A Practical Guide to Help You Improve Your Singing Voice
We often treat singing like it is a natural talent that only a few people can have. What would be different about our approach to music if we thought of it as a skill to be learned?
You wouldn’t think about playing the guitar, a trombone, or another musical instrument in the same way. Although some people can pick up the skills to play faster, that doesn’t mean you can’t put in the work to get better!
Your voice is one of the most potent instruments for creating music. You can start singing better today, even if you are a beginner.
All it takes is knowing how to practice using your voice correctly and taking the time to get better.
If you’re ready to start that journey today, this guide for knowing how to sing better for beginners can get you closer to your musical goals.
How to Start Singing Today
It doesn’t take much to turn your natural voice into a musical instrument. Instead of speaking in your usual cadence, change a few beats to it. You can move the pitch up or down based on what you like to hear.
You’ll hold some words longer and louder, while others are softer and shorter.
You might even get a melody in your head that you want to match with some words to form a song!
The only thing you need to start singing as a beginner is the willingness to learn this new skill. Most people get held back by their preconceived notions of what their voice should sound like when they sing, which causes them to quit before they reach their full potential.
If you can keep an open mind and implement the tips found in this guide, you’ll be taking forward steps on your journey to becoming a better singer.
You can also review the course material in this exclusive approach to learning how to sing better, including how to perform in public with confidence.
What Do I Need to Do to Start Singing Better?
Like most instruments, singing involves several different skills working together in harmony instead of one particular action.
That’s why it can be so challenging to start this journey! You can modify your voice right away to adopt singing tones, but it takes a few additional steps to start getting everything to where you want it to be with that powerful instrument of yours.
If you’re ready to know how to sing better as a beginner, these traits are the ones you’ll want to start practicing first.
1. Take care of your vocal health.
It would be best if you tuned a guitar regularly to keep the notes at the right pitch. If you play the piano, you will take care of your hands and fingers so that they can accurately depress each key.
When you sing, your voice becomes the instrument. That means you must keep it healthy so that you can pursue your music!
These simple tips can help you achieve a better singing experience, whether in the shower or while taking a course to help you perform better.
§ Know the limits of your range to avoid unnecessary strain or injury.
§ Always take the time to warm up before singing.
§ Avoid smoking at all costs.
§ Try to avoid overusing your voice before you sing or take lessons.
It also helps your singing voice to stay hydrated throughout the day. If you feel thirsty, you’ve already waited too long to take care of this instrument!
When you take the time to hydrate properly, the moisture can reduce the irritation your vocal cords sometimes experience when singing.
Some people also find that certain foods adversely impact their singing voice. Although each person has different triggers that can cause problems, it is usually spicy, oily, dairy, and fried items that create issues.
2. Work on knowing how to breathe like a singer.
Most beginners start singing by filling their lungs vertically with air. This technique seems like it is the right thing to do because that process is how we usually function.
If you take a deep breath, it feels like your lungs expand and contract vertically.
When you start singing, you must practice learning how to breathe horizontally instead.
Here’s an easy way to work on the breathing technique you need to become a better singer.
§ Please take a deep breath right now and hold it.
§ As you were breathing in, did your shoulders lift upward?
§ If they did, that means the air you need for singing sits too high to be useful.
§ Exhale and take another deep breath. Try to put all of the air into your diaphragm on the second effort.
If you don’t get it right at first, that’s okay! Learning how to breathe differently means you might be changing a lifetime habit.
Try to be mindful throughout the day about your breathing to see how you’re doing with the shoulders vs. diaphragm methodology. It doesn’t need to be constant, but you will find it helpful to consciously breathe 4-7 times daily.
When more air gets into your belly region consistently while singing, you’ll find that your tone, quality, and note length can all improve.
3. Think about your singing posture.
Once you become comfortable breathing horizontally instead of vertically, it is time to tackle the issue of your physical singing posture.
Your vocal cords might produce the sounds your musical instrument can play, but it takes the entire body to support that effort!
When you sing with correct posture, each breath has the freedom to support your entire vocal range. If you slouch, even a little, the construction closes off the air to create a tense, strained sound instead.
