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.
Your voice requires you to be in control when moving between notes, especially when extreme changes occur. Most singers can hit the first tone correctly, but then the next sound comes out incorrectly.
When that occurs, the rest of the notes tend to be a little off.
Controlling your vocals is an individualized process. Each singer has specific strengths and weaknesses that a singing coach or a well-developed online class can recognize to encourage successful results.
If you want to improve your vocal control at home on your own, here are a few ideas to help you get started.
Use skip scales to practice your pitching.
Instead of using sequential tones to practice hitting the right pitch (C-D-E-F-G-A-B), use the two-octave approach by skipping every other note.
If you start at the middle C, you’d try using this sequence to move up and down the scale: C-E-G-B-D-F.
When you become confident with those changes, trying skipping two notes as you progress up and down the scale.
You can also practice moving between different octaves. That means you’d start by singing the middle C, which is called “C4.” That refers to its position on the bass staff or ledger line on the treble staff. You would then go up to C5, return to C4, go lower to C3, and return to C4 to practice the sequence.
Reduce Your Articulation
When we sing songs, the goal is to articulate the lyrics at the right note to let the listener understand the composition's melody and message. If you’re learning how to match pitches, it’s okay to slur your voice when practicing the scales.
You'll find it harder to hit the right notes on the same breath without articulating a specific sound.
Instead of using a “la, la, la” format as you hum each note, you’ll move your voice upward or downward instead without creating a stopping point.
This progression is called a “portamento.”
As you become comfortable reaching each note while sliding your voice, make the changes faster and bigger to keep improving this skill.
Add Syncopation to Your Scales
Syncopation displaces the regular meter of a song, and it usually puts more stress on the weaker beat in a composition.
Imagine that you’re singing something in 4/4 time. You’d hold a whole note for four beats, a half note for two, and a quarter note for one.
If you had four quarter notes in a measure, you’d sing, “la-la-la-la.”
When you have two half notes, it would be closer to this: “laaa, laaa.”
Syncopation disrupts the pattern by adding eighth notes, sixteenth notes, triplicates, and other elements to the rhythm to make a song feel interesting.
You might break up a 4/4 measure by putting in two eighth notes on the second beat: “la, ta-ta, la, la.”
If you want to challenge yourself, you could put an eighth note in front of a quarter note, like this: “ta-la, la, ta-la.”
Trying out these different rhythms with unique pitch changes is one of the most fun ways to improve your pitch-matching potential to sing in tune!
Step #5: Develop Your Confidence
Here’s the truth: you probably sing better than you realize. Most people compare their skill level to that of a professional artist instead of their peers.
Are you going to hit the same notes Steven Tyler? Probably not, because his vocals are how he earns a living.
Think about what you do professionally for work (or hope to be if you’re a student). People train to be rocket scientists, plumbers, contractors, and writers by taking specific classes and practicing their skills.
Singers do the same thing!
What holds most people back from singing in tune is a lack of confidence. If you think your voice sounds terrible, those thoughts create a self-fulfilling prophecy that produces the outcome you feared.
Did you ever close your eyes and use a brush as a microphone in the mirror? Whether you were lip-syncing to a favorite song or singing along, that confidence you felt in that specific moment is something you can duplicate when performing in front of others.
When you look up how to be confident online, you'll find many websites that offer business advice. Many of those lessons translate to your singing ability. Here are a few ways that you can start silencing that inner critic.
Be Willing to Practice More
Confident people have two consistent traits. They are willing to practice, and they acknowledge that they do not and cannot know everything. Even the most experienced people can take tomorrow to learn something new about themselves and their skills.
For the average singer, modesty is what holds them back from achieving their goals. Instead of pursuing what you love, are you worried about what others will think about when hearing your singing voice?
It would be fair to say that once you realize your value, confidence is no longer an accurate description. Your focus becomes on the purpose of each practice while you enhance the unique perspective you bring to music.
Seek Feedback When It Is Needed
Although you don’t want to be 100% reliant on outside perspectives for your singing, knowing how to sing in tune requires you to receive some experienced feedback. When someone tells you that your voice sounded fantastic, the validation that comes from the observation can deliver a massive dose of confidence.
The problem with feedback today is that you never know when someone is being entirely truthful. Is the person telling you that you were awesome because they didn’t want to hurt your feelings?
When feedback is only positive, we tend to stop trusting the people who offer that perspective. If the information you get is always negative, it can push people away from the skills they want to develop.
