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How to Start a Singing Career

So You Want to Become a Singer? Here’s How to Get There

How to Start a Singing Career

Private lessons? Check. Big dreams? Check! But there’s more to the equation when it comes to singing professionally. Monclova, OH teacher Carrie A. shares her professional experience to inform your own singing journey.

How to Become a Singer

I can’t tell you how many students over the years have come to me asking, “How do you become a singer on TV or Broadway?” before they finish their first vocal lesson. While those are great aspirations to go after, the truth is that it’s better to focus on smaller, more achievable goals as you start out.

Now, I don’t say this to discourage aspiring stars from taking the stage – not at all. The point of managing expectations at the beginning of our singing journey is to 1) stay humble, and 2) recognize that there’s no substitute for hard work and practice.

What I have found is a great way to get started is to look for opportunities to perform right in your own community. It is a serious long shot to go from never performing at all, to being chosen for some sort of reality show. Though you may hear of people winning the vocal lottery on TV, the fact is that many of the singers we know and love had humble beginnings and put in countless hours of practice. No one becomes a singer overnight.

I have performed in front of thousands of people numerous times, including once at Carnegie Hall. I, however, did not start there. I participated in lots of community theater, performed at weddings, did gigs at coffee shops, and performed at other small-scale venues before I had more distinguished opportunities.

I understand the desire to perform in front of large audiences. Still, I strongly encourage my students to take advantage of every opportunity they have to perform, whether big or small. Every performance is an opportunity to learn, grow, and have fun. The following suggestions are ones that I give to my students to help them find opportunities.

First, get a set list together. Whether you are a vocalist or instrumentalist, you need to have at least 10 songs that are performance-ready. Don’t be in a hurry with this step – look for songs that mean something to you and flow well together. Work with your music instructor to find what fits your singing style and go with that.

Second, gear up for rejection. You will be told no, probably multiple times. Don’t stop until you get a yes! Every successful person has gone through their fair share of rejection. I’m a professional singer, and I’ve had to deal with the same thing. Don’t take it personally, just move on and get excited for when someone says yes.

Third, connect with area charity organizations and ask if they need music at their next fundraiser. It will be a chance to use music to strengthen the community and possibly create more connections for future performances.

Fourth, think of places you can give back and get performance experience at the same time. For example, lots of nursing homes will jump at the chance to have you come and entertain their guests.

Opportunities like these are rewarding on many different levels. It feels good to use your talents for a positive and uplifting cause.

Finally, don’t look down on any opportunity that comes your way. Remember, in the beginning, it’s all about getting yourself out there and letting people know you are available. This will help you hone your skills and build your network. Vocal students wondering how to become a singer on the professional level need to understand that even the most ambitious goals happen one step at a time.

If that means you start by singing the national anthem at a local high school basketball game, so be it. One of my students did that very thing and now is invited by major car racing events to do the national anthem. She went from performing at the local high school to singing in front of 30,000 people during a televised event! The bottom line is this: in the beginning, nothing is too small if you really want to become a singer.

Whether you’re singing in the shower or Madison Square Garden, your love for music will propel you forward. Enjoy where you are today, pour your heart into each and every performance, and create a rewarding musical future!

 

CarrieACarrie A. teaches guitar and singing lessons in Monclova, OH. She has a BA in music and business, and has been teaching professionally for over 10 years. Learn more about Carrie here!

 

 

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Road Trip Music

Your Official Road Trip Playlist: 150+ Songs Everyone Knows

Road Trip Music

There’s nothing quite like a good road trip — it’s one of the best ways to spend time with friends and explore new scenery. To have a successful journey, you’ll need three things: a functioning vehicle, a full tank of gas, and (most importantly) an amazing road trip playlist!

Sharing music on the road is a great way to discover new artists and dive into styles that you normally wouldn’t listen to. Everyone has their own unique song picks that they like to put on the stereo, but having a playlist of songs everyone loves lets you all sing along and enjoy the experience together.

Whether you’re looking for a list of classic old songs everyone knows or the best singalong songs of the 2000s and beyond, you’ve arrived at the right place. Crank up these tunes to prevent drowsiness on the road and make your journey more fun!

150+ Best Singalong Songs for your Road Trip Playlist

Best Road Trip Songs

Need to stay awake during a long trip? Here are some of the most popular road trip songs everyone knows

  1. “Life is A Highway (cover)” – Rascal Flatts
  2. “Back in the Saddle” – Aerosmith
  3. “Life in the Fast Lane” – the Eagles
  4. “Roam” – B-52s
  5. “Sweet Home Alabama” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  6. “Livin’ on A Prayer” – Bon Jovi
  7. “Here I Go Again” – Whitesnake
  8. “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” – the Proclaimers

Road Trip Songs that Make You Dance

These popular road trips songs are guaranteed to get you wiggling in your seat

  1. “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” – Eiffel 65
  2. “Doctor Jones” – Aqua
  3. “Raise Your Glass” – P!nk
  4. “Dancing Queen” – ABBA
  5. “Dark Horse” – Katy Perry
  6. “Crazy in Love” – Beyonce and Jay-Z
  7. “Gold Digger” – Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx
  8. “Around the World” – Daft Punk
  9. “Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson
  10. “Hey Ya” – Outkast

’90s Nostalgia Road Trip Songs

Tunes from the ’90s and beyond, including the best singalong songs of the 2000s

  1. “Quit Playin’ Games With My Heart” – Backstreet Boys
  2. “You’re Still the One” – Shania Twain
  3. “Tearin’ up My Heart” – *NSync
  4. “Free Fallin’” – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  5. “Roll to Me” – Del Amitri
  6. “Ocean Avenue” – Yellowcard
  7. “I Miss You” – Blink-182
  8. “Jane Says” – Jane’s Addiction
  9. “Welcome to Paradise” – Green Day
  10. “Only Wanna Be with You” – Hootie & the Blowfish
  11. “Champagne Supernova” – Oasis
  12. “Just A Girl” – No Doubt
  13. “Absolutely (Story of A Girl)” – Nine Days
  14. “Man in the Box” – Alice in Chains
  15. “Drops of Jupiter” – Train
  16. “Gives You Hell” – All-American Rejects
  17. “1985” – Bowling for Soup
  18. “Stacy’s Mom” – Fountains of Wayne
  19. “Here It Goes Again” – OK Go
  20. “Save Tonight” – Eagle-Eye Cherry

Beats with a Bounce

Spunky yet chill, rock and alternative tunes to add to your road trip playlist

  1. “The Guitar Man” – Cake
  2. “Scar Tissue” – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  3. “What I Got” – Sublime
  4. “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” – George Thorogood
  5. “Girls Don’t Like Boys” – Good Charlotte
  6. “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)” – The Beastie Boys
  7. “The Joker” – Steve Miller Band
  8. “Zombies Ate My Neighbors” – Single File
  9. “Mr. Jones” – Counting Crows
  10. “Sugar, We’re Going Down” – Fall Out Boy
  11. “Feel Good, Inc.” – the Gorillaz
  12. “Sex and Candy” – Marcy Playground
  13. “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?” – Jet
  14. “It’s the End of the World As We Know It” – R.E.M.
  15. “The Impression That I Get” – the Mighty Mighty Bosstones
  16. “Float On” – Modest Mouse
  17. “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” – Cage the Elephant
  18. “Hey There Delilah” – Plain White T’s
  19. “99 Red Balloons” – Nena
  20. “White & Nerdy” – “Weird Al” Yankovic
  21. “I’m on A Boat” – the Lonely Island featuring T-Pain
  22. “Party Like A Rockstar” – Shop Boyz
  23. “Ice Ice Baby” – Vanilla Ice
  24. “Someday” – Sugar Ray
  25. “Seven Nation Army” – the White Stripes

Blastin’ Backbeats

For when you want to turn it up to eleven

  1. “Sorrow” – Bad Religion
  2. “Should I Stay or Should I Go” – the Clash
  3. “I Wanna Be Sedated” – the Ramones
  4. “The Four Horsemen” – Metallica
  5. “Fear of the Dark” – Iron Maiden
  6. “Peace Sells” – Megadeth
  7. “Ten Thousand Fists” – Disturbed
  8. “Shout at the Devil” – Mötley Crüe
  9. “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’” – Judas Priest
  10. “Fat Lip” – Sum 41
  11. “Come Out and Play (Keep ‘Em Separated)” – the Offspring
  12. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – Nirvana
  13. “Beverly Hills” – Weezer
  14. “Too Many Puppies” – Primus
  15. “This Is Not A Song, It’s A Sandwich” – Psychostick

