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musical terms

The Complete Glossary of Singing Terms

singing terms and definitions

If you’ve ever felt confused by unfamiliar singing terms, you’re not alone. As with every specialized field, vocal professionals tend to throw around a lot of jargon, or terminology that most people aren’t familiar with.

If you’re interested in expanding your musical skills, learning these singing terms will help you better understand instructions from both voice teachers and conductors. Let’s get started!

50 Singing Terms & Their Meanings

In this alphabetized list, you’ll find definitions for some of the most common musical terms, including choir terms. You’ll also learn several new ways to describe a voice, such as “breathy” or “dramatic.”

  1. A Cappella: Literally meaning “of choir” in Italian, the term has been adopted to refer to singing without accompaniment.
  2. Alto: A lower female voice within the choral setting.
  3. Articulators: The parts of the body used to form words; usually refers to the lips, teeth, and tip of the tongue.
  4. Aspirate: A diction term referring to a sound that produces an audible puff of air, such as the letter P in English.
  5. Baritone: A male voice type between tenor and bass.
  6. Bass: The lowest male voice type.
  7. Breathy: A vocal sound that is not clear, while instead sounding airy and fuzzy. A breathy sound can be caused by many factors, including inadequate breath support.
  8. Chest voice: The lower vocal register in which most people talk; resonates in the chest.
  9. Contralto: The lowest female voice type.
  10. Coloratura: Fast-moving notes.
  11. Countertenor: A male voice type that sings primarily in head voice. Common in baroque music.
  12. Covering: A vocal technique wherein the singer rounds the lips slightly when singing high notes to achieve a specific sound.
  13. Dental: A diction technique referring to sounds that occur when the tongue is right behind the top front teeth. The Italian or Spanish D sound is a good example.
  14. Diaphragm: The large muscle of respiration that lies beneath the lungs, which flattens and lowers during inhalation. This is one of the most common singing terms used in lessons or classes when discussing proper breathing technique.
  15. Diction: The way in which components of words, including consonants and vowels, are formed and pronounced. For classical singers, this generally includes the study of foreign language diction.
  16. Diphthong: A diction term referring to the phenomenon of one vowel gradually changing into another vowel, creating two vowels within a syllable. This happens a lot in English (e.g. in the word “ray”) but happens less in other languages.
  17. Dramatic: In voice classification, this refers to a large, robust voice (e.g. “dramatic soprano”).
  18. Extended technique: Any vocal technique outside of what is normally and classically taught. This includes whistle tone, inhaled phonation, throat singing, and many other techniques.
  19. Fach: Voice type or vocal classification. Also means “subject” in German.
  20. Flat: When a pitch is slightly lower than desired.
  21. Falsetto: A thin head voice sound produced by men.
  22. Glottal fry: The croaky, low register that some people speak in due to lack of breath support. It often occurs at the ends of sentences.
  23. Glottal stop: The sound created when a person presses their vocal folds together before beginning a vocal sound. Manifested at the beginning of many words that start with vowels in English, including “umbrella.”
  24. Head voice: The upper vocal register in which women and countertenors primarily sing in classical music.
  25. Intercostals: The muscles in between the rib cage that lift the ribs out and up during breathing.
  26. Larynx: The structure in the throat that contains the vocal folds.
  27. Low breath: The use of the diaphragm and intercostals to breathe without moving the shoulders, neck, or upper chest. This type of breathing is desirable in singing.
  28. Lyric: A voice classification term between dramatic (heavy) and coloratura (fast/light). Can occur in various voice types (e.g. lyric baritone, lyric soprano).
  29. Messa di voce: A dynamic technique involving starting a note with a crescendo (quiet to loud) followed by a decrescendo (loud to quiet).
  30. Mezzo soprano: The operatic female voice classification between soprano and contralto.
  31. Onset: The beginning of the vocal sound.
  32. Passaggio: An Italian term translating to “passage,” this refers to transitional areas in the voice where the singer must take extra care to sing well. These occur in different spots according to the individual and voice type.
  33. Phonation: The creation of a vocal sound.
  34. Registers: Parts of the voice differentiated by vocal quality and sometimes range, such as chest voice, head voice, and falsetto. (Each of these singing terms were defined previously).
  35. Resonance: This is another sound quality term, such as “tone.” It refers specifically to how round or warm the sound is, which has more to do with overtones. It can also refer to the way a sound interacts with a room, such as a cathedral.
  36. Sharp: When a pitch is slightly higher than desired.
  37. Soft palate: The soft muscular structure at the back of the mouth that, when lifted, separates the nasal cavity from the rest of the respiratory system and therefore stops singers from singing out of their noses.
  38. Soprano: The highest female voice classification.
  39. Squillo: Another sound quality term, this refers to the edgy, clear tone some singers have, particularly in their upper registers.
  40. Straight tone: A vocal sound without vibrato.
  41. Tenor: A high male voice classification.
  42. Tone: The quality of a voice. Usually described with adjectives such as “raspy” and “clear.”
  43. Timbre: Similar to tone, this refers to the quality of a vocal sound.
  44. Trill: A technique in which a singer quickly moves between two adjacent notes.
  45. Unvoiced: A diction term referring to consonants that don’t involve vocal sound, such as S and T.
  46. Vibrato: The natural oscillation between pitches (even when singing a held note) present in many singing voices.
  47. Vocal cords/vocal folds: These mucus membrane cords, nestled in the larynx, vibrate together when air passes between them, producing vocal sounds.
  48. Voiced: The opposite of “unvoiced,” this is a diction term referring to consonants that require vocal sound, such as B and Z.
  49. Whistle tone: The highest vocal register, located above head voice and made famous by Mariah Carey.
  50. Wobble: A phenomenon that occurs when the distance between the two pitches present in vibrato becomes too wide, causing an unstable sound.

See Also: 53 Audition Terms & Definitions to Know

Still curious about some of these singing terms? Would you like to know how to avoid glottal fry, or how to develop consistent vibrato? A voice teacher can help you get even more comfortable with all this new vocabulary and master your singing goals.

If you’d like to learn more, sign up for singing lessons or try some free online classes today!

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How “Breathy Voice” is Created | The Danger of Breathy Singing

breathy voice

Singing in a “breathy voice” has a mixed reputation among singers and educators, and for good reason: it can be risky. In this article, we’ll discuss the mechanics of singing with a breathy voice, if it’s harmful, and how use to the technique safely.