It helps to stand in front of a mirror to work on your posture. You’ve got several areas of focus to review, so please don’t feel like you need to get everything perfect all at once.
If you can improve your posture in one area today, you’ll still notice a difference in your singing style.
§ Your Neck: Streamline it with the rest of your spine instead of trying to push it forward. Your goal is to get the top of your vertebra (the A-O joint) aligned with your tailbone naturally to encourage maximum air intake and support.
§ Your Shoulders: Instead of keeping these joints connected to your ribcage, try to roll them back and away from your chest. They shouldn’t move when you sing if you’re in the correct posture. It can feel different and uncomfortable at first, so try to relax as you aim for a neutral position.
§ Your Arms: It is not unusual for singers to stick their hands in their pockets when they get nervous. This action closes off your airway and creates a defensive appearance to anyone watching you sing. If you aren’t gesturing while singing, try to keep them relaxed at your sides. Any fidgeting or hand-clasping can cause tension to appear in other areas of the body.
§ Your Torso: Your lungs and the chest’s coordinating muscles push the air to your vocal cords to make them become a dominant force for your singing. Try to stay balanced above your hips, allowing the breathing passageways to feel open and large. This process helps your spine to enjoy its natural curvature.
§ Your Hips: When you can stay in a balanced stance, your hips will support your torso while encouraging the rest of your body to maintain its singing posture.
§ Your Knees: If you stand to sing for more than a couple of songs, you’ll want to soften these joints to prevent them from locking. When you stand with them straight up, it changes your circulation patterns to cause you to feel lightheaded eventually.
§ Your Feet: You want your feet to be at least a hip-width apart when singing, although most people find their posture should have them in a shoulder-width stance. Try to keep your weight balanced across both contact points with the floor to avoid leaning.
As your body changes with age, you’ll find that the best posture points require a little tweaking. That means the lessons you learn about yourself when trying to become a better singer can provide a lifetime of benefits.
4. Work to improve your singing tone.
Your singing tone is the unique vocal signature your voice contributes to music. The nature of the audio frequencies your cords produce is dictated by the shape of your throat, sinuses, and head.
That’s why every singing voice sounds a little different. Although you can mimic other tones temporarily, the stress placed on your vocal cords won’t allow you to perform for more than a song or two.
You need an authentic tone, supported by proper posture and breath control, to maximize your musical instrument's natural qualities.
A vocal coach can help you identify specific tone issues that could adversely impact your singing voice quality. If you don’t like how your voice sounds in this area, you can change your tone by focusing on these physical contributors to the sound.
§ Relax your swallowing muscles as you sing. If you have tension in this area, it will tighten the airflow and create unwanted tone changes.
§ Clear out your sinuses before singing. If you feel stuffed up from allergies, a cold, or another issue, reducing the inflammation and blockages can improve your voice’s quality.
§ Get out of your mind. If you start thinking about how much you hate your vocal tone, the problems you don’t want to have appearing become a self-fulfilling prophecy for the song you’re about to sing.
Your tone can also experience adverse impacts because of a limited range, short breathing, or not understanding how to start a phrase or note sequence.
5. Practice singing on pitch.
Your vocal pitch is what determines if you’re singing the right notes of a song. Sometimes, you might be off-key, have all of your tones a little sharp, or not even know how to hit the correct spot on a musical scale.
Everyone comes into music as a beginner with different vocal qualities. Some people can even naturally hit the correct pitches immediately because they have an “automatic tuner” in their head.
When you practice singing, one of the exercises you should include with your work each time involves pitch improvement.
These four options can help you identify where you are with your current abilities to create the improvements you want to see with your singing.
§ I don’t know how to pick the right pitch. If you’re unsure how to sing a specific note, try sliding up and down your natural vocal range. Think about what physical changes happen when you reach high or low notes. When your brain can recognize what needs to happen to achieve the right pitch, it’ll become easier to duplicate results.