Retro Road Trip Music

Old songs that everyone knows, featuring classic tracks from back in the day

  1. “My Girl” – The Temptations
  2. “Wipeout” – The Surfaris
  3. “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” – Creedence Clearwater Revival
  4. “Bang the Drum All Day” – Todd Rundgren
  5. “California Dreamin’” – The Mamas and the Papas
  6. “Welcome to the Jungle” – Guns N’ Roses
  7. “Panama” – Van Halen
  8. “Fun, Fun, Fun” – the Beach Boys
  9. “American Pie” – Don McLean
  10. “Rock Around the Clock” – Bill Haley and His Comets
  11. “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” – Cyndi Lauper
  12. “Mother” – Danzig
  13. “Purple Haze” – Jimi Hendrix
  14. “One Love (People Get Ready)” – Bob Marley
  15. “Take On Me” – A-Ha
  16. “No More Mr. Nice Guy” – Alice Cooper
  17. “I Know It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)” – the Rolling Stones
  18. “Once in A Lifetime” – Talking Heads
  19. “Stuck in the Middle with You” – Stealers Wheel
  20. “Cheeseburger in Paradise” – Jimmy Buffett
  21. “Ring of Fire” – Johnny Cash
  22. “It’s Raining Men” – the Weather Girls
  23. “Hound Dog” – Elvis Presley

Best Road Trip Songs for Singers

Addictive melodies to show off your vocal skills

  1. “Piano Man” – Billy Joel
  2. “All These Things That I’ve Done” – the Killers
  3. “Send the Pain Below” – Chevelle
  4. “Closer to Fine” – Indigo Girls
  5. “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” – Panic! At the Disco
  6. “Knights of Cydonia” – Muse
  7. “No One Knows” – Queens of the Stone Age
  8. “Stairway to Heaven” – Led Zeppelin
  9. “Piece of My Heart” – Janis Joplin
  10. “All Along the Watchtower” – Bob Dylan
  11. “Interstate Love Song” – Stone Temple Pilots
  12. “Pardon Me” – Incubus
  13. “Rocket Man” – Elton John
  14. “Black Hole Sun” – Soundgarden
  15. “Birdhouse in Your Soul” – They Might Be Giants
  16. “Ziggy Stardust” – David Bowie
  17. “Dog Days Are Over” – Florence and the Machine
  18. “Layla” – Eric Clapton
  19. “Imagine” – John Lennon
  20. “Someone to Watch Over Me” – Ella Fitzgerald (music by George and Ira Gerschwin)
  21. “I Ain’t Superstitious” – Willie Dixon
  22. “Rolling in the Deep” – Adele

SEE ALSO: 100+ Best Karaoke Songs

Awesome Anthems

Classic singalong anthems that everyone knows and can agree on

  1. “In the Street” – Cheap Trick
  2. “I Will Survive” – Gloria Gaynor
  3. “Don’t Stop Believin’” – Journey
  4. “Bohemian Rhapsody” – Queen
  5. “Jack & Diane” – John Mellencamp
  6. “Born to Be Wild” – Steppenwolf
  7. “Rock and Roll All Night” – KISS
  8. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” – the Supremes
  9. “We’re Not Gonna Take It” – Twisted Sister
  10. “Crazy Train” – Ozzy Osbourne
  11. “Dancin’ in the Street” – Martha and the Vandellas
  12. “Ballroom Blitz” – The Sweet
  13. “Rock You Like A Hurricane” – the Scorpion
  14. “Eye of the Tiger” – Survivor
  15. “Cum on Feel the Noize” – Quiet Riot
  16. “Carry On, Wayward Son” – Kansas
  17. “Thriller” – Michael Jackson
  18. “You Shook Me All Night Long” – AC/DC
  19. “Soak Up The Sun” – Sheryl Crow
  20. “Pinball Wizard” – the Who
  21. “Juke Box Hero” – Foreigner
  22. “Summer of ’69” – Bryan Adams
  23. “The Time Warp” – Rocky Horror Picture Show
  24. “Another Brick in the Wall (pt. 2)” – Pink Floyd
  25. “The Twist” – Chubby Checker
  26. “Do You Love Me” – the Contours
  27. “Old Time Rock and Roll” – Bob Seger

Songs Everyone Knows

If you’re looking for more recent hits, here is popular road trip music from the last decade

  1. “Work” – Rihanna ft. Drake
  2. “No Broken Hearts” – Bebe Rexha ft. Nicki Minaj
  3. “Cheap Thrills” – Sia
  4. “Wild Things” – Alessia Cara
  5. “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” – Justin Timberlake
  6. “Ride” – Twenty One Pilots
  7. “Cake by the Ocean” – DNCE
  8. “Kill Em With Kindness” – Selena Gomez

There you have it, our list of the top songs that everyone knows. Use this as a starting point to develop your own perfect road trip playlist. And when it comes to listening to playlists like these in the car, there are two schools of thought: either the driver has full authority to skip a track or you go by majority vote. Whatever your listening style is, crank it up and sing along to make the most of your trip!

Being in the car also happens to be a great opportunity to work on your singing skills. If you want to impress your friends on your next road trip together, consider taking free online singing classes to improve your vocal abilities.

Let us know below what your top road trip tracks are and check out even more songs to sing here!

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Photo by photosteve101

Singing Lessons: Before and After [Best Transformation Videos]

singing lessons before and after

The transformation in vocal students before and after singing lessons is truly inspiring. As a singing teacher, it really is amazing to watch students learn to do everything from match pitches to mix belt like a Broadway star.

Have you ever wondered what you would sound like if you took voice lessons? Although every singer’s results will be different, YouTube has a variety of before and after singing lessons videos, so you can hear the typical results of vocal study.

These three transformation videos leave no doubt: voice lessons definitely work!

Singing Lessons: Before and After

Troy Donavan’s Singing Transformation


In Troy’s older videos, one thing stands out immediately: his significant jaw tension. It almost looks like he is holding something in his mouth, and he is afraid that if he opens his mouth too wide, something will fall out.

Try to notice his masseter muscles clenching as he sings. In addition to the jaw tension, his muffled, uncomfortable tone suggests tongue and throat tension. Now check out this second video.


Even by watching Troy’s “after singing lessons” videos without sound, it’s obvious that he’s starting to relax his jaw and open his mouth more while singing. His face looks much more comfortable, and forming words looks much easier.

His tone is also clearer and has lost that muffled quality, suggesting that the tongue and throat tension he struggled with has largely dissolved. Congratulations, Troy! This is truly an inspiring singing transformation.

Polina Lesik’s Singing Transformation

Polina Lesik is a professional singer from Russia. Although her video does include some footage of live performances, most of the older clips are audio only. Even so, the difference in technique is abundantly apparent.

In the older singing clips, Polina’s singing shows significant pitch problems. While she was always in the ballpark of the correct pitches, she was off just enough to give the singing an amateur quality. She also exhibited no vibrato in the early years.

However, she was studying classical voice during that time, and by 2007 (as exhibited at 3:11 in the video), her head voice technique had markedly improved. She was also showing better pitch accuracy and vibrato.

Even still, Polina was not working on her chest voice technique yet, and that showed in her singing. While her head voice was improving, her chest voice technique from the same period sounds forced and thick. This sounds like a result of tension in the throat and tongue.

It wasn’t until 2010, when Polina again started studying with a voice teacher (this time for jazz voice), that her rock and pop sound improved. The forced sound disappeared, and she was left with greater pitch accuracy, steady vibrato, and a clearer timbre in both her chest and head registers.

Her later videos also exhibit an ability to mix her chest and head voice (called modal voice) in order to hit belted high notes without any strain. Great job, Polina!

Rached Hayek’s Singing Transformation

Rached Hayek is a singer and songwriter from Sydney, Australia. This video’s “before” example is a cell phone recording that doesn’t include video. But just like with Polina, the noticeable difference is enormous.

The song in both the “before” and “after” recordings is “Walking Away” by Craig David, sung a cappella. In the “before” recording, Rached’s tone is pleasant, and it’s clear that he has talent. However, he was not able to successfully navigate the runs and register changes in the song.

When he tried to change notes rapidly, he went out of tune, and because he was singing a cappella, this threw the whole song off balance. In addition, his runs slid together, at times resembling a vocal slide rather than individual notes.

The “after” recording tells a different story. The runs are now clean and distinct, each note precise. As a result, even without a back track, Rached is able to stay in tune. Wonderful work, Rached!

Transform Your Voice

If you’re serious about making vocal progress, find a singing teacher near you or start taking online singing classes today. With the proper guidance, you’ll learn how to sing comfortably in whatever style you choose. And soon, you’ll be able to make your very own “Singing Lessons – Before and After” video!

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Video: Learn to sing online

Video: What’s it Like to Take an Online Singing Class?

Is it possible to learn to sing online? With TakeLessons Live, you can attend online group classes to improve your skills, improve your confidence, and get a taste of working with a private voice teacher!

But we get it: the idea can be pretty daunting if you’re a total beginner. What’s it like to take an online singing class, anyway? How should you prepare? We know you might have questions, so we asked singing teacher Reina M. to address some of the most common questions and concerns. Watch the video here, and read the transcription below!

Hi, my name’s Reina and I’m a TakeLessons teacher. I offer a customized, holistic approach to learning the voice during my one-on-one sessions. In addition, I have the privilege of teaching some pretty awesome group classes online using TakeLessons Live.

