Are you looking to improve your voice and learn how to sing better? When I first started singing, I didn’t have awesome, guided programs like the 30 Day Singer or Singorama to teach me how to sing correctly. I had to try new singing techniques and methods on my own and spend a lot of time through trial and error.
What I found was that taking your singing to the next level doesn’t require a significant revamp to your technique or voice. It requires only a few simple adjustments that you can make with your practice habits, vocal methods, and improving your mindset.
In this article, I’ll be sharing with you 21 simple tips that you can use to sing better quickly. Some of the suggestions may be obvious, but because it’s so important, it still requires a little reminder. Other suggestions are from the many years of personal singing experience.
Let’s get started!
1. Figure out your “why”
As with anything you’re trying to learn, it’s tough to keep up with a hobby, especially when things get busy, and there isn’t much of a strong reason to continue. That’s why having a “why” for what you’re trying to do is extremely important.
Simon Sinek, author of the book “Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Finding Purpose for You and Your Team,” writes that by finding your “why” or purpose, you’ll have more fulfillment when pursuing and achieving your goals.
Whenever you find yourself slacking with your daily vocal practices, or get discouraged with your results, just think back at why you chose to sing in the first place. What is your motivating factor to learn how to sing?
Without any strong reasons, you’ll find yourself giving up when things get hard.
My “why” was that I wanted to pursue a career in music and performance. But yours don’t have to be that serious. It could be something simple, like wanting to learn your favorite song or take up a new hobby.
If you’re not sure what your “why” is, here are some questions that you can reflect on.
- What makes you want to sing?
- Are you trying to sing for somebody or a special event (wedding, birthday, etc.)?
- Are there particular songs that you want to learn and master?
- Are you an aspiring musician?
Figure out your “why” so that it can build up your passion for singing. You’ll quickly realize that you’ll be more focused on your goals and feel more resilient with pushing yourself to sing better.
2. Sing in the right key
One of the most common problems with many singers is not knowing or adjusting to the proper key according to their voice.
Figuring out the right key can help you improve 90% in the way you sound.
Try not to get too fixated on singing the same key as the original singer. When you adjust the key, you’ll quickly find that your voice will feel more relaxed, and you’ll feel more confident in the way you sing.
So how do you determine if a song is in the right key for voice?
First, you have to find your vocal range and the highest and lowest notes that you can sing comfortably. Every singer has a different vocal range, so it’s essential to figure it out to know what sounds best with your voice.
How to find your vocal range:
Step 1: Get a piano or guitar to help find your range.
If you don’t have an instrument on hand with you, you can download a piano app on your smartphone or tablet through the app store. Any piano app will work.
Step 2: Find your lowest note
For females, start from C4 (middle of the piano) and work your way down from there. For males, start from C3 and do the same. You can sing “ah” while you’re going down the notes.
The goal is to find the lowest note that you can sustain for 3 seconds comfortably. If you feel yourself forcing the sound and your throat is starting to hurt, stop there.
When you’ve found the note, write down the piano key that corresponds to the lowest note that you sang. For example, if the key is the second to the last F on the piano, you write down F2.
Step 3: Find your highest note with normal (modal) voice
This time go up the piano to find your highest note without singing in falsetto. Females can start from C4, and males can start from C3. Continue to sing “ah” while you’re reaching higher notes.
Find the highest note that you can sustain for 3 seconds comfortably. Stop where you find it hard to sing without using falsetto.
When you’ve found the note, write down the piano key that corresponds to the highest note that you sang using the same piano notation in the previous step.
Step 4: Find your highest note using falsetto
Continue up the piano keys until you reach the last note that you can comfortably sustain for 3 seconds using falsetto. Again, you want to track the highest notes that you can reach without straining your voice.
Write down the note using the piano notation.
Step 5: Refer to the highest and lowest notes to the songs you sing
Once you’ve figured out the lowest and highest notes in your range, you now know your vocal range.
With this new information, you can use it as a reference when you’re learning new songs. If the melody in the song is above the highest note of your vocal range, it means that the key is too high, and you should lower the key until all the notes are within your comfortable range.
Over time you can slowly learn how to extend your vocal range so you can sing your favorite songs in their original keys.
Here’s a video that can help you with finding your vocal range
3. Record yourself Singing
To get a good grasp of your strengths and weaknesses, you should record yourself whenever you practice. By documenting yourself, you can dissect and analyze your progress.
After every session, listen back to your recording and look for the parts that you did well and also the parts that you would like to work on.
