Learn How to Sing in the Fastest and Easiest Way
At eHow to Sing you will find everything that you need to learn how to sing like a pro. Find all of the lessons, tips, vocal workouts and techniques that you have always wanted, all in one single place. Our lessons are very easy to follow making learning to sing fun and enjoyable.
It’s quite possible that you have heard many singers who have the strength or potency to maintain a note for a long time. It is even more amazing when the note they are singing is high.
This technique is called sustain and is one of the most common elements used during a good singing performance.
The beauty of sustaining a note that is perfectly in tune for several seconds is that the satisfaction it produces for the singer when reaching the climax of the song is priceless.
There is no real trick behind this apparent extraordinary execution while singing, we just have to use the appropriate respiratory control to do it and practice some sustain exercises.
Exercise for improving air control and for helping prolong the duration of a note
The following exercise is a very simple but effective breathing exercise:
Try inhaling completely into the diaphragm area while expanding your abdomen.
Start by exhaling a very little bit of air constantly, but do not open your mouth too much. Make the sound of the letters t and s together, like tsssss.
Try to make the air come out slowly, control your breathing so that all of the air does not come out too quickly.
Measure the amount of time this takes you and record your results so you will see your progress as you get better. It doesn’t matter if at the beginning you just last for 10 or 15 seconds. Little by little you will make yourself last longer.
If you feel fatigued or dizzy at first, take breaks but try to last as long as you can without feeling dizzy.
This exercise will help you control your breathing better which will then in turn help you to achieve a longer sustain duration.
Now practice singing a note that is easy for you that is within your vocal register and which isn’t at the very high end or the very low end of your vocal range so as not to exert yourself too much.
Start with the syllable maa, using the same breathing technique and at the same time measure the length of time that you maintain the note.
When you are able to last a bit longer, change the note and start to sing higher notes each time. When you reach the highest notes use the sounds aah or ooh.
Always guide yourself with some sort of musical instrument. If you don’t have one, use the virtual piano on this website.
When you feel that the air is starting to run out in a specific note, stop the sound completely and abruptly without trying to use your very last breath. The note should end clearly without being lower in intensity. The note should always come out clear without altering the tune or volume.
As you go to higher notes it will be more difficult to sustain the note for a longer period of time. Try to concentrate on the different resonators in your body while you are practicing breath control.
You should notice that when you are singing a note, your abdomen should start deflating little by little. This will indicate whether or not you are utilizing the correct breathing technique.
Another variation of this exercise is to sing the scale of do re mi fa so la ti, accompanied by an instrument. If you still have enough breath left after the final note, continue on to the next octave.
This exercise is very simple yet very effective for improving your sustain technique. Remember that you should always record the time and the note you are singing, this will help you see that you have progressed.
One of the goals that all people who sing or who are learning how to sing have is to be able to reach high notes.
If we want to be able to sing high notes, the first thing we need to do is learn the correct way to breathe. The quality of our voice, the duration of the note that we produce, and how high or how low the note is, all depend on us using the proper breathing techniques. We know that we always emphasize the importance of proper breathing, but it is the main foundation for any vocal technique.
You will be able to understand the right way to breathe when you yawn. Try to yawn while saying the sound “ahhh” for 10 seconds; make the note as high as possible. You can start out on a note that is comfortable for you and then try to raise it little by little until your reach the highest note at the end of your yawn.
Keep your mouth well opened while you are singing, especially on the high notes. Always try to pronounce the lyrics of the song as clear as you can. This will help you to reach the full potential and brightness in the different vocal resonators.
Begin singing open sounds like ahh or ohh, with your mouth wide open. These are the easiest sounds to sing when you are trying to reach higher notes. Generally, the sounds eee and u (like you) are the hardest to sing when you are trying to reach high notes in your vocal register.
It is recommended to drink water right before you sing and take little sips between each vocal workout.
