7 Tips to Sing in Tune
Have you ever struggled to sing in tune? Were you ever told that you were tone deaf? I agree with Ed Sheeran that if you practice well, you can be successful as a pro singer ~ even if you start out "singing badly". In this blog post, we will explore seven different ways that anyone can improve their pitch.
1. Cup your hands behind your ears
Have you ever heard a recording of yourself and thought, "Is that me?" What we hear normally every day is through bone conduction, while what others hear is through sound waves. So, what can you do? You can hear what other people hear, and dramatically improve your tonality, just by cupping your hands (with tight fingers) and placing them behind your ears while you sing.
2. Use a tuner
Mandy Harvey, the 100% deaf contestant on America's Got Talent got to the finals on AGT by using a tuner! I suggest using an online tuner or a physical tuner to identify any pitch issues and then working to correct them. This will help you develop a better sense of pitch and improve your accuracy over time.
3. Focus on your breath
Breath control is key to finding accurate pitch, and proper breathing technique makes a big difference. To improve your pitch, begin by aligning your body, focusing on your breath, and taking deeper breaths using your diaphragm, and inhaling through your nose. Practice breathing exercises regularly to gain better breath control and improve your pitch accuracy.
4. See the notes visually
Visualize the notes as you sing them, look at the sheet music, and imagine hitting each note with precision with your hand up and down in the air. This will help you develop a better sense of pitch and improve your accuracy over time.
5. Record yourself
Recording yourself is a great way to discover areas where you need improvement. I recommend recording yourself singing and then listening back to the recording to identify any pitch issues. This will help you pinpoint areas where you need to focus your practice, so that you use your time effectively.
6. Warm up with scales
Scales are an essential part of vocal training and can help you improve your pitch accuracy. I suggest starting with a 2-note interval, then a 3-note partial scale, a 5-note partial scale, then an 8-note full scale. What is a scale? Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Ti-Do is a C Major 8-note Scale, for instance. Scales are complicated, and I can explain more deeply in lessons. Practicing intervals and scales regularly with YouTube videos will help you develop your ear for pitch and improve your ability to hit the right notes.
7. Use a keyboard or other instrument
Learning to read music and play a piano or other instrument can catapult your singing. Playing an instrument will help you match pitches more easily and learn your songs more quickly, plus learning to accompany yourself can increase your bottom line.
In the end, by following the tips outlined above, I believe that anyone can improve their pitch accuracy and develop their singing abilities. Not only do I believe it, I have seen it through my experience of voice coaching over 1,000 voice students in 26 years!
Supposedly Tone-Deaf Retiree Becomes Pro Singer and Gets EIGHT Encores in 1 Night
Bill Harris began studying with Karen at age 64. He had a limited voice and was unable to sing "Happy Birthday" in tune ~ after 6 voice coaches in 12 YEARS. Within 9 months of voice lessons, Bill was able to get his first professional paid singing gig with a band ~ and a year later, he got 8 ENCORES in one night! Bill is now a full-time blues/soul/jazz singer - and he sang at the HOUSE OF BLUES in Houston, TX!
Asian-American Woman Learns General American English Diction and Becomes Singing Audiobook Narrator
Carmilla Jo is a second-generation Taiwanese-Chinese-American who grew up in an immigrant household, so her Californian accent had heavy influences from Taiwanese and Chinese Mandarin speech patterns, so she wanted to learn General American English diction. She also had trouble singing in rhythm and in tune. After about 2 MONTHS of voice lessons, her diction dramatically improved, she got her first professional audiobook project, and she is now having fun singing with more accuracy ~ in rhythm!
Shy Shower Singer from Spain Becomes Recording Artist
Natalia Laguens from Madrid, Spain, was too shy to sing in public - even though she was a passionate instrumental composer and pianist. She had ZERO voice training or experience - and had only sung in the shower until she met Karen. Within a matter of MONTHS, Natalia wrote and sang her first original song ~ and also performed Alicia Key's #1 HIT "I Ain't Got You" ~ on stage with a mic in a packed theater.
The Holistic Voice Coach Blog
by Karen. Lyu
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Karen Lyu (she/her) is a Holistic Voice Coach + Eclectic Jazz Singer/Songwriter/Actor who has taught over 1,000 students from 13 countries to transform their voices, since 1997. She is an eHow.com YouTube voice expert who has earned IMIA, CCHI, TNAOC, TESOL, and New Science of Singing certifications. In Minneapolis, MN, she was the Voice Department Head and the Executive Director of the legendary West Bank School of Music. Due to her love of jazz, she earned a BSS in Jazz Studies, Vocal Performance from Cornell College. Currently, she is Co-Chair of the Voice and Speech Teachers Association (VASTA) BizCore Committee, and a full member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). Her new mission is to train creative amateur singers to become passionate pro performers who sing on pitch! Karen’s honors include a Minnesota State Arts Board grant, a $10,000+ arts patron sponsorship, a MusiCares grant, being Executive Director of West Bank School of Music, and being a judge for Hmong Idol USA. Karen has sung in over 40 musical styles and dozen languages with 13 bands, since 1993. Karen has ADHD and mental illness, which makes her a more compassionate and innovative vocal coach. She is a huge tech nerd with 15 years of experience voice coaching online. Karen has lived in South Korea, CA, TX, MN, IA, TN, Chicago, IL ~ now Atlanta, GA. Karen also enjoys food, travel, yoga, animals, and the arts.