Online teaching is still relatively new and I get questions every day about how it works. I’d like to run through a few of the more common questions I get, and show you what to expect when you sign up for a class.

So let’s get started with the number one question…

What are the pros and cons to online classes versus in-person?

The pros are that there’s a lot of personal space, so sometimes if you’re a new singer, it can be kind of intimidating to sing in front of your teachers. Having that technological barrier can be super helpful, just making it more comfortable.

Secondly, you’re more likely to show up because you can be in your jammies, it could be raining outside, and all you have to do is turn on your device.

And lastly, you can take lessons anywhere; as long as you have an internet connection and an up-to-date device, you’re good to go.

The cons would be that the teacher can’t give you a hug at the end of class and tell you what a good job you did. You can get an online high five, but it’s not the same. Sometimes there can be technical difficulties so it’s really important to test your internet strength and to use the most up-to-date device that you have.

What are the pros and cons to group classes versus private?

The pros are that you’re not alone. It’s really nice to know that other people can be on this journey with you, and it’s way cheaper [than private lessons].

The cons are that the classes are not customized, so if you’re a level that’s higher or lower than the class is designed for, you may find yourself either wandering off because you get a little bit bored, or you could get frustrated because it’s just a lot of information at one time.

Secondly, you can’t cover as much information just because it is geared towards the general populace of the class and it’s not one-on-one.

What types of students attend online classes?

All types! I get young students, old students, beginner students, advanced students, hobby singers, and professionals. The classes are all-inclusive, they’re open to anyone that wants to learn, and every class is different.

What types of students excel in online group classes?

This answer is really easy: it’s the type of student that practices. Group classes, and all music lessons for that matter, are intended to help you practice on your own. You’re not going to get good in one hour, a week,  or two 30-minute lessons a week. The type of student that excels in group classes is the type of student that can take notes, asks questions, and practices the information and techniques that they’ve learned.

What will I learn by taking online group classes?

Each group class has a different focus. Some of the classes are geared towards beginners and they might focus on basic techniques. Other classes might be more intermediate or advanced, and they’re going to focus on more difficult techniques. So be sure to read the descriptions for each class that’s offered and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Can I actually get better by taking online group classes?

Yes, absolutely! I have noticed no difference in growth or technique retention between my online students versus my in-studio students. If you continue to show up and you practice, you’re going to see growth; easy as that!

Do I need to have anything prepared?

Most of the time, you’re not going to need anything beyond a pen and paper for taking notes, and a bottle of water to keep you hydrated, but be sure to read the descriptions carefully. There are a few classes that may have special requirements.

Will I need to sing in front of the class?

Well, this depends. The teacher is never going to force you to sing if you’re not comfortable, but there are classes, like the audition prep class, where it’s just not going to be as helpful to you if the teacher can’t hear where you’re at and what you’re doing as you’re singing your song.

Some of the more intro classes are more information-based and singing live isn’t even a part of the class. If you have a specific question or concern you can always log onto the class early and speak with the teacher in the little chat box, and just let them know a little bit about yourself.

If I could offer one piece of advice what would it be?

This is the easiest question by far and the answer is it’s that you can sing. Don’t ever let anybody tell you otherwise, not even yourself!

The voice instrument takes practice and patience, just like any other instrument, and if you apply yourself and work diligently, you can master your voice.

Group classes are a great way to learn. They awaken your excitement for a new skill, and they can deepen your  appreciation for singing. I definitely recommend signing up for an online group class today through TakeLessons Live. Cheers and congrats on your new journey!

Ready to learn to sing online? Check out our online group classes for free today!

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christina-aguilera

Why Taking Voice Lessons from Christina Aguilera is a Bad Idea

christina-aguilera

Can you learn to sing through videos, like the ones advertised with Christina Aguilera? Read on for voice teacher Elaina R.‘s thoughts… 

Have you seen the online ads offering a voice lesson course taught by Christina Aguilera? Promos for the course have inundated many Facebook feeds, and since I know many professional singers and voice teachers, I’ve been able to watch them react to the ads. Most voice teachers have been amused, terrified, or both by the prospect of people learning how to sing from Ms. Aguilera.

Why are the degree-holding vocalists of the world not on board with Christina Aguilera teaching voice? She is, after all, a six-time Grammy Award winner with an estimated net worth of $130 million. Are we just jealous? The short answer is no! We are truly concerned for voice students who turn to Christina Aguilera for advice, and here’s why.

Talent Does Not a Teacher Make

You are likely an expert chewer. You chew food many times a day, and you have done so for your entire life. One could argue that you are a talented chewer, even. But what if someone who didn’t know how to chew asked you to teach them to chew? You would likely have to think long and hard about your process. In the end, the best answer many people would be able to come up with is, “You just do it.”

Christina Aguilera is a gifted singer. She has a good voice and natural musicality, and her performances often reflect that. However, her innate ability to sing and the fact that she was born with a good singing voice do not mean she knows how to teach singing. As any teacher will tell you, teaching is in and of itself a skill, and it isn’t one that Christina, with her flourishing artistic and television career on top of parental duties, has had any time to curate.

Modern Pop Technique

In addition, Christina Aguilera is a pop singer who specializes in belting (high chest voice). Belting is an extremely taxing form of singing that, when done wrong, can produce disastrous results. Not only does bad belting sound horrible, but it can rapidly destroy your voice.

The vast majority of voice teachers are university trained, which almost always means they have a foundation in classical vocal technique. While classical singing sounds very different than belting, the same rules (breath support, throat relaxation, resonance) apply.

Learning proper vocal technique through classical pieces — or at least less taxing pop pieces — greatly reduces the chance of vocal injury. If learning to sing with low-impact music is like light strength training, trying to skip to belting is like immediately attempting a 300-pound deadlift. It’s just plain unhealthy.

Knowledge is Power

Frankly, the most famous pop singers in the world today usually have no idea what they are doing. Christina Aguilera was blessed with a fair amount of natural ability, but as many of her performances exhibit, she falls prey to many of the same issues that beginning voice students have.

She often suffers from jaw, neck, and tongue tension, resulting in a pressed, flat, raspy sound (and sometimes cracking). Even pop singers who do not have these issues are just vastly talented people who can’t teach anyone how they do what they do.

Professional voice teachers, on the other hand, are a different breed. We may be talented, but we also dedicated ourselves to learning how singing works. We have studied anatomy and vocal technique in an academic setting and can describe exactly why specific faults, such as cracking and straining, occur. A good voice teacher is not just a good singer; she knows the specific details of what she is doing to sing well, and she can describe those details to her students. That’s something that even the most talented singer in the world can’t do.

Can I Learn to Sing With Other Online Videos?

Too busy for lessons, and want to just teach yourself to sing using YouTube videos or other programs? Here’s the thing — absolutely nothing can substitute the help that a private teacher can provide you.

While you can learn to sing songs and basic music theory with online resources, if you want to sing well, working with a vocal teacher is extremely important. Your teacher will be able to notice and correct bad habits that can lead to injuries or those that may be affecting your sound. Plus, the motivation and inspiration you can get from this type of guidance can make a huge difference!

Ready to find a teacher? Browse our teacher profiles here. Want to ease into learning? Check out our free, online group singing classes!

Post Author: Elaina R.
Elaina R. teaches opera voice and singing in Ypsilanti, MI, as well as through online lessons. She received her Master of Music from the University of Michigan, and she has a B.M. from the University of Southern California. Learn more about Elaina here!

Photo by D.S.B

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Video- how to not sing flat

Video: How to Not Sing Flat | Singing Tips

Singing on pitch take practice — and if you’re struggling with singing flat or singing sharp, you’re not alone! Even some famous singers have trouble hitting the notes perfectly at all times.

Fortunately, there are some great ear training exercises you can do to get better at recognizing when you’re off. Then, use the right vocal techniques to correct yourself.

In this video, singing teacher Arlys A. demonstrates how to recognize if you’re singing flat, and how to not sing flat once you notice it:

Video Recap: How to Not Sing Flat

  • Singing flat means you are singing below the correct pitch.
  • Use a tuner or a piano to check yourself!
  • Try sliding up to find a note until your pitch matches the correct note.
  • Having trouble? You’re not alone! Keep practicing intervals and individual notes in the song you’re working on.

Additional Resources for Improving Your Pitch

Want to learn more? Check out our live, online singing classes taught by professional singing teachers, or sign up for private voice lessons!

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Video- How to Do a Vocal Cool-Down (3)

Video: The Importance of a Vocal Cool-Down | Singing Tips

You probably already know all about vocal warm-up exercises… but do you know the importance of cooling DOWN your voice after singing? The “vocal cool-down” is a great way to end the night if you’ve been singing for a long time, such as at a performance or gig.

In this video, teacher Francisca M. demonstrates three easy exercises to try out…

Video Recap: How to Do a Vocal Cool-Down

  • The Siren Wail – move from your highest (comfortable) note on an “ahh sound,” sliding down to the octave below
  • Chords – move from your highest note down 5 steps
  • Bubble Trill – Similar to your vocal warm-up exercises, incorporate lip trills into your cool-down

As Francisca mentions, try to spend around 10-15 minutes cooling down your voice after a performance or gig, until your voice feels comfortable and normal again.