An Easy Exercise for How to Sing High Notes
Among the most common exercises, we can find some to practice scales and arpeggios like: do re mi fa so la ti do. We can find these notes easily on the piano by playing one octave on the white keys. Continue going up the keyboard one half step each note on the scale.
We can start singing these notes with the ahh sound first and then repeating the exercise with the ohh sound. Remember to open your mouth wider as you start to reach the higher notes.
Use different areas of resonation; make the lower notes, which are easier to sing, resonate in your chest area. Concentrate on this resonator.
The sound of the intermediate notes in your vocal range should be sent to your mouth area.
The next set of notes, which are higher, should be sent between your palate and your nose. Focus on bringing the sound to this area which will help you reach the notes and make them sound better.
Concentrate on sending the highest notes to the head area, on the top in the center. Try to make this area the place where the highest notes resonate. Breathe with your diaphragm and bring the sound upwards, as high as it can travel.
Don’t strain your vocal cords. Make sure that the sound is clean and clear.
Now try to repeat the same exercise, but this time sing the notes of the scale: do re mi fa so la ti.
You will notice that the first few days will be quite hard when you try to reach the highest notes, but in a few weeks or maybe less, you will see that it will get easier to reach these notes. To stay in shape, try to practice these workouts frequently, especially if you have an upcoming vocal presentation.
Vibrato in singing is an oscillation of a sustained note which runs between two different pitches.
When you use vibrato in singing, it should come very naturally and without too much force. You should sing vibrato without straining your voice.
You need to relax all of the different parts of your body that are connected to the production of sound in your voice: head, neck, abdomen and shoulders. You should breathe appropriately and start off with notes that are not too high for you.
It is also very important to keep your posture straight to be able to produce the sound from your diaphragm and not from your throat.
When you first start, it is best to try imitating other singers and pay attention to what they are doing exactly. Little by little you will form your own style, taking from the skill of the other singers that you are listening to.
We can see an example of vibrato using the piano. Start by quickly and alternately playing two notes that are next to each other on the keyboard. Sing the notes at the same time as you are playing them and continue increasing the speed.
Another exercise that you can do is stand up and say “ahh” while pressing your hands up and down quickly on your abdomen. You will notice the sensation and sound that is made in your voice. Eventually you will not need to use your hands anymore to produce this sound.
This is like singing two consecutive pitches like the sound of an ambulance, but even more rapidly.
Another way to do this is to play the tempo with your foot, which is commonly done when you hear a song, play music, or sing. Each time that you step with your foot, emphasize the higher note with your voice. When you lift your foot, sing the lower note with a little less emphasis. Do this many times and increase the speed. Move your foot faster and faster at the same time while the notes start to oscillate as you sing.
Remember not to exaggerate your vibrato too much when you are singing. It should not be too easily noticed. The vibrato should not be the main focus of attention for the audience. It should be subtle and give shape to and beautify the song. It should not be the principle motive when you sing.
Most likely, when you start practicing vibrato you will do it in a very intentional way. It will be even a little bit forced. But if you are consistent with your practice, vibrato will become a part of your singing habits. After a while of practicing, it will come out naturally. Don’t get frustrated if it is not perfect at first. This takes quite a bit of time and a lot of practice.
Once you get good at vibrato and do it naturally, your singing will sound more professional and you will have more confidence when you sing.
What exactly should I do to warm up my voice before I sing?
Like any athlete or person who plays a sport, it is also necessary for you to warm yourself up before you sing in order to get the most optimum results.
Imagine a gymnast who goes directly to a competition without preparing himself or warming himself up. He will not be able to last very long and his performance will be of low quality. He could even strain his muscles.
In the same way, a singer needs to warm up their vocal cords, which are also muscles. Warming up makes the singer feel more motivated and confident, not only physically, but also psychologically.
It is also not a good idea to start off a performance after a heavy meal. Many singers are invited to sing after a large meal at a party or gathering. In this situation the singer should cordially decline the request since it is very difficult to sing well on a full stomach and particularly without warming up.
