If you dream of having a beautiful singing voice, you can turn this dream into a reality by hiring a vocal coach!
Many people believe they are "too old" or "too tone deaf" to start improving the tone quality of their voice or extending their vocal range. But these are common myths - no one is too old to start benefiting from voice classes and very, very few people are actually tone deaf.
As Emmanuelle Ayrton puts it:
Singing is a natural act. In actual fact, most of us sing a little every day. People can practice their singing at any age. Unfortunately, some believe that they are completely incapable of singing. This belief is untrue in 99% of cases.
There are so many benefits to enrolling in private singing lessons. It can be an affordable, fun way to start honing your musical ear or building personal confidence. For the very shy beginner, in-home singing lessons can help bring students out of their shell, overcome stage fright and truly blossom as musicians. You may even try an open mic one day!
Employing a singing teacher is an investment in your personal wellbeing, just like signing up for yoga classes or a gym. After you've carefully chosen your ideal singing teacher, you'll be expected to practice a few times a week between your singing lessons.
But how can you do that most effectively? Here is our guide to revising between singing lessons for a stronger, clearer voice.
Accompanying Yourself When Singing
Aspiring singers generally see their voice teachers once or twice a week, for between one and two hours of lessons.
Start off on the right foot by hiring a professional to help you progress, but to truly make the most of each lesson, you'll need to put in a few hours of solo practice in between lessons.
Whilst vocal training can be very fun on its own, most singers aspire to perform one day - perhaps doing covers at an open mic or even writing their own songs! It's invaluable for singers to learn to play a musical instrument. Learning the guitar or piano is particularly helpful for singers. Playing another instrument allows you to accompany your own voice during your exercises, find pitches and rhythms more easily, pick out melodies you're learning and eventually learn to accompany your voice in performance.
If you're hoping to take AMEB exams or one day audition for a university or conservatorium singing program, it's important to have a working knowledge of music theory and be able to read music.
If you don't play an instrument yet, you can involve friends or family to accompany you, or simply sing with a backing track. But nothing is better than becoming a whole, rounded musician who can play independently!
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Know Your Voice
During your first vocal lesson, your teacher will assess your ability, listen to the timbre of your voice and find your overall vocal range.
There are six "registers" for classifying different singing voices, listed here from lowest to highest:
- Bass: Low male voices
- Baritone: Mid-range male voices
- Tenor: High-pitched male voices
- Alto: Lower female voices
- Mezzo-soprano: Mid-range female voices
- Soprano: High-pitched female voices
When choosing repertoire together, your teacher will help you find pieces that are right for your vocal range. You can also find sites online that can generate song suggestions depending on your vocal register.
Just like building muscle at the gym or improving flexibility through yoga, a small amount of daily practice is important to hone and strengthen your voice. If you limit your singing to one lesson per week, you won't see much improvement over time. Ideally, you'll spend around 30 minutes each day with your singing exercises and pieces.
30 minutes of singing can be a lot for beginners! If you feel your voice starting to tire out, start with a 15-minute session and build it up from there. Alternatively, you can break one longer singing session into two shorter sessions.
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With regular practice, you'll progress faster and make the most of every lesson!
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Mobile Apps for Vocal Training
Whether you're working remotely, visiting family or on a holiday, the internet has made it possible to practice your vocal skills from anywhere in the world!
There is a wide range of apps and music education software out there - there are options to help you hone your singing skills, learn to read music, understand music theory or do aural training. Many of these come in the form of games on your phone - so you'll be having fun while you're studying hard!
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If you're not sure what the next step is when it comes to vocal warmups, these applications can help.
Some apps help with extending your vocal range, and others that help you pick out the correct note by improving your relative pitch. This can be super helpful for students getting ready for music exams!
Here is our list of helpful apps for vocalists:
Sing! By Smule
- Available for: Android and iOS
- Cost: Free
- Our favourite feature: Duet with the song’s original artist
Sing! is aimed at casual singers who love karaoke and singing socially. This app is part pocket recording studio, part karaoke. You can record your own singing or record singing sessions with others. The best part? You can sing along with your favourite artists. There is also the option to add effects to your voice.
Singing Vocal Warm-Ups – Singer’s Friend
- Available for: iOS
- Price: $3.99
- Our favourite feature: There are a large number of scales available - perfect for exam prep!
This app is great for beginner singers and pros alike. First, you set your vocal range, and then it will take you through scales - no piano needed! Beginners will love that they don't need to learn piano to accompany themselves in their warmups, and pros will love the flexibility of warming up anytime, anywhere with only your phone.
To give an example, if you have an alto voice and want to warm up with a major scale, you would select "Alto" as your range, and then "Major" under the "Set Scale" menu. Then the app does the rest, and all you have to do is sing along!
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- Available through: Android, iOS and any web browser
- Price: multiple payment options, including $59 per year, or a monthly instalment of $8.99 per month
- Our favourite feature: There are beginner, intermediate and advanced courses available
Voxtrain is an online vocal gym to get you singing regularly and strengthening your voice. There are many different subscription options available, and a free try-before-you-buy feature. Each of the three levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced) is a 6-week course. The beginner level teaches you how to warm up your voice, control your breathing and begin increasing your natural resonance.
If you use Voxtrain for just 20 minutes each day, you'll definitely see results!
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YouTube: The Self-Taught Singer's Best Friend
YouTube is an invaluable resource for the 21st-century musician. There you'll find a wealth of video tutorials and online singing lessons.
Check out some of the amazing singing teachers on Dailymotion and YouTube who share videos to help you improve your vocals and further develop your musicianship.
The benefit to YouTube is the enormous amount of content adapted to all levels and genres of singers. Whether you're already an aspiring opera singer, or would simply like to start training your musical ear, there is a YouTube channel out there for you. Through these videos, you can pick up new singing techniques or breathing exercises to support you in your singing journey.
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There is an ever-growing musical community putting out new content every day. Some of the top accounts include:
- Eric Arceneaux
- Felicia Ricci
- New York Vocal Coaching
- Ken Tamplin Vocal Academy
Hitting The Books To Improve Your Singing Practice
You won't become a professional singer through reading books alone, but there are many great printed materials out there to support your learning.
The best materials you can find are manuals accredited through musical exam boards such as the AMEB.
These books can help you improve and expand:
- Your vocal technique and posture with the help of illustrations
- Your performance technique and musicianship as many of these textbooks come with download links or CDs with backing tracks
- Your practice routine as you learn new arpeggios and scales
The authors of accredited singing manuals are commonly professional musicians and high-qualified music teachers with years of experience - this means you're getting good information from the best of the best.
Ever wondered about the difference between your head voice and your chest voice? Want to understand vocal anatomy to extend your vocal range to reach higher and lower notes and produce a richer tone?
You may be learning to sing just for fun, improving your pitch to hold a tune at karaoke or perhaps you need a little confidence boost before taking the next step of joining a choir. Either way, we advise hitting the books and getting clued into singing theory. This is especially true if you're hoping to enrol in a singing exam!
Remember: practice makes perfect, so spice up your practice with apps and books and your own instrumental practice to inject some fun into your singing sessions.
Not sure if one-on-one lessons will work for you? Check out our guide on singing tuition prices.
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