Additional Resources About Vocal Cool-Downs

Want to learn more? Check out our live, online singing classes taught by Francisca and other awesome singing teachers, or sign up for private voice lessons!

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Video: vocal exercises to increase range

Video: Vocal Exercises to Increase Your Range | Singing Tips

Singers, ready to reach those high (or low!) notes? In this video, teacher Arlys A. demonstrates some easy vocal exercises to use as you work on increasing your range.

Vocal Exercises to Increase Your Range

Try incorporating these exercises into your practice routine:

  1. Lip bubbles or lip trills
  2. The “oooh” slides

From there, work with your voice teacher to find songs at the right level for you. It’s crucial to find the balance of challenging yourself, but not straining your voice!

Here’s an idea of what your voice teacher may work with you on:

  • Discovering your current vocal range is our first step.
  • You should then discover your weak spots – where your voice sounds weak, where you have trouble, and where you need help. After this we can then start to increase your vocal range.
  • Here, you’ll learn tips and suggestions on how to sing lower or higher – depending on what you want. Lessons will vary here, as each student is different.
  • Lastly, you’ll learn how to bridge your voices together so there is no gap between them.

Not sure of your current vocal range? We love this video, which you can follow along with to determine your vocal range:


Make sure to stand up straight and fully support your voice as you’re working on these exercises, too. Posture can make all the difference!

Additional Resources About Increasing Vocal Range

Want to learn more? Check out our live, online singing classes taught by Arlys and other awesome singing teachers!

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How to sing better (almost) instantly

Video: How to Sing Better (Almost) Instantly | Singing Tips

Want to know how to sing better in a short amount of time? There are a few simple tips and tricks you can do that will instantly improve your sound. You’d be surprised at how easy they are!

Two of the best techniques to practice if you want to sing better are maintaining correct posture and giving yourself proper breath support.

See what we mean in the video below by talented vocal coach Arlys A.:

How to Sing Better Instantly

As you saw in the video, there are two foundations of singing that you should know if you want to become a better singer: proper posture and breath support. Master these fundamental techniques and you’ll be able to sing more of your favorite songs. Keep reading for more details and resources on how to sing better.

Step 1. Proper Posture

Always make sure you’re not slouching when you sing. Your body is an instrument, so you should be keeping an eye on how you’re holding it. Stretching and doing regular physical activity will also help you loosen up.

Check out this resource from ExpertVillage about proper singing posture. It goes into further detail about the necessity of keeping all of your body parts in check while singing.

If you want to learn more about the singer’s stance, here is a helpful infographic that will show you how you should be standing during your practice times and performances.

Step 2. Breath Support

Once you’ve situated yourself correctly, you can focus on your breathing. Avoid shallow breathing while you sing. Instead, you should feel your rib cage open as you breathe in. This will instantly change your sound for the better!

For more information on how to sing better, see this video by David DiMuzio with the best breathing exercises for singers. Practice these on a daily basis and you’ll hear your voice improving in no time.

Hissing is another excellent exercise to practice as you learn about proper breathing. Read the steps for this helpful exercise here.

Overall, the best way to learn how to sing better is to take singing lessons from an expert voice teacher. A vocal coach can help you identify the strengths and weaknesses in your skills and provide a plan tailored to make you a successful singer.

Want to learn more? Check out the live, online singing classes at TakeLessons Live, where you can sample classes for free from a variety of singing teachers on topics like warming up your voice and increasing your vocal range.

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physical activity to strengthen your voice

Will Cardio & Physical Activity Make You a Better Singer? [Video]

cardio to strengthen your singing voice

Can doing physical exercise and cardio help you become a better singer? The answer is yes! Learn how to strengthen your singing voice and which activities are best in this article by voice teacher Rebecca R

Imagine this scenario: you’ve signed up to run your first marathon. Maybe you ran cross-country back in high school and have kept up with running as a regular form of exercise. Because of this, you don’t use a training plan, and instead continue your normal exercise routine. When the day of the marathon arrives, though, you struggle to complete the entire course and end up injured. You’d probably feel like your body betrayed you, right?

While this scenario is a VERY exaggerated circumstance, it gets the point across: in order to accomplish a physical goal in the healthiest way possible, a certain amount of body awareness and training is required.

And although it doesn’t demand nearly the same endurance training as running a marathon, singing is a very physical activity. While just two tiny muscles are responsible for forming the sound of your singing voice (your vocal cords), the act of singing is a whole-body experience.

So, what’s the proper way to train? Adding physical activity to your musical practice to develop stamina and strengthen your singing voice is a great idea. Here’s how it can help you sing better:

1. Your body is your instrument.

In nearly every introductory voice lesson I teach, the student is always surprised by how physically demanding the lesson is. Often, he or she feels like they just went on a jog. That is exactly how any student should feel after a voice lesson!

When you sing to the best of your ability, you are using your entire body. Your feet ground you, your legs support you, and your torso expands and works to provide the breath support needed to fuel your singing. Even if you’re sitting in a chair, leaning against a piano, or laying on the ground, you are using more than just your throat and head to sing.

If learning how to strengthen your singing voice is a goal for you, the first step is to map out body awareness. Ask yourself the following questions the next time you sing:

  1. Which muscles are engaging when I breathe? When I’m singing a phrase of music?
  2. What do my feet feel like under me? Can they feel the ground?
  3. Where do I feel my torso expand when I inhale? In the front? On the sides? In the back?
  4. Am I holding any unnecessary tension in the body? Maybe in the shoulders or the jaw?

2. Breath, breath, and more breath!

Lung expansion is a saving grace for any singer. For most circumstances in everyday life, we inhale and exhale subconsciously without needing to actively engage our lungs. When we sing, however, we use up to 90% of our lung capacity depending on the range, style, and length of the song.

Unless you also happen to be an athlete, chances are you don’t perform many activities throughout the day that require a lot of conscious breathing. Enter cardio exercises: jogging, running, swimming, circuit training, you name it! All of these forms of exercise, in addition to their overall health benefits, will improve lung expansion, which helps you access more of your lung capacity and fuel your voice through any practice session, lesson, or performance. Good breath support gained through cardio exercise is what ultimately will provide the stamina to sing safely for hours, days, and years.

Editor’s Note: For more breathing exercises, join our next live, online class! View the schedule and reserve your spot here.

3. The Importance of Posture

While having good posture may seem obvious, I don’t think most singers realize that posture is something that needs to be worked on and strengthened regularly. Just like training the lungs with cardio, we need to strengthen our body to support good, natural posture while releasing tight muscles.

Yoga or pilates will accomplish both of these goals, along with added mental benefits! By strengthening your instrument (your body) and loosening up tight muscles, you will sing more freely and with more ease. As an added bonus,you’ll be able to warm up your voice much more quickly if your body is already warmed up!

Here’s a quick little trick for when you need help setting up your posture: Inhale fully and deeply without raising your shoulders or tightening your neck. Then, as you exhale, imagine your spine growing longer in both directions, up out of the top of your head and down toward the ground simultaneously.

How Much Physical Activity Do I Need to Sing at My Best?

While the minutes spent and intensity of all physical activity will vary from person to person, here’s a basic schedule you may want to follow:

  • 3 times/week: Cardio should be reserved for long vocal practice days. On cardio days, I’ve found that my lung capacity is at its best, and the energy I feel after cardio helps fuel long practice sessions. To get all the benefits of the cardio when you sing, try to fit it in before you practice.
  • 2 times/week: Yoga or pilates is reserved for my non-practice/non-performance days. Yoga classes that are lengthy and provide a hearty workout (such as Vinyasa or power yoga), as well as pilates classes, build strength and flexibility, which can leave the body sore and in need of some recovery. It’s best to avoid activity that might add temporary tension or tightness on singing days — or save the workout for after your singing.
  • Every day: Gentle yoga and stretching can be done anytime and is highly encouraged, particularly before you sing. I always reserve time for some gentle yoga on performance days, audition days, or long rehearsal days — the gentle stretch not only allows my mind and body to calm down and feel grounded but also makes warming up vocally easier and quicker.

Give it a Try…

Follow along with the video below for a quick stretching sequence you can start using today.

Singers, what kinds of physical activity do you engage in? Leave a comment below and let us know how it’s helped!

RebeccaRPost Author: Rebecca R.
Rebecca R. teaches singing, piano, and music theory in Ridgewood, NY, as well as online. She teaches students ages 6 and up, and a variety of experience levels. Learn more about Rebecca here!

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Live Resources

How to Record Yourself Singing

How to Record Yourself Singing (& Still Sound Great) Without a Pricey Microphone

Singers, do you ever record yourself singing? It’s a great idea as you practice. But what if you don’t have a top-quality microphone or video camera? Don’t fret. In this guest post, Jesse from Hear The Music shares some helpful pointers…

Many voice teachers encourage their students to record videos of themselves singing, as you can review them afterward and identify ways you can improve.

