Can Anyone Learn To Sing?
This is a question that many beginner singing students ask themselves, can anyone learn to sing? The answer is of course, absolutely! But if you’re following a specific approach to singing or vocal course, you really do need to ask yourself one important question;
- Is this singing approach designed for my unique voice?
Think about it – your voice is unique and individual, and requires specialised and tailored coaching to fit your special voice range, accent and unique voice type. No two voices are alike, so no two approaches to singing should be the same – it’s important to seek out a voice coach that can tailor your approach and singing technique to your individual voice. Every good singing approach should include:
- An approach to coordinating and developing your Middle Voice
- A professional way to tune your vowels (ie: manual vowel tuning or vowel modification)
- Vocal placement and resonance
- An approach to glottal, plosive, sibilant, open resonant and closed resonant consonant sounds respectively
- Vowel shaping
- Consideration towards your accent and native tongue
- A warmup that releases your registers and places your resonance
- An approach to singing actual songs
- Breath control aka Appoggio singing technique
- Tonal control via your registers
This basic list of singing techniques should be included in your singing approach, and really do make the basis and foundation of a healthy voice. So instead of “can anyone learn to sing?”, you should really be asking “HOW do you learn to sing?”.
These simple steps will show you exactly the process you need to take to build a powerful and healthy singing voice and truly answer the question HOW do you learn to sing.
Step #1 – Set up your foundation
The foundation of a powerful singing voice is posture, breathing and resonance. Setting up your posture to include appoggio singing technique is incredibly important for a strong foundation, so make sure you’re setting up your posture with a wide rib position to allow your breathing to be controlled by extension of the diaphragm instead of rib contraction.
Step #2 – Build your resonance
Building resonance takes time and coordination between quite a number of different aspects of your voice, so make sure your singing approach includes an approach to;
- Chord Closure
- Vocal placement
- The soft palate
- Strain release
Learning how to release strain while coordinating the proper onset with good chord closure and vocal placement is the key to building resonance. If you’re having some trouble placing your voice, here’s a great tutorial I’ve put together to help you get the right resonance placement;
Learning to place your voice involves limiting the excess frequencies that don’t resonate correctly while building resonance of the efficient frequencies that do vibrate and buzz in the correct manner. Vocal placement is often mistaken as “masque” technique by even some of the top YouTube singing coaches, so be wary of anyone trying to make you sing in MASK when you’re a beginner singer – I’m sure they’re a great singer themselves, but I would be suspect of their ability to coach you effectively in this case. Placement and Mask are unrelated concepts in your singing voice, be sure to place youre frequencies correctly by limiting the excess vibration that occurs below your top teeth rather than trying to force your resonance into a paticular area.
Vocal placement is especially important for those singers with a lower natural range, such as the baritone voice range. Learning how to limit your resonance to only the most efficient frequencies will allow you to sing higher than ever before.
Step #3 – Develop your middle voice coordination
Sometimes called mix voice, the middle voice is a direct coordination between the musculature responsible for head voice, and the muscles responsible for chest voice, allowing you to balance between your two main registers in a powerful and released way. The middle register is where your favourite singers are able to sing and sustain their voices in a FULL and POWERFUL singing tone without straining, so make sure you’re releasing from your chest voice into your mix so that you can keep the rich tone of your low register while unlocking the ease of range afforded by your high register. Here’s another fantastic tutorial on releasing your middle voice:
Because every voice is different, I’ve developed a number of my own approaches to coaching my students how to access their middle register, from the projection method I showed you in the video above along with classroom voice, the ‘cry’ and ‘fry’ method and others – no matter your voice type, you can coordinate your registers into a powerful MIX.
Accessing your mix register should be a priority for any singer, so be sure to follow an approach to singing that has a practical and steps based approach to singing in middle voice.
Step #4 – Build your vowels
Shaping your vowels correctly is an important skill that is often overlooked in contemporary singing methods, especially when a coach believes that the speaking voice and singing voice are linked (they are not). In speech, you pronounce your vowels, wheras in singing, you actually use the shape of your tongue to EQ your resonance into each main vowel sound, while altering the width of your vocal tract to ensure proper resonance, in essence, using the same mechanism as speaking, but in a completely different way. Learning to sing with the right vowel shapes will allow you to sing ANY word and sing ANY song with ease, no matter where in your range you are singing. The two main shapes for your vowels are a low and concave tongue for AH based vowels, and a raised back of the tongue for EE based vowels. Here’s another tutorial I’ve put together for you to learn how to shape your vowels correctly:
Each singer has a slightly different physical build, so it’s important that you familiarise yourself with how these vowels resonate in each vowel shape so that you can use the best tongue shape for your individual resonance and physiology.
Step #5 – Tune your resonance
The other important aspect of your vowels is how your resonance is being tuned by your vocal tract. This skill is often watered down into a singing technique called vowel modification, where you alter the character of your vowels as you ascend in range. While this is a perfectly acceptable way for a beginner to learn the basics of vowel tuning, it’s ultimately innefective at fine-tuning your resonance into your high range – so you’ll need to learn the physical mechanism behind vowel modifcation and break it down to it’s key elements; the tongue root, the soft palate and your tongue shape. Here’s a great tutorial I’ve put together to show you how to tune your vowels in the most efficient way
Learning to tune your resonance the right way will allow you to extend your range, build your resonance and ultimately learn to sing like a star – confident, powerful and consistent. Using these five simple techniques absolutely anyone can learn to sing better and improve their singing voice.
If you want to learn how to sing higher, then learning how to tune your resonance is an important skill that only the very best voice coach will be able to show you. Tuning your vowels is an individual and specialised tool that each singer has to develop for their own unique resonance.
Learn to sing online
Online singing lessons have become the gold standard when learning how to sing. Why go local when you can go GLOBAL and meet with the BEST voice coach in the world?
The best vocal coach ever! (Ivan – Russia)
If you’re ready to learn how to sing, you can book an online singing lesson with Kegan at Bohemian Vocal Studio today by selecting your chosen time in the online booking calendar.
Feel free to leave any feedback or questions below!
Kegan DeBoheme is Bohemian Vocal Studio’s resident vocal coach and voice expert. He teaches professional singing and voice technique to students all around the world and enjoys providing tutorials like this one on how to improve your voice.