Does it seem impossible to sing the songs you love because your voice never seems to be in tune?
Have you seen that scrunched-up face from your family or friends when you sing?
Some people only think that they have an unsatisfactory singing voice, while others only need a little training to get to the right note or key.
If you’re wondering why you can’t sing in tune, the answer is simple: you don’t have the skill right now.
That doesn’t mean you’ll be off-key forever. When you practice singing skills each day, you can learn how to stay in tune with every song.
Although local singing tutors and vocal coaches are an excellent option, the cost isn’t always affordable. If you’re ready to learn how to sing in tune, these online courses can help teach you what you need to know.
How to Start Singing in Tune with Every Song
For most people, singing in tune is a four-step development process when they start at the beginning of their journey. Although you might not be the next musical superstar, these steps can show you where you can improve your skills.
Step #1: Check your biological capabilities.
Although tone deafness is rare, it is a real condition. Some people are not biologically capable of carrying a tune. That’s why you’ll often hear people referring to this physical condition when someone sings the wrong notes to a song.
What does it mean to be tone deaf?
When someone cannot recognize the pitch and tone of a song, they have a biological condition called “amusia.”
You can have differing levels of amusia based on your genetic profile. Some individuals struggle with musical rhythms, while others are unsure of their notes because the frequency resonance changes aren’t recognized internally.
One of the easiest ways to check to see if you are tone deaf is to play two notes on a piano next to each other.
If you press one key, followed by the other, and the notes sound exactly the same, you could have tone deafness. That means your brain wouldn’t recognize the different vocal tones you’d sing when your favorite song plays on the radio or your playlist.
Biological tone deafness is exceptionally rare. Research from Harvard Health shows that only 1 in 20 people have some level of amusia. Testing during these trials showed that people with poor singing voices could hear musical notes without a problem.
What if I Don’t Have a Piano at Home?
If you don’t have a piano or a keyboard at home to test your musical listening understanding, you can take an online tone deafness test to see if you can recognize individual notes. It should only take you a few minutes to see if a medical follow-up is necessary to confirm the diagnosis.
Some people have artificial tone deafness because they have hearing damage. This issue is different from amusia because you can recognize the notes, but you might not hear the correct pitch.
Your doctor can help you determine if you’ve lost the capability of hearing specific notes or frequencies. About one-third of people above the age of 65 could be experiencing this issue. If you’re above the age of 75, that number reaches about 50%.
Although aging is a significant factor, so is exposure to loud noises. Even something correctible, such as excessive earwax production, can interfere with your note recognition when singing.
A vocal coach specializing in deafness or hearing loss can help you recognize the vibrations that the correct notes produce to sing in tune.
Step #2: Develop Pitch-Matching Skills
Once you’ve determined that hearing loss and amusia don’t affect your singing voice, it is time to develop the skill of matching pitches.
When a vocal coach or singing tutor talks about hitting the right notes in a song, they are talking about this skill.
This issue is the primary reason why people think that they have a terrible singing voice. Some simple exercises can help your brain recognize the notes and pitches so that you can match them with the sounds you produce.
You’re working to connect your ears to your voice. Once you form this loop, your brain can say, “Yes! That’s the right note!” or “No! You need to fix it by…”
If you have a piano at home, the easiest way to develop pitch-matching skills is to hum the same sound frequency as the instrument. You could play a middle C, hold the note out, and work to match it with your voice.
As you hum, you’ll notice that a “beat” develops as you get close to the tone. That’s something you want to hear! It means your brain recognizes two different notes are present, allowing you to realize that you must move your voice up or down to remove the discord.
Once you reach a matching tone, you won’t hear any soundwave differences at all.
After you get comfortable matching the middle C, try practicing with some other notes to extend your range. You’ll eventually want to go through an entire octave to train your brain to recognize each tone.
If you don’t have a piano, you can use an electronic keyboard to create similar results. When neither instrument is accessible, you have these options to consider.
