As you’re learning to sing, you’ll likely have a lot of questions about how to become a better singer. And don’t worry, that’s what your voice teacher is there for! Once you’ve got the basics down, though, you might realize some of your beginner questions were a little…well… silly! Here, teacher Elaina R. answers some of the common questions and lays some rumors to rest…
As a voice teacher, I get asked some pretty weird questions about singing. In fact, I get so many that I decided to write an article about it!
Do you want to become a better singer? If so, you likely have all kinds of questions about how to get there. Don’t be ashamed to ask them!
As a voice teacher, I get asked some pretty weird questions about singing. In fact, I got so many that I decided to write an article about it!
Here’s what you need to know – as well as some tips on how to become a better singer!
How Many Hours a Day Should You Practice Singing?
When you’re just starting out, try to commit to about 30 minutes a day of singing. If you feel any strain, take a break. Also, be sure to follow these tips to keep your voice healthy:
- Practice the correct posture
- Focus on your breathing
- Warm up
- Know what your vocal range is
- Practice every day
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and smoking
- Try not to strain your voice
Doing these singing exercises can help, too:
How Do I Become a Better Singer?…and Other Weird Questions About Singing!
Here are the weirdest questions students ask voice teachers – and the answers you may have been wondering about yourself — that can help you become a better singer.
1. Doesn’t Hunching Over Help You Sing From Your Diaphragm?
Let’s start with this eye-opening question. First of all, I hate it when people talk about singing from the diaphragm. Steve Martin reportedly popularized the phrase “sing from the diaphragm” in his comedy sketches, and he isn’t exactly an authority on the voice. There are three major muscle groups involved in breathing, and this statement discounts two of them.
Secondly, hunching over definitely does not help with proper breathing! Hunching over collapses the torso, reducing the volume of air that you can breathe in. Here’s a helpful infographic on proper breathing and posture.
2. # Is That a Hashtag? #
No, it’s a sharp. Learning the basics of reading music (including key signatures, note values, and the two basic clefs) makes you much more flexible as a singer. Check out my introduction to reading music to get started!
3. Are You a Tenor?
Nope. Women can’t be tenors, but I don’t blame you for getting confused. Voice types are hard to define, and the many subsections and qualifiers make it a convoluted topic. The two basic voice types for women are soprano and mezzo-soprano (known as alto in choral settings). Check out this introduction to voice types to learn more.
4. Doesn’t Stretching My Neck Up Help Me Reach High Notes?
No, it doesn’t. Tilting your head up actually strains your neck, making it more difficult to sing. Go ahead and stretch your head up, then try talking. Do you hear how strained your voice sounds? That’s exactly what happens when you try to sing in this position.
5. Should I Fast Before Voice Lessons?
No, no, no! I’ve had students get faint during lessons because they didn’t have enough to eat beforehand. I’ve actually had to feed one student during a lesson! While it’s true that the stomach is right under the diaphragm (an important breathing muscle) and that going to a buffet immediately before a lesson isn’t a good idea, please don’t starve yourself.
6. How Can Such a Tiny Person Sing Opera?
My small stature (I am five feet tall) has made me a target of the “you have such a loud voice for such a small person!” comment ever since I can remember. But in actuality, just like the general population, opera singers come in all shapes and sizes. Singers of my voice type (coloratura soprano) are often my size.
7. Why Does Singing Make Me Burp So Much?
Remember how the stomach is located directly under the diaphragm? Deep breathing compresses many of your organs, including the stomach. This causes some people to burp. To avoid excessive burping during your voice lessons, don’t drink anything carbonated on your way to class.
8. The Many Weird Questions About Head Voice and Chest Voice
These questions get their own category because I have gotten so many of them. Here are some of the strangest ones:
- Is singing in head voice bad for you?
- Is head voice “fake singing”?
- Does chest voice come from your chest?
Head voice and chest voice are just the two main registers of the human voice. They both come from the vocal cords, not the actual head and chest (names can be deceptive). And no, neither of them is bad for you.