When an athlete starts to run without exercising his muscles first, the warmth that he produces from the physical activity makes the muscles tense which can limit his flexibility. This also will happen with a singer who does not warm up their voice.
The warm up exercises should be relaxing, calm and comfortable. They should never be rushed and you should always take the appropriate time needed while doing them.
Singers have different and distinct routines, depending on their personal needs. Having consistency and always practicing warm ups is very beneficial. Some people start with physical exercise, such as stretching or yoga. This helps to alleviate muscular tension.
Muscles in the mouth, the tongue, the jaw and the lips can relax with the appropriate techniques. This helps to provide better air flow and also improves vocal resonance.
It is best to start off with notes that are comfortable to the singer. Little by little you will be able to arrive at the highest notes which will make your vocal cords vibrate quicker.
Warm up Exercises for you to Practice Before you Start to Sing
We can start by saying the letter “M” like “mmmm” continuously and in an intermediate tone. Afterwards, we can continue and say “mahh” and repeat it by going up a note each time you say it. This will require good management of vocal respiration.
One of the most common exercises for warming up while you sing is to sing along with a musical instrument such as a guitar or a piano. The piano is probably the easiest to use so that you can find the notes of the chords easier.
For example, start with arpeggios using the lowest chord in your vocal range. If we start with the “C” chord, we would play the notes in the following order: C, E, G, E, C. This type of arpeggio is one of the most popular to use while warming up since the order that the notes are played with go from low to high and then to low again. It is also easy to play this specific arpeggio in all of the chords.
We should sing the notes slowly and at the same time that they are being played. Continue on to the next chord, which is one half step (a semitone) higher, which in this case would be C#. Continue with the arpeggios until you hit around one of the highest chords in your vocal range.
Warming up and taking care of your voice should always be your top priority. Remember to take your time and relax while doing the exercises. Your voice is a very important tool and should always be maintained, especially when you are learning how to sing.
A brief demonstration of breathing exercises for learning how to sing. As you will notice, it is recommended to use a mirror while practicing these exercises so that we can see if we are doing it correctly.
Types of voices can be classified by using different criteria such as vocal range, tessitura, timbre, etc.
Timbre distinguishes the color and quality of one sound to another and is formed by several harmonics (a distinct number of frequencies).
Remember that the size of your vocal range doesn’t determine if you are a good singer or not. There are many excellent singers with limited or small vocal ranges.
There is another way to classify the voice called tessitura. Tessitura, in singing, refers to the range in which a singer presents the best sound, where they feel the most comfortable singing, and where a good timbre and volume can be heard. This is a smaller group of notes than the whole vocal range.
There are basically three types of male voices and three types of female voices that are the most common.
As we have explained before, we can use the piano keyboard to find the notes that correspond with our vocal range. For example, the middle C note is in the middle of the keyboard, the fourth C, and is called C4.
Tenor is the highest voice of a male. Their vocal range can be between C3 and C5.
Baritone is the most common type of male voice and can be found between the notes of G2 to G4.
Bass is the deepest voice for a male and the vocal range is approximately E2 to E4. This is not a very common type of voice for a man.
Soprano is the highest female voice, their typical vocal range lies between A3 and F6.
Mezzo soprano probably is the most common type of voice in a woman and the vocal range is usually between the notes G3 and A5.
Contralto is the deepest female voice and is not very typical. Their vocal range can rest between the notes of E3 and G5.
As you can see, there are many different ways to classify different kinds of voices. The quality of our voice depends upon many factors and our vocal range is merely a way to measure the spectrum of notes which we can sing.
We would like to note that you can always improve the quality of your voice and extend your vocal range when learning how to sing with the appropriate vocal training and practice.
Determining your vocal range can help you pick the most suitable songs for your voice and give you confidence while singing them.
The vocal range varies for each person. Many singers do not even know their own vocal range, which is the amount of continuous notes that can be reached while singing.
It is very important to sing knowing your vocal range. To determine or to find your vocal range, first we need a harmonic instrument such as the piano or a guitar to accompany us.
