Singers Spot Blog

The spot for singers to meet and improve their skills

Yes you can learn to sing on pitch!


Many people have told me that they cannot sing on pitch. This is simply not true. For most people, singing on pitch is not as difficult as it is made out to be. It is a skill that like all skills requires practice, time, patience and hard work to acquire. There are some who may never be able to learn this. People who speak in monotone and have been unable to correct it or who are profoundly deaf and do not have cochlear implants or other hearing aids may not be able to learn this skill. However, for most people it can be learned.

Before we get started, take a few minutes to put together the following: someone to listen to you, a warm-up CD, a piano or keyboard, a tuner and a recorder. The last two are helpful but not necessary. You will need someone who will be able to listen to you and tell you if you are below the note (flat) or above the note (sharp). A friend who has good pitch will work. However, I recommend a voice teacher because they will be able to tell you what you are doing incorrectly. They will be able to help you make changes more quickly so that you can reach your goal of singing on pitch. You should also get a warm-up CD to practice with. With hectic schedules it is often hard to find time to practice. This way you can take it with you anywhere and work on it when you have a few minutes. You can find a basic warm-up CD on my website A Piano or Keyboard are very useful for playing pitches and then matching them. You can find toy keyboards online and in the toy departments at local stores. It doesn’t have to cost a lotof money. A tuner is useful for helping you to “see” the voice. Tuners aren’t made for use with the human voice. The voice has a natural vibrato. This makes it difficult to be exactly in tune. However, the tuner does allow you to see if you are going up in pitch and down in pitch. Most tuners have lines on the screen that divide it into quarters. If you are within one quarter each way of the line you will be fairly close to in tune. A recorder is very useful for documenting your progress and for listening to something that you just sang. There are many available in many different forms. You can even record with some MP3 players.Before you start working on singing in tune, it is important to make sure that you are using correct breath support. Check your posture. Make sure that your feet are shoulder width apart, you are standing up straight, shoulders slightly back, chest lifted and your head level (not tilted up or tilted down.) Put your hand on your stomach and take a breath. You should feel the stomach go out, Now breathe out, you should feel the stomach go in. This is opposite of the way that most people breathe. You will want to practice it a few times until it starts to feel more natural. This is just a brief overview of breath support. For more information read my article on breath support.To sing on pitch we will need to train the ears, brain and vocal folds to work together. Start off by doing some simple sighs. Start as high as you can go and sigh (using the voice) down as low as you can go. Keep doing this about 5 times. Each time go a little higher. Then start as low as you can go and go as high as you can go. Do that 5 times. You can also have your friend move their finger up and down in the air and follow it with your voice. I recommend that you hum. If they move their finger up you would go higher. If they more their finger down you would go lower.Next play a pitch on the piano in a comfortable range. Imagine the pitch or hear the pitch in your head and then sing it on Ha. Have your friend tell you if you were on pitch or if you needed to go higher or lower. As you do this, they should also tell you if you are getting closer to being on pitch. It is not necessary to be exactly on pitch as you do this, but you want to get closer to being on pitch each time that you practice. Think baby steps. This is not something that will happen all at once. Just try to get closer each time. Soon you will be there. It may be helpful to have your friend sing the pitch first before you sing the pitch. Many people are able to match another voice before they can match an instrument.Once you get comfortable with singing one note and are consistently on pitch or pretty close to it, you are ready to start singing some short scales. These can be found on the warm-up CD mentioned earlier. Don’t be surprised if you have more trouble singing on pitch. This is much more complicated than singing just one note. Keep working on it at a slow speed and eventually these will improve as well. You should also start singing some easy songs that you already know. (ex. Happy Birthday, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Three Blind Mice or Do a Deer.) This is where your recorder comes in handy. You can record it being sung by someone else and sing along with it, or you can record yourself singing it and listen to it. Listen to see how accurately you hit the pitches.With work on the exercises mentioned above, you should see improvement in your ability to sing on pitch. Keep working on it. With daily practice and patience you will be able to reach your goal of singing on pitch.


November 1, 2007 - Posted by | Skills

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