things may not catch on as fast, but they will still feel that something is wrong with your performance.
You can work on your breathing and improve it over time as long as you’re aware of the problem. Notably, if you sing with your lungs full, you can often extend notes and maintain your pitch for longer.
You’ve probably seen this in performances by famous singers where they belt out a note until you get goosebumps. This is only possible if you incorporate breathing practices into your singing routine day in day out.
However, you need to evaluate yourself as you are now and find out how much you need to improve. You do this by imitating that singer you adore and extending a note as much as possible. Be as loud as you can, and remember to time yourself as you’re doing this.
With the data on how long you lasted, you can look for ways to increase your lung capacity and how long you hold your breath. Exercise may help increase the former but what you need to focus most on is breathing technique. One way you can see almost instantaneous improvement is if you improve your posture.
Check that your back and shoulders are straight. Laying on your back while singing will give you a sense of what proper posture looks and feels like. You can then try to mimic this feeling while standing. Relax, so you don’t constrict your muscles. You’re doing this so your diaphragm can have the right support, and so you open your airways.
It can be annoying for your audience to listen to you singing if they can’t hear what you say. Think of all the great vocalizers you know and see if they mumble any of their words. It might be acceptable in mumble rap, but it certainly isn’t when singing.
Learn to shape your vowels, whether back or front, so they can be apparent when you sing them. Consonant articulation is equally as important if the song is going to resonate with the audience.
As you would expect, having a wide vocal range is paramount to being a great vocalizer. You can’t just sing the same two notes every time you perform or practice a song. Your vocal range may not be as wide as that of other performers, but it still needs to be wide enough to be interesting.
Also, as much as we recommend having as wide a vocal range as possible, you should learn your limits early on in your singing career. Once you have this down, you can then learn to control your pitch and tone to get the best out of your performances.
It also seems an easy matter to achieve consistency if you’re practicing day in day out. Well, it’s not. Training your voice is not the only thing you require to keep your voice and sound consistent. You also need to care for your body and the organs responsible for your voice.
This might be too restrictive for some people owing to the number of rules involved. However, if you want results, you’ll have to comply. For one, realize that your throat should never be dry. Consequently, you should constantly be sipping on some room temperature water to keep your throat moist.
Also, if you know you sleep with your mouth open, your throat will dry out as well. A humidifier in close proximity to your bed while you sleep should prevent this. Additionally, we might recommend warm lemon tea with a dash of honey whenever you go for practice or a performance. It should soothe that throat, allowing you the full use of your vocal range.
A few other things to avoid include caffeine, alcohol, and smoking, which will dry out your throat. Notably, medications and antihistamines are also just as problematic. However, seeing as though some may be necessary for your wellbeing, we recommend you avoid singing when you’re taking them.
Next, you are discouraged from clearing your throat, although everybody else around you is allowed to do so. The minimal but continual damage it causes to your throat could reach a point of no return where you’re unable to sing. Swallowing when you feel the need to clear your throat is instead preferred. Yelling and screaming have also been known to damage your throat and are thus destructive to your singing career.
Another thing to know is that low temperatures can restrict your vocal bands. To ensure this doesn’t affect your singing, wear the appropriate clothing during the cold season and avoid cold beverages or foods a few hours before a serious performance or practice session.
Of course, the best singers and vocalizers also have impeccable vocal and volume control. They don’t just belt out a high note on accident. Instead, they are very intentional about where their high, low, and mid-tones go.
You also need to develop this kind of control for your voice. However, you may first need to be aware of your full vocal range before you can attempt this. A mistake that potential vocalizers make is to try and sing just like their idol while it should be clear that their voices are different.
You might not be able to hit those high notes you hear from Adele, and you’ll likely disappoint yourself the more you try. What some people do is use accompanying instruments to develop their vocal range instead.
You can practice singing all the notes in a certain octave before moving to the next one. Ideally, you should learn to play either the guitar or the piano if you’re going to use this to practice your vocal and volume control. Both are versatile and will offer a wide range of notes that you can work with.
Play a note on the piano or an acoustic guitar, and then you can emulate it using your voice. You can even expand your repertoire by incorporating more musical instruments into these practice sessions. Alternatively, you can use a digital piano as it incorporates tones from varying instruments in its setup.
According to most reviews, the YAMAHA P71 digital piano is one of the preferred options for vocalizers to train their voices. It contains ten voices that you can use in practice, and the fully weighted keys will authenticate the piano playing experience.
Another way to tackle this is to use a digital tuner. The same way they let others know if they’re playing the right note on a musical instrument is the same way they can gauge your singing. However, you need to know to operate the music machines.
Notably the type of indicator on such devices will vary. Some have needle dials, while others come with an LCD or LED screen. How they work is you set the note that you are about to sing and then try singing it. The machine will pick up on whether your voice hit the note accurately or is off.
The display will then tell you how far you have strayed from the target, and you can then lower or raise your pitch accordingly. As you might expect, this is also good for training your ear to recognize the right notes.
Also, most tuners will play the tone after you set it to give you a reference point. Depending on funds available, some of you may not have the piano, guitar, or a tuner to work with. In this case, interactive apps are the next best alternative. There are a few good ones, including the Vocal Pitch Monitor for Android or the Pitch Graph for iOS users.