But if you’re just starting out, you may not want to spend hundreds of dollars on recording equipment to do this. You may be wondering, “How do I record myself singing — and still sound good — with only tools I already have?”

Luckily, all you need is a laptop with a webcam or a smartphone!

Here are some helpful tips on how to make yourself look and sound as great as possible.

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Positioning

Music videos, like the ones you see from your favorite artists, often incorporate all sorts of wild camera angles, swooping shots, and fancy visual effects. Going on the assumption that your video will be used for self-evaluation and improvement, none of that is necessary.

Instead, keep it simple. Position your camera about chest level and try to get your entire body in the shot. If your foot is out of frame, you may never know that you subconsciously tap your foot as you sing.

One of the limitations of using your phone or laptop webcam is that the microphone and camera are attached to each other. Normally the microphone would be right in front of the singer, and the camera a ways back. Finding the best positioning for this setup is a bit of a balancing act. You want to be able to see as much of your body as possible, while also keeping the microphone close enough to record at a good volume.

If you’re having trouble getting a good balance, you may want to record yourself singing the song twice: once to watch your body movements and mannerism, and another with the camera much closer to get a good recording of your voice.

Simple Room Acoustics

Acoustics are the properties or qualities of a room that determine how sound is transmitted in it, and it is literally a science.

Some basic rules are:

– Don’t record in a small room with flat, square, bare walls. This causes the sound waves to bounce all over the place and mess with each other. Larger rooms with furniture, carpet, curtains, and wall coverings will make your recording sound much better.

– Eliminate all the background noise you possibly can. Keep kids and pets out, close doors and windows, turn off the TV and unrelated music, wait until the construction crew outside your window stops jackhammering.

– If the room still sounds echoey, throw some pillows against the wall and hang up some blankets. They make great cheap acoustic panels.

How to Record Yourself Singing – Best Practices

Keep in mind you’re making a video to showcase and critique your singing abilities, not trying to win a VMA award. (Yet.)

Here are some simple best practices to get you started:

– Look into the camera. This is the same thing that you (hopefully) will be doing when you perform for other people, so you want to know what it looks like to them.

– Sit or stand naturally. Don’t tense up just because you are being recorded.

– Don’t wear distracting clothes. Clothes with lots of stripes or funky patterns may not record right and create some weird effects. Plus you want to be able to focus on you and your music, not your outfit.

– Beware of your background. Try to have a neutral, plain-looking wall behind you. Same idea as your clothes. You want the focus to be on you and your music.

– Use lots of light. You want to have plenty of light shining on you from the sides and from behind the camera, but not from behind you.

Next Steps

Once you get the hang of recording yourself and are confident in your abilities, you may want to start looking into producing a higher-quality music video for other people to enjoy.

The easiest way to get a dramatic increase in your recorded music quality is to use an external microphone. These days you don’t need a large expensive home studio system to get great results. Great microphones that simply plug into your computer via USB can be found for less than $100. The improvement will be immediate and glorious. Before you go out and buy something, though, you need to know how to find the best microphones for singing.

Once you have a good microphone, you can use a better quality video camera. In fact, you may already have a great one and not even know it!

When you have those two pieces of equipment you will be able to create videos that rival 90% of the music videos on YouTube! So what are you waiting for? Start recording today!

jessePost Author: Jesse
Jesse owns Hear The Music, a blog dedicated to helping people find great music and create their own. On the site he offers advice to artists recording music at home, interviews with YouTube stars, and helpful reviews of recording equipment.

Am I Too Old to Learn to Sing? A Voice Teacher’s Advice

There is one question that gets asked above all the rest, one thing that everyone wants to know: can I still learn to sing at 20, 30, 40… and even beyond that?

At 24, is a professional singing career out of reach? Can you get as famous as Lady Gaga, or any other famous singer? For the hobbyists out there, is it even worth taking lessons at 52 years old… if you’ve always self-proclaimed yourself as “tone deaf”? Read on as voice teacher Douglas W. answers the commonly asked question.

Am I Too Old to Learn to Sing?

I’m very happy to tell you that the answer is that you are never too old to learn to sing!

Think about it: you’d never tell someone that they were too old to learn a language, or that it’s too late to get in better shape. We all have to start somewhere, and getting past the mental block of ‘I’m too old to do this’ opens up the door to so many different possibilities for you in life.

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The Myths & The Truth

I had a 32-year-old student who constantly feared that she’d never be any good due to starting so late. We’d been working hard, and as I was packing up my stuff to leave, I started absentmindedly humming part of a song we’d been working on.

She was listening, picked up the tune, and absolutely slayed a part that had been giving her trouble for weeks! In that moment, the burden of years dropped away, and she was simply a person feeling the utmost joy in her musical agency. That’s the kind of thing that taking voice lessons can give you, at any age.

It’s a flat-out myth that you either ‘have it or you don’t,’ or can only do it if you start out young. While you certainly have more time to develop if you start out early, and some people are born with natural gifts that make it easy for them, dedication and hard work are what take you where you want to go.

Now, here come the excuses…

too old to sing

“I already took lessons and didn’t get much out of them, what’ll be different this time?

While I believe every student should absolutely set their sights high, we do have to be realistic about what our voices can and can’t do.

I can’t hit the same notes as someone like Mariah Carey, but I’ve definitely improved my comfortable singing range in both directions, and can absolutely help you do the same. Starting with a good, solid foundation can help you manage your expectations, so you can enjoy your successes more, small as they may seem!

I know that personally, when I started out at 17, I didn’t see results as fast as I thought I would, and I got frustrated because of it. I made things much harder for myself by not enjoying the process of learning and being overcritical of myself.

But this is what teachers are great for! Learning in a vacuum is difficult, but having someone there to encourage you, keep you on track, and hold you accountable will help ensure you’re progressing as fast as you can, and, most importantly, taking joy in each step of the way. Singing is not a competition or a race; it’s about developing your tools to express exactly what you feel in your heart in a way that can be heard in your voice.

too old to sing

“I don’t sound like Bruno Mars (or whoever your favorite singer is), who says I can now?”

The beautiful thing about singing is that everyone has their own voice. You don’t sound exactly like me, and vice versa. This seems like an obvious point, but it’s something to think about. Some of us get into music chasing our idols without remembering that we have our own unique stories and feelings. You might need help bringing out your voice, and that’s alright! That’s what a great instructor will help you do.

too old to sing

“It’s definitely too late to be noticed for my singing, isn’t it?”

This is patently false. Hard work will trump ‘natural talent’ any day of the week, for any age who might think to try! Bill Withers, he of ‘Lean on Me’ and ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ fame, didn’t release his first album until he was 34 years old! Sheryl Crow didn’t release her debut album until she was 31, and many other singers have struggled before becoming famous.

The point is, if you have music in your spirit that needs to get out, it doesn’t matter how old you are. What you put into it will truly be what you get out of it. Enjoy the process of learning and creating, and you never truly lose.

Even if you don’t aspire to be famous, there are plenty of goals you can work toward. Some great ones to start out with are:

  1. Extending your range a bit
  2. Being more comfortable singing in front of other people
  3. Nailing your favorite song to sing along to
  4. Joining a choir
  5. Strengthening a specific part of your voice (e.g. head voice, mix voice)

too old to sing

It is never too late to better yourself or learn something new. Learning to sing is a great way to do that.

For a long time, the idea that I couldn’t learn as an adult kept me from trying things. If you’re at all interested in learning anything, be it singing, an instrument, or a language, I implore you to give it a try! There are so many amazing teachers here that the only limit to how far you can go will be your desire to learn.

And in every little success, every hurdle overcome, you’re working toward a passion you can enjoy your whole life, no matter when you start.

Readers, are you worried you’re too old to learn to sing? Leave a comment and share your story with others!

DouglasAbout the Author: Douglas W. teaches singing and music theory in Cleveland, OH, as well as online. Learn more about Douglas here!

How to Sing With Confidence | The 3-Ingredient Secret Sauce

How to Sing With Confidence

Feeling nervous about an upcoming performance? It’s a totally normal feeling! Getting used to being in the spotlight can take some time. Learn how to sing with confidence in this article by voice teacher Sphie H...

 

How many times have you listened to your favorite musical artists, bands, and pop stars and pictured yourself in their shoes? Many people dream of unleashing their inner rock star, but very few actually set forth in doing so. It takes a lot of courage to learn how to sing and, for some, understanding how to formulate the first note can be a challenge — let alone imagining the excitement of singing on a stage!

With the guidance of the following few, simple steps, all of the butterflies will melt away and you will be on your way to discovering your voice in no time. So, what are the ingredients in building confidence as a singer?

1) Have Patience With Yourself

The first ingredient in learning how to sing with confidence is patience. Learning how to sing can be a very similar experience to a baby learning how to walk. When a baby learns to walk, they learn step-by-step. In singing, the process is not very different. You are learning not only how to listen to the notes but also how to formulate and re-create the notes you are listening to.