Remember the spectacularly cheesy film “A Walk to Remember”? In this 2002 film, Mandy Moore sings a pop ballad called “Only Hope” using excessive breathiness to create a fragile, emotionally charged aura for her character.

This is a perfect example of using breathiness as an emotional tool. Breathy singing, characterized by a quieter, fuzzier sound than normal singing, is still often employed by vocalists to evoke everything from sensuality to sadness.

The Mechanics of Breathy Singing

To understand breathy singing, it’s helpful to examine how the human voice works. Singing is produced by air moving past the vocal cords (also known as “vocal folds”). As air moves past the vocal cords, the cords come together and vibrate, producing sound.

The process of the vocal cords coming together so they can vibrate against one another is called “adduction.” When a singer is using just the right amount of air to produce the sound, the vocal cords adduct and vibrate seamlessly.

As a result, the sound is clear, efficient, and easy to produce. If the singer uses an excess of air to sing, adduction isn’t as efficient. The sound, colored by the extra air rushing past the vocal cords, becomes breathy.

Is Singing with a Breathy Voice Dangerous?

Breathy singing tends to be frowned upon by voice teachers because it can be a sign of improper vocal technique, or even underlying health issues. Many singers are incapable of producing a clear tone at all and have no choice but to sing with a breathy voice.

This can be caused by an inability to properly regulate air flow, excess tension in the neck or lower face, and actual vocal cord damage.

The strain of the extra air rushing past the vocal cords also tires out the singer faster, causing swelling and other health issues.

If you’re unable to sing with a clear tone at all, we highly recommend that you visit an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT) for a stroboscopy – a procedure in which a doctor uses a tiny camera to look at your vocal cords and check for damage.

Untreated breathiness can be caused by chronic swelling, pre-nodular lumps, and other serious issues that could lead to vocal hemorrhaging or vocal nodules. If these issues become too severe, they can require therapy and even surgery to fix.

See Also: 5 Essential Singing Techniques

Using Breathy Singing as a Stylistic Choice

If your cords are healthy and you’re able to produce a clear tone, but want to experiment with using a breathy voice as a stylistic tool, don’t worry. It is possible to create a breathy sound without damaging your voice.

Take Ariana Grande for example in “Thank You, Next.” She uses a breathy tone at the beginning of the song to sound nonchalant yet beguiling.


If you would like to safely dabble in breathy voice technique, keep the following tips in mind. 

1. Limit Use

Since breathy singing requires less efficient adduction and therefore puts extra stress on the vocal cords, use it sparingly. If you’re singing a long set, it may be best to choose a few songs to use this technique on.

If your voice is already tired or strained from allergies, lack of sleep, or overuse, it’s best to avoid breathy singing entirely and sing as efficiently as possible to protect your vocal cords.

2. Use a Comfortable Range

Breathy voice is best limited to the most comfortable parts of your range (think speaking range), where you’re least likely to strain your voice.

It’s best not to attempt to sing notes in the extremes of your range with a breathy voice, as you’re more likely to be straining in these areas, even without the added stress of compromised adduction.

Since the beginnings of contemporary songs tend to be in a moderate range, you may want to experiment by starting a song with a breathy tone and then coming in stronger on the chorus. This is a fairly common approach in pop, R&B, and other popular music.

3. Sing Quietly or Use a Mic

Breathy singing just doesn’t carry as well as clear singing, and attempting to do it loudly is a recipe for disaster. Only use a breathy voice when you’re singing quietly.

Since breathy singing is best executed at a low volume and is a contemporary technique, you can’t really do it without a microphone.

If you’re performing live in a noisy venue, make sure your microphone is turned up and that your mouth is close enough to the microphone so your breathy singing can be heard.

Breathy Singing Done Right

If you want to experiment with using a breathy voice, consider taking voice lessons or classes. A qualified voice teacher will help protect your voice as you experiment with this technique.

With proper training, you can become a more flexible singer without compromising your vocal health, even when you sing with a little extra air!

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What is Timbre in Music and the Voice? Why is it Important?

what is timbre

What is timbre? Timbre in music is also identified as “color.” It is the quality and tone of a sound which makes it unique.

Timbre is also defined as auditory senses produced by a sound wave. In other words, it refers to a sound’s characteristics that help you distinguish it from any other sound.

For instance, you can recognize the difference between hearing your father talk versus your grandmother because they each have their own distinct timbre.

What is Timbre?

Understanding timbre in music is important for all musicians, especially singers, when you want to produce a different tone or quality in a piece of music.

Different timbres are described using words like brassy, breathy, round, full, or bright. You can use different types of vocal timbre to create a sound that gives the right “feel” or emotion to your music.

It’s not just about playing or singing “with feeling.” You should know how a tone is utilized to achieve that emotion.

The sound waves produced when someone sings a note are different for each individual person because there are multiple factors that go into the production of a sound, such as breath.

The timbre of a sound depends heavily on its waveform, which varies with the number of overtones (AKA “harmonics”) that are present, their frequencies, and their relative intensities.

The illustration below shows several unique waveforms, to give you an idea of what this looks like.

what is timbre

Timbre in Music

Musicians create varying timbres, based on both their instrument and the number of frequencies the instrument emits.

Each note from a musical instrument is a complex wave containing more than one frequency. The video below examines the timbre of several different instruments and explains how the way that you play an instrument affects its timbre.  


One example of timbre in music is known as “attack and decay.” When someone plucks a guitar string or strikes a piano key, the sound is hit forcefully; it’s loud and then sort of dies away.

This explains how the same note can have a different timbre when played differently by another musician.

Factors that Affect Timbre

So, what factors affect timbre in music? There are multiple, depending on the instrument. For example, the way someone pushes air through an oboe will contribute to the sound frequencies that are emitted and the way it is heard, giving it a distinguished timbre.

Things like forced air, breath control, posture, and so on are all factors that affect timbre. Small differences in the frequencies are also a factor – how many you can hear, their relationship to the pitch, and how loud they are.

The shape of an instrument and the envelope of an instrument’s sound both affect its timbre. Check out the video below to see the differences within sound waves when playing the same note from instrument to instrument.   

Timbre in the Voice

When singing, your timbre is affected by either constricting or opening different parts of the vocal tract, like the tongue and throat. Posture and breath control also play a role.

