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Singing in Key is Key to a Great Voice

By Joseph, published on 04/01/2018 Blog > Music > Singing > Learn to Sing in Key
Contents
  • What Does Singing in Key Mean?
  • Learn to Sing in Key by Breathing Correctly
  • Practise in Order to Sing in Key
  • Can You Learn to Sing in Key if Your Singing is Awful?
  • Learn to Sing with a Private Singing Tutor
  • Learn to Sing in Key with an App
  • The Best Videos Online for Learning to Sing

While very few people were singers a thousand years ago, the music industry is massive now! The UK music industry is in the billions. With so much money going around, anyone with the right skills can become a professional singer.

Why not you? 

Who hasn’t dreamed of singing perfectly, winning a televised singing competition, and becoming a star?

First things first! You have to learn how to sing well!

What Does Singing in Key Mean?

There are several things you’ll have to do if you want to sing in key. You have to:

  • Read and memorise the pitch and value of the notes you’re going to produce.

  • Have a working voice that can reproduce the techniques required of the singer (can I perform a vibrato when needed?)

  • Be able to hear the frequencies that you’re producing or be aware of what frequency you’re producing (am I singing too high or too low?)

  • Have a sense of rhythm that knows exactly when you need to start singing and note and when to stop singing a note.

The Fundamental Frequencies

Singing in key is related to the laws of physics. You can find out the frequency in hertz of any given note in music.

But what does it all mean?

The frequency is the number of vibrations per second and is measured in Hertz (hz). Singers generally use an “A” note to check their key. This 440hz is often used as the standard for tuning instruments, too. This is known as the “pitch standard”, “A440”, or the “Stuttgart pitch”. In fact, when you sing in key, you just have to make sure your voice makes the same frequency sound as tuned piano would.

Have a Sense of Rhythm

Without any rhythm, it’d be impossible to sing, play an instrument, or dance. If you have to do any of these three things, you’ll need a sense of rhythm.

Where can I learn to sing in the UK? If you know how to dance, you should be able to learn to sing in key. (Source: pixabay.com)

Is it innate or can it be taught?

Some people have a condition known as beat deafness. Even if some can keep tempo without music, it’s almost impossible for them to synchronise their movements with external music. If you are one of the 4% suffering from beat deafness, you might struggle when it comes to learning to sing.

However, that doesn’t mean if you aren’t, you’ll find learning to sing really easy! You still need to put in a lot of work. A singing tutor or vocal coach will make sure you work on your rhythm in order to sing correctly along to music. At its most basic, this is all there is to singing! However, if there was no such thing as technique, everyone in the world would be able to sing with the same ability and we’ll all like the same genres of music.

There are elements such as vocal timbre which can vary wildly from person to person depending on a number of factors such as: the length of the vocal cords, lung capacity, head voice and chest voice, vocal resonance, etc.

Learn to Sing in Key by Breathing Correctly

Before you start singing well, you need to master your posture and breathing to make sure that you get the most out of your voice. Here are a few rules you need to follow if you want to sing well:

  • Keep your back straight

  • Place your feet, one slightly ahead of the other, shoulder-width apart.

  • Stick your chest out proudly as if you were marching in a military parade. This position will help you fill up your lungs and contract them to easily inflate and deflate your chest cavity.

  • Find the position you feel most relaxed. If your back is stiff, you won’t be able to sing as beautifully as you can. It’s essential that you experiment a bit in order to find the best position possible.

Keep in mind that there are 4 main muscles involved in breathing:

  1. The diaphragm

  2. The intercostal muslces

  3. The transversus thoracis muscle

  4. The abdominal muscles

What are the best singing breathing techniques? When you learn to sing, you have to learn to control your breathing. Yoga is a great activity for learning to control your breathing, too. (Source: Chevanon Photography)

The diaphragm is the most important muscle to master when it comes to singing. It’s also a muscle that joins the thorax to the abdomen and is fixed on the sternum, ribs, and your lumbar. It works a bit like a piston: it descends 7 or 8cm when you inhale and returns to its original position when you exhale.

Now, let’s learn to breathe correctly! In fact, you could consider the voice as a wind instrument. To sing in key, you’ll therefore need to breathe correctly. If you didn’t learn this during music theory, you know now! To sing well, you need to store a lot of air in a brief amount of time. You’ll need to learn to inhale quickly.

If possible, try practising diaphragmatic breathing since it will allow you to store more air in your lungs and relieve tension in your shoulders. Diaphragmatic breathing can become second nature if you learn it from a young nature. If you’re older, this work can take you somewhere between 2 and 3 months. You should avoid shallow breathing when you sing.