We have to understand that each voice has its limitations, although it can be broadened or perfected with practice. In the simplest way, voices can be grouped into two categories: high and low.
It is important to note that a person with a deep voice should not try to sing very high notes, since over time there is a possibility of suffering injury to their voice and/or vocal cords. In the same way, a person with a high voice should not try to sing very low notes. It is crucial that you always maintain the health and care of your voice.
Finding your Vocal Range Using the Piano
The vocal range, as we mentioned previously, is the amount of consecutive notes that you can sing. For example, using the piano, start out singing the middle C note (this is the C note that is approximately halfway down the keyboard, it is the 4th C on a standard piano, also called C4). Continue down the keyboard toward the lower notes, or to the left as long as your voice stays audible. The last specific note in which your voice is audible is the lowest note of your vocal range.
It is best to start with the lower notes since they don’t strain your voice very easily and at the same time this serves as a warm up before you begin the high notes.
The next step is to start again in middle C and go towards the high notes, or to the right of the keyboard, as long as you are capable of producing an audible and clear sound. You should include your head voice and also falsetto; don’t forget to breathe correctly and avoid straining your voice as you reach the highest notes.
What is my Vocal Range Exactly?
You can now figure that your vocal range would be from the lowest note that you reached on the keyboard to the highest. You can count how many octaves there are between all of the notes that you have sung.
An octave is a consecutive series of twelve semi-tones, either towards the high notes or towards the low notes, from the middle C (which is C4), for example, until you get to C5.
You should not limit yourself to the vocal range in this exercise, since with more practice and vocal training you can amplify it even more. We will later explore the most common types of voices. Knowing more about the type of voice that you have and discovering your vocal range is very helpful when you are learning how to sing the right way.
Recognizing resonance in singing is vital since it helps to broaden your vocal register. Some singers do not know what this is, but when you discover it you will realize that it is one of the most important elements of singing.
Resonance is one of the properties of sound. Sound is a wave that travels through the air. Resonance is related to frequencies. When sound goes through different mediums such as walls, roofs, glass, wood, metal, water, etc. it amplifies certain frequencies; the high or low frequencies may become more noticeable.
When you sing, sound that you produce travels throughout all of your body. Sound does not resonate exactly the same in each part of the body. For example, in your head it would sound different than in your thorax.
The best thing is to discover the best resonating parts of your body and use them when you sing to produce the high and low notes well.
Practicing is the best way to expand your vocal register, especially when you are first learning how to sing.
Vocal Resonance Exercise
Let’s do a short exercise to practice resonance.
Close your mouth and start to say the letter “M” like “mmmm” for a few seconds.
A) Try to make it sound only in your throat.
B) Let’s repeat the same sound, but now make the sound between your nose and your mouth.
C) Now let’s make the same sound but this time try to make it sound only in the center of your head.
You will start to notice that when you make the sound between your nose and your mouth, the high frequencies sound the best. The high sounds sound second best in the center of your head. You will see that the high sounds do not sound as clear when you make them from your throat.
If you still cannot seem to note the difference in the quality of the high frequencies, keep practicing until you are able to detect where to locate the best sounding high notes.
To broaden your practice, try to make the sound in different keys. You can also use the sound “maaa” while trying to reach higher notes each time within your vocal register. See how each sound resonates and how it sounds as you practice in the different zones and forms that we have mentioned.
We recommend using the area that is above your palate, between your mouth and nose, if you want to expand your vocal register, adding more high notes. Opening your mouth more and tensing up your facial muscles will help you reach even higher notes.
Once you have practice and have a good grasp on resonance, you will be able to better control where to send the high and low notes when you are singing.
The voice is the main musical instrument of our body. For some people it is a tool used for work. Taking care of our voice is important whether we are professional singers or amateurs and are just learning how to sing. If we do not take care of our voice well, it can cause us problems such as respiratory infections, inflamation of the throat, etc.
We will now talk about some healthy habits and other things that we should avoid in order to maintain good vocal health.