Most singers are familiar with their voice type – whether it’s soprano, alto, tenor, or bass – and these classifications are related to timbre as well. Understanding which sound waves are high, low, and mid-level can help you identify your voice type.

Your speaking voice even has its own timbre. The unique soundwaves you create when speaking are what allow you to be recognized by others. Common examples of timbre in the voice are sounds that are piercing, resonant, light, flat, mellow, dark, or warm.

One example is Celine Dion. Her voice is often categorized as “silky,” whereas someone like Ella Fitzgerald has more of a “smoky” timbre.


Vibrato is another way to identify timbre in a singing voice. It provides color to a lengthy note that is held, changing its frequency and tone.

Improving Your Sound

Now that you understand the implications of timbre, how can you apply them to your own music? One of the best ways to improve upon your timbre as a singer is to work with a vocal coach – someone who has a deep understanding of timbre and its use.

A voice teacher can work exclusively with you to help you identify your distinct quality and tone. They’ll also show you how to adjust it to get the sound and pitch you desire, especially when working on a particular song that requires a specific emotion or feeling.

Because there is no one else like you in the world, learn to appreciate and take pride in your unique timbre. Whether you’re a singer or musician, your timbre sets you apart and helps distinguish you from other artists!

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8 Showstopping Songs to Sing for a Talent Show

Talent show songsLooking for good songs to sing at a talent show? Talent shows are a great opportunity not just to show off your vocal abilities, but also to express yourself. Check out the list below for some of the best talent show songs that span across genres and skill levels!

The Top 8 Talent Show Songs

“Firework” – Katy Perry


This song is great for showing off a strong middle range without going too low or high. It’s a popular enough hit that commercial karaoke tracks should be easy to find, and piano sheet music is available if you have an accompanist.

This song has a spunky, pulsing dance beat, along with a motivating message, making it perfect for young audiences. For more good talent show songs for mid-range female vocals, check out artists like Taylor Swift and Adele.

“Big Yellow Taxi” – Joni Mitchell

You might know it from the Counting Crows cover, but the song “Big Yellow Taxi” and its heartfelt environmental statement go back a long way! This song can work for any vocalist, and can be sung in a fairly narrow range, making it pretty easy to perform.

And if you play guitar, this song is great for playing and singing at the same time! Reach back in time to some retro music by listening to Joni, along with other artists from the Woodstock era, and you’ll find plenty of ways to make this message heard in your talent show.

“Take Me Home, Country Roads” – John Denver

Folk rock songs are generally pretty well-liked by audiences. They’re a good choice for male and female singers alike, and most are relatively easy to play. “Take Me Home, Country Roads” is another good one for playing guitar and singing at the same time.

It’s versatile enough to perform with friends, or even add harmony with multiple singers. You might also like some of Cat Stevens songs, or Simon & Garfunkel (check out “The Sound of Silence,” or their rendition of “Scarborough Fair” for more ideas).

“Boulevard of Broken Dreams” – Green Day

While pop-punk and hardcore punk are very different, Green Day revitalized punk flavors for a generation. This is one of their calmer songs, and ideal for any tenor vocalist. (Of course, it can also be transposed for other ranges, especially if you have friends playing backup instruments.)

This is also a good example of a rock song that would translate well to an acoustic arrangement. For another softer Green Day song, consider “Time of Your Life.” Other punk artists who have good songs to sing at a talent show include Bad Religion, Flogging Molly, and Social Distortion.

“Make ’em Laugh” – Singin’ In the Rain

Are you looking to spice up your act with some movement and acting? Look no further than musical theater! “Make ’em Laugh” is the song from an iconic scene in the Gene Kelly’s film Singin’ in the Rain, featuring some of the best-executed physical comedy ever to hit the screen.

Plus, it’s perfect to incorporate your own unique style! Fans of modern theater will also know songs like “Defying Gravity” from WICKED and “Seasons of Love” from RENT – or, look up stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood, like Shirley Temple and Judy Garland.

Fast talkers will perhaps like the Modern Major General’s song from Pirates of Penzance. Your choices in the realm of musical theater are practically endless!

“Come Sail Away” – Styx

The ‘80s and late ‘70s were full of music that is instantly recognizable, and Styx is one of the best-known artists of the era. Their song “Come Sail Away” is perhaps one of their most memorable, along with hits like “Renegade.”

Dennis DeYoung’s lyric tenor range makes Styx’s music particularly good for female vocalists with a strong alto edge, and “Come Sail Away” can be performed to show off your vocal range, as it encourages great flexibility.

Songs like this are especially good for singing with a group of friends! Other hits in this niche include Heart’s “Barracuda,” “Roam” by the B-52s, or “Carry On Wayward Son” by Kansas.

“Crimson and Clover” – Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

You know Joan Jett from the iconic “I Love Rock n’ Roll,” but she’s not known as the Queen of Rock for one hit! “Crimson and Clover” is a beautiful piece, and also check out “Bad Reputation.”

For more great talent show songs that are perfect for husky vocals (and impressing everyone with your taste) look into anything by Aerosmith or AC/DC.

“Joy To The World” – Three Dog Night

Speaking of how everyone loves rock and roll, this well-loved classic is sure to get audiences moving, clapping, and singing along! It’s an ideal song for involving a guitar and a drum set as backup, or you can probably find accompaniment tracks for this as well.

If you play piano, rock and roll is a great genre to find songs that sound just as groovy as they do classy when translated to your instrument.

Final Talent Show Tips

When you’re learning to sing, performance experiences like talent shows are a crucial part of your development, and choosing your repertoire wisely is crucial. If you enjoy singing, consider taking voice lessons for the next step toward improving your craft!

A voice teacher can help you select songs that are appropriate for your skill level, range, and style, as well as help you achieve your overall music goals.

Above all, be yourself, and enjoy what you do on stage – that’s what your audience will respond to the most! Good luck on your journey to choosing the perfect talent show song.

What other good talent show songs did we miss? Leave a comment with your favorites below! Want even more song ideas? Check out our list 400+ songs to sing here!

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Photo by: Jack Newton

13 Famous Singers With Surprisingly Bad Vocal Habits

6 Singers Who Made Vocal MistakesBelieve it or not, famous singers aren’t always perfect. In this article, we’ll reveal whose bad vocal habits you can learn from.

It’s easy to turn on the radio and assume that famous singers always sound incredible, but the reality is that every singer has experienced vocal faults at some point. Here are just a few examples of some of the things that can go wrong.