Because your body is your instrument, it takes your entire body to learn how to sing, so be patient with yourself. It is the baby steps in learning that formulate the bigger picture. Finding fulfillment in the building blocks allows you to feel confident in the work that you have achieved.

2) Practice Often

The second ingredient is practice. When I studied opera as a teenager, I sometimes loathed stepping into the practice arena outside of my teacher’s guidance. It felt like wandering through a foreign territory only to find myself at a dead end.

I thought to myself, “I don’t want to sing opera. I want to sing soul.” I felt in my youthfulness that this soulful voice was somehow going to jump out of me and one day it did. What I didn’t realize at the time was that it was all of those years of practice that had helped me to achieve it.

Practice helps strengthen both quality in tone and the relationship in building your own voice. Practicing singing is like an insurance policy for you voice. The more you practice, the more you know your voice. The more you know your voice, the more confident you are singing in any situation. Preparation is the backbone of self-confidence.

3) Take Risks

The third ingredient in building self-confidence as a singer is in taking risks. You may have heard the quote, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” When applied to singing, the same rings true!

We often hear this voice in our head when we first start singing that sounds much different than the voice that actually comes out. When applying the building blocks in practicing scales, exercises, and simple tones and in mastering them one step at a time, we then feel comfortable enough to take risks in the creation and formulation of new exercises. If you hear something in your head, but don’t know exactly how to create the sounds, try anyway. Taking risks in singing means stepping into uncharted waters of sound and testing all of the different sounds available to you. This can be as simple as humming a line to your favorite song out loud.

Every great singer has to know how to hit the “bad” notes a few times before they understand what it means to hit the “good” ones. In the end, confidence in singing comes from knowing both the “good” notes and the “bad” notes and how to move more fluidly and comfortably between all of them. The truth is, you will never know unless you try and it takes more courage to try than not to. Having the courage to take risks will build confidence in knowing your voice.

Learn How to Sing With Confidence

When it comes to learning your voice, it takes patience, practice, and a little bit of risk-taking! Ultimately, you are the captain of your own ship. Learning how to sing is an art and a balance of the above three items. With the combination of all three ingredients, you will find yourself well on your way to singing even more vibrantly and confidently in no time.

Post Author: Sphie H.
Sphie H. teaches singing, piano, yoga, and more in Indianapolis, IN. She offers her students in-home lessons, as well as lessons in her own home studio. She’s been teaching for over a decade and aims to offer a relaxed, versatile, and professional approach to her lessons. Learn more about Sphie here!

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9 Must-Read Tips for Singing High Notes

Looking for tips on how to sing higher? If you struggle with singing high notes, you’re not alone. It’s something that most singers need to practice often, especially when they’re just starting out.

To learn how to sing high notes, you need to truly understand your vocal instrument. Not using proper vocal technique can lead to permanent damage!

Working with a professional vocal coach is the best way to ensure a safe environment to explore and expand your range, but the following nine tips will also help prepare you to sing high notes.

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How to Sing Higher in 9 Steps

1. Try a new vocal exercise

We all know the importance of warming up your voice, but have you heard of “semi-occluded straw phonations”? These unique exercises involve singing into a straw.

This trick is well-known within the voice rehabilitation community, but any singer who is learning how to sing higher can also benefit from it. Here’s a helpful tutorial on how to do this vocal exercise.

Don’t have a straw? Lip trills are another great way to prepare your voice for singing high notes without straining. Check out the video below for more exercises and tips.

2. Warm up with a song

Continue your warm-up routine with a song that’s realistic for your voice (not too high and not too low). If there are particular sections of the song that are difficult for you, isolate those sections and work on them by themselves. This will help strengthen your voice prior to attempting to sing high notes.

To get you started, here are some ideas of songs to sing along to.

  • For tenors: “There Are Giants in the Sky” – Stephen Sondheim
  • For baritones: “That’s Life” – Frank Sinatra
  • For sopranos: “Blank Space” – Taylor Swift
  • For mezzo sopranos and altos: “Stars and the Moon” – Jason Robert Brown

3. Record yourself to eliminate strain 

As you work with a voice coach, he or she will observe you as you go through warm-ups and exercises. This is to help you recognize when and where you’re straining your voice.

If you’re practicing how to sing higher alone however, there are some ways to monitor yourself. One option is to record your voice. Listen back to your high notes and ask yourself, do they sound strained?

If you have a mirror, you can also watch yourself as you sing. Or better yet, use a video camera! Watch for signs of strain, such as grimacing faces and a tense neck.

If you look or sound like you’re straining, take a break. Learning how to sing higher takes years of diligent practice. Resist the urge to rush!

4. Sing in the right vocal register

A big mistake many beginners make when learning how to sing high notes is singing in the wrong register. Your larynx can actually produce four distinct voices, and understanding them is very important. Here are audio examples of what these voices or “registers” sound like.

  • Vocal Fry Voice

  • Modal/Speaking Voice (AKA “Chest Voice”)

  • Falsetto/Reinforced Falsetto Voice (AKA “Head Voice”)

  • Whistle Voice

You shouldn’t belt in your modal voice if a song requires you to sing in your falsetto voice. Likewise, don’t sing in falsetto if the song requires you to belt. For more help understanding the different vocal registers, work with a vocal teacher online.

5. Practice singing vowels

A lot of singing exercises focus on vowels specifically, and practicing them can have a big impact on your ability to project your voice.

As you practice how to sing higher, you’ll notice that different vowel shapes have different effects on your voice. Here are some examples:

  • Uh/Eh – Heavy, range-limiting sounds with a dark and powerful quality.
  • Ooh – Medium, high-range sounds with a restrained, speech-like quality.
  • Aa – Medium, high-range sounds with a piercing, brassy quality.

Figure out which vowel sound works best with the individual phrase in the song you’re working on. For reference, pop songs tend to use more “Ooh” sounds while musical theater uses more “Uh” and “Aa” sounds.

Using vowel sounds properly will make it easier for you to learn how to sing high notes.

SEE ALSO: How to Sing Better Almost Instantly [Video]

6. Consider your larynx position

This is a more advanced topic but we’ll provide a brief introduction to it here. In short, your larynx naturally rises with certain vowels and as you increase in pitch.

For example, opera is a genre that encourages a lower-placed larynx. Contemporary musical theater is a style that generally encourages a higher larynx.

Trying to hold onto a low larynx while attempting a bright, belty high note is going to cause issues! Depending on the song you’re singing, you’ll want to work with a vocal teacher to place your larynx correctly and practice the right technique.

Here are some examples to listen to:

  • Relatively low larynx – Dark, rich sound. (Think Yogi Bear).

  • Relatively high larynx – Bright, speech-like sound. (Think of how a nerd would speak to remember this one)!

7. Use twang

Twang refers to the amount of the “er” sound that is present in your voice. The higher the note you’re singing, the more twang is necessary.

Trying to sing high notes without enough twang may result in straining your voice. But be careful: trying to sing high notes with too much twang might sound nasal.

Think of a Country Western cowboy for an idea of excessive twang. Listen to this example:

8. Check your intensity 

How much intensity (or volume) is required for the note you’re trying to sing? Is it a big, HIGH-intensity modal belt? What about a high-intensity, falsetto high note? Make sure your volume matches appropriately to make your high notes sound flawless.

Before increasing intensity, double check that your register, vowels, twang, and larynx positions are also appropriate for the note you’re attempting.

9. Adjust your head position

On high-intensity high notes with a high larynx, lift your head! A very common belting technique is the head lift. You can see it in the greatest belting divas of our time, including Beyonce and Whitney Houston!

The head lift assists in raising the larynx, which is necessary for powerful belting. For operatic tenors however, a more neutral/low head position is ideal as it promotes a lower larynx in line with the classical sound. In summary:

  • High head position – More belty, shouty sound
  • Low head position – Sweeter, more neutral type of a sound

Now you know how to sing high notes!

Once all the above variables are in place, you will have mastered high notes. If you’re trying to hit a high note and you come across an obstacle, re-evaluate each of the above steps. Often times, your vowel is the root of your problems! Good luck singing high notes and remember, if you need some extra guidance, reach out to a vocal teacher near you.

Sight Singing Practice and Tips

6 Noteworthy Sight Reading Tips for Singers

Are you a singer looking to improve your music reading skills? You’re in luck! In this article, voice teacher Elaina R. shares everything you need to know about sight singing exercises and tips..

One of the most impressive feats for a singer is the ability to pick up a piece of music and read it. How can you get to that point? With patience, dedication, and lots of practice, you can master the art of sight singing!

What Is Sight Singing?

Sight singing is sight reading for singers. When singers sight read, they need to think about three factors at once:

– The rhythm

– The pitches

– The words

Singers are lucky that they only have to sight read one line at a time; pianists, organists, and some other instrumentalists have to read several lines at once! However, only we singers have to read lyrics as a well as notes. This complicates things, especially when those words are in a foreign language (as often happens for classical singers).