With enough practice with the instruments or the apps, you will learn to have full volume and vocal control that you can display on stage or in-studio.
It’s also unheard of to hear of two famous singers with identical styles. Nobody wants two of the same thing. In the same vein, if you want to achieve prominence in the singing world, copying another singer’s entire style is a bad idea. Instead, you should identify and create a unique singing style and run with it.
Do remember that it’s easy to damage your voice while copying someone else. After all, you are singing in their vocal range rather than yours. That said, it may be necessary to copy some of your idols when starting. This needs a bit of finesse, care, and a lot of introspection.
Sing some of the songs by famous vocalists and pay attention to your voice while doing so. Check on the voices and tones that you resonate with as well as where you struggle. Since there is a myriad of voices out there, you’ll find that you’ll develop your style in no time at all. This lays the groundwork, and after that, you can eliminate anything dangerous to the style you’ve developed.
A versatile singing style will also ensure that your performances are enjoyable. If you can switch up between slow ballads and fast-paced songs in a heartbeat, you can use these skills to vary your performances.
You can as well vary your singing voices. That said, nailing down voices that work for you early on in your singing career is paramount to pulling this off. You can take a page from your favorite singers and try to copy some of their voices. If it works, keep them. If it doesn’t, avoid them as they may hinder your growth as a singer.
Instrumentalists often have better pitch perception than most singers. However, the very best vocalizers also have superior pitch perception as compared to other singers. As a result, they can hear themselves sing, and if they make any mistakes, they can quickly make corrections.
It’s easier for them to sing and make the most out of their voice since they know the instant something is off. Of course, this aids them in practice and will come most in handy when they are on stage. You can develop pitch perception over time, and the digital tuner we mentioned above is one way to do it.
As mentioned above, an individual singing style is a crucial component of your singing career, and you won’t get anywhere if you don’t develop it. That said, finding and creating your style takes time and finesse. Without further ado, here’s what you need to do to develop your style.
The first option is to use the blues scale. Of course, if you want to use it, you’ll have to be familiar with it in the first place. It has origins in Blues music and consists a six-note scale. Also, it might serve you better to think of it as a variation of the minor pentatonic scale. That said, it has an additional flat fifth scale degree not present in the minor original minor pentatonic scale.
Singing the blues scale acapella can and will do wonders for your singing style. However, you may need to learn some simple melodies to aid your practice sessions. You can then train your voice according to the blues scale the same way you would a piano or a guitar.
You do this by focusing on specific words in the melody, then when you sing them, you start on a slightly higher pitch, then you come down to the right one. Doing this consistently will give you and your voice agility that will likely come in handy later in your life.
Experiment with phrases and words in the melody. Once you’ve done all you can with it, move on to another song. Depending on the melody you’re working with, it should also pay off to use different rhythms. The samba, waltz, jazz, classical, and other types of rhythms are all fair game.
Always start by identifying a few singers who you would like to sound like. Remember to be realistic with this selection as you have no doubt tested out your voice before. Include singers whose voices you feel resonate with yours the most. Remember that you can always remove them from the list if you feel they aren’t working for you. You can also add others at a later date.
About five is a good number to start with. Listen to their top songs and learn their vocal tendencies. After that, try to imitate them while staying true to your vocal range. Notably, by going past your vocal range, you increase the chances of damaging your voice, so avoid this at all costs.
A couple of vocal range test apps and websites can as well help you figure out your range easily and quickly. These might provide you with a shortcut of sorts. If you choose this route, it can also help you select the singers and the songs to mimic.
Choose voices from the various singers and their songs that you can experiment with. Simplicity is key, and you should only test out a few voices at a time. If they work for you, you can keep them. If they don’t move on to the next option. It stands to reason that you’ll develop some preferences over time, and just like that, you’ll have found your style.
Admittedly, finding your style is a lot harder than it sounds, especially if you know next to nothing about singing and music in general. If you have extra funds, you can fast-track the process by hiring a vocal tutor to help you start. They can tell you a lot about your voice, vocal range, tendencies, and more just by hearing you sing.
If you can perfect your vocal techniques, you will find yourself singing better and better. However, as you are right now, you probably haven’t perfected these techniques, which is probably why you’re struggling. You might be performing some subconsciously, in which case you just need to be made aware of them so you can do them more consistently.
A qualified vocal instructor is often the one person who can help you identify what these techniques are and which ones you should work on. We will list all of them, so you know what to expect if you decide to take that leap. As you will note, some of these vocal techniques allow you to breathe better, which is paramount to any singing performance.
Have you ever seen a professional singer on stage slouching with their shoulders slouched? Chances are you haven’t unless it is a part of the performance to project the emotion of the song. Also, if you go back to the performance you have in mind, the singer probably corrected their posture right after.
Singing with the correct posture, of course, puts it out there that you know what you’re doing and are not insecure about it. Also, posture affects your breathing, which could affect how you sound to your audience. You want every advantage while on stage and even when practicing by yourself so start by correcting your posture.