Bad Vocal Habits of Famous Singers

Vocal Fault - Pitchy

Pitchy, Off-Key Singing

Singing a pitch is a complicated coordination between the brain, vocal cords, and breath. Some people don’t have this coordination quite right all the time, and therefore they don’t always sing the notes they want to sing.

In the video below, Taylor Swift is singing flat, meaning she is singing just slightly below the correct pitches. Even good singers sing flat every once in a while.

Régine, on the other hand, has trouble hitting accurate pitches in general and tends to go sharp (higher than she intended). Listen to her last note in the song for a good example.

How to Avoid Pitchy Singing

Like any other skill, learning to match pitch requires practice. If you have a lot of trouble singing in tune, devote five to 10 minutes a day to practicing this.

I have my students use Pitch Analyzer and a keyboard to do this. Just open the app, play a pitch on the keyboard, and try to match it with your voice. Pitch Analyzer helps you figure out if you are flat, sharp, or just right.

Vocal Fault: Nasal Singing

Nasal Singing

Humans can breathe (and therefore sing) through both the nose and the mouth. The soft palate, located on the roof of the mouth behind the hard palate, lifts and lowers to block off the nasal passages from the rest of the breathing apparatus.

Singing with a lowered soft palate lets air out through the nose, causing a nasally tone. See this video from Miley Cyrus as an example.

How to Avoid Nasal Singing

Learn to lift your soft palate. If you have ever “plugged” your nose without touching it (when changing a diaper or jumping into a pool, for instance), you already know how to do this.

If not, try making a really nasally sound, then doing the exact opposite. If your soft palate is all the way up, you will not sound any different if you plug your nose with your fingers.

Vocal Fault - Throat Tension

Throat Tension

  • Katy Perry
  • Christina Aguilera (last note especially, at 1:53)

Throat tension is not only damaging, it sounds more like yelling than singing. In these videos of Katy and Christina, the vocals often sound closer to yelling than to singing.

Note the frayed, pressed tone and the lack of vibrato. If you watch closely, you will also notice that you can see both women’s necks visibly straining.

How to Avoid Throat Tension

There are two ways to decrease throat tension in singers. First and foremost, try to relax your throat. Work in front of a mirror or place your hand around your neck so you can feel your throat muscles better.

You can also move your neck around while you sing (from side to side, as though you are shaking your head “no”) to keep it from stiffening.

The second way to decrease throat tension is to focus on the fundamentals of singing. Singers throats usually tense up to compensate for a lack of proper technique.

Make sure your breath support is working, your soft palate is up, your posture is relaxed, and your energy levels are high as you sing.

Vocal Fault: Tongue Tension

Tongue Tension

Your tongue is a huge muscle that stretches from the front of your mouth all the way back and down, where it connects to the muscles under your jaw. If any part of the tongue becomes rigid during singing, a distinct, clogged sound emerges.

The best example of this that I can think of actually isn’t a singer; it’s Kermit the Frog. If you tense your tongue and talk, you’ll find that you sound like the little green guy.

For singers, this clogged sound results in modified vowels, as well as a general distinct tone quality. Both Sarah Brightman and Eddie Vedder’s sounds are characterized by this sound.

Singing with tongue tension causes vocal fatigue and can eventually lead to vocal problems, so it’s not something you should ignore.

How to Avoid Tongue Tension

Many people are completely incapable of consciously relaxing their tongues, even when they aren’t making sound.

Start by resting your tongue on your bottom lip, so you can see it well in a mirror, and relaxing it (a relaxed tongue is fat and motionless).

Once you accomplish that, put your tongue back in your mouth and learn how to sing vowels without tensing your tongue. (The mirror is your best friend.) When progressing to words, focus on moving your tongue without making it unnecessarily rigid.

Vocal Fault: Jaw Tension

Jaw Tension

When singing, the jaw should be loose and free. Tensing the jaw not only makes it harder to sing, it also sounds (and looks) weird.

Eddie Redmayne’s clenched, shaking jaw and matching vocals attest to this. Although Kathleen Battle (an acclaimed classical singer) still sounds lovely, it is obvious from watching her sing that her jaw is doing some bizarre and unnecessary work.

How to Avoid Jaw Tension

Avoid jaw tension by paying attention. Stretch it out before you sing, look in the mirror, and put your hands on your jaw to feel the muscles. If you notice yourself clenching, stop singing, stretch it out, and try again.

Always make sure that you are breathing, standing, and resonating well. Just like the throat, the jaw tends to clench when your singing technique is incomplete.

Vocal Fault: Damaged Vocal Cords

Damaged Vocal Chords

Vocal cord abuse and overuse can damage your vocal cords. Singers who perform lots of taxing music often suffer from vocal cord damage, especially after years of performing in tours and concerts.

Kelly still sounds good, but the newly acquired raspy quality and her avoidance of high notes are both red flags.

In Mariah’s recording, her cloudy tone quality, squeaking, and inability to hold out notes all point to severely swollen vocal cords.

Singers can even get calluses (nodes), polyps, or vocal hemorrhaging (bleeding welts) that require surgery. Adele, Sam Smith, Tove Lo, Keith Urban, John Mayer… the list of celebrity victims goes on and on.

How to Avoid Damaged Vocal Chords

Be kind to your voice! Don’t scream and yell, and don’t overuse your vocal cords. If you suspect that you have hurt your chords already, or if you don’t know how to sing or speak properly for your health, consult a voice teacher or a vocal therapist immediately.

If it hurts to sing or speak, consider taking a few days off and going on vocal rest (no talking or singing whatsoever). It’s amazing what good a few days of quiet can do.

While celebrities sing off-key through their noses, you can learn to sing in tune, with a raised soft palate and healthy vocal cords. Find a good teacher, ask him or her about these vocal faults, and practice a little every day. Soon, you might be singing better than some of your favorite famous singers!

Elaina RPost 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!

Photo by Jana Beamer

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40+ Best Gifts for Singers of All Ages & Genres

Best Gifts for Singers

Looking for the best gifts for singers? We’ve done the searching for you!

Here, you’ll find more than 40 gift ideas for singers of all ages and musical preferences. Our list includes everything from a home karaoke system to microphone sleeves to a vocal dampener.

No matter your budget, you’re sure to find something for that special singer in your life – whether they’re into rock or pop.