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How to Sight Sing – Tips & Strategies

Ready to get started? Sight singing can seem daunting, but it just takes practice. Here are a few things you can do to simplify the process.

Before You Start…

Orient Yourself
Check out the key signature. What key are you in? Is it a major or minor key? How many beats are in each measure? Is there a tempo marking?

Scan
Quickly scan the piece to root out surprises. Is it in mixed meter? Are there tempo changes? Any hidden high notes? This is all helpful information.

Get Your Note
Play the opening chords, or at least your first note, on a piano. The more information you and your ears have, the better.

Tap the Beat
Establish the beat for yourself by tapping it on your leg or collarbone. This will help you stay in rhythm when things get crazy. I recommend that you practice singing with a metronome to get your rhythms as accurate as possible.

As You’re Singing…

Think Solfege
If you know what key you’re in, you should know where the movable ‘do’ is (read this article if you’re unsure what I mean). If you know where ‘do’ is, identifying ‘so’ and other key notes becomes easier. Thinking in solfege helps many singers sight read more accurately.

Rhythm, Pitches, Words
If you start to get lost, this is your order of priority. When you practice sight reading, words are not very important; sing “la la la” if you have to. Pitches, while important, are not as important as the rhythm in sight singing. If you sing the wrong pitches and the right rhythm, you’ll know exactly where you are in the music and be able to catch yourself, even if it sounds bad. If you sing the wrong rhythm, on the other hand, you’re in danger of losing your place in the music and having to stop.

Sight Singing Practice and Exercises

All you really need for sight singing practice is a piece of music you’ve never seen before. However, sight singing is a lot easier in shorter spurts. Before you start attempting to sight read full-length songs, try using one of the many resources available for singers who want to sharpen their sight singing skills.

Sight Singing Online Programs
There are online resources that provide clips to sight sing and audio tracks to check your work. If you prefer to practice at the computer rather than at the keyboard, this may be a good option for you. One popular service is SightReadingFactory.com, which costs $35 per year (about $3 per month).

Sight Singing Books with CDs
This is how us music school folks practiced sight singing in college. Although the teacher usually played starting pitches and accompaniment as needed, good sight reading books come with CDs so you can practice sight singing exercises at home. Here is one good example.

Sight Singing Apps
Need sight reading practice? There’s an app for that! These apps combine sight reading exercises with audio starting pitches and tracks to help you. Music Tutor Free seems to be the most popular free option.

Sight Singing Exercises With Others
One of the best ways to improve your sight singing skills is to join a choir. Choristers learn lots of music on a regular basis, and reading all of that music as a group really helps singers get comfortable sight reading.

And of course, working with your voice teacher on sight singing practice within your lessons is a great idea, too. Whatever route you take, learning to sight sing will help you become a better and more versatile singer. Good luck!

Post Author: Elaina R.
Elaina R. teaches opera voice and singing in Ann Arbor, MI, as well as through online lessons. She received her Master of Music from the University of Michigan, and she has a B.M. from the University of Southern California. Learn more about Elaina here!

3 Simple Steps to Choose the Perfect Key to Sing In

 

What’s the easiest key to sing in? How do you know what the best key is for your voice?

As a singer, you’re probably well aware of your vocal range. You feel comfortable singing in a particular key, and you know the high notes and low notes you’re going to struggle with. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean you’ll always be limited in your vocal repertoire.

If you’re singing with a band, you’re lucky in that you can ask your bandmates to play a song in a different key, resulting in a lot more options for songs to sing!

Sometimes, though, finding the appropriate key to sing in can be challenging. Here are some tips to help you through this process of finding the easiest or perfect key to sing in.

Step 1) Determine Your Range

First things first: you’ll need to know the limits of your vocal range. Picking a song that is too low or too high for your voice will feel very uncomfortable for you to sing, and the audience will likely notice your stress. By knowing the general idea of the highest note you can sing and the lowest note you can sing, you right away should be able to tell when looking at a new piece of sheet music if it will sound good within your voice type. If you’re not sure of how to find your vocal range, start off on the piano, singing up and down the scales, and see where you feel comfortable singing!

How to Find Your Vocal Range

Here’s a great video that guides you through the process of finding your range:

Step 2: Test Out Different Keys

Try out a few different keys when singing a new song. Try singing a song in 3 different keys before you make a decision. You can try singing the song in three similar keys, close in pitch, or challenge yourself and try a lower key or a higher key. Sometimes a song may sound more interesting if it is flipped around. Trying something completely different can give the song a fresh, new element. Have fun with this and explore!

Step 3: Listen to the Song

After experimenting with a few different keys, record yourself and listen to how the song sounds.

If you can hear yourself feeling and sounding vocally fatigued, perhaps this key is not for you.

If you hear yourself missing notes or not quite reaching them, you will want to try a more comfortable key. These are just some of the indicators that will help you when choosing a good key to sing in.

Listen to your gut as well; if you are feeling any pain or discomfort when singing a song in a particular key, find a more suitable one. Try going more in-depth with learning about the style of the song you are singing. For example, an opera aria meant for a soprano may not sound the best in a low key like a jazz standard will. For these specific styles, try to stay as true as you can to the song and its original key.

Here’s a recap of the steps for finding the right key to sing in:

Determine your vocal range, test out different keys, and listen to the song to find the right key.

Finding the appropriate key to sing in may take some time and effort, but in the long run it will be worth it! If you need further help, ask a singing instructor or take some free online singing classes here at TakeLessons Live.

The Truth About Having a Bad Singing Voice

 

Do you love to sing but are afraid you have a terrible voice? This is the most common fear and complaint that vocal teachers hear. Some people believe they can never become singers because they hate the sound of their voice, and they discourage themselves from giving singing their best shot.

Even if you have a “bad” singing voice in the beginning, the truth is that once you understand the basics and establish good practice routines, you’ll become a much better singer. You’ll also come to appreciate the uniqueness of your voice!

Here are 3 tips to remember when deciding whether you should pursue singing.

Why You Think You’re a Bad Singer & Why You Actually Aren’t

People have similar reactions after hearing a world-class pianist. “She is such an amazing musician,” someone might say. “What incredible skill!” others might point out. But no one is likely to cry, “What a beautiful piano!”

After hearing a world-class singer, on the other hand, the reactions are quite different. “What a beautiful voice,” most people say. “He is so talented, his voice is so impressive,” others might suggest.

Do you notice the difference? Singers garner more compliments for their actual instrument (their voices) than for their skills. But in truth, while the instrument is important, the musician is just as – if not more – important.

Separate the Instrument from the Musician

Imagine someone gifting you an instrument you’ve never played before. For example, a clarinet, which you’d have no idea what to do with it. Even if you made sound with it, it’d likely sound cringe-worthy. Would you judge the clarinet as terrible? No, that clarinet, in the hands of a practitioner, could produce beautiful music.

Your voice, like a clarinet, is an instrument too. If it sounds terrible at first, it doesn’t mean it’s useless, you just have to figure out a way to make it useful.

Even if you magically traded voices with an incredible singer, you still wouldn’t be able to sing! It’s like getting a more expensive clarinet: you still have to learn how to use it, and practice it deliberately.

Your voice is a work-in-progress. Don’t be so quick to judge it, and write yourself off. And if you’ve ever asked the question, “can anyone learn how to sing?” check out the video below.

Focus on the Work & Improve Your Musicianship

As the saying goes, “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”

Singing is hard work, but you can be smarter about it by learning and improving your musicianship in all areas. You have to learn to perform proper breathing exercises, like wind instrumentalists.

You have to learn how to access different notes within your range, like string players. You have to gain control over all of the tiny muscles of the throat, face, jaw, and mouth.

Learning these concepts, and training yourself with practice will not only help you sing better, but it’ll also improve confidence in other areas of life.

So before you rule yourself out of a singing career, try practicing and learning from a professional teacher. Try free classes with TakeLessons Live, or 1-on-1 private singing lessons near you. 

How the Best Singers Structure Their Singing Practice [Infographic]

You love to sing and you know how important it is to sing every day, but is all that practice really helping? Here, Brooklyn, NY voice teacher Liz T. shares how to make the most of your singing practice routine…

If you’re not sure how to balance your singing practice routine at home, you’re not alone! Many vocal students get overwhelmed trying to figure out how long to spend warming up, working on vocal technique, and running through songs. While your voice teacher should be your first resource for determining your specific practice routine, I’ve outlined some tips below to get you thinking.

Let’s look at a one-hour voice practice, typically for a high school or college student who is serious about pursuing music, broken into three 20-minute sessions.

