Are you tired of feeling self-conscious or nervous when you sing in front of others?
Do you wish you could hit those high notes or carry a tune with ease?
Even if you think you can’t sing, there are techniques and tips you can use to instantly improve your skills and boost your confidence.
With a little bit of practice and the right mindset, anyone can learn to sing better.
So if you’re ready to take the stage and show off your vocal talents, or just grab a guitar and have fun with your friends read on for some helpful tips on how to sing better!
1. Stay relaxed
Although it might seem as if great singers make a considerable effort to hit those amazing notes, in many cases, it might be part of the show.
The secret to an effective vocal technique, and for protecting your voice in the long run, is to develop a relaxed singing style.
In practical terms, at least to me, the feeling when belting a note should be almost the same as if you were blowing air.
No more than that.
2. Fill your belly with air
Singing is mostly breathing, and although achieving a proper support technique can take years, a very basic way of starting with it is focusing on filling your belly with air.
This is, being a bit more technical, the lower part of your lungs, which is closer to your diaphragm.
The opposite, and what I don’t recommend for beginners is stuffing your chest with air.
Although as you progress with your singing technique the more air you can manage the better, concentrating on the lower part of your chest or belly will help you have better control of the airflow.
Sometimes simple things can go a long way, and no, I’m not talking about romantic relationships.
A soft smile while you are singing sometimes can help you focus on a note, especially on the higher registers.
Try it out the next time you are having trouble finding the correct pitch.
The secret to this is to not tense up the muscles in your face to produce this smile.
It should be natural and effortless.
4. Go for a run
Doing aerobic exercise during the day will work like a charm for helping you engage your lungs and diaphragm.
Anything that gets you short of breath for a while will probably work, from running, to air boxing, to a 15-minute HIIT session.
For me, a good workout is as good as a proper vocal warmup.
I’m not saying that one should replace the other, however, stack the two and you won’t believe how good you are singing.
And of course, don’t start singing before you catch your breath.
Take a break, drink enough water, and maybe get a shower!
5. Rehearse the song until it bores you
There are a lot of extremely talented people out there, and they look like they could pick up just about any song and sing them flawlessly on the first try.
This is true for a few, but most singers and particularly professional ones just practice as much as any other musician does.
If you intend on singing a song, sing it a lot!
Analyze each phrase, and be critical of your performance.
A great exercise for preparing a song is writing down (or printing) the lyrics, and then with a pen marking which are good spaces to breathe.
Try it out.
6. Avoid runs, riffs, and vibrato
Singing is not a competition, and many times trying to do what incredibly talented people are able to do, can only set you back.
Work on the fundamentals, and stick to the melody.
Try to sing as straight as possible until you can nail every note down.
Once you have a strong foundation, you can start working on the fireworks.
But in my experience, a bad singer trying out every run and riff possible can easily become a decent one only by avoiding them.
And please, don’t think you need ornamentation to communicate feeling, or haven’t you ever heard Kurt Cobain sing?
7. Stay hydrated
Don’t underestimate hydration when trying to sing.
Always have a glass of water near you during a session, and try to drink what your body needs to stay hydrated during the day of a performance.
A great way of checking your hydration level, as my physician told me one time (and sorry for the image) is checking the color of your pee.
Completely transparent means good hydration.
A proper warm-up can have a really big impact on your singing.
Don’t avoid doing it, even if it sounds silly to you.
There are hundreds of warm-up exercises on YouTube.
Find one that works out for you and stick with it.
Usually, 10 to 20 minutes are more than enough.
However, if you don’t have access to a playback device to listen to a guided warm-up, what I sometimes do is vocal fry.
Just make some low, fry noises by yourself for a while, maybe in the car, and you will notice your voice will be warmed up in no time.
Of course, this is not a replacement for a proper warm-up routine, but hey, these are just hacks!
9. Be aware of your range
While I believe people are commonly over-conscious of their range, thinking it’s more restricted than it actually is, I believe at least knowing the set of pitches in which you are most comfortable is always beneficial.
Each voice is unique, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
You don’t need to sing in the same pitch as a tenor if you are a baritone.
Mold the music to your voice, and not the other way around.
You can always transpose a tune, or just choose to not sing it.
10. Don’t overthink it
The more you think about a fast run or a high note, the less likely you are to hit it flawlessly.
Let the hours of training kick in when you are singing, let your mind go, and focus on the emotion and not the technique.
11. Maintain a proper posture
I’m not saying you should stand completely straight with the posture of an opera singer, but hey, if you enjoy doing it, go for it.
It won’t hurt.
However, be mindful of your body posture.
Remember singing is more about breathing than it is about anything else, and having your body in a position that allows for proper airflow and reduced tension can only benefit you.
Avoid being bent over, crouching, and turning your torso around.
Any unnatural posture is a bad posture.
12. Record yourself
Yes, we all hate listening to ourselves talking or worse, singing.
But who else than you to check on what you were doing wrong, and understand why you are doing it that way?
Don’t take it too seriously, nor become obsessed with it.
If you are working on improving your singing, do a weekly or monthly benchmark.
Record a song that day, and save it.
You then can go back to it next month and try to improve on it, or just wonder about how much you advanced in your vocal sound since then.
13. Visualize the notes you are singing
Most of us can’t read sheet music, and that’s ok.
But, once a teacher told me to think about the notes I needed to sing as if they were the keys on a piano or steps on an imaginary ladder.
This visualization shouldn’t be perfect though.
It just needs to make you think about steps.
How big is the step to the next note?
Is it upwards or is it downwards?
Close your eyes and try to imagine it for the whole melody.
Some people might have it easier than others, but it’s a great skill to master, that will also help you develop your ear.
14. If it hurts, or if it makes you cough, stop
Our body has a great mechanism for letting us know when we are doing things wrong.
We just cough.
And coughing, or straining while singing is a big no-no.
It’s a signal of tension driven by bad technique, and you should immediately stop what you are doing to prevent damage.
Take care of your voice, and you will avoid unwanted ups and downs from day to day.
And, more importantly, by stopping when it hurts you will be steering clear of long-term injuries.
15. Find your own voice
Finally, the most cliche thing to say to a singer ever.
The thing is, many people take this one wrong.
It doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel or come up with a new style that will shift the current state of the art.
It just means to be you.
Don’t force being someone you are not.
And if you are like someone else, or even like many other people, that’s ok.
You will never actually be 100% anyone else, and that natural diversity is what makes us human, and music the most beautiful craft.
Hello there, my name is Ramiro and I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years. I’m obsessed with everything gear-related and I thought it might be worth sharing it. From guitars, pedals, amps, and synths to studio gear and production tips, I hope you find what I post here useful, and I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining also.