Best Gifts for Singers

Small Gifts & Stocking Stuffers

Throat Pastilles ($6.36)

Best Gifts for Singers - Throat Pastilles

There is nothing worse than having a scratchy throat right before singing. These pastilles will keep the throat smooth and the voice clear.

Microphone Charm Bracelet ($17.44)

Best Gifts for Singers - microphone bracelet

Personal touches make the best gifts. This charm bracelet not only showcases a love for singing, but also customizable birthstones and initial charms.

Cozy Headphones ($19.99)

Best Gifts for Singers - sleeping headphones

Does the singer in your life eat, sleep, and dream music? These headphones let them listen to their favorite tunes at bedtime, while remaining comfortable.

Business Card Case ($25.98)

Best Gifts for Singers - business card case

Every artist should have a business card holder that is just as creative and unique as them. They’ll need one when meeting with potential partners!   

Singer’s Oil ($17.32)

Best Gifts for Singers - singers oil

This is one of the best gifts for singers who frequently perform on stage or in front of a crowd. It helps take care of the voice and protect against hoarseness.

Karaoke Key Chain ($10.53)

Best Gifts for Singers - karaoke keychain

Let everybody know who the queen of karaoke night really is, with this fun key chain! It also makes a great stocking stuffer at Christmas time.

Microphone Cleaner ($5.40)

Best Gifts for Singers - microphone cleaner

After all those belts and ballads, microphones really need a good cleaning. This special cleaner easily and safely removes dirt from the mesh head of a microphone.

I Sing Alto” Pin ($3.90)

Best Gifts for Singers - singers pin

Every singer wants to show the world what their true superpower is, and this little pin definitely makes a statement!

For the Singer’s Home

Headphone Bookends ($64.95)

Best Gifts for Singers

A home should be just as stylish as the person living in it. And singers can now pay homage to their favorite pastime with these creative bookends!

Musical Wine Glasses ($64.95)

Best Gifts for Singers

There’s nothing better after a long day than a glass of wine. These unique glasses keep the inspiration flowing as they play the major scale!

“In My Head I’m Singing” Mug ($9.87)

Best Gifts for Singers

Now singers can sip from a mug that tells the world what they’re already thinking about – singing!

Shower Head Speaker ($199)

Best Gifts for Singers

Singing in the shower just got even more fun. This unique shower head plays your favorite songs while delivering a steady stream of water.

Home Karaoke System ($159.99)

Best Gifts for Singers

One of the best gifts for singers is giving them a way to practice their talent (and show it off)! Karaoke nights just got better with this compact home system that includes a speaker.

Best Albums Poster ($16.56)

Best Gifts for Singers

Part decor, part game, this musical bucket list showcases 100 of the best albums ever made. Each album can be scratched off as you listen to it, to reveal the colorful album cover below.

Sound Wave Print ($38.25)

Best Gifts for Singers

Using visual sound waves to portray a favorite song is a great way to remember special moments. Customize your own print and have it showcased in the home forever.

Best Singer Pillowcase ($10.24)

Best gifts for singers

Have sweet dreams sleeping on this pillowcase that is a constant reminder of who the best singer in the house is.

Customizable Mixtape Doormat $37.91

Best Gifts for Singers

Let all houseguests know that a diehard music-lover lives in the house with this personalized doormat.

Best Practical Gifts for Singers

Vocal Dampener ($49.95)

Best Gifts for Singers

Practice is key to becoming a good singer, but that doesn’t mean that everyone around needs to listen in. This dampener reduces sound so that the practice room can be taken anywhere.

Recording Microphone ($29.99)

Best Gifts for Singers

Recording a new song is as easy as can be with this microphone recorder. It plugs directly into a computer to record vocals with crisp clean sound.

Music Teacher Clipboard ($26.48)

Best gifts for singers

There’s nothing that shows a teacher how appreciated they are quite like a personalized clipboard. If the singer in your life is also an instructor, this is the perfect accessory for recitals and practices!

In-Ear Headphones ($87.14)

Best gifts for singers

Not only do these in-ears help amplify sound, but they’re also great for noise cancellation. Musicians know how important both are at any gig or performance.   

Studio Recording Package ($223.13)

Best gifts for singers

This is on our list of the best gifts for singers because it brings the recording studio home in an affordable way. The package comes complete with a mic, headphones, and recording software. 

Hydro Flask ($29.95)

Best gifts for singers

Staying hydrated is one of the most important things a singer can do for their vocal health. A Hydro Flask water bottle is a great reminder to drink more water.

Portable Headphone Amplifier ($59.99)

Best gifts for singers

Headphones just got better! Plug them into this portable amplifier and experience sound that is not only louder, but cleaner as well.

Mobile Audio Interface ($57.36)

Best gifts for singers

Inspiration can come anytime and anywhere. This helpful device allows singers to make studio-quality recordings directly on their mobile phone or tablet.   

Private Singing Lessons ($20-100)

Best gifts for singers

Even the most seasoned singer can use some one-on-one coaching. Private lessons are a great way to help take their skills to the next level.

Headphone Amp ($99.95)

Best gifts for singers

This little USB delivers big sound! It easily plugs into a computer to provide rich clear sound. Now you can listen to music the way it was meant to be heard.

Microphone Isolation Shield ($45.24)

Best gifts for singers

There’s nothing worse than an echo when you’re trying to record a new song. This foldable microphone shield not only absorbs sound, but it’s also convenient to carry and store.

Humidifier ($33.83)

Best gifts for singers

Singers know how important vocal health is, and a humidifier helps keep the voice and throat in top shape. This is an excellent practical gift, especially in those cold winter months!

Vocal Effects Pedal ($281.70)

Best gifts for singers

This compact vocal pedal allows singers to add awesome effects to their songs. Options include a compressor, enhancer, echo, and more.

Best Fun Gifts for Singers

Encore Singing Game ($19.79)

Best gifts for singers

What better way to bring singers together than with a healthy dose of musical competition. This game forces players to come up with as many songs as they can that include a specific word.

Chocolate Record ($28)

Best gifts for singers

What’s better than a vinyl record? An edible one! This yummy chocolate record and cassette tape make a great novelty gift for a singer with a sweet tooth.

B&H Gift Card ($25-200)

Best gifts for singers

This is one of the best gifts for singers who love to shop for new gear. B&H has tons of quality recording equipment, microphones, in-ears, and more! 