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20 minutes: Warm-ups

It’s very important that you start your practice singing session off right away with warming up your voice. Just as an athlete warms up his or her muscles and joints before a game or practice, singers need to warm up their vocal cords, tone, and range before a performance or practice. There are many different warm-ups a singer can do, including ones that work on:

– Breath Support

– Low Range/High Range

– Arpeggios

– Diction

– Vibrato

– Head voice/Chest voice

20 minutes: Song study

Use this time to work on that song you are trying to make performance-ready. This time should be spent on:

– Learning the melody and rhythm
Memorizing lyrics, and working on good diction and pronunciation
– Mastering the vocal style and genre of the song, and making sure you are using the appropriate vocal tone
– Making the song your own by incorporating your own musical interpretation and acting technique

20 minutes: Vocal technique

Just as ballet dancers focus on their body technique, by perfecting footsteps, singers must work on their vocal technique by practicing different musical techniques. There are several ways to help you improve your singing, which will require studying and an open mind! These techniques include:

– Improvisation (learning how to scat and sing a blues scale)

– Solfege

– Ear training

– Harmony

Sight reading

Many singers do not take the time to learn these techniques, but the sooner you learn them, the easier they will become. If you can improvise and use solfege in your sight reading, and are proficient in ear training and harmony, you will be at the top of your game!

Are you more of a visual learner? Check out this handy infographic to learn how to break up your singing practice routine for maximum efficiency:

How to Plan Your Singing Practice

Finally, I would suggest taping or recording your voice with an iPhone, computer, or tape recorder, to hear how your voice is progressing each week, month, year, and so on as you’re learning to sing. I hope you take these tips into consideration during your next vocal practice — and if you would like more help on balancing and managing your time, book a vocal lesson with me online today through TakeLessons!

 

LizTPost Author: Liz T. teaches singing lessons in Brooklyn, NY, as well as online. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal Performance and currently performs all styles of music. Learn more about Liz here!

 

 

 

5 Surprising Things That Affect Your Singing Voice

5 Surprising Things That Affect Your Singing Voice

You’ve practiced for months, and you’re ready to share your music with an audience. But before you step on stage… did you know there are other factors that can affect your performance? Here, online voice teacher Tyler J. shares his tips for getting adequate sleep, what to eat before singing, and more…

Being a modern singer can place a lot of demands on the voice. For me, it’s often necessary to sing for two to four hours straight several nights in a row, or even rehearse for long periods of time. Whether you’re a hobbyist who simply loves to sing, a touring artist or band member, a local rocker, a Broadway star, an opera singer, or if you sing in a choir, you know the importance of having a healthy voice that’s ready to deliver an all-star performance every time.

In addition to basic vocal health tips such as staying hydrated with at least 64 ounces of water a day, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, and properly warming up, here are five things that may have an effect on your voice, for better or worse.

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Sleep

Are you getting a full eight hours every night? If not, you may be risking vocal strain and damage. Every night, our bodies require a certain amount of rest to recharge as well as relax, and by day we have to stay focused and energetic to perform. When your body is tired, your voice is tired too, and will be fatigued much faster. Singing while experiencing vocal fatigue will eventually damage your voice, resulting in a lack of clarity, loss of volume, and diminishing tone quality. So make sure to always get a full, restful night of sleep!

Diet

I’m sure you’ve heard it said before that “you are what you eat,” but as a vocalist, you sing what you eat, too! There are certain foods to avoid before singing, ones that seem to impact a singer’s voice more than others, including dairy, spicy foods, fried foods, and anything particularly fatty. Not only can they increase phlegm in your throat, but they can also cause vocal cord inflammation. Vocalists with acid reflux or heartburn should be particularly careful about their diet as well; stomach acid can wreak havoc on your vocal cords. As far as what to eat before singing, stick to fruits and veggies that are rich in nutrients, and lean meats that aren’t fried.

Coffee

Coffee contains caffeine, and while caffeine has a pleasant way of “perking up” the day, it’s a diuretic, which means it’ll dehydrate you and leave you with dry, irritated vocal cords. I know it might be hard for many of us to give up our coffee habits, so if you can’t quit, you should make sure to drink a big glass of water with every cup to compensate for its dehydrating effect.

Clearing Your Throat

Sometimes when you feel extra phlegm in your throat (maybe from eating dairy or spicy food… see number two above) the natural response is to make an “ahem” sound and clear the throat. Of course it may work temporarily, but the actual action of clearing your throat requires that your vocal cords violently smack together! This will cause your vocal cords to swell and lead to a strained sound and vocal fatigue. If you feel as if you need to clear your throat out, resist the urge to do so and try an alternative such as sipping water or caffeine free warm tea. Personally, I’ve always found that drinking tea with a few drops of lemon juice does the job without causing any damage.

Exercise

Every time I start working with a voice student, I insist that he or she starts a workout routine that includes full-body aerobic exercise such as running, swimming, or even walking at a brisk pace. Aerobic exercise not only builds a strong heart and healthy blood circulation, but it helps to expand the lungs and keep the airways clear. As singers we need our lungs to work for us, not against us, and you can increase your lung capacity by getting regular exercise. For best results, aim for getting at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, five or six days a week. Your voice will thank you!

Overall if you take anything from this, the key factor is leading a healthy, active lifestyle. If you’re paying attention to what you are putting in your body and getting enough exercise and rest, you will be better prepared to practice, rehearse, and perform. Making healthy choices and getting instruction from a qualified vocal coach will undoubtedly help to keep your voice leaving audiences amazed, night after night.

Tyler J

About the Author: Tyler J. teaches multiple styles of singing via online lessons. He recently earned a Master’s in Commercial Music and is experienced in composition, music recording, and audio engineering. Learn more about Tyler here!

 

 

Why Does My Voice Crack When I’m Singing?

Have you experienced voice cracks when singing? You’re not alone – it’s a common challenge, but one that can be fixed with proper warm-ups. Read on for helpful advice from online voice teacher Emmanuel N...

Whether you are a beginner or an advanced singer, your voice can crack. This is usually due to the lack of a good vocal warm-up, but sometimes it is also due to your vocal cords not being used for singing a certain note/run/riff/etc. If you’re a beginner please allow me to quickly explain said statement:

– Vocal warm-ups are necessary to help your “cold” vocal cords “warm” up so that they’re more flexible instead of being tight and firm – which means less control.

– When you’re hitting a note you don’t hit that often, your vocal cords are not used to moving that way to produce said note. The more you practice, the more you get used to it and the less your voice will crack.

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Vocal Warm-Ups

Vocal warm-ups are necessary before singing so that your vocal cords are nice and flexible. Always do warm-ups, especially in the morning, so that you can sing to your full potential – never go all out right away or else you will strain your voice. We’ve all heard or seen people who do the “me-me-me-me’s” or “do-re-mi’s” when warming up before a performance. Those are one type of vocal warm-ups, chromatic scales, which is basically going up a scale then down the scale (going up higher and then going lower). Vocal warm-ups can be almost anything you want, depending on the types of songs you’re going to sing.

My Own Warm-Ups

I have a couple of vocal warm-ups that I do that help me much more than chromatic scales. One warm-up is singing along to songs I listen to but in a range I’m more comfortable with. For example, if I am singing to “We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey, I sing it in a lower pitch (i.e. “male version”) because singing lower notes is very comfortable for me. Also, as a bonus, I don’t go all out and hit all the runs or melismas (the “fancy” stuff the singer does toward the end) when I am warming up so that my voice can ease in. A second warm-up I do is really simple: Create a playlist of songs you love singing to and arrange them from easiest to sing to most difficult to sing. When your voice is all warmed up, start the playlist. Sing along to every song and by the time the difficult songs come up, your voice should be very well warmed up.

But What If I Did All the Warm Ups and My Voice STILL Cracks?

This is perfectly normal, no need to fret. If your voice cracks just keep practicing until your vocal cords get used to singing a certain song or part of a song. Usually, if your voices cracks when singing it’s due to the following:

– Lack of warm-ups

– Lack of control (usually when trying to sustain notes — belting)

– Singing outside our range (notes lower or higher than our vocal range)

– Anxiety or nervousness

– Too much strain

We covered the warm-ups, now it’s time for the others.

Lack Of Control

Lack of control in belting means your voice isn’t able to hold a note. Belting relies heavily on your ability to control your voice and hold the note without it shaking, going flat/sharp, or your voice cracking.

Singing Outside Your Range

We all have unique vocal ranges – some of us can sing only one octave, others up to six octaves. We can train and our vocal ranges can expand, but it takes time. Until then, our voice tends to crack whenever we sing outside our vocal range. If we try hitting a high note or low note that we usually cannot sing comfortably then most likely our voice will crack.

Anxiety

This one is simple. When we are nervous or anxious our vocal cords tend to tense up and our control level shoots down, leading to lots of voice cracks when singing.

Too Much Strain

Another simple one. When we are singing and we try too hard, we tend to cause stress and strain on our vocal cords. This one is a bit more dangerous because not only will our voices crack more often but we can cause damage if we are pushing our vocal cords beyond their limit. NEVER force out notes. NEVER force yourself to hit high or low notes. And NEVER force yourself to hold a note.

How Do I Get Help With This?

Now you know what causes cracks, but how do you get help with your voice cracking? Simple, hire me as your tutor and I’ll help strengthen your vocal cords.

Emmanuel Noriega

About the Author: Emmanuel M. teaches singing and songwriting online, and is a graduate of California State University Fullerton. Learn more about Emmanuel here!