This is a guide on how to sing for beginners, even if you have absolutely no experience with music.
If you want to:
- Sound better during karaoke…
- Get rid of your nasality in your voice…
- Become more confident in your voice…
- And ultimately gain more control of your voice…
Then you will love the actionable tips that you can apply immediately to your singing.
Plus, I go over some techniques even advanced singers use every day to sound better, be more confident, and have fun.
Let’s get started.
Can Anyone Learn How To Sing?
If you can talk, you can learn how to sing.
This is important if you want to learn how to sing for beginners because hard work is something every singer can do.
Singing is all about hitting the right notes at the right time, something anyone can train for.
There’s a huge misconception that people are only born to sing mainly from shows like American Idol with those 4-year-olds belting out Mariah Carey…
But you can become a talented singer as long as you put in the time and follow the right system.
Look at Ed Sheeran, a famous pop singer, who also didn’t sound great when he started out as a kid…
Of course you will not sound amazing when you are first learning a skill but everything like singing:
- On pitch…
- Higher notes…
- Without nasality…
…Is possible to achieve through just training alone.
We all have to start somewhere so I made this guide so that the process to becoming a better singer is a lot easier for beginning vocalists out there.
So let’s get started.
1. Learn How To Sing On Pitch
Learning how to sing on pitch is the most important thing a singer needs to do.
This is something I wished I learned when I started my vocal journey, since no one taught me this.
What being on pitch means is that you hit each note (or word) with pinpoint accuracy with your voice.
You have to hit each note perfectly for every word your favorite singer sings.
And this is something even advanced singers have trouble with because it gets difficult based on how:
- Fast they sing the song…
- They change their mouths…
- They add techniques to the pitch…
And to put things in perspective, even advanced singers sing off pitch from time to time.
But as a beginner, you don’t need to worry about those things right now since all you should focus on is staying on pitch throughout the entire song.
Let me give you an example for you if you are a singer with no music theory using a vocal pitch monitor.
To stay on pitch with this vocal pitch monitor this means I need to stay in the green box.
If you aren’t in the green box, then that means you are out of pitch.
So when you hit a note on a piano you want to make sure that your voice sounds exactly the same and be on pitch like below…
So when I play a piano note (C4) I want my voice to replicate that sound and stay on that frequency in the green box.
When you don’t stay in the green box and your voice doesn’t stay on the same note, it would look like this and not sound pleasant…
As you can see, my voice isn’t hitting the green box, which means my voice is not on pitch.
The reason staying on pitch is difficult is that you do that for every single word in a song.
If you can do that in your speaking voice, then people are going to think that you are a talented singer even without vibratos or runs…
Because that’s how important staying on pitch is.
Here are some reasons beginners sing out of tune:
- The song is too fast…
- You’re hearing the note wrong…
- You can’t reach the higher notes…
- You have weak vocal cords (at the moment…)
That’s why when you are starting out you want to find a song within your vocal range so that you can focus on staying on pitch without straining your voice.
This is the first step you need to do in order to learn how to sing for beginners.
So How Do You Learn How To Sing On Pitch Without A Teacher?
I highly recommend finding a skilled vocal teacher because they would help you with proper technique and helping you develop your ear so that you stay on pitch more consistently.
Otherwise, if you’re on a budget, I recommend finding a vocal pitch monitor online so you can visually see if you are on pitch or not.
You can just google “vocal pitch monitor” and look at the apps to see which one works for you.
Then I would find music sheets for my favorite song at Music Notes and just plug each note and see if I’m singing correctly for each note.
Now this sounds like it takes a lot of work… and that’s because it does.
Especially in the beginning when your ear and voice isn’t developed. This is because you have to manually go through each note to make sure you are on pitch but this is what you need to do if you want to become a better singer.
Otherwise, the fastest method is to find a skilled vocal teacher.
And the best way to know if he knows what he is doing is if they can sing well.
But you can definitely learn how to sing for beginners on your own without needing a teacher.
2. Train Your Ear To Hear The Notes Better
You need to train your ear if you want to become a better singer.
This is how you can learn how to stay on pitch if you can replicate that same note.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you need absolute pitch where you can know instantly what note they are singing…
But what it means is that you should be able to replicate the same note that the singer is singing…
Plus, it helps you notice the subtleties of the singer distinct from them.
Also, you are most likely not tone deaf since it only affects 4% of the total population, and the reason why you aren’t hitting the notes accurately is because you haven’t trained your ear yet.
And just like everything in life, it’s going to take some time to train your ear.
