There’s a commonly held opinion that singers are born rather than taught. It’s believed that the brilliant singers we most love and admire are there on pure talent alone. Hard work and dedication are thought to have little importance.
I very much disagree with this. If I’m ever asked, “Can anyone learn to sing?” I’ll always answer that I believe they can.
So, why is that?
Because I came into singing relatively late in life. And, with little natural ability, I taught myself the necessary basic skills. Happily, although I don’t claim to have a brilliant voice, it is now good enough to perform live and give a decent account of myself.
This level of performance I believe is enough to claim you can sing. And the fact that I could do it proves just about anyone can too.
Learning how to improve your voice and sing confidently is a huge topic. However, in this short article, I hope to give you a few pointers to get you started. Hopefully, that will be enough to lead you to your ultimate goals, no matter how big or small. Let’s get going.
It’s best to start right at the beginning because doing correct singing warm-ups is the foundation of every good vocalist. Even singers like Celine Dion have to do this.
However, where some confusion arises is that there are always a few sublimely talented individuals that never warm up and are brilliant regardless.
Two examples come to mind, namely Brian Johnson from AC/DC and Ozzy Osbourne. Just remember that these are the exceptions. For the rest of us mere mortals, we need to regularly warm up before we start.
So, why is that?
Because it helps to stretch your vocal cords without damaging them. Additionally, you form good habits such as relaxing, being able to switch from head to chest voice, and singing for your abdomen when appropriate.
You also become more adept at breathing and supporting your voice with plenty of air. But, before I go on to briefly look at all of these points I’d suggest that you first acquaint yourself with some vocal warm-up exercises.
This is so important. If you feel tense, you’re likely to throttle the muscles in your neck and around your throat which in turn will throttle your sound. You can replicate this feeling by screaming. Just try it and feel how it sounds.
If you sing with tension, that’s the horrible kind of screeching people around you are going to have to put up with. Put simply, you’ll sound like a shrieking cat.
So, what to do?
Before you start your warm-ups, you need to take some deep breaths and shake yourself from top to bottom. Think how prize boxers shake themselves in the ring before they start a fight. Do the same, but keep the cameras off. We’re not making Tik-Tok videos here people.
Now that you’ve put yourself in a relaxed state you need to keep yourself like this for the warm-ups and subsequent singing. Make sure you don’t clench your jaw when reaching the high notes and keep your mouth in a relaxed position.
One of the best tips I’ve ever been given was to keep my mouth very slightly open and smile. This prevents your jaw and neck muscles from becoming tense and it does work. Take a look at some of Ozzy Osbourne’s videos if you don’t believe me.
Head and Chest Voice
When we sing, we will normally do so in a range that requires us to move between the two. Your head voice is reserved for the higher notes and conversely, your chest voice is for the lower notes.
Singing in your head voice requires little breath. The sound may feel as if it is being generated through the vibrations in your head even though it’s still via your vocal cords. Your head voice is higher than your natural speaking voice.
Your chest voice is in the same range as your speaking voice and requires more air to push out the sound. This is because at a lower register you need to engage the thicker vocal cords which require more power and therefore more air.
Something you need to be aware of…
The voice you’re using and how best to support your singing with an appropriate release of air. When you sing in a chest voice you‘ll need to breathe deeper and much more regularly than when signing in a head voice.
This brings us nicely to the next topic. One that is an important part of the answer to the question, “Can anyone learn to sing?”
This and relaxing are probably two of the most important things when learning to sing. If you’re still unsure about either after you’ve read this, then take a look at a more extensive “Relaxing Breathing for Singing” program.
The first thing to be aware of is that singing requires much more energy and breathing than just talking. Depending on what you singing, you’ll need to take a lot more breaths and you’ll need to breathe a lot more deeply.
What’s more, the nature of singing often requires you to take in the air extremely quickly so you can move on to the next lyrical phrase.
For songs that require a lot of air…
You might want to study them a little more carefully and decide where and when to take your breaths. This, at first, might necessitate marking your breathing points on the lyric sheets.
When you sing it’s essential that you manage your airflow and not exhale too quickly. If you do this, you’ll have no support for your voice which is essential for moving your vocal cords. The result is that your voice will sound a bit crap.
You’ve probably heard a few times about singing from your abdomen and not your throat. This is the practice of using air in your diagram rather than your throat. It allows you to better use the air you have, and sound louder, without the need to expel any unnecessarily.
Even better, it improves the quality of your tone too…
Frankly, this is a little more advanced and requires a lot of practice. But, “Contemporary Singing Techniques – Female” and “Contemporary Singing Techniques – Male” covers this in more detail and a whole lot more as well.
Knowing Your Vocal Range
There’s no point in learning to sing songs that are beyond your vocal range. This is because not only will you potentially strain your voice, but you’ll also get frustrated with your efforts. It’s much better and makes a lot more sense to practice songs that you feel comfortable with.
Once you get more experienced you can expand your repertoire and get more ambitious. Try not to worry too much about this when you’re getting started. Just remember almost none of us have the astounding five octaves and five semitones register like Axl Rose.
Not sure of your vocal range?
Well, there are plenty of online and mobile apps to help you out. One last point is that even the best singers in the world can’t sing everything. Take Adele as an example.
She has a stunning Mezzo-Soprano voice but can’t hit the high notes in the same way that Mariah Carey and Celine Dion do for fun. Consequently, she never tries and sticks to where she shines. Take note of Adele, you aspiring singers.
Whatever the reason for wanting to sing the most important part of the whole process, which by and large we all have to do, is practicing. If you don’t practice the likelihood is that you’ll never learn how to sing to any decent standard.
A great practice tool is to use a karaoke machine. The good news is that these days they don’t cost a fortune and allow you to sing along with the music you like. They’re a great tool and shouldn’t be underestimated.
Whatever your style of music, when you’re trying to learn how to sing it’s important to take every opportunity to do just that. Additionally, don’t close yourself off to musical genres not normally on your radar. Take the time to experiment and enjoy yourself.
Got an Urge to Sing Loud and Proud?
If so, take a look at our helpful articles on Types of Vocal Timbre, Is Your Voice Deeper Than You Hear It, Ways to Tell if You’re a Good Singer, How To Deal With Crying While Singing, Analyzing Ariana Grande’s Vocal Range, and How to Get Karaoke Songs for Free for more information.
Also, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Live Vocal Mics, the Best Dynamic Microphones, the Best Computer Microphones, the Best USB Microphones, the Best Wireless Microphones, and the Best Microphones For Recording Vocals you can buy in 2023.
And, don’t miss our comprehensive reviews of the Best Karaoke Microphones, the Best Karaoke Microphones for iPhones and Smartphones, the Best Karaoke Machines, and the Best Karaoke Speakers currently on the market.
Can Anyone Learn To Sing? – Final Thoughts
I sincerely hope that this has helped and I honestly believe that anyone who follows these few basic tips can unlock their voice. Good luck, but before I finish, I just want to emphasize the three most important takeaways from the last few minutes read.
Firstly, be confident. The truth is anyone can learn to sing. Secondly, when you sing, is to take a good supporting breath. This is the foundation of all good singing and makes a huge difference to your tone and the quality of your voice.
Thirdly, you must learn to relax your throat and facial muscles. If you don’t your tone will always sound strained. It’s one of the easiest things to get wrong, one of the easiest things to put right, and one of the worst things for killing a song’s delivery.
Until next time, make yourself heard.