If you’re practicing scales and vocal exercises, you can refer back to which notes you’re having trouble with so you can just work on those specific notes.
If you’re learning new songs, listen for any particular phrasing that you would like to sing differently, or notes that may need different techniques to use.
By listening to yourself sing, you get to hear yourself in the mindset of a listener. It’s important to get a different perspective on how you’re singing by hearing yourself the same way others do.
At first, it may seem awkward listening to yourself sing, especially if you’ve never heard yourself sing before. But over time, it will feel more natural to you, and you’ll get to easily pinpoint the parts that you need to work on.
Read Next: How to make singing less breathy in 6 steps
4. Copy your favourite singer
Although being an original and unique singer is what many singers ultimately strive for (unless you want to become an imitation singer), copying some of your favorite artists can give you proper guidance with improving your vocal style and onstage presence.
When you’re copying your favorite singers, you’re taking in what works and adding it to your arsenal of techniques.
Think about what makes the singers unique and see if it aligns with your singing style. There may be some singers that you love, but just don’t match with your style. Don’t try to force the fit!
I think we can learn from all singers regardless if they’re our favorites or not, whether it’s their singing techniques, stage performance techniques, or the way they talk to the crowd.
Keep an eye out on different singers and listen to the way they sing or move. Taking their skills and blending it can be a great way to create a unique style for yourself!
5. Take better care of your vocal health
Your vocal cords are the most crucial instrument as a singer, and it’s vital to keep it in it’s best shape at all times. To keep it healthy, you have to be aware of your routines and habits that may have long-lasting effects on your vocal cords.
Avoid things that can affect your singing voice
One of the easiest ways to sing better is by avoiding certain things that can negatively affect your voice. Items such as alcohol and cigarettes can irritate and dry out your voice leading you to sound more hoarse as well as reduce your vocal stamina.
You should also watch out for foods such as sugary foods, citrus fruits, and oily food. These types of food can create phlegm in your throat, restrict your singing voice, and create dryness to your vocal cords.
6. Memorize your lyrics
Singing a song that you know off by heart will help you sing better instantly. Rather than wondering and second-guessing whether or not you’re singing the right lyrics, you can focus on your techniques and performance.
Here are a few tips on how to memorize your lyrics quickly:
Use imagery to remember your lyrics
One of the best ways to remember your lyrics is by visualizing the words and associating the image to something familiar with you. You can either link it to something that you’ve experienced or maybe something that you’ve seen or heard before.
By visualizing, you’re ingraining a picture in your head while creating a story around your images. You can use this technique and have a clearer mental image of the lyrics to recall.
Memorize your lyrics before you sleep
Some studies show memorizing something before you sleep can help with retaining information much faster. So before you sleep at night, look over your lyrics so that it can be the last thing you see before you sleep.
Taking naps after memorizing can help as well with remembering your words.
7. Practice Consistently Everyday
Consistency is one of the most obvious tips of them all, but still one of the most overlooked and neglected.
To sing better, you have to put in the time and the hard work. Your voice won’t improve overnight if you don’t work on it and continuously try to improve it.
I know that life happens. But when things get tough, this is when your “why” comes in. If you figured out your purpose and passion for singing, you’ll quickly remember the reasons why you should be consistently practicing your vocals.
You also don’t have to set aside long periods of time to sing.
Doing vocal exercises for 15 to 20 minutes a day can be a great vocal workout that will help you in the long run.
So set aside a bit of time every day to practice your vocal exercises and build the necessary fundamentals that will help you sing better.
8. Build your vocal coordination
One of the essential skills that singers should master is being able to quickly and accurately sing the notes of the melody.
Often, beginner singers have trouble reaching the proper notes, which results in singing off-tune with either being too sharp or too flat.
Singers who have trouble with vocal accuracy can try sliding from one note to the next. This exercise can be an excellent way to slowly build muscle memory as well as train the ear to go smoothly from one note to the next .
Once you’re comfortable with sliding the note, practice matching your pitch without the slide.
As you’re building up the techniques with vocal accuracy, you’ll need to build your “vocal agility” as well. Vocal agility is matching the notes as quickly as possible. When you develop your vocal agility, you’re able to learn melodies at a much faster pace while singing to them without going off tune.
9. Showcase your singing for others
One of the best ways to improve your vocals is by putting yourself out there and performing for others.