So How Do You Train Your Ear?
There’s two ways if you want to learn by yourself which are:
- Find your favorite song on Youtube and try to copy how they sound at 0.25 speed.
- Find your favorite song on Youtube and the music sheets and plug in the notes on a virtual piano and replicate that sound.
The reason you want to slow it down is because it’s going to take time to find the right note when you’re starting out.
If you are completely new, I recommend finding a music sheet and plugging in the notes into a virtual pitch monitor just to make sure that you are hitting each note perfectly.
Doing this means that you are training your ear and your voice to hit the right note.
And it’s through constant repetition where you can seamlessly hit these notes without thinking anymore.
3. Smile And Open Your Mouth More To Sound Nicer
The easiest way on how to sing for beginners and get immediate results is smiling and opening your mouth wider.
What a lot of beginners do (including me when I started out…) is that you don’t open your mouth wide enough to sing, and it ends up looking like a “fish mouth” like below…
The reason many beginners have this problem is that when you are speaking normally you don’t need to exaggerate your mouth for you to talk normally.
However, The problem with this during singing is that your voice doesn’t sound great because you are muffling the sound.
Plus, you aren’t activating the vocal resonance within your voice to sound beautiful.
You may think your mouth is open but when you have to focus on many things like:
- Staying on pitch…
- Controlling the intensity…
- Keeping up with the speed of the song…
You begin to close off your mouth since you are focusing on too many things.
That’s why we need to make sure that exaggerating your mouth a little during singing because a habit you can do unconsciously.
The best part is that it’s easy to train and you can apply this immediately and the best way to train for this is to slightly exaggerate your enunciation when you sing.
You are going to notice that your voice is going to sound a lot better because you are going to activate the vocal resonance in your mouth, which leads to my second point: smile more when you sing.
Smiling helps a lot with singing for two reasons:
- It makes you more likeable to the surrounding people…
- It activates the vocal resonance so that you sound better…
It’s especially important for vowels like “Ah,” “Eh,” “EE,” because you have to widen your mouth in order to project the sound correctly.
When you smile, you raise your cheeks, creating more space for the voice to come out with.
Smile more and open your mouth a little and you will sound exponentially better when you sing.
4. Learn The Major C Scale For Warm-Ups With Your Voice
Learning the Major C Scale is something I recommend when teaching to learn how to sing for beginners because it is very easy to learn.
Let me show you why, even if you have no knowledge in music theory.
With a piano, you can play the major C scale just by incrementally going up the white keys starting at the C key below…
So all you have to do is play all the white keys going up or down starting at any C key (C3, C4, or C5).
What your goal is to replicate the notes as you go up and down the scale.
The reason many vocal teachers recommend this is that you are training your voice to stay on pitch with a very common scale in music.
Some even recommend warming up with it as it helps you develop your ear and to stay on pitch.
You don’t need to learn the theory behind the Major C Scale, just know that if you can play the white notes with your voice perfectly, your singing will improve rapidly.
If you’re curious about the major C scale and the theory behind it, here’s a great guide online to learn more about it.
5. Breath Properly Through Your Diaphragm
If staying on pitch means being great as a singer, breathing properly ensures your longevity as a singer.
Learning how to breathe properly as a singer is essential so that you don’t develop vocal nodes and ruin your voice.
This is especially important for beginners because they don’t really understand that pushing and straining your voice can permanently damage your voice.
If you’re like most people, you are probably doing “shallow breathing” where you use your upper lungs instead of your diaphragm.
Tip: A quick way to notice if you do the same is to notice if your shoulders shrug upwards when you breathe.
This isn’t ideal for a singer because you aren’t using the proper support for your voice, which can strain.
The best way to find out if you breathe properly is a simple exercise where you lay down completely on the floor with your back and just breathe normally like below…
You are going to notice that when you breathe from this position, your stomach expands before your entire body expands with oxygen.
This is how you do diaphragm breathing and is the type of breathing you need to support your voice.
Another great exercise is to develop your diaphragm breathing so that you use it unconsciously is to put your hand out and imagine that you are trying to blow out a birthday candle as hard as you can.
You’re going to notice that there’s an inward pressure onto your stomach where you do this and you want to do 5 reps with a 5 second rest until you feel comfortable with it.
This exercise helps you strengthen your diaphragm muscles so that it becomes second nature when you sing.
Learning how to breathe properly is essential if you want to become a singer who can reach higher notes without strain.
6. Improve Your Posture To Support Your Voice
After you have your breathing support down, what you need to do next is make sure you are singing with proper posture so that you can have the best singing with minimum strain.
