Can anyone learn to sing well?
It’s the age old question – can anyone learn to sing well? The truth is, YES, absolutely anyone can learn how to sing well, incredibly well, with the right vocal techniques. The style of music and favourite singers may very well differ to the next guy/gal, but if you can work out the core of what your favourite singers are actually doing rather than trying to SOUND like them, then learning to sing can be super easy!
I know I know, there’s some super confusing information out there, and a ton of really popular people on YouTube saying stuff like “My singing course is the ONLY course that works” and “I’m better than this guy, or that guy” etc – trust me, they’re not trying to help you, they’re just trying to make a quick dime out of your frustration and confusion. When you see a video like that, ask yourself one thing – “Did I actually LEARN anything from that video, or am I just being compelled to buy something because they sound impressive?” – if it was a truly great singing lesson video, then it would actually be YOU walking away sounding impressive from all the cool things you learned.
Whether you want to learn how to sing pop, or blues, the classics, or Rock like me, building your vocal technique around a powerful foundation will take you MUCH further than any crazy tricks or flashy courses – no matter WHO your favourite singer is! In my case, Chris Cornell has always been the biggest influence on my singing and always held that “I wish I could do that!” effect every time I heard a Soundgarden record. I’ll be honest with you, learning how to sing like Chris Cornell DOES take a little more finesse than just copying his voice or hitting the same high range he was so famous for. If you want to learn how to sing like Chris Cornell, or your want to sing pop, you love Adele, or even just want to wow your friends at Karaoke one day, the first step is your foundation so you can support the high range and those powerful tones with ease without causing strain, or worse, damaging your voice.
Step 1 – Posture & Breathing
Learning how to breathe correctly for singing is SUPER easy, seriously. You simply need to start with a healthy posture and learn to engage your diaphragm rather than expanding your chest like you usually do to speak. Here’s a really simple video that I’ve put together that will actually show you HOW to do this the right way:
Step 2 – Resonance
Learning how to sing with resonance is the next thing you need to learn, and you’re in luck – I’ve put together another simple tutorial on singing with resonance! The idea is, you need to create a BUZZ with your voice rather than creating excessive airflow. I can talk about this all day, but it’s easier to show you:
Step 3 – Placement
This one is often missed by vocal coaches with a ‘higher’ voice type – but it’s absolutely imperitive for lower voices and baritones like me. Placement is just a fancy way to describe the frequencies that your vocal chords are making when you sing – if you don’t develop placement in your voice, then your voice WILL be inconsistent, and will change wildly from day to day, meaning that some days you’re actually training your voice to do the WRONG thing – scary stuff, right? Placement is actually really easy to do, you just need to communicate with your vocal chords that you want them to buzz ‘higher’ rather than with a lower boomy sound. A really easy way of doing this is with a resonant “N” or “NG” sound like we used in the video above.
Step 4 – Vowels
Learning how to control your vowels is probably the most complicated thing about singing – but it doesn’t HAVE to be complicated. I’ve developed a really simple approach to singing that makes it almost IMPOSSIBLE to sing a wrong vowel, regardless of your accent or voice type – using ‘positions’ rather than the archaic classical method of “OH/OO” etc to reach your high range. You can hear how I use my vowels in the following video, which coincidentally features the Soundgarden song “Limo Wreck” which is requested by a new student at LEAST once each month.
Step 5 – Middle Voice
In line with the video above that shows you how to transition between your vocal registers, if you’ve seen any of my other recent videos you’ve probably heard me use the term “Middle Voice” or “Mix” – this is a much confused and convoluted topic in singing, but again, it doesn’t HAVE to be confusing and difficult. Basically, you need to balance your vocal chord closure vs. air pressure vs. the length of your vocal chords. Clear as mud, right? Actually, it’s super easy to achieve with the right approach – I prefer the term “Middle Voice” because that’s what it really is, that “missing” middle register between Chest Voice and Head Voice that SO many popular vocal coaches out there seem to forget about/don’t know how to use properly, but it’s second to none in terms of vocal health and building a powerful range. Try it yourself by changing your tone from “Dark” and “Low” – to “Bright” and “Placed” like we discussed earlier, do you feel all that tension in your throat just slip away? Bingo – that’s because you’re now singing in your “Middle Voice”! Can’t hit it yet? No sweat – this one is actually dependent on ALL the above techniques working together first, from your posture and breathing, to your placement and vowels.
When you’re ready to start building your range, learn how to sing vowels the RIGHT way (also, the EASIEST way!) along with building your middle voice, you can book a session with me now and we’ll start powering up your singing technique today!
Feel free to leave any questions or feedback 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.