§ I sing off-key sometimes, but I hit most of the right notes. This issue involves breath support or vocal range expansion for many singers. Try stringing the tones together into sequences that you can match instead of attempting single sounds. It’ll be easier to accomplish the pitch results you want by working in those areas.
§ I find myself falling a little sharp or flat. If you tend to sing notes a little flat, that means you need some help with your breath support. When your singing is a bit sharp, it often means you’re putting too much effort into the note and need to pull back.
§ I tend to hit the right pitch in each song. When your singing pitch is relatively consistent, you can reinforce this strength by challenging yourself to hit the right notes during vocal extremes or challenging sequences.
6. Start to learn some basic music theory.
With this tip, I want to make sure this basic philosophy gets reinforced: anyone can sing.
You don’t need any prior knowledge about the structure or music theory of a song. If you hear a melody or something on the radio that inspires you to belt out a tune, do it!
When you want to take your singing to the next level as a beginner, it helps to know the science and mathematics behind the compositions. One of the best ways to do that is to take a singing course that teaches you these dynamics.
You can also join a choir, form a quartet, or practice singing on an app like Smule.
It helps to pick one of these four areas of basic music theory when you first start this journey. Once you become more familiar with the structures, you can pick more of them up!
§ Scales and Modes. Modern music divides an octave into 12 tones that we call the chromatic scale. When you separate them into half-steps, called semitones, you can build additional patterns.
§ Consonance and Dissonance. Consonance is a chord’s quality that seems complete and stable, while dissonance is the opposite of that outcome. One seems harmonious and perfect while the other feels like the sound of an automobile accident in music.
§ Rhythm. This musical element is the sequential arrangement of different notes, tones, and silences. Composers put together beats based on different time signatures.
§ Melody. Have you ever noticed how the melody of a song seems to create a life of its own? It accomplishes this result by moving toward a tension climax before resolving to a restful state.
7. Start practicing dictation.
Singing dictation is how words get pronounced while you sing. Some vocal teachers and online lessons also refer to it as “articulation.”
If lyrics are part of a song, the words contribute to the overall impression a listener has for the piece.
It can help to record yourself singing to hear if you can understand a song’s lyrics. When the words seem slurred, or the syllables seem to blend, you’ll know what to practice fixing during your practice sessions.
You can also practice your vowel sounds when singing to help create crisp lyrics that someone at the back of the room could hear.
8. Work on discovering your vocal range.
Although we all might want to sing like Mariah Carey, most people cannot cover five octaves with their voices.
You can discover your vocal range and the strengths your musical instrument contributes to each song.
Although you should be able to hit the notes of a song you decide to sign for others, the process of accomplishing that outcome is a little different for everyone.
Most beginners try to emulate their idols when they start singing. You can sometimes even hear them trying to match the tone and quality of the voice!
You can start discovering what is possible with your voice by finding the middle C on the piano or a tuning app that plays tones. As you move down, sing along to match each note until you can no longer duplicate it comfortably.
Once you know what the lowest note is you can hit, it’s time to duplicate that process to see the highest tone.
When you reach for those high notes, don’t forget about your falsetto! This key change can help you hit some of the most impressive parts of a song that your “regular” voice cannot manage.
9. Stay motivated to keep practicing.
Once you have some of the basic concepts figured out as a beginner, it can be discouraging to continue with your singing lessons because you start practicing the same things repetitively.
Most lessons follow the rule of thirds when you’re ready to move beyond the introductory concepts of singing.
§ You would spend the first third of your time warming up.
§ The second third should get dedicated to song study.
§ The final third involves vocal technique and improvements.
If you have a 30-minute lesson, that means you’d spend ten minutes on each subject. Since that isn’t a lot of time for improvement, it is essential to work outside of this structure if you want to be a better signer.
When it seems challenging to stay motivated with your singing, try to make your practice sessions fun. You can create funny warmups, pretend you have an audience, or make up a song from scratch – whatever you need to do to avoid boredom and stay motivated.
This issue is also why many beginners take online classes before looking for a vocal coach. By seeing if they like working on this skill first, it often requires less of an investment.
When you can stick with it, the confidence you gain with each new lesson translates to how your audience will perceive each performance.
