If ever a geographical location could tempt one into singing, Glasgow would be it.
Assorted spires pierce the heavens; a subtle goad to everyone that they too should hit the high notes – literally and figuratively.
If the stunning architecture within the city doesn’t set your heart to song, then the surrounding hills surely must.
And, as though all of that were not incentive enough to make you want to sing, perhaps knowing that Glasgow has been voted the world’s friendliest city would give you something to sing about. Or give you the hope that people in the area will be nice to you about your competencies!
Have you ever imagined yourself belting out a tune in the Armadillo or The Hydro? Maybe you would like to audition for The X-Factor or Britain’s Got Talent?
So much musical genius originates in Glasgow!
Oasis, originally from Manchester (or Madchester, as it’s sometimes known), were discovered at King Tut’s. Find out about learning to sing in this incredibly musical city.
Primal Scream members are all Glaswegians, though.
If singing is indeed your life’s dream, let us take a look at how you can help make it come true.
A scarf is a lovely throat warmer, but it will not prepare your throat for singing Source: Pixabay Credit: StockSnap
Studies show that a lack of confidence, in oneself and one’s singing abilities, is the primary reason that people do not sing.
Discovering your singing voice is a great way to become more confident.
In learning to sing, you will find that everything from your posture to your breathing will improve.
As your vocal training progresses, you will find that, in your everyday life, you will have unconsciously adopted the stance necessary to produce amazing sounds during your voice lessons.
Head up, shoulders back, flexed stomach… the very pose that exudes self-assurance!
If you are self-assured, then you would be less likely to be plagued with stage fright.
Have you ever wondered why you feel compelled to sing in the shower?
Singing has been proven to boost emotional, mental and physical welfare, and the act of showering releases feel-good endorphins.
Thus it could be that getting pelted with warm water makes you feel so good you must burst into song!
Or, it could just be because of the fabulous acoustics that bathrooms provide…
It is OK to sing in the shower because the steam naturally conditions your vocal chords for singing.
Otherwise, you should never put your singing voice to work without first doing warm-up exercises.
Interestingly enough, many professional singers confess that they seldom warm up. That is an aspect of their career in singing that you should never emulate!
What does a vocal warm-up consist of?
For one, running scales – just as you’ve seen or heard done in countless movies about singing.
You can also hum.
Humming in higher and lower pitches activates your head voice and chest voice. Here, being familiar with scales is helpful because you can raise your hum to the corresponding scale note.
There are other vocal exercises, such as the lip trill, you can do. Be sure to ask your music teacher to explain and demonstrate warm-up exercises.
For one, alcohol consumption is notoriously bad for your vocal chords. If you intend to wow your mates by covering Adele or Joss Stone, you should probably stick with water.
For two: remember that warming up is essential for not stressing your voice. Unless you hum and do your lip trill, you should probably stick with low-key ballads.
Be sure to use the microphone rather than project to the back of the room using all the raw power you can generate.
And, if you are a football fan, you shouldn’t yell at the match, either.
Statistically, less than one percent of the population has what is called perfect pitch: the ability to sing, on key, with no formal training.
You may be surprised to find that several big name performers consult a voice coach, and for several reasons:
Many times, such a singer would actually pay the vocal coach to go on tour with him/her.
If you wouldn’t run a marathon or play a sport without proper training, neither should you sing without doing exercises for your throat.
Your singing teacher would instruct you on all of these aspects of vocal health, and more.
Let’s go find one, now!
How very Scottish to blend Highland voices and violin! With Singing Fiddles (http://www.singingfiddles.com/) you can learn singing, fiddling or both.
Whether you want to sing for fun or prepare for your grade exams, this dynamic group of voice teachers can take you from the very beginning of learning how to sing all the way to performance-ready vocals.
They welcome students of all ages and genders and, most importantly, never tell you what you should sing!
You might want to sing classical music – opera or cantata. Perhaps you prefer pop or rock; country or gospel or jazz.
Any style, any type: every voice coach will work with you to realise your singing aspirations.
Learning to sing should not be all about scales and breathing Source: Pixabay Credit PDP
Many music teachers get bogged down in music theory or have you run scales the entire session, leaving only a few minutes to actually sing.