Use a Digital Tuner
A digital tuner plays specific notes that you can match with your voice. Most products are handheld devices that you can set to play a particular tone.
Once you hear the note play, you can match your voice to the sounds from your digital tuner.
Some digital tuners accept sounds only to let you know what tone you’re singing. When using this option, you’ll want to keep a consistent sound to recognize the various notes you’ll find in songs.
If the digital tuner flickers between sharps or flats and naturals, that means you’re off-key and need to adjust.
You can use online digital tuners if you don’t have this tool at home.
When you use this method to work on pitch matching, it helps to listen carefully to each note. Try to replicate it with your voice to hear if you’re higher or lower than what the display indicates.
Each time you practice, you’ll get a little bit better at matching the pitches. Some people develop the skill faster than others, but it is something that anyone can accomplish.
Use Apps to Match Pitches
Several games are available on Android and iOS devices that can help you match notes with your voice. The benefit of using your smartphone or tablet is that you can work on your singing skills almost anywhere.
One of the best options in this category is called SingTrue. It selects notes within a comfortable range to help you start recognizing how your voice sounds. You’ll get several simple exercises to enhance your abilities and usable data to show you how fast your progression is happening.
If you don’t have a mobile device, games like Rock Band can help you learn how to match pitches while singing some of your favorite songs. You’ll need a microphone that plugs into your preferred console to have a successful experience using this option.
Record Your Voice to Match Pitches
Another way to match your voice to the correct note is to use audio recording and analysis services. Providers like Audacity® allow you to visualize how your singing voice sounds to others through a complete pitch analysis.
When you can see the different peaks where your voice went out of tune, it helps your brain recognize the places where pitch matching could improve.
Although everyone goes off-tune here and there, this methodology aims to hear places where you aren’t hitting the right notes. If you rely on visual cues to match pitches, you can become dependent on that process.
Step #3: Learn Your Vocal Range
Once you can start matching pitches with consistency, it is time to learn your vocal range.
Although you can always push your voice to hit higher and lower notes with practice, it’s better to become consistent with the various tones in your “natural” singing range.
Everyone has a different starting point, which is why it is essential to identify the notes you can comfortably reach. If your vocal cords start straining to hit specific tones, you’ve gone beyond your limit.
You can also work with local tutors or take online music classes to identify your natural vocal range.
The best place to start this process is with your natural speaking voice. If you use it as an anchor for the most comfortable notes, you can push the tones higher or lower until you feel uncomfortable.
Once you reach the place where a note no longer feels comfortable, use a digital tuner or an online alternative to identify those sounds.
When you start practicing to sing in tune more consistently, you’ll want to focus on compositions that stay within that range.
You’ll want to stay at this step in your singing development until you can consistently match pitches throughout the entire range. It might take some time to develop this skill if you’re starting from scratch, so please be patient with the process.
Step #4: Control Your Vocals
After you develop the skill of matching individual notes with your voice, it is time to start creating sequences where you hit all of the right tones.
If you want to sing a song, you must eventually sing multiple notes at the correct pitch.
You can achieve this outcome by learning how to control your voice as you progress from each note. Without this skill, you might hit a few notes correctly, but then start going off-key gradually until you’re unsure of where you are.
This issue happens all of the time at karaoke parties, choir performances, and similar venues. The singer starts strong, but then the notes being sun gradually slide off-key until you’re the one making faces at the sounds your ears are hearing.
Most singers can handle sequential scales reasonably well after they learn how to match pitch. If you were to hit the white keys on a piano, you’d perform a C-D-E-F-G-A-B sequence.
If you listen to most songs, the melodic sequences don’t go through scales. They use sharps, flats, and octave leaps to create a variation for the listener.
“Wuthering Heights” by Kate Bush is an excellent example of soaring vocals that require multiple pitch-matching sequences to achieve a successful outcome.