Your personal singing guide
The top things to focus on when learning how to sing as a beginner
Finding your range- As a novice, determining your own vocal range can be a little tricky. Assuming that you have no prior knowledge of various notes, vocal registers, and voice classifications, you may need somebody with a piano and a very basic understanding of music theory to help you. “Range” refers to the span of pitches your voice is able to resonate (how high you can go and how low you can go). Your range determines which voice classification you fall under. Women are typically divided into three classifications (listed from highest to lowest): Soprano, mezzo-soprano, and contralto. Men are divided into four groups: countertenor, tenor, baritone, and bass. Determining your range and voice classification can help you figure out which style of music best suits your voice and how to protect yourself from injury. If you’re having trouble finding your range, you might want to look into getting vocal lessons from a pro.
Matching pitch- While some people are born with a natural understanding of melodies, harmonies, and pitches, there are others who couldn’t carry a tune if they were holding a bucket. The phrase “tone-deaf” is tossed around quite a lot, but in all actuality, there is a very small percentage of people in the world who truly suffer from this impairment (a brain condition otherwise known as amusia). Almost anybody can learn to match pitch with enough practice and the proper guidance. Being “pitchy” means that you are not singing a note at the proper frequency, and that you are either too high (sharp) or too low (flat). When you’re singing a song, the goal is not to be sharp or flat, but to hit each note right in the middle; as a whole, the piece should sound pure and more pleasing to the ear if you are singing on pitch.
Singing on time- Like with matching pitch, singing on rhythm is also crucial to your overall sound quality. When you’re singing with accompaniment, whether it be a recorded track or a live instrument, you definitely want to make sure you’re not lagging behind the music or singing too far ahead. Some people are born with natural body rhythm and the ability to pick up on the beat of a song after a few seconds. If you’re having trouble singing on time to a song, try listening to it without singing, and clap along with the song instead. Listen to the tempo of the song as the artist sings it and clap the beat (as an example, if you’re listening to the song “Umbrella” by Rihanna, you would clap every time she sings “ella ella ella eh eh eh….” because those notes are sung on beat). Once you’ve got it down, try clapping while singing. If you practice this, you should eventually be able to eliminate the clapping all together and keep the beat on your own. Many successful vocalists that still tap their leg with their hand or tap their foot to help them keep the beat while they sing.
Vocal tone- “Tone” is best defined as your unique sound as a singer. When you turn on the radio and hear a song by your favorite artist, you know it’s them; you can recognize the sound of their voice because of their distinct tone. Every voice has a different color. Some people have bright, warm voices, while others have more of a dark, airy quality. Two people can sing the same song, in the same key, but still not sound exactly the same- this is because of tone. Having a sense of what your vocal tone is will also help you determine which style of music you are best equipped for. Think of an opera singer trying to sing a pop song; their timing and pitch will probably be perfectly fine, but the tone of their voice may be too full-bodied and rich when it needs to be lighter and more casual to fit the style of music.
Sustain good vocal health-
- Keep your vocal cords hydrated by drinking a lot of water
- Don’t drink too much caffeine- it dries out your throat
- Properly warm your voice up and down before and after singing
- To prevent any damage when doing vocal exercises and warm ups, don’t push too far past the top of your range.
- Don’t smoke