Hannah Howie is not such a teacher.
She has an impressive repertoire under her belt. After years in musical theatre, she is passing on all of the tricks of the trade to her clients.
From absolute beginners to those who just need a more commanding voice, she will impart everything from breath control to vocal techniques you can use in a boardroom or classroom.
Teachers need powerful voices, too!
You should note however, that she does not give singing lessons online. For now, at least, only Glaswegians can learn how to sing from Hannah.
Through whom should you take singing lessons online?
These days, the Internet is the be-all and end-all of everything you ever wanted to know or learn.
It then stands to reason that you could learn how to sing from an online tutor, but which tutor to choose?
The answer to that question comes down to how you define singing success.
Are you trying to make good on a New Year’s resolution – or trying to decide what next year’s resolution should be?
What style of music do you want to sing?
Do you plan on making a career out of singing?
The answer to all of these and other questions, and the singing exercises you need to get where you want to be musically can be found through Superprof.
With nearly seven hundred teachers online and ready to help you master singing techniques, all you really need is a decent Internet connection and Skype.
Knowing that you only have to sit in front of your home computer for your breathing exercises and vocal lessons – instead of dashing off after tea, should help ease a bit of tension.
That means you will sing better, faster!
And, if nothing else eases your tension, think about how most of Superprof’s voice teachers offer their first lesson for free.
Superprof vocal coaching is done at your tempo, in your style of music, at your pace.
Furthermore, seeing as you are learning how to sing online, your tutor could be anywhere in the world.
If bel canto sends shivers down your spine – Nessum Dorme being a fine example of such, perhaps you would find your ideal singing teachers somewhere in Europe.
Sure, but what if you have no desire for anything that structured?
Singing with a choir is a good way to pick up singing tips Source: Pixabay Credit MiriamMichelle
In a city with such a prominent music presence, you can be sure to find fun and funky choirs to sing with.
If you are new to Glasgow, this is a great way to meet new people, too!
The Glasgow Contemporary Choir does not require you to wear robes, read music or audition.
They would like it if you had a good ear for rhythm and a strong desire to have fun with music.
They sing a pop and rock repertoire and even permit opportunities to solo, if you so desire!
Or, you could try Voicebeat, Glasgow’s only multinational choir.
As their designation attests, they sing music from different parts of the world, and in different languages.
Here again: no robes, no auditions, no formalities save for rehearsals.
Where is the learning in singing with a choir, you ask?
Choir members tend to share their collective experience and singing tips.
You could learn how to sing better in this informal setting than you might during one on one sessions with a voice teacher.
You could learn even better with a combination of choir and lessons!
What are you waiting for?
Develop your vocal range! Cultivate your ear! Find your instructor and start singing!
And if Glasgow is too far from home, find out about taking singing lessons in the rest of the UK!
You should never underestimate the importance of getting music gigs when you are learning to sing, as well as if you are trying to take your skill further.
Not only does singing in public create opportunities to get recognised by influential people in the business, it enables you to form a following and to prove to your family and friends that you really cut out for a career in singing (although, it is likely that they already believe in you and are pushing you to chase your dream!).
Moreover, gigging is one of the best ways of developing your musical style.
Never before will you have been able to see how people respond and react to your music, and this opens you up to a whole range of new positive feedback as well as critical comments. While it is great to focus on the positives, you shouldn’t ignore the negatives as this criticism could mould you into a faultless performer one day.
You have to take the bad with the good!
It may pay to do a few open mic nights to try to work on your stage presence and to combat your nerves, before throwing yourself into a big venue. As well as organising your own performances, you may wish to attend other shows and festivals to see others performing live on stage.
What’s more, just like having published works is a great experience to have on your CV as a writer, all musicians or singers should ideally have some gigs to their name.
By putting in the effort to show up at a variety of venues and sing, it shows that you are serious about your craft and that you aren’t complacent.
With each successful performance, you could open yourself up to invites to play at other venues. Tip: Leave CDs, business cards or flyers at the places you’ve gigged at so that people can go and find you and listen to you play again.