Proper posture is also another easy hack to learn how to sing for beginners.
The best feeling to know if you’re in proper posture is to lie on the floor on your back again.
Notice where your neck, arms, and hips are in this position.
Now stand up and try to replicate this position by:
- Pulling your shoulders back but not too far…
- Tightening your glutes and abs by around 10-15% contraction…
- Looking straight up…
It should look something like this…
When you have proper posture, it makes it easier to sing better since you are creating a space for your voice.
When you support your body the right way, it makes it less likely for you to strain your voice when you push your vocal limits.
7. Find Your Vocal Range
Learning how to find your vocal range is a step forward in learning how to sing for beginners.
To make a quick summary, there’s 4 different types of singing categories which are:
Bass (Those deep voices like Elvis Presley…)
Alto (An Intermediate between a deep and high voice like Adele…)
Tenor (A pretty high voice like Justin Timberlake…)
Soprano (A Really high voices like Celine Dion…)
So here’s how you find your voice range: Use a piano (or virtual piano like this…) and play the lowest note and try to match it with your voice.
If you’re a musician, remember the note and if you don’t know how to read notes, just remember where that note is.
Then repeat for the high note, and that’s how you find your range.
If you’re tone deaf, then you would need to have a voice teacher or use a vocal pitch monitor to see the lowest and highest notes you can reach.
It’s important to find your range so that you can find songs you can sing comfortably.
Once you know approximately how big your range is, that means when you go to karaoke you would have a good idea on which songs compliment your range and learning how much to lower the key of a song so that it fits perfectly with your voice.
8. Fix Your Nasality With This Simple Trick
Nasality was something I was incredibly self-conscious of when I first started learning how to sing.
Not only was I out of pitch, but I literally sounded like Squidward from SpongeBob SquarePants (Not my proudest days during karaoke…)
Anyway, the reason I stress you don’t worry about your nasality in the beginning is because your voice probably isn’t strong enough to handle that note yet.
Nasality is just a different tonality for the voice.
You have three spectrums of tonality:
- Hermit the frog (nasally…)
- Normal voice (A regular human’s voice…)
- Rocky Balboa (That deep distorted voice…)
we switch and sound nasally when we reach those higher notes is because your voice isn’t strong enough to hit that note without the help of being nasal.
The short scientific summary is that when you sound nasally, your throat closes more so that you are less likely to break and more likely to hit that note.
A Breathing Exercise To Fix Your Nasality
If you really want to learn how to fix your nasally or at least notice when you are sounding nasally, a breathing exercise I like to do is to plug my nose with both my fingers and try speaking in a relaxed voice.
Something like this guy below, but with less strain…
When you do this, you’re going to sound nasally.
Now, what you want to do is to try to make it sound less nasally.
That means you want to play around and try raising or lowering your voice so that it sounds less nasally while your nose is plugged.
When your nasal is practically nonexistent (there will still be some left…) then you let go of your hand from your nose and your voice will less nasally.
And what you do is you rinse and repeat for each word until you can subconsciously do this without needing to plug your nose.
This technique will help you recognize if you sound nasally on certain notes when you sing.
These are tips that will help you when you learn how to sing for beginners.
9. Focus On Your Vibrato And Runs After You Build A Foundation
Even though vibrato and runs sound very cool, as a beginner I recommend you do that once you have a solid foundation with being on pitch.
If being on pitch is like having a meal, then vibrato and runs would be the spices that enhance that meal (A very random comparison but pretty accurate at the same time…)
The reason is because:
- If you try to do a vibrato without staying on pitch, your voice is going to sound unstable…
- If you try to do a run without staying on pitch, it will not sound pleasant…
This is because in order for vibrato to sound good, you want to bounce your voice consistently on the same pitch and look like a sine wave.
And in order for a run to sound good, you have to hit each note rapidly in order for you to sound clean.
Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t start practicing vibrato and runs in the very beginning…
It just means don’t focus solely on it without working on your pitch stability.
And the way you practice vibrato and runs is pretty similar to the way you practice pitch…
Slow it down and try to mimic how your favorite singer does it.
Sometimes, you might need to slow it down all the way to 0.25 speed just to hit each note cleanly.
But remember: Pitch is king when learning how to sing for beginners.
10. Focus On Your Chest Voice First
When you are starting out, you want to focus on your chest voice as a beginner.
The chest voice is the voice that you use when you talk to someone and feels most natural to you.