Even when speaking, tension is not ideal for your voice. It may lead to neck pain, fatigue and you may end up sounding hoarse. Of course, if you’re singing, this problem will be more pronounced. Additionally, you’ll lose the control that you usually have over your voice.
As you might’ve guessed, singing on stage generally comes with a lot of tension. Consequently, your vocal techniques need to allow you to dispel this tension, or else it can cause problems in your singing career.
Another one of the best vocal techniques necessary for top-tier singers is the ability to measure their air. We’ve already alluded to the importance of air when it comes to belting out notes and tunes. As such, you need to know how much air you have in your lungs and what you can get out of it when singing a note or tune. This way, you won’t try to hold a note when you don’t have enough air to pull it off.
Notably, opening your ribs is another way to optimize your breathing which in turn optimizes your singing. Professionals and expert vocalists recommend that you practice keeping your rib cage open even as you exhale.
This may seem counterintuitive since your abdominal muscles will be contracting at this point. However, by doing this, you allow your diaphragm to ascend slower than usual, and this is how you can sing longer phrases. Additionally, you’ll have better control over pitch and tone.
The larynx is also referred to as the voice box in some circles. Consequently, its importance when singing is implied. Of course, all human beings have this organ somewhere in their throat, which helps control how high or low your pitch is.
If you swallow, you’re probably going to feel it moving in your neck. For a more concrete feeling of the larynx, you can place your hand on the front of your neck and swallow. You’ll feel it go up and then down.
Additionally, if you try to sing both a high and low pitch while your hand is still on your neck, you’ll note that the positioning of the larynx is different for each one. This simply implies that learning control over the movement of this organ would allow you better control of the pitch and tone that you sing.
Remember that it is not only your voice that needs training but your ears as well. After all, you do need to know if you’re singing in the right pitch or not. This can only be done where you mimic the pitch of a tone you hear. This can be from a musical instrument, various apps, or even from YouTube videos. The more you repeat this, the more you’re accurately able to match the pitch.
Ideally, you should try holding the note and releasing it sooner, both on the instrument and with your voice. This will develop your singing technique a great deal. If you have a digital piano or a guitar, all the better since it means you can focus your pitch-matching exercises where you feel you’re weakest.
If you’ve never learned to play one, there are tons of online classes that you can get to affordably. Again, this should go a long way if you’re teaching yourself how to sing better.
Before you even learn to control your vibrato, you’ll have to develop it, and just like most of the other singing fundamentals, it doesn’t come easy. Some vocal instructors will insist that it should come on its own after you’ve perfected the other basics of singing. This would be true in most cases, but if you feel you can only level up by developing and controlling vibrato, there are some YouTube videos on the same.
They will provide easy-to-follow tips as well as guidelines, and pretty soon, you’ll figure out how to pulsate your pitch continuously between two notes. As you would imagine, the best vocalizers have impeccable vibrato control.
Similar to the larynx, your soft palate can make or break your performances as a singer. If you raise it, you’ll find your voice resonates more and your tone is fuller and more pronounced. It helps eliminate nasality which chips away at the quality of your performance.
Additionally, it has also been proven to raise your high notes as it creates more resonant space. Being as important as it is, you’ll have to find out ways to exercise complete control over this part of your mouth. If you master this vocal technique alongside control over your larynx, you’ll reach heights of singing prowess you never thought possible.
We already mentioned earlier that singers are deliberate with how they pronounce their words. If you mess up your consonants and vowels, your audience will always feel something is missing in the performance. What’s worse, the people who know your language may have to struggle to catch what you’re saying, which detracts from the overall performance. Consequently, try to practice until you can sing everything clearly.
After building your vocal techniques, mastering the basics, and coming to terms with your singing style, it’s now time to build your confidence. Some singers are naturals and can step up on any stage with little to no nervousness. Others are too afraid to put themselves out there. If you feel you’re more like the latter, here are some tips to boost your confidence.
Reading lyrics while you’re singing opens you up to vocal mistakes since you don’t know what comes where. However, if you know the lyrics, you only ever have to think about controlling your voice as you’re performing. With fewer things to worry about, you’ll be much more confident on stage, and this is one way to sing better.
Chances are you’ve never heard yourself singing from another person’s perspective, and you may be shocked by the way your voice sounds the first time you hear it on speaker. We advise that you get this shock and awe out of the way before ever stepping on stage.
Getting a microphone and recording yourself will let you know what it feels like to be your audience. You can then pick up on mistakes from this point of view and make the appropriate adjustments. Also, there is such a thing as ‘microphone technique’ that can help you sound better.
Experts and users recommend the Blue Yeti USB Mic as you’re starting for higher quality sound recording. Users specifically seem to like it because it incorporates various audio pickup patterns, comes with onboard audio controls, and you can adjust microphone gain as much as you need to.
Now you know how to sing like a professional in a few relatively simple steps. If you don’t already have what you think is a great voice, it will take some time to cultivate these tendencies. Lots of practice is obviously involved, and you could make faster progress if you have a vocal instructor. Nonetheless, if the finish line is all you desire, the above information should be quite useful. Reference it from time to time to develop certain aspects of your singing if you have to.