To better understand breathing for singing, you should check out the thousands of videos on YouTube on the matter.

There are sports and exercises that will help you when you sing. Take yoga, for example. By working on your breathing and your “asana” (yoga poses), you’ll learn to work on your breathing all while using diaphragmatic breathing. This can also help you to make the most of the oxygen in your body.

Endurance sports are also hugely beneficial as they’ll increase your cardiovascular health and your lung capacity. For example, the 5-time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain had a resting heart rate of 28 beats per minute and a lung capacity of 7.8 litres (as opposed to the average 5.5 litre capacity). That would certainly help!

Practise in Order to Sing in Key

Whether you’re a bass, baritone, tenor, alto, mezzo-soprano, or soprano, by working on your voice daily, you can become the opera singer you’ve always dreamed of. The work will pay off and if you want to sing, you just have to go for it.

There are a few rules you should keep in mind:

  • Practise daily

  • You can do several practice sessions during the same day. For example, you can do warm up exercises in the morning, a singing session in the afternoon, and a cool down in the evening or as you shower.

How long does it take to learn how to sing? Mariah Carey wouldn’t have the voice she has without a lot of hard work and dedication. (Source: pixabay.com)

Tessitura is “the most esthetically acceptable and comfortable vocal range for a given singer or, less frequently, musical instrument; the range in which a given type of voice presents its best-sounding (or characteristic) timbre.” You should work on your vocal technique during your online singing lessons and work towards expanding your vocal range.

You could also join a singing group in order to keep singing. This will also help you find your voice.

You can also take private lessons with a singing teacher or vocal coach in order to improve your vocal technique, your pitch, and gain some self-confidence. Make sure you schedule your private singing tutorials regularly. There’s nothing better when it comes to improving your vocal technique.

You should always look at several different voice coaches so that you can choose the right fit.

Find a voice coach London.

Work on Your Technique and Vocalising

Warming up your voice is a step that no modern singer can skip.

Vocal warm ups are obligatory whenever you sing and even more so if you’re about to put on a performance. To make sure you’re fully prepared to sing, you should make sure you take the following steps:

  1. Relax your jaw by doing some low-to-mid-range exercises before working progressively towards your head voice.

  2. Start with vocal exercises in a mid-range, then a low scale, then a high range. You can then start going from the low range to the high range as you vocalise.

  3. Have a short break and then start doing your scales again.

  4. Work on the nuances. Start by singing at a comfortable volume before increasing the volume in increments. You can then do this again but starting at a higher level.

  5. Practise pronouncing all the vowels and consonants.

  6. Try vocal agility exercises. These will do wonders for your vocal flexibility.

There are plenty of examples of these on YouTube for you to check out.

Some important advice for maintaining your voice.

  • Make sure you drink water and tea with honey. Tea will stop your throat from drying out and honey is a natural antiseptic.

  • Avoid smoking as it can irritate your throat, larynx, and vocal cords.

  • Clear your airways, especially your nose.

  • Always warm up before you start a singing session, especially if you’re considering singing high notes. Just like when you do sports, you have to warm up first!

  • Do some sport to improve your breathing.

Can You Learn to Sing in Key if Your Singing is Awful?

Very few people can sing in key when they first start without putting any work in. Similarly, very few people can run 100m in 15 seconds without training! While we’re not all made equal, everyone can learn to sing in key with a bit of work.

How much do private singing tutorials cost? If you are one of the few people with amusia, you’ll always be unable to tell if you’re singing in key. (Source: pixabay.com)

In fact, someone born into a musical family will probably only learn to sing from an early age because they’ll be surrounded by music from the very beginning. Similarly, a child born into a sporting family will probably be more likely to get involved with sport. A child’s surroundings will play an important role in their future.

Singing out of key isn’t really that much of a problem when you first start. If you know you can’t sing in key, at least it means you can distinguish good notes from bad ones!

You have to learn how to listen to yourself when you sing because most people don’t. Have you ever listened to yourself on a recording and thought that it wasn’t your voice? The same happens when you sing! We don’t often sound exactly as we think. You need to work on your listening so you can hear if you’re singing in key or not.

Once you’ve worked on this listening, you can work on your voice as you have all the necessary skills for correcting yourself, improving, and gaining self-confidence.

Learn to Sing with a Private Singing Tutor

The best way to learn to sing in key is obviously with the help of an educator who’s specialised in teaching people how to sing.

Private singing tutorials are the best solution in this case. Unlike during a group class, in private singing lessons, the tutor is only there to help one student. This means that they can completely personalise every lesson and listen to their student’s needs.