Finally, performing on stage, or even in the street, encourages promotion by word of mouth, it allows you to network, and it encourages future collaboration with other stars and venues.
If you are a budding singer, one of the best ways to get noticed or to simply do what you love – perform for a crowd – is to sing on stage. But where can you find a platform for your voice? You’re not exactly going to hire a stadium for your very first performances, are you?
If you want to ease yourself into singing in front of people, then you might like to find out which venues in Glasgow are good gig spots. Not only will you find a place for you to sing, but you’ll also get a chance to see other artists doing their thing on stage.
Glasgow has quite a good reputation when it comes to showcasing music, and it has a vast range of venues in which it hosts small shows to big concerts.
On Drury Street, this bar holds karaoke-style nights in its upstairs lounge, where some famous faces have been known to take the mic. It’s known for having the longest bar in Europe, which may be good if you need a long line of shots before you take to the mic yourself!
This venue boasts karaoke rooms upstairs which are incredibly popular among the locals. It’s a place where people don’t take themselves too seriously so you can safely go and belt out some tunes whilst having a laugh with your friends. On the flip side, the natural and easygoing environment means that you can use the event to your advantage and experiment a little with your singing style.
This venue holds open mic nights most days of the week and is a favourite on the music scene. Rumour has it that star Paolo Nutini sometimes shows up to play a tune – can you follow his act?
Get here on a Wednesday night at 8.30pm and get set to do some singing or jamming as they like to call it. It’s a bit like a pub venue but nevertheless a great spot to do a session.
Situated in Renfield Lane, in the Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed building (which used to be the Daily Record), this is a trendy café-bar and gig venue. It is central, offers good food and drink and has a varied programme of events which keeps the punters coming in every day of the week (and often staying til 3am some weekends!). It is renowned for showcasing new talent.
Yet another central location, this independent music and arts venue doubles up as a vegan café. DJs play every weekend and concerts often take place during the week but there’s no PA system, which could be an issue for you depending on your musical style and performance. That said, The calibre of artists who play here is top-notch so you could join this elite list.
Kelvingrove Bandstand and Ampitheatre
It stood unused for twenty years, but now it’s back and it’s a great space to perform in the open air. It will almost feel like an open roof stadium when you feel the breeze in your hair! Franz Ferdinand are fans of the iconic venue.
Beneath Central Station, the old archways have been converted into a multi-arts complex where techno music lovers go to rave underground. Daft Punk played their first UK show here so it is definitely far from the dark and dank tunnel it once was!
Okay, so we may be looking way into the future here, but you’ve got to dream big, right? And what better way to dream big than to imagine yourself on stage at this huge music and club! It’s actually classed as a mid-level music venue in Scotland but it had a £2 million conversion back in 2005 that makes it a good, modern place to perform.
Up another level in terms of stature, and we have this almost-arena. It’s said to be the final step for artists before holding those big concerts. The Killers graced its stage in 2006 for a sell-out concert!
Will you be the next big act to perform and sell every last ticket within the space of 3 minutes, like The Killers?
Britain’s Got Talent
The BGT team were at Glasgow’s SEC centre in November, so you can expect the same later this year when it comes to auditions for the show to be aired in 2019. You can sign up ahead of time but they also welcome applicants on the day of the auditions so you can still turn up last minute if you make a decision closer to the time to attend.
As always, we would recommend preparing well for your audition to be in with a better chance.
The X Factor
X Factor insiders were said to have attended the famous Horseshoe Bar in Glasgow (see above) to hunt down talent for the upcoming show. The bar is for over 18s only though so if you wish to consider auditioning next year, make sure you are above the legal age limit.
The Voice auditions came to Glasgow in March as the programme gears up for another series.
You may have missed the mark this year, but be sure to get your bottom to Bag O’ Nails on Dumbarton Road (unless the venue changes again next year) next Spring to get your voice heard.
This year, auditions started at 8.30pm and were held on a first-come, first-served basis. All you have to do is turn up on the night! The Voice usually starts at the beginning of each year so if you audition in 2019, you can expect to be featured in the 2020 show.