You don’t want to overcomplicate things in the beginning with working on things like mixed voice, head voice, falsetto, deep voice, etc…
Since you need a stable foundation before you can use these other vocal registers within you.
But just to give a quick summary of what each vocal register is…
- Mixed voice is a voice between your chest and head (And sounds like that too…)
- Head voice is a vocal register where you pass the mixed voice and you sing mostly from your head… (You may use a little bit of chest voice here…)
- Falsetto is strictly head voice and has a very airy sound quality to it…
Except for falsetto, mixed voice and head voice need a stable foundation in chest voice before you can work and improve them.
So don’t worry about it in the beginning, and as long as you are working on your voice every day, your vocal cords will eventually be strong enough to support your mixed and head voice.
These are the foundational steps in building your voice when learning how to sing for beginners.
11. Take Care Of Your Voice
I place a huge emphasis on taking care of your voice because I’m assuming that you want to be singing even when you’re old.
The best way to take care of your voice is to hydrate yourself. 77% of Americans don’t drink enough water, which is detrimental for a vocalist.
Now I can’t tell you how much water to drink since it depends on your:
- Activity levels
- How you process water
But a good estimate to start is around 2-3L (~0.5-1 gallons) of water a day.
Your body might not be used to the sudden influx of water so you might need to use the restroom multiple times but when your body gets used to it, a sign that you’re well hydrated is that your peeing is clear throughout the day (it’s gross but that’s the easiest sign to know…)
You also want to make sure that you get enough sleep with 8 hours of sleep and that you eat healthy.
There are also foods like:
- Sparkling Water
That you may also want to avoid before singing practice as it can create phlegm in your throat.
Taking care of your body is important, especially in the beginning since you are setting the foundations for a better voice.
Now, this doesn’t mean you need to be on a strict diet…
Rather, it means that you need to be more aware of how you treat your body.
Your voice is a muscle, and it needs proper care if you want to use it to its fullest potential.
Taking care of your voice is necessary when starting out when learning how to sing for beginners.
12. Reduce Muscle Tension With Stretching And Massages
If you’re like most people, you are probably sitting down for most of your day.
This is terrible not for your posture but also with creating muscle tension throughout your body.
When your body has a lot of tension from slouching throughout the entire day, you create muscle tension in your back, shoulders, and neck.
And when there’s tension in your body, that means that you are most likely going to strain when you sing in your higher range.
It’s why many vocalists say to relax when you sing so that the notes can come out comfortably and sound nice without being strained.
And the best way to reduce muscle tension is to have massages and daily stretching for your body.
You want to focus in the beginning where you’re tight around the neck, shoulders, and back.
It’s also important to stretch areas that may seem unrelated like your legs because your body is interconnected.
See, if you stretch your legs, this helps reduce the tension in your hips, which makes it easier to have proper posture.
Your body is a system and you want to make sure you get these parts.
And the same thing with massages: I recommend you get a massage once a week.
And it’s not just for the health benefits and making you sing better, but it just makes you feel amazing (10/10 recommend…)
Anyway, this comes back to taking care of your body and your voice will reflect that.
These are the little things that make a difference when learning how to sing for beginners.
13. Stay Consistent Every Single Day For 10-15 minutes
The best way to improve your voice especially on how to sing for beginners is you want to stay consistent every single day when you are starting out when you want to improve your voice.
Now, the reason I say 10-15 minutes is because:
- You probably haven’t developed the vocal stamina for longer periods…
- We want to build lifelong habits that stick with you for a long time…
I cannot stress how important it is to practice every single day when you’re starting out, even when you don’t feel like it.
The only time where I recommend you don’t practice is when you are physically sick and you have the flu or something…
But other than that, even practicing for 2 minutes when your voice is a little tired helps solidify these habits.
But let’s say that you are super motivated to become a super singer as fast as possible, even if you don’t have the vocal stamina yet.
Then what I would recommend is breaking it up into 10-20 minutes of practice throughout the day.
So this can be:
- 10 minutes every 4 hours…
- 20 minutes once in the morning and once in the night…
The reason I say this rather than practice 40 minutes in one time is because you need your voice to rest so that it has enough power to go through your practice session.
And once you build vocal stamina, you can slowly start increasing the time for your practice.
These are the tips I wish I had to learn how to sing for beginners when I was starting out.
I go over the importance of why you need to stay on pitch and how to do so. I also go over ways on how to support your breath and techniques so that you can gradually become a stronger singer. Anyone can learn how to sing as long as they put in the effort. Let me know in the comments below which tip that surprised you.