If you find yourself plateauing and would rather see yourself sing better, get outside your comfort zone, and start sharing your voice. You can start posting videos online through your socials, and when you feel more confident, start performing in front of people.
Getting out of your comfort zone has three massive benefits:
Opportunity to make mistakes and improve
When you’re practicing a song, you might not go through the entire song all at once. You might start and stop depending on which part you’re learning. And if you make a mistake, you can quickly stop at any time, clear your throat and simply begin again.
But you can’t do that when you’re singing for someone.
By performing for others, you’re training your brain to not make any mistakes during your song. Having this mentality will push you to sing better at a faster pace.
You’re activating your “performance muscles”
When singers are just doing vocal exercises every day, that’s not actually “singing.” What I mean by that is the essence of singing isn’t only about vocal scales. Instead, it’s about singing an actual song.
Vocal scales are only there to help build your singing fundamentals so that the exercises can translate well while you’re singing a song.
So when you’re singing for others, you’re learning how to use the skills that you’ve learned through the exercises and also the critical skills of emotions and texture that you’ll eventually build up through performing.
As you perform more frequently, you’ll develop new “performance muscles” that will help you sing more confidently in front of others, which will ultimately help you become a better singer.
10. Exercising helps you sing better
Working out and exercising can have considerable benefits to your singing condition if you choose the right physical activity. Exercising can increase your lung capacity, which helps improve your breathing technique. It can also increase your cardiovascular endurance, which builds up your vocal stamina.
You’ll also start seeing that singing high notes will feel easier due to the lung support that you’ve built during your working routine. Your voice will strain much less frequently, and holding long notes will feel less difficult due to the improved breathing.
What exercises can help you sing better?
Although most general exercises can help with your vocal training, there are a few of them that I especially like and personally do.
This exercise is one of – if not – “the best” physical activity a singer can add to their vocal training. Swimming not only provides an all-round benefit to your body, but it’s also a fantastic way to build your endurance while being in a low oxygen environment.
Doing laps in the water increases lung capacity, which will help you sing better by hitting those high notes without strain, singing longer, and also holding your notes without needing to breathe.
When you’re going for a run, you’re training your mental focus and improving your breath work. Jogging can also help you strengthen your core area and improve your posture. When your abdomen is strong, and you’re practicing proper posture, it’s much easier for you to control your breathing and take those long deep breaths while you’re singing.
11. Remove stress before singing high notes
Whether you’re doing vocal exercises or singing songs, there will always be some notes that are considered roadblocks for you as they can seem extremely difficult, and even impossible, to reach.
If you’re trying to push yourself to extend your range, you’re going to have to overcome these notes and sing them without stressing yourself too much.
An amazing piece of advice I got from a singing mentor of mine is to visualize the notes.
Visualizing difficult notes can help change your mindset to tackle those notes in a confident and positive way.
If you’re having trouble projecting a specific note, try visualizing the note as part of a step on a stairway.
Picture that note as only a ‘next step’ on the stairway rather than being many steps up. When you’re approaching that note, your mindset will shift from “the note is so high” to “it’s not too hard”.
As you implement this practice everyday, you’ll notice that you’re putting less pressure on yourself to the hit high notes. You’ll also be able to fight the uncertainty of singing higher, especially during performances where there’s no room for error.
Another useful trick that you can try is targeting the note right before the high note. Typically, that note is easier to sing and if you sing that note perfectly, the note after it will be no problem for you. This can help you build confidence mentally whenever you sing in the upper registers.
If you’re having difficulty singing higher, I’ve written a comprehensive guide on how to sing high notes without straining your voice, click here.
12. Improve your breathing technique
Learning how to control your breath can dramatically improve the way you sing if done correctly.
One of the greatest problems that many people face is breathing incorrectly on a daily basis. In our everyday lives, we tend to breathe much more shallowly, which creates tension where the vocal cords and neck are.
By learning how to breathe appropriately and using the right techniques, you’re allowing your breath to support your singing voice rather than trying to force sound through just your throat area, which will cause plenty of strain.
One of the easiest ways to build your breathing skills is by adding breathing practices to your warmups, so you’re engaging your diaphragm properly before you’re singing. A widely talked about exercise that I like to do is called “Deflating the Balloon.”
Here is how you can do this exercise:
- First, take a big deep breath through your lower abdominal area. Your abdomen should be expanding rather than your chest.
- Once your abdomen is full of air, it will expand.
- Picture your abdomen like a balloon and slowly release the air.
- This movement should feel like a “balloon” is slowly deflating.