Microphone Sleeve ($19.99)

Best gifts for singers

Spruce up any old microphone and show some personality with this fun sleeve! Better yet – get one to match every outfit.

Online Singing Classes ($0-20)

Best gifts for singers

Group classes are an excellent way to develop new skills and meet other singers. With a subscription to TakeLesson Live, your favorite singer gets to interact with a live, online teacher.

Gourmet Tea Set ($34-49)

Best gifts for singers

Tea is a necessity for singers – it helps calm the throat and clears the voice. These fancy tea chests turn a simple, hot beverage into a special and useful gift.

Best Gifts for the Singer-Songwriter

Rhyming Dictionary ($14.63)

Best gifts for singers

Singers often get stuck when writing new material, but this essential songwriter’s dictionary will help keep the verses flowing.

Songwriters Guild Membership ($60-225)

Best gifts for singers

Another one of the best gifts for singers who love to create their own original pieces, an SGA membership will help them get published, work on licensing, and more.

Songwriting Journal ($10)

Best gifts for singers

Every songwriter needs a quality notebook to jot down all their great ideas and lyrics. This customizable notebook is a classic and fits easily into any purse or backpack.  

Concert Tickets ($40 and up)

Best gifts for singers

Concerts are an excellent way for singer-songwriters to get inspired. (Hint: Check out their Spotify playlists if you don’t know who their favorite artists are yet).

Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting Book ($38.68)

Best gifts for singers

Every singer wants their voice to be heard, and this little book offers tips and tricks for writing songs that become hits!

We hope you enjoyed this list of the best gifts for singers. When shopping online, don’t forget to add gift wrapping so the item will arrive ready to go.

For some money-saving deals, shop on Black Friday or Cyber Monday! You can also check out a business’s social media page and email newsletter for their current promotions.

As always, it’s the thought that counts. The singer in your life will be grateful for whatever you choose, and may even serenade you in gratitude!

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50+ Best Acapella Songs for Girls, Guys, Groups & More

acapella songs

Every singer should have a few traditional and contemporary acapella songs under their belt. Many times, singers are required to sing acapella at auditions – without an accompanist or background track.

Music directors often ask singers to sing acapella in order to hear and test their musicality and stamina. (Acapella singing requires that these skills be sharp!) It also shows that you’re able to be a leader, and that you’re comfortable having the spotlight on you as a solo singer.

If you have an audition coming up, or are simply looking to find more music for your group or choir, check out this list of the best acapella songs broken up into categories for different genders and genres.

50+ Best Acapella Songs for Any Singer

You can sing just about any genre in the acapella style, including pop, jazz, R&B, country and Broadway. Many artists such as New York Voices, Pentatonix, and the Mormon Tabernacle choir have turned both traditional and contemporary songs into their own unique vocal arrangements.

They create all the melodies, rhythms, and harmonies with their voices alone! By diving into separated voice parts, each person plays an important role in their acapella ensemble. For instance, a male voice may take all the bass lines, while a soprano takes the melody, and another voice handles the beatboxing.

Check out this list to get started!

Best Acapella Songs for Female Singers (Solo or Group)

  1. “I knew you were trouble” Taylor Swift


This incredible rendition of Taylor Swift’s song comes from an all-female acapella group – the BYU Noteworthy. The harmonies are crystal clear and the arrangements, quite entertaining!

  1. “I can’t make you love me” Bonnie Raitt
  2. “Tale as old as time” Beauty and the Beast
  3. “I turn to you” Christina Aguilera
  4. “Dreaming of you” Selena
  5. “Don’t wanna lose you” Gloria Estefan
  6. “Try” Colbie Caillat
  7. “Natural woman” Aretha Franklin
  8. “Love song” Sara Bareilles
  9. “Fallin’” Alicia Keys

Best Acapella Songs for Male Singers (Solo or Group)

  1. “Bridge over troubled water” Simon & Garfunkel


This is a spectacular group performance by Ithacappella. Pay attention to what it sounds like when you take away the instruments and just hear raw voices.

  1. “Can’t buy me love” The Beatles
  2. “Leaving on a jet plane” Peter, Paul and Mary
  3. “Hakuna matata” The Lion King
  4. “Mmm bop” Hanson
  5. “Beat it” Michael Jackson
  6. “Candle in the wind” Elton John
  7. “When you’re gone” Matchbox 20
  8. “Who let the dogs out” The Baha Men
  9. “I want it that way” Backstreet Boys

RELATED: The Top Tip for How to Sing Acapella

Best Acapella Songs for Large Groups of Men & Women

  1. “A whole new world” Aladdin


Check out this mixed group singing acapella. Notice their volume and how they really listen to each other to create a flawless performance!

  1. “Where have all the flowers gone” Peter, Paul, and Mary
  2. “I say a little prayer” Aretha Franklin
  3. “Country roads” John Denver
  4. “Yesterday” The Beatles
  5. “Human nature” Michael Jackson
  6. “True colors” Cyndi Lauper
  7. “Give me one reason” Tracy Chapman
  8. “God must have spent a little more time on you” N’SYNC
  9. “September” Earth, Wind and Fire

Best Contemporary Acapella Songs (Solo or Group)

31.“Single ladies” Beyonce


The strong melody and added rhythmic components in this live student performance are very impressive!

  1. “If I was your man” Bruno Mars
  2. “Home” Michael Buble
  3. “You belong to me” Taylor Swift
  4. “Hello” Adele
  5. “A million reasons” Lady Gaga
  6. “God bless the broken road” Rascal Flatts
  7. “She will be loved” Maroon 5
  8. “Stickwitu” Pussycat Dolls
  9. “Hero” Mariah Carey

Best Traditional Acapella Songs (Solo or Group)

  1. “Sir Duke” Stevie Wonder


Check out this all-male group and their fun performance energy!

  1. “My way” Frank Sinatra
  2. “Nature boy” Nat King Cole
  3. “Let there be peace on earth” Harry Connick Jr.
  4. “Somewhere over the rainbow” Eva Cassidy
  5. “I will always love you” Dolly Parton
  6. “You’ve got a friend” Carole King
  7. “Fire and rain” James Taylor
  8. “Amazing grace” Celtic Women
  9. “Moon river” Barbra Streisand
  10. “Wade in the water” Fisk Jubilee Singers

Singing acapella is quite engaging, because you have the flexibility to improvise with the melody, rhythm, and interpretation. The biggest challenge however, is keeping your intonation and pitch in sync.

