Music has always been an integral part of our culture and traditions. There are few things that unite us the way that music does. Whether it’s a concert, a sports game, holiday, or a special occasion, it would be impossible to imagine without singing. Yet, while we will happily join in with a crowd, many people believe they don’t have a singing talent and are unable to learn to sing well. Singing has so many health benefits from improved cognition and memory to increased confidence, and it can open so many opportunities to connect with others. If you’ve always wondered how to learn singing, Diana from London Singing Institute shares some expert tips to help you overcome your fears and unleash that singing voice.
Can anyone learn to sing?
How many times have you called yourself ‘tone deaf’? Well, we are here to tell you that only 5% of the population are actually tone deaf. This condition is called amusia and those who suffer from it are unable to detect differences in pitch. In other words, they can’t tell how low or high a note is. Now, unless you have been diagnosed with amusia, you can absolutely learn to sing.
Just like anything, learning to sing takes time and practice. Sure, some people have a natural talent for singing, but hard work always trumps talent. So, if singing has always been your dream, it’s absolutely realistic and attainable for everyone. As with any learning process, your mindset is key to excellence.
Trust the process and let yourself explore
Many of us shy away from singing more than learning an instrument like guitar or piano because singing is so much more personal to us. Your body is your instrument and it’s much easier to feel discouraged if you’re not producing the sounds that you like. On the other hand, learning another instrument is easier to detach from, since it’s external to you.
What can we do to overcome this? Understand, that just like learning to make sounds on guitar, you need to understand the mechanisms of your voice and how to use them. It’s normal to sound out of tune, wavery or unsure as you begin. You’re not used to using your body in this way and it takes time to engage the muscles and breathing techniques required to produce a pleasant singing voice. On a piano, for example, all the notes are there for you and you just need to put them in correct combinations to play a piece. When it comes to how to learn singing, you need to learn how to produce those notes yourself.
The best thing to do is get comfortable with the learning process and allow yourself the time and space to explore and get to know yourself without judgment.
Get to know your voice
While it’s great to be inspired by others, so many beginners want to sing like their favourite artists. We forget that the reason we love those vocalists so much is because of their unique tonal qualities, range and singing style. Guess what – you have them too! Can anyone learn to sing like another artist? Pretty much, as there are so many talented impersonators. But if you want to develop as an artist in your own right, you’ll need to get to know your natural voice. Not to mention, forcing yourself to sound like someone else can develop some unhealthy habits.
The best way to understand the unique qualities of your voice is to book an assessment with a vocal coach. They will help you find your range, not only determining if you’re a tenor, soprano, alto and more, but also how your voice changes throughout that range. You can use this information to your advantage by choosing songs that bring out the best characteristics in your voice. Performing songs that are unflattering for your voice can discourage you from singing altogether.
Make a habit of practicing regularly
Consistency is key, no matter what you’re working on. As you embark on your singing journey, make sure to set aside regular practice times. Even 20-30 minutes a day is enough to achieve tangible results, as long as you put in the work regularly. As an adult, it can be difficult to set aside practice time, so focus on small, achievable time slots that you can fit into your day. Maybe it’s prioritising singing over that half hour scroll on social media or watching an episode on Netflix. You deserve the time and space to develop your voice, so make that effort towards your singing goals.
Set some goals and congratulate yourself on your progress
What exactly is it that you’d like to achieve with singing? Is it to have better pitch, improve your tone or control? Having a vocal assessment can highlight areas for improvement. As you practice and get used to your voice, you’ll also be able to objectively assess your sound and highlight the elements you want to focus on the most. Every time you sing, try to pay special attention to the things you want to improve. This will help you progress much faster!
Don’t forget to congratulate yourself on all your hard work. Sometimes, we can lose sight of our progress and feel like we have plateaued. That’s why it’s so important to record yourself, monitor your progress and congratulate yourself on how far you’ve come. Don’t focus on anyone else. We are all on our own journey and simply being brave enough to pursue something you love and committing yourself to all that hard work is an incredible achievement!
Find a vocal coach to help you
One of the best ways how to learn singing and progress quicker is to find a qualified vocal coach. Make sure this is someone who has the right experience to match your goals and someone you feel comfortable around. Your vocal coach will provide a much more focused approach than online materials. They will help you unlock your singing potential and suggest expert tips and techniques to develop your voice in the safest way possible. Your vocal coach will be an experienced musician, who can also teach you basic music theory, how to play an instrument, use recording equipment and develop a musical ear. All these skills will help you on your way to becoming the vocalist you’ve always wanted to be, especially, if you have no previous musical background and these subjects seem daunting to you.
Join a community of musicians
Once you’ve gained a bit of confidence in your voice, we would encourage you to join a local choir, theatre production group or band. Even attending local mic nights as a soloist can be a great way to meet fellow musicians. Surrounding yourself with a supportive community will encourage you to keep developing, build confidence in live performance and improve your musicianship. Plus, you will make friends and acquaintances that share your passion!