- With this exercise, you should be able to release 35-45 seconds of air without needing to breathe in.
Add this exercise to your practice and warmup routine, and you’ll be able to sing and hold notes much longer than you’ve been doing previously.
13. Practice with intention
Practicing your vocals is essential. But to become a better singer, you have to practice with a structure in mind. Most importantly, you have to practice singing with intention.
Practicing with intention means you need to have a conscious decision on what specifically you want to improve on. If you’re only practicing without having a goal or a target, you won’t know where to aim. And if you don’t know where to aim, you’re not going to find yourself singing better.
So here are a few tips you can be aware of before you start practicing:
Define specific goals
Ask yourself, “what do I want to achieve?” during this practice session. In every vocal exercise that you do or every new song that you learn, there has to be a goal that you want to achieve. It can be learning how to sing higher or memorizing the lyrics of a song.
Whatever it is, make sure you have a goal that you want to attain when you practice so that you know what you’re focusing on.
If you’re just practicing without any specific goals, you’re just doing the vocal exercises without really going anywhere. After weeks of practicing and training, you won’t see much progress because there wasn’t a defining targeting that you want to reach.
Intensify the focus
Once you have a particular goal that you want to reach, focus on doing exercises that target that specific skill to improve much quicker.
For example, if your goal is to sing notes more accurately, focus on vocal coordination exercises. Search 4-5 exercises that purely work on vocal coordination.
Once you feel that you’ve made improvements in singing more accurately, you can move on to focus on other skills.
If you actively focus on one skill at a time during your practice, you’ll see yourself sing better dramatically.
14. Don’t be too harsh on yourself
At times you might look at your progress and wish that you’re much further ahead in your singing journey. You’ve been practicing every day, and you’re not seeing the results as soon as you’ve hoped.
You look at your social media feeds and admire how other singers can sing so well while innately comparing yourself to them.
I’ve been there before and let me tell you. It’s not going to help!
As much as we’re trying to see ourselves improve as quickly as possible, sometimes things just take a while. Singing is such a physical activity that you can consider singers as “vocal athletes.” There are so many physiological parts that need the proper time to build up, from throat muscles to abdomen strengthening.
It’s important to be patient with yourself and not to be too harsh on where you are in your singing journey.
Every practice you decide to do should be considered a step forward. If you change your mindset and enjoy every little “win” along the way, you’ll see yourself improving a little bit each and every day.
15. Learn how to play an instrument
When you learn how to play another instrument and add that to your singing repertoire, it can help you become a better singer. Typically, singers would learn piano or guitar to help accompany them while they perform. But other instruments work just as well, such as drums, bass, and percussion.
Learning how to play an instrument can help improve your understanding of the song. You’ll get a deeper dive into song structure, the chord progressions and what vocal tone works well with the song.
You’ll also get a better understanding of the rhythm and pacing which will help you with song delivery.
Also, being able to play an instrument allows you to transpose your song into a key that you’re comfortable with. If you find a song that you would like to sing but is out of your vocal range, you can easily adjust it and “tailor-make” the song to your voice. You can even change the arrangement and genre to fit your personal singing style.
16. Get an adequate amount of sleep
The amount of rest that your voice gets is just as significant as the amount of time you’re training. Sleeping better and giving your body the rest that it deserves will help you sing better in the long run.
If you’re exhausted from staying up all night, you won’t have the necessary energy required to sing those high notes due to the lack of energy that you need to use for breath control and vocal support. If you try to sing in low physical conditions, you’ll experience more vocal strain and fatigue in your voice.
Forcing yourself to sing with inadequate amounts of sleep can also lead to vocal hoarseness. You may think that the raspy sound coming out of your voice is adding to your tone, but in fact, it’s a signal that your voice is tired and needs rest.
Also, if you think coffee is the solution, think again!
Coffee is a diuretic, which means it can dry out your body. Your voice box needs to be in constant moisture to work efficiently, so although you feel more awake, your voice definitely will not!
17. Start singing with a microphone
If you haven’t been practicing with a microphone yet, you should probably start doing so.
By using a microphone, you can easily record yourself singing as well as learn mic techniques that can help you control your vocals more effectively.
It can be quite intimidating singing into a microphone for the first time. Your voice will be loud, and all your strengths and weaknesses will be on display. However, don’t let that dissuade you from using a microphone to practice. Using a mic can actually make singing much easier.