The student will progress more quickly because the tutor will be there to correct their errors as they come up, help them warm up, teach them to breathe correctly, and improve their vocal technique.

What are the best resources for learning to sing? In addition to recording yourself, karaoke can be a great way to practise your singing. (Source: Revac films & photography)

Generally, private tutorials will cost more than group classes. However, the price of them can vary massively depending on a number of factors. Furthermore, they may cost you less in the long run as you’ll need less of them. There’s also nothing stopping you from taking group classes once you’ve learnt to sing in key.

A private vocal coach is great for those who are nervous about singing. We often sing out of key without even realising. You don’t have to worry about this in private tutorials because your voice coach will be there to help you. Thus, a student will build their confidence in their own abilities!

Learn to Sing in Key with an App

If you’re not quite ready to learn to sing with private tutorials, you can start by learning to sing with the help of free apps! Even if you’re no longer a beginner, there are plenty of apps that can help you improve your singing.

The advantage of apps is that you can start using them as soon as you’ve downloaded them to your mobile or tablet. Then you can practise wherever you like!

Sing True

This app, which is only available on iOS, is perfect for beginners!

It analyses the user’s voice and gives you exercises to make sure you improve your pitch. It can help you train both your ear and your brain in order to sing better. Furthermore, the app tracks your progress and gives you advice for working on your vocal techniques.

What are the best apps for learning to sing? There are plenty of apps that can help you sing in key. (Source: pixabay.com)

Sing Sharp

Available on both iOS and Android, Sing Sharp is the most complete solution for those learning in key.

You can do almost everything with this app:

  • Warm up

  • Vocal technique classes

  • Vocal training classes

  • Singing exercises

  • Record your favourite songs

  • Track your progress

With all this in one app, what else could you ask for?

Swiftscales

This is the most professional app on our list. This app, which is available on iOS and Android, is like having tutorials with a vocal coach!

Designed by signers, this app is for both beginners and experts. The app follows the beginner and will suggest personalised lessons depending on the singer’s tessitura. With breathing and technical exercises, this is the most credible app for working with private tutors.

Sing! Karaoke

Once you’ve improved your vocal technique and pitch, you can start singing your favourite songs!

Available on both iOS and Android, this app offers over 800,000 different tracks. You’ll also find a vocal optimiser which removes the little errors you make and you can also record your progress.

The Best Videos Online for Learning to Sing

To sing in key, you need to hear in key and know how to listen well. You’ll therefore need to train your ear and tune your voice with an instrument like a piano, for example. However, producing any given note (like the A after middle C) requires a lot of practise. Believe in yourself and practise harmonising with all the notes in your range.

Where can I find singing groups in the UK? Singing in key isn’t a given, you have to work hard in order to find your voice. (Source: pixabay.com)

The Songbird Tree

On Kerry Ho’s channel, you can find out plenty of things about how to improve your singing. Her advice for singers includes things like: how to improve your self-confidence, how to sing with vibrato, how to warm up your voice, how to sing with a strong chest voice, how to look after your voice. This works a bit like getting your own private tutor but it won’t cost you a penny.

Eric Arceneaux

Eric Arceneaux is a YouTuber who gives advice to singers. His YouTube videos cover a variety of different aspects of singing from how to protect your vocal cords, vocal workouts, warm up exercises, ways to sing in key, how to stand correctly, etc. Eric has plenty of great advice for those who’ve just started learning to sing!

Felicia Ricci

Felicia Ricci has plenty of videos on how to improve your singing. She has tutorials on plenty of different aspects of singing: how to sing with emotion, how to sing without tension, how to sing into a mic, how to fix your singing using breath, how to sing high notes, as well as videos on how to memorise songs and lyrics and how to relax your tongue while singing. There are plenty of videos on her channel that you’ll find useful.

With these resources, if you don’t make any progress with you’re singing, we’ll be really shocked!

In short:

  • Singing out of key isn’t the end of the world! Almost everyone can learn to sing in key with a bit of training.

  • You just have to understand the physics behind it. Singing in key just means that you’re singing in the right frequency with a sense of rhythm. However, there are other elements that you need to take into consideration like vocal timbre and your breathing.

  • There are several options for anyone wanting to learn to sing in key. However, the prices of these options can vary wildly from the very cheap to the very expensive. If you’re on a budget, why not find out about teaching yourself to sing or finding free singing lessons?

  • There are apps available to help improve your singing. Swiftscales is arguably the best solution on the market. It’s a great app for both beginners and experts.

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