Where Can I Find Singing Lessons?
What makes our Internet culture such an incredible asset is that it encourages us to take the DIY approach to learn a new skill. There is nothing that holds you back from picking up whatever you want to know.
When you find the right course to help you know how to sing better, you can work in the comfort and privacy of your home. If your teacher wants to start having you practice in front of others, it can be embarrassing if you’re the only one who makes mistakes!
The best beginners’ courses for learning how to sing should include a supportive community that can answer whatever questions you have.
It might also help to find a qualified vocal teacher in your area who can provide you with immediate feedback to improve your singing.
If you want to discover the best vocal coach in your community, here are the traits you’ll want to find.
Your vocal coach should want you to get better with each lesson. Even if they need to offer negative feedback, you should feel like the encounter was a positive experience.
A vocal teacher should know how to incorporate diaphragm-based breathing, lyrical diction, resonation, and the other techniques you need to learn to become a better singer.
Most vocal coaches focus on their strengths. That means you need to find the individual who can help you shore up your singing weakness. From controlling your vibrato to correct breathing techniques, the methodology offered should feel like a natural fit.
Some vocal coaches only teach styles like musical theater, classical, or opera. You can find others that focus on everything by giving you a well-rounded education. If you want to learn how to be a country singer, an opera teacher won’t get you where you want to be.
If your vocal teacher is more than 20 minutes away, you’ll struggle to meet your lesson schedule. When your coach is closer, issues like traffic or a bad day at work play less of a role in reaching your singing goals.
You don’t need to choose one or the other when you want to learn how to sing better. If you enjoy learning from online classes and in-person lessons, take them both!
The only stipulation is that the courses and lessons should teach you the correct techniques to improve your singing voice.
Do I Need Vocal Training?
If you believe that singing is a natural talent, you might think that you don’t need music lessons to feel that your voice is good.
When you think that your voice is terrible, that perspective might prevent you from trying to improve.
Since your singing voice is a skill anyone can learn because it is a musical instrument, vocal training is something that helps everyone.
If you’re already at or near the top of your skill level, vocal training can help you to stay there. The support you receive is similar to what a professional athlete would get to maintain their performance levels.
When you’re first learning how to sing, you’ll learn the basic structures that help you to get better at this skill.
The one thing that vocal training cannot provide is the ongoing choice to keep practicing. If you only work on your singing voice when you’re at a lesson or studying an online course, the improvements you want to see might not appear.
If you can practice for about 30 minutes each day, you’ll notice skill improvements happening over the next couple of weeks. It’s not unusual to see instant benefits when you learn how to breathe correctly or stand with better posture.
It would help if you also considered your vocal cords’ health. If you feel tired after 20 minutes of practicing, it’s better to stop there. When you practice daily, more strength gets added to your natural instrument so that it can be more assertive and last longer.
Can I Afford to Hire a Vocal Coach?
Unfortunately, our culture lives in a pay-to-play environment. The people who have the most money can afford to build their skills in ways that others cannot.
If you want to hire a vocal coach locally, the average cost is approximately $60 per hour. Since you need about 3 one-hour lessons per week to see meaningful results, you’d pay $720 per month to become a better singer.
That cost doesn’t make sense for most people. Some families spend less on their groceries each month than the average price of a vocal coach!
That’s why these online courses are a better alternative. If you want to unlock monthly access, you’ll pay about the same price as a single local lesson.
What could you do in a month with your singing instead of a day? You could save even more by buying a year of online lessons!
Since it seems like everyone has some sort of “deal” to offer, look for 100% transparency when you want to learn how to sing better.
Do you receive unlimited access to the course material so that you can reference them at any time?
Are there monthly group lessons included with the cost, or is everything video-based with the expectation that you are responsible for every step of your learning?
If there are video lesson recordings involved, do they follow the standardized musical theory taught for generations?
The right lessons from the right teacher at the right time in your life can help you become a better singer faster than you might realize. There isn’t a magic switch to click that creates these changes overnight. If you’re willing to put in the work and take care of your voice, you’ll find that anyone can become a better singer.