If you’re looking to strengthen your skills as an acapella singer, it’s best to get some instruction from a trained vocal coach, such as those at TakeLessons. An acapella singing teacher can help you learn new material and gain confidence for an upcoming audition or performance.

LizT
Post Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches singing and acting lessons online. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal Performance and she currently performs all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

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The Single Most Important Tip for How to Sing Acapella

how to sing acapella

Want to learn how to sing acapella? You’re not alone! From the contemporary acapella group Pentatonix, to smash films like Pitch Perfect and televised singing competitions, singing acapella has become more popular than ever this year.

Singing acapella is a true test for the singer to demonstrate their sense of musicianship, tonality, intonation, ear training, and sight reading. Being able to sing acapella also puts the singer at an advantage for securing jobs as a performer.

Whether you want to join a choir, glee club, or barbershop quartet, this article will help you learn the most vital tip for how to sing acapella.

#1 Tip for How to Sing Acapella

Ear training is the single most important tip for how to sing acapella. What is ear training you ask? Being able to recognize pitch, tone color, and rhythms by hearing, and then demonstrating that through singing.

The official definition from Webster Dictionary is: “training to improve musical perception that generally includes solfège, sight singing, and musical dictation.”

Don’t be intimidated! Ear training is not as scary as it sounds. Below, we’ll share a simple exercise to get you on the right track in developing your listening skills.

The Most Effective Ear Training Exercise

To get started, pick a few standard, traditional songs – something from the American songbook such as “Amazing Grace” or “God Bless America,” that everyone is familiar with. Next, listen to a professional recording of the song.

[If you play an instrument, learn to play the melody of the song. It’s okay if you need to look at the sheet music or lyrics – this does not need to be memorized right away.]

Once you feel confident acapella singing the melody of the song, start to double-check yourself. Sing one note at a time, and then compare it to the recording.

If you’re playing along with a piano or guitar, check your pitch against it. If you did not hit the correct note, simply try again until you can sing the correct pitch.

how to sing acapella

This process does take time, and it shouldn’t be rushed. Don’t feel discouraged if you don’t hit the right note the first time; it takes practice!

Once you’ve mastered note-by-note checking, try acapella singing the whole song from start to finish. Record yourself doing this so you can spot areas that still need some improvement.

If the notes you sang sound the same as the original melody – congrats, you’re training your ear! If they sounded quite different, focus back on that melody again, and go over it pitch by pitch.

You should also compare your last note to the last note of the recording, to make sure you stayed on track.

You can repeat this exercise as many times as you need to with as many different songs as you like. You can also watch video tutorials like this one, that help you learn to identify and remember the individual notes in a song –


The more practice you get at ear training, the faster you will learn how to sing acapella!

More Ways to Perfect Your Acapella Singing

Being able to recognize if your singing is off pitch, flat, or sharp is ear training in itself. To further sharpen these necessary skills for acapella, listen to a range of very good singers and then, some not-so-good singers. Look for the difference in their pitch, intonation, and tonality.

If you’re unable to tell the difference of hearing pitches, and every note sounds the same to you, you may require some additional ear training methods.

Here are a few excellent apps that will help you learn while on-the-go:

You can also try singing while you play scales or singing intervals to perfect your sound. If you’re a more advanced musician, try composing without the use of an instrument or transcribing your favorite song.

Every professional singer should have a few songs in their repertoire that they can sing acapella. You never know when your next audition may be, and you can’t always expect a musician or CD player to accompany you at your auditions.

If you need some additional guidance learning how to sing acapella, consider lessons from a vocal instructor to broaden your skillset. A vocal teacher can guide you through the process of ear training at a pace that’s comfortable for you. Good luck, and enjoy learning the art of acapella!

LizT
Post Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches singing and acting lessons online. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal Performance and she currently performs all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

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The 50 Best Singers From All Genres & Generations [Infographic]

50 Best Singers of All Time

When you ask people who the best singers of all time are, many of the same names pop up: Frank, Ella, Whitney… But you might also hear some new names that you don’t recognize. 

The following list includes the best singers from a variety of genres and eras, but it is far from comprehensive. These particular singers made the list because they had something that really made them stand out, whether it was their sound or presentation – or both!

The 50 Best Singers of All Time

Before we go into the details of why each singer made the list, this infographic shows a small selection from our top 50. Click around, have a listen, and enjoy!


Best Female Singers of All Time

Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand has an extremely unique voice that has been enchanting audiences for over fifty years. Her gorgeous tone, belting prowess, and way with a ballad are only a few reasons why so many people adore her.

Aretha Franklin

The power, the musicality, the feeling! These are the reasons why Aretha will forever be the “Queen of Soul.” Though many have tried to be her, there is just no topping the sassy original. No wonder she’s considered one of the best singers of all time.

Patsy Cline

This country legend had a rich voice that many consider to be one of the finest ever. Though Willie Nelson penned the hit song “Crazy,” he admitted that no one could sing it like Patsy. Her version is magical!

Ella Fitzgerald

Not only did she have a youthful and beautiful tone, but Ella had musicianship like no other singer. She said she “learned to sing from the birds,” and after listening to this song you’ll believe her!

Karen Carpenter

Although she may have started her musical journey as a drummer, Karen’s brother Richard encouraged her to share her gorgeous contralto with the world. The rest is history!

Best Male Singers of All Time

Elvis Presley

The King of Rock and Roll was such a presence. He took the world by storm with his unmatched charisma and beautiful baritone that he used in everything from rockabilly to ballads and even soulful gospel songs.

Frank Sinatra

If you want to hear masterful phrasing, listen to Frank Sinatra. His cool, clear baritone is timeless. Like Ella, he was known for making each song his own, even nursery rhymes!

Sam Cooke

His soulful tenor could sell a song like nothing else. The polish in his delivery is another reason why singers will admire Sam Cooke for years to come.

Freddie Mercury

Is there a rock vocalist alive that doesn’t wish they could sing like Freddie? The range, the sheer power, the showmanship! He’s a legend and one of the best singers ever for many reasons.

Luther Vandross

Many have compared Luther’s voice to velvet. The beautiful quality of his voice paired with the feeling in his singing are just a few reasons why he will always have millions of fans.