When you’re using a microphone, you’re using less force while singing, which can help ease the tension on your vocals. You won’t need to push harder to sing louder. Simply just turn up the volume knob on the amp or sound system to hear yourself!
If you’re planning to sing in front of an audience, learning the proper mic techniques is going to be very important. Singing without a microphone can be quite different from singing with one.
The way you project your voice is very different. Some of your vocal techniques will have to change, and even your body positioning will have to be adjusted.
Read more: 15 Best Microphones for Live Vocals in 2020
18. Listen to different types of music
Broadening your music style can help you sing better in ways you wouldn’t even realize at first. You might balk at the thought of listening to a particular genre of music because you feel it isn’t really your “style of music.”
But if you try listening to something new with an open mind, you can learn a lot by just picking up different tones and rhythms of a song.
When I was younger, I didn’t like to listen to rap or hip-hop. But as I tried listening to new genres, I noticed that my passive listening skills grew. I was able to pick up on other types of nuances and techniques that eventually helped build my vocal style.
With hip-hop, I learned how to sing lyrics more quickly and accurately.
As I grew older, I listened to more different genres, like classical, reggae, and jazz. And to this day, I still open up to new types of music so that I can keep learning and pick up small tricks here and there.
When you start listening to different types of music, you’ll notice that each genre has its own specialty. You’ll be able to pick that up, and doing so will help you become a more versatile singer.
If you’re looking to become a professional singer, being versatile can help you land a lot more gigs than if you only have one style.
19. Master one song at a time
When you learn new songs, make sure that you master only one song at a time. When I first started singing, I remember that I used to jump from one song to the next before properly learning how to sing a song in its entirety.
I didn’t dive deep into the techniques and just sort of skimmed the song. Doing so stalled my progress because I wasn’t learning anything substantial. I just ineffectively sang it and moved on.
This old habit of mine is similar to quickly skimming a book and not reading it. All the details and essential information are glossed over, which definitely won’t help you improve.
If you’re learning a new song, take the time to learn the necessary fundamentals. Learn the phrasing, tones, and textures that the singer uses. You’ll find that you’ll gradually incorporate something new in your technique and will help you sing that much better.
20. Never stop learning new singing techniques
When you’re singing with the right foundations, you’re creating positive singing habits that reduce the tension in your vocal cords, which can help you prevent long term voice damage.
Before you start belting those high notes, brush up on the singing and breathing techniques so that you’re singing without compromising your vocal health.
Learning how to sing better is similar to lifting weights. If you’re a beginner, you should learn how to lift lighter weights by using proper form before adding heavier weights to your workout.
The same thing goes with singing.
When you start singing, you’re learning the fundamentals that will help you build up your vocal strength so you can sing longer and project more powerfully over time.
If you’re serious about improving your vocal skills, finding a good singing teacher will help you get to where you want to be at a much quicker and safer pace.
Singing teachers eliminate the trial and errors that many singers have to go through when they learn at home. Even just learning through YouTube won’t be as effective as having a singing teacher because of the lack of structure and guidance for your vocal training.
If you’re unable to find a singing teacher near you or if the price is a bit too high, online singing programs are a great alternative to improve your singing technique. Many of them have a guided system where you can simply follow step by step to reach your singing goals.
I recommend the 30 Day Singer program for beginners and Christina Aguilera’s Masterclass for more advanced students.
21. Pushing your limits
Whether you’ve just started learning how to sing, or have been singing for a while, it’s essential to continue to push your boundaries and always try something new so that you can improve your vocal skills.
Try adding something different, and challenge yourself. If you keep doing the same exercises day in and day out, you’re not going to see progress as fast as if you were to add new activities to your practice.
Even if you’re focused on mastering vocal exercises, don’t forget to pick a song that is suitable for you. Start implementing everything that you have been learning in a song.
You can also try making a singing video or join an open mic. It might be nerve-wracking at first, but try to make it a goal to push the comforts of your learning experience.
Because you’re performing for others, you’re putting some pressure on yourself which can be helpful to your development. Forcing yourself to prepare properly and allowing you to face those nerves will help you improve that much quicker.
It takes a lot of time and dedication to improve your singing skills. As long as you practice consistently and remember the reason why you’re learning, you’ll see yourself sing better. Continue getting the basics right, don’t forget to take care of your vocal health, and you’ll be a great singer in no time!
Do you want to improve your singing and learn how to hit those high notes without straining your voice? CLICK HERE to get a FREE trial with 30 Day Singer!
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