Still wondering about the difference between the two? Check out this quick video lesson for further clarification.
9. Can a Bad Singer Become a Good Singer?
This is a common question – but the good news is that yes, with a little time and dedication, a good singer can become a better singer. Once you start to understand the basics and have a good practice routine in place, becoming a better singer should be a cinch!
Check out this post for more information on that subject.
10. How Do I Become a Better Singer?
Last but not least, this is one of the most common questions I’m asked – how do I become a better singer?
I include it not because it’s necessarily a weird question, but because so many of my students seem to think that becoming a better singer just isn’t in the cards for them. I’m here to tell you – yes! It is absolutely possible.
Keep reading to learn more about how to become one of the best singers of all time.
How to Become a Better Singer On Your Own
Wondering how to become a better singer instantly? The bad news is that you probably can’t – to become a better singer, you really need to commit and start practicing. Here are some steps you can take to improve.
1. Learn the Correct Posture
Posture is everything if you want to become a better singer! Keep your head up and in line with your shoulders, with your shoulders relaxed and your jaw dropped. Avoid tensing up while you sing and don’t sit, as this collapses your muscles and can make it more difficult for you to breathe properly.
2. Do Specific Exercises to Become a Better Singer
There are certain exercises you can do to become a better singer. For example, you can do pitch matching exercises, vocal warm up exercises, vocal straw exercises, and jaw loosening exercises, to name a few.
3. Focus On Your Breathing
Breathing is just as important as posture. Take a deep breath before you sing a line so that you have the air you need for every word. Breathe through your belly, not your chest. This will give you better control over your voice.
4. Know Your Vocal Range
To become a better singer, you will need to have a clear understanding of your personal vocal range. And once you know what your range is, be sure to stick to it! Everyone has a sweet spot, but in general, there are seven main ranges:
5. Warm Up
Although it is sometimes tempting to just skip the warm-up, try not to do this. Singing a song itself doesn’t count as a warm-up, either.
Instead, choose a singing warmup exercise that is loud and obnoxious – these tend to be the best at getting you ready to sing. Warm up for at least five to ten minutes, doing warm-ups that stretch your mouth along with scales.
6. Recognize Pitch
The best way to learn how to recognize pitch is to practice singing along with a piano. Press down on a key and as you do so, try to match your voice to each corresponding note.
7. Practice Daily
The more often you sing, the better your voice will be – and the better you will get at noticing any issues that arise. Just like any other muscle, you need to exercise your voice in order to become a better singer!
8. Keep Yourself Healthy
There are lots of general health tips you can follow to keep your voice healthy. Here are a few:
- Avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol before you sing – instead, drink lots of water
- Don’t eat sweets or dairy right before singing
- Use a humidifier
- Don’t smoke
- Do plenty of breathing exercises
- Try not to overuse or strain your voice, as this can damage your vocal chords
9. Work on Vibrato
Vibrato happens naturally when your vocal system is balanced and well-trained. If your vibrato is too wide, fast, or uneven, it means something is too loose or tight. This is something to work on improving on your journey to become a better singer!
10. Consider Singing Lessons
Finally, you may want to consider singing lessons to help you become a better singer. Only a private teacher can give you an idea of the techniques that will develop your unique voice.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Better Singer?
I’m often asked questions about how to become a better singer in only 30 days or how to become a better singer overnight.
Here’s the thing – it’s definitely possible to become a better singer, but if you want to improve, you’re going to have to commit. And if you want to get really good? You need to give it time!
And don’t be afraid to ask some questions about singing, either.
Don’t worry: weird questions about the voice are good! There isn’t a lot of reliable vocal information out there, and airing out your strangest queries can help you learn about your voice.
Be sure to sign up for singing lessons so that you can really improve on your skills. How do you become a better singer without lessons, after all? While you can improve a bit by teaching yourself the ropes, the best way to become a better singer is to work closely with your singing teacher and ask any questions you have.
Photo by U.S. Army