That’s why someone you trust and who will be authentic is your best asset to developing your singing voice.
It is okay if your confidence needs some praise. Everyone needs to hear that they’re doing a good job sometimes. When you can get some meaningful feedback that helps you improve, your singing skills will develop quickly.
Be Willing to Take Risks
It is a smart tactic to play to your musical strengths. You’ll also never know how capable you are until you reach a point where your singing gets tested.
You don’t want to see failure as being the end of your journey. It is only the first stop on a long ride toward the singer you want to be.
It never feels good to fail. When someone seems naturally better or more talented at something you work hard to obtain, jealousy can create some significant problems!
When you are willing to take risks, to step out with a leap of faith, your singing will improve. One of the best ways to accomplish this part of the step is to try songs or notes that seem out of reach at your current skill level.
The lessons learned from those moments, even if you fail, can help you be successful later on with your musical journey.
You must act to pursue a goal. If you’re caught standing still, it will feel like an impossible task to sing in tune.
Remember the Principles of Confidence
The line between confidence and arrogance is sometimes thin and hard to distinguish. If you know that you can accomplish something with relative ease, that’s confidence. When you think you’re better than everyone else, that’s arrogance.
When you start learning how to sing in tune, it helps to remember the principles of confidence so that you can keep your skill-building journey on the right path.
Confidence Principles to Embrace
Confidence Principles to Avoid
· Be honest with yourself throughout your entire singing journey. When you understand what you know and what still needs to be learned, it’s much easier to find those skill gaps to fill.
· Whenever you feel unsure about your singing, start practicing! As you get better with your tone and note recognition, you’ll experience more confidence in the songs you like to sing.
· Embrace the opportunities that let you prove you can hit difficult notes or sing challenging songs.
· Use confident body language when you practice singing. When you feel like you can accomplish a task, your mind agrees with that sentiment and works hard to make that outcome happen.
· A growth mindset requires consistent thought and action. Try to view each challenge as a potential opportunity.
· Thinking about how your singing abilities stack up to others can lead you down a destructive path. If you think about the value you offer to the musical world, it’ll be easier to recognize where you want to practice.
· When you need positive feedback, don’t hesitate to ask for it. Even a little praise can make it more comfortable to address the places that need some work.
· Worrying about how others think about you (including your vocal instructor) can hold you back. Keep the focus on yourself instead of theoretical audiences.
· Thinking that you need to control every class, practice session, or tutoring appointment reduces your confidence levels. It is essential to remember that nothing in our lives is 100% under our control.
If you don’t feel confident with your singing today, now is the time to create a better tomorrow. When you pursue something as simple as an online music course, the choice to improve can lead to higher confidence levels.
Avoid Limiting Beliefs and Statements
When you want to become a better singer, it is essential to uncover whatever beliefs exist that lead to self-doubt.
Most people have an inner critic that offers negative feedback. Do you find yourself asking questions like these examples?
· Why am I always a failure?
· How come I am never successful?
· Am I not intelligent enough to reach my dreams?
When your inner critic sets you up for failure, there’s an excellent chance that you won’t reach your singing goals.
That’s why it is crucial to shift your thought patterns. When you can avoid those limiting beliefs and statements, it is much easier to pursue the skills you want to develop.
If you go into a singing class knowing that you can handle what comes your way, that’s what you’ll accomplish!
Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of the learning process, look for positive information about your skills and learning. When you look at all of the reasons you can succeed at singing in tune, it'll be much harder to fail.
Are You Ready to Start Singing in Tune More Often?
Although some people have biological challenges that prevent them from singing in tune, it is rare for someone not to recognize different pitches.
Instead of thinking about singing as a natural talent for a privileged few, I hope you can see that music is a skill. It’s a fun language that anyone can learn!
When you learn how to match your voice to specific pitches, you’ll know how to sing in tune successfully. Although it might take some time to implement this skill repetitively, you can start singing your favorite songs with confidence faster than you might realize.
If you have a vocal coach or singing instructor in your community that you trust, I highly recommend seeking out their advice for your pitch-matching development. Private singing lessons with immediate feedback from a trained provider can help you discover the specific ways your voice goes out of tune.
For a lot of people, those lessons are too expensive. That’s why I developed an online course to teach you the same things from a self-directed vantage point instead of a private lesson.
You can spend about the same amount for a month of courses and community access with my program as you would for a single private lesson.
Are you ready to express yourself through singing? With the help of my courses, you can learn how to sing in tune with confidence every time. Sign up today to begin your musical journey!