3 Simple Steps to Choose the Perfect Key to Sing In

How to Choose the Right Key to Sing Your Song In


How do you figure out what key you should sing in? 

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. And you don’t want to make it any harder on your band! 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 your private lesson singing instructor or sign up for a free 30-day trial with TakeLessons Live, and work with an expert teacher in a group setting.



June 28, 2015 at 8:19am

Great article! Thanks!

Sarah Smith

May 23, 2016 at 3:48pm

I was asked to sing a song for a wedding but don't know how to make sure that the song is a good key for me. Thanks for the tips in trying a song in about 3 different keys. I'll have to make sure to try this out and maybe find a vocal coach to help me prepare for the wedding.

Suzy S.

May 24, 2016 at 7:55am

Glad you found the article helpful, Sarah!


July 29, 2016 at 7:33am

When I sing a sing, do I have to tell the musicians that I sing in major or minor key. Am I right to say that I don't need to specify major or minor because it is the key of the song not the singer's key.

Johnny Ringo

February 01, 2017 at 1:10am

you need to tell whoever what key the song is in, as well if it is major or minor

Famous Vocal Coaches

November 18, 2016 at 2:10am

Thank you for your post! This tutorial is fabulous! Lots of great info including, Finding a voice teacher is not an easy task—especially if you live outside a major metropolitan area. Put simply, good Famous Vocal Coaches are few and far between—and finding one that is perfect for you can be a challenge.


October 15, 2017 at 1:11pm

I want to hit the highest note while singing


December 31, 2017 at 2:07pm

Hi good article! When a training with a pitch monitor app like Sing N See or any, How close to the note line is correct?

Comments are closed

Need help learning Singing?

Try one of our most popular online Singing classes for free

Daily Warm Ups and Exercises
Don't know what warm-ups to do? Do you need someone to make sure that you are doing your warm-ups and exercises correctly? Then this is the class for you. Every day we will do different warm-ups and exercises to strengthen your voice.
Daily Singing Work Out
If you struggle to have a daily warm-up regimen and need direction on how to properly warm up your voice and body, then this class is for you! Offered daily, Monday - Thursday, this dynamic, interactive class gives you a guided practice that includes body, breath, and vocal exercises to set you up for great vocal technique, build stamina in your voice, and prepare you to be the best singer you can be! Join as often as you'd like to build discipline, range, improve tone, and more! All levels welcome.
Learning to Sing - How to Find Your Voice
The voice is an instrument too! Learn how to use yours in these beginner singing classes. Your instructor will teach you how your voice works as you start exploring your unique sound. You’ll be impressed with how much you progress and improve each week as you learn new concepts and gain experience in singing.
Live Vocal Warm Ups and Exercises
In this interactive live session, students will be introduced to basic warm ups and intermediate vocal exercises that build vocal technique. The instructor will model each exercise and explain which techniques are being targeted including, resonance, vowel formation, flexibility, vibrato, range extension, dynamics and more! Students will have the opportunity to try the exercises individually, receiving feedback and guidance from the instructor.
Pop Song Breakdown
We will have fun analyzing our favorite songs and performances to discover what makes a song (or a cover) unique! This will be an interactive class where we listen and breakdown the components of a song's rhythm, organization, and stylistic embellishments - no singing experience is necessary! *All levels welcome*
Chest, Head, and Mixed Voice: Shifting Resonances in the Voice
The teacher will explain the registers of the chest, head, and mixed voice. Students will learn about sympathetic vibrations and other characteristics that that define each vocal register. We will discuss how registers are used differently according to stylistic genres. Students will learn how to use the speaking voice to access chest and blended resonance. We will learn the foundations of vocal resonance in all registers: good breath management, relaxed tissue in the vocal tract, and good laryngeal position. We will explore techniques for belting, blending registers, and drawing attention to breaks in the registers. Students will learn how to use the registers to their advantage depending on what genre they are singing.
Daily Warm Ups and Exercises
Don't know what warm-ups to do? Do you need someone to make sure that you are doing your warm-ups and exercises correctly? Then this is the class for you. Every day we will do different warm-ups and exercises to strengthen your voice.
Voice Workshop
In this class, you will learn about the fundamentals of vocal technique. We'll start with focusing on good posture, practicing effective physical warm-ups, how to have proper breathing, vocal-warm ups, solfege, and we will end our workshop Singing a Song Together!