Best Pop Singers of All Time

Celine Dion

Discovered at an early age, Celine is known for her amazing range and effortless sound. She takes great care of her instrument and you can definitely tell.

George Michael

A soulful and distinctive sound, George could really tug at the heartstrings when he performed a ballad, or get us to dance with more lighthearted tunes. This is the mark of a singer with true versatility!

Josh Groban

This versatile baritone is one of the best singers because of his special way with standards and ballads. He can also sing in Italian and has starred on Broadway. What can’t Josh do?!

K. D. Lang

An underrated yet greatly respected vocalist, K. D. Lang is equally gifted in old school country, jazz, and pop standards. Her version of “Hallelujah” has been called one of the best ever.

Whitney Houston

This legend had a clear and soulful mezzo voice that could soar and tackle absolutely everything from dance songs to love songs. Skilled with vocal runs, she knew just how to use them tastefully.

Best Rock Singers of All Time

Grace Slick

Her intimidating stage presence and steely tone: these are just two reasons why Grace will always be a queen of rock.

Ann Wilson

Ann sounds better than ever now that she is in her 60s! She studied healthy vocal technique, and it shows. Her sheer power have many calling her the “female Robert Plant.”

Sammy Hagar

Still rocking in his seventies, because he can! The Red Rocker had an extremely powerful voice that made Van Halen a success, as well as his numerous other bands and solo projects.

Robert Plant

No one could wail quite like Robert. His soaring tenor is legendary, as a front man and as a soloist. He is another artist that many imitate, but simply can’t compare!

Chris Cornell

Chris may be remembered for the sheer power and cut of his vocals, but he also had range! He was able to sing more subtle ballads and they were equally impressive.

Best Country Singers of All Time

Tammy Wynette

You believed every word Tammy sang! She poured everything she had into her classics and made no apologies for it. She is one of the best singers of all time due to the feeling she put into each and every song.

George Jones

One of the undisputed kings of country music, this tenor really seemed to live his sad songs – much like his ex-wife, Tammy!

Kitty Wells

The twang, the tears, the authenticity! Kitty inspired so many great country artists that came after her.

Loretta Lynn

This legend packed such power with her sassy lyrics. The “Coal Miner’s Daughter” is still singing today, collaborating with artists like Jack White.

Johnny Cash

Being a great singer is more than just having a great voice. Sometimes, it’s all about the emotion and life you put into a song. And the Man in Black is proof of that.

Best Opera Singers of All Time

Maria Callas

By far the most revered opera singer of all time for good reason. Maria is the soprano who had it all: a great voice, thrilling stage presence, and ultimate musicianship.

Luciano Pavarotti

This Italian superstar tenor had an instantly recognizable voice. His high notes seemed so easy that his nickname was “King of the High Cs”!

Robert Merrill

This American baritone had a big voice and a big personality, making him a beloved star for opera audiences everywhere.

Jussi Bjoerling

Perhaps the greatest tenor you haven’t heard off! Even Pavarotti himself was in awe of this Swedish singer.

Renata Tebaldi

Arturo Toscanini said this Italian soprano had the “voice of an angel.” Renata was often praised for her gorgeous tone.

Best R&B Singers of All Time

Marvin Gaye

This legend had a massive range that he used very expressively. Although he started as a doo-wop singer, he found his voice performing songs with powerful messages.

Toni Braxton

It’s no wonder it seems so easy for Toni: her mother was a trained opera singer who stressed the importance of vocal technique! This artist is a true contralto with low notes to spare.

Stevie Wonder

It may surprise you because he has such a big range, but Stevie is a baritone! His sweet, soulful sound and timeless melodies are what make him a legend.

Diana Ross

Who’s the boss? Ms. Diana Ross! A singer can learn a lot from her class and stage presence, and the way she used her sweet sounding voice.

Gladys Knight

Still sounding fantastic, this Motown legend has a warm and very powerful mezzo voice that younger singers of today would envy.

Best Broadway Singers

Patti Lupone

With a belt as strong as her stage presence, Patti Lupone is without a doubt the most revered grand dame of the Great White Way.

John Raitt

This booming and bright baritone voice still has plenty of fans to this day, and rightly so. He is also the father of another fabulous musician – Bonnie Raitt!

Bernadette Peters

The emotion she puts into each and every song is no doubt why Bernadette is a favorite of composer Stephen Sondheim.

Julie Andrews

Her impossibly clear and pure soprano voice was featured in blockbuster movies, but she got her start on the stage, enchanting in classics such as “My Fair Lady.”

Ethel Merman

There is no one who can out-belt “the Merm!” The sheer brassiness in her voice and personality made her an icon on stage and on screen.

Greatest Singers of Yesteryear

Judy Garland

Judy is one of the finest singing actresses of all time. When she performed, you believed she truly lived each song.

Nat King Cole

Nat was wonderful not only because he had such a warm tone, but because he knew that singing simply was more than enough to sell a song.

Mel Torme

They called him the “Velvet Fog” because of his beautiful tenor voice. Mel was also a great improviser and quite skilled at scat singing.

Rosemary Clooney

Her rich, clear voice lended itself beautifully to both up tempo novelty numbers as well as heartfelt ballads.

Cass Elliot

This amazing voice is one of the best of the 1960s. She used to compete with Barbra Streisand for the same roles in NYC when they were first starting out.

Greatest Singers of Today

Lady Gaga

Don’t let the crazy costumes fool you: this lady has an absolutely wonderful voice that is as amazing in pop music as well as jazz standards.

Sam Smith

His tenor voice is not only beautiful and unique, but he sounds just as good live as he does on recordings.

Sara Bareilles

Sara’s slightly smoky tone paired with her heartfelt lyrics make this amazingly talented singer one of the best out there right now.

Brandi Carlile

The powerful and emotional delivery of her songs are on par with some of the greats from the past, including Patsy Cline.

Beyonce

Not only does Queen Bey put on a great show, but she also has a killer voice! This internationally adored diva mixes it up between catchy dance tunes and massive ballads, and kills both!


There are so many fantastic singers out there that it wasn’t possible to include everyone on this list. So we want to hear from you. Who would YOU add to this list of the best singers of all time? Let us know in the comments section below.

If you want to be a singer, one of the most important things you can do is listen to and study the greats. Hopefully some of these vocalists inspired you to take your singing skills to the next level.

If you’d like to get started today, check out the online singing classes at TakeLessons Live, or sign up for lessons with a local teacher!

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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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