Some good habits to always keep in mind are:
Drink plenty of water, at least 2 liters or 8-10 glasses per day, which is not only good for the body but will also keep the vocal cords hydrated.
Eat foods that are easy to digest such as fruits, vegetables, fish and chicken. Apples are great to help clean out the mouth. Citrus fruits are helpful in giving you a boost of vitamin C to keep the common cold away.
Try to sleep at least 8 hours a day, especially before a vocal performance; sleeping enough each day will give your body extra energy and will help fight off sicknesses that could ultimately affect your throat and vocal cords.
Sit up straight and maintain good posture for when you breathe. This will help your lungs fill to their fullest potential and help control your air intake.
Always warm up your voice before singing; this could stop you from injuring your vocal cords and will help to keep your voice more in shape.
Some things to avoid are:
Don’t eat spicy foods which could irritate the throat, especially right before singing.
Don’t wear very tight clothing, especially on the stomach, chest and neck which could constrict the air control and breathing necessary for a perfect performance.
Avoid being exposed to very cold winds; cold air tends to dry up the vocal cords.
Don’t drink cold or iced beverages which could cause your voice to crack easier, impeding on your voice’s full reach.
Try not to scream or talk very loud, this could cause you to lose your voice quickly.
Avoid going to places that are very loud which could cause you to talk over the noise, this could wear out your voice.
Do not smoke; everyone already knows that this, in fact, will ruin your voice little by little over time. It also is very harmful to the lungs and will not allow them to fill with oxygen to their full capacity.
Don’t sing too loud, forcing yourself to arrive at notes that are at a higher vocal register, this could tire out your vocal cords and possibly damage them.
If we want to sing well, we don’t only need to have good vocal techniques and methods but we also need to have healthy habits and take good care of our voice. Our vocal cords are like all the other muscles in our body that need good training, rest, and care so that they perform well.
Knowing how to breathe during a singing session is one of the most important things. The sound of each note that we produce is related to the technique that we use to breathe; if we do not use the technique correctly, we can not reach an excellent vocal performance.
This is to say that the more you learn to control the air to sing a note, the better control you will have to sing. The voice is like a wind instrument and the air is what controls everything. When people first learn how to sing they typically use the wrong breathing technique, the sound that we hear can be unstable, broken, and the singer can get worn out faster.
Generally, the majority of people who try to sing do not know the correct form in which to breathe. Ideally, singing with the right breathing technique should be automatically programmed in your mind, without having to think about it each time you start to sing.
To breathe correctly, you have to concentrate on the diaphragm which is located in the lower chest right below the ribs and above the abdomen. Normally when a person inhales, the upper chest inflates and the shoulders lift up. When we breathe normally, our lungs only inflate one-third of its capacity.
When we breathe deeply, possibly the maximum that it expands is two-thirds of its capacity. This is not the correct form in which to breathe when singing. When we practice breathing techniques we are helping our lungs get used to filling themselves to their full capacity.
When we breathe the right way, we will notice that our abdomen will raise when we inhale. When we see this, it shows that we are using our diaphragm to breathe. This may feel awkward to us at first because it is not the way that we normally breathe. We can practice this through various breathing exercises.
Breathing affects the interpretation and intensity of a song. When you use the correct breathing technique, your voice has the potential to carry much farther. You are not only using your throat to sing, but you are using your abdomen and diaphragm, which have much more power to make your voice soar and increase its strength. Your voice will be projected much farther and with much more control.
Practicing Breathing to Sing Better
The best way to start practicing is standing up. Look at yourself in the mirror. When you start to breathe in, focus on your diaphragm, below the ribs and on the top part of the abdomen. Concentrate on making it raise and inflate. When exhaling, notice that your diaphragm should deflate as you let the air out.
Try to make sure that the shoulders do not move. Practice inhaling for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 4 more seconds, exhale slowly for 4 more seconds. Repeat this process several times. This is a great way, when you are first learning how to sing, to get your body used to the correct way of breathing.