You don’t need expensive vocal lessons or a lot of natural talent to learn how to sing on key.
While some people are born with perfect pitch, most of us have to work a little bit harder to keep our singing on track.
Luckily, there are some great tools out there that can help you train your ear and improve your singing skills. Read on to learn more.
How Do You Tell if You Sing on Key?
Am I singing on key? As a singer, it is important to be able to know how to learn to sing on key. There are a few different ways you can tell if you are singing on key:
- First, you can listen to yourself. If you find that you are constantly making small adjustments to your pitch, then chances are you are not singing on key.
- Another way to tell if you are singing on key is to record yourself and then listen back. If you can hear that your voice is wavering or jumping around, then you are probably not singing on key.
- Finally, you can ask someone else to listen to you sing and give you feedback. If they say that your pitch is off or that you sound flat, then it’s likely that you’re not singing on key.
By following these tips, you can make sure that you are always singing on key and sounding your best.
Ready to learn how to sing on key? Sign up for singing lessons STAT. You’ll learn everything you need to know for perfect (or almost perfect!) pitch, plus what you see in the video below and more:
What Does it Mean to Be in Key?
When a singer is “on key,” it means that they are singing in tune with the other instruments in the band or orchestra.
One way to think of it is that all of the notes in the song are lined up like steps on a ladder, and the singer’s job is to hit each note dead-center. If they sing too high or too low, they will be “off key.” While being on key is certainly important, it’s not the only factor that makes a good singer.
Good vocal technique, breath control, and stage presence are also key (pun intended) ingredients in a great performance. However, if a singer can’t stay in tune, it’s very difficult for them to sound good no matter how much talent they may have. That’s why being on key is such an important part of singing.
How Do You Always Sing on Key?
If you’re looking to teach yourself to sing on key, it’s important to remember that it has as much – if not more – to do with training your ear as it does with training your voice. And since we can’t hear ourselves sing accurately, we need recording equipment or another trusted pair of ears to check our results. With the advent of smartphones and tablets, tools that will help you teach yourself to sing on key are now readily available alongside more traditional methods. Here are five methods you may want to experiment with for yourself:
1) Use Your Piano
For this vocal exercise, sit down at a piano and choose a note in the middle of your range. Listen carefully to the note as you play it, and sing it back. Don’t be afraid to play the note a few times, and spend a second or two listening before you repeat it. Extend this exercise by playing your home note, then sing intervals of a third, then a fifth away from it. Are you accurately returning to your home note? If not, analyze what you are doing wrong – are you singing sharp or flat? Is there something technical that you are doing wrong? This is an exercise that singers of all levels should come back to from time to time just to make sure your ears are working in relation to your tuning!
2) Record Yourself
Whether you’re using a more standard piece of equipment like a mini-disc recorder or you’re using a smartphone or tablet, recording yourself can be an ear-opener. Try recording your practice sessions and lessons, and listen to them afterward. When you’re singing specific exercises, particularly scales and arpeggios, how accurately-tuned are your intervals? If your teacher is accompanying you, are you in tune with the piano? This latter point to note is a natural progression from the first point above, so remember any intervals that may have been slightly weaker when working on your own, and pay particular care to tuning those.
3) Download an App
If you’re a fan of games on your smartphone, you have several options for combining ear training and fun! EarWizard is a great option, although it’s only available for iOS. This game starts with visual clues, then leaves you relying on your ear as you progress through levels, and ends up testing both your musical memory and your ear. It’s suitable for beginner and advanced musicians (there is a range of skill options), and is a superb way to make learning fun.
4) Work With a Voice Teacher
Back to the “trusted pair of ears” advice, there is no substitute, electronic or otherwise, for a good voice teacher who can check your posture and correct any bad habits that might be affecting your tone and your ability to sing in tune. Your singing teacher will help you train your ear alongside your voice, and ensure that your musical skills advance alongside your vocal progress.
Are There Apps That Help You Sing on Key?
In addition to using a physical tuner, you can also use a mobile app to help you train your ear and improve your pitch accuracy. PitchLab Pro is a great option for singers of all levels who want to sharpen their skills. The app includes features like an instrument tuner, pitch pipe, and scale explorer that will help you understand how notes work together and find the right pitch for each note.
You can also use a tuner, either an online or a physical one. A tuner will help you find the right pitch for each note and make sure that you’re stay in tune as you sing. There are a variety of tuners available online and for purchase at music stores.
What About Singing Off Key on Purpose?
There’s something freeing about singing off key on purpose. It’s a way of saying, “I don’t need to be perfect. I’m just going to let loose and have some fun.”
And that’s exactly what it should be –fun. After all, isn’t that why we sing in the first place? Unfortunately, far too many people get caught up in trying to sound perfect, and they miss out on the joy of simply making music.
So if you find yourself getting tense when you sing, or if you’re never quite sure if you’re hitting the right notes, why not try singing off key on purpose?
It might just be the best thing you ever do for your voice.
How to Stay on Key When Singing
Listening to music is another great way to train your ear and learn how to sing on key consistently. As you listen, pay attention to the melodies and tunes that you hear so that you can start to mimic them with your own voice. You can also try singing along with songs that you know well so that you can better match the pitch of the notes.
And one of the best ways to improve your singing skills is by joining a choir or musical ensemble where you’ll have the opportunity to practice regularly with other singers. Not only will being in an ensemble help you stay in tune with other singers, but it will also give you the opportunity to learn from experienced vocalists who can provide feedback and offer tips on how to improve your technique.
Learning how to sing on key doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive—all it takes is some practice and the right tools. By using a tuner, training with a mobile app, listening closely to music, and joining an ensemble, you’ll be well on your way toward becoming a great singer in no time!
Ear training is probably the most important part of your development as a musician, and should be considered an essential step as you learn to sing. Even at a fairly basic level, a singer that sings in tune will be pleasant to listen to and get the kind of listener feedback that encourages them to keep going. Anyone can improve their ear, and hopefully a combination of the above options will work for you!
Photo by Javier Ignacio Acuña