5 Vocal Technique Hacks For Better Pitch
[The Secret To Great Pitch]
I was a pitchy singer.
A REALLY pitchy singer.
Especially in the mid range - sometimes I was okay, and other times I just couldn't stay in key when I sang.
I practiced exercises and trills, went over piano scales religiously, spent thousands on singing lessons and courses and still couldn't work out why I couldn't sing in pitch - until I learned these 5 simple vocal hacks for better pitch.
But before I do so, let me give you a little background on my experience learning how to sing so you know where I'm coming from and how it relates to the pitch issues you're currently experiencing.
Hi - I'm Kegan from Bohemian Vocal Studio. I've been singing since the late 90's when I was in highschool, so a little over 20 years now. I started teaching singing professionally in 2010 and took everything online in 2014 - so at this point I've been teaching professionally for over a decade.
I'll be honest though - it hasn't been an easy road.
These vocal hacks are only for SERIOUS singers and aren't some "cheap fix".
It's going to take work.
It's going to take dedication.
But you're definitely going to become a better singer.
And that's because this simple approach to better pitch really works - and do you want to know HOW I know that for a fact?
Because I've tried it myself.
My students are using out.
Other voice coaches even rave about my approach.
In fact, I've gone from a permanently hoarse voice, horrible pitch, failed recording sessions, thousands of dollars wasted on singing lessons that just didn't work, thousands more wasted in the recording studio and ultimately being unable to sing at my best - to a highly successful vocal studio which is regularly featured in Top 10 lists with world famous vocal methods like Roger Love and Christina Aguilera's Master Class.
Some of the world's top voice teachers are even saying that "Bohemian Vocal Studio is the only vocal studio to trust 100%" and I even have students that now have their own voice coaching channels with tens and tens of thousands of subscribers while using the approach that I first taught them.
But don't just take my word for it, here's just a fraction of the incredible feedback that my singing now gets;
Now, I'm not telling you all of this to try and impress you - I just want to share what you too can achieve when you apply yourself to the simple pitch hacks that I'm going to share with you in a moment.
But first, you've probably got a few questions like "Yeah, but is this going to work for me?" and "Aren't you just a Tenor?" or even "Aren't you just a natural that could always sing?" - to more pitch specific questions like "what IS pitch in singing?" and "Can anyone improve their singing pitch?"; so let me answer these questions first before I help you master the art of singing in pitch.
Pitch Questions Answered
Let me answer some of those questions that are starting to bubble under your surface;
Yeah, but is this going to work for me?
Funnily enough, I detailed in this article about building a 4 Octave singing range that the most common thing I hear from singers who are having issues is "My voice is different - This isn't going to work for me". In fact, this is something that I used to say to myself every single day when I sang; I basically approached singing like I was already at a disadvantage because of some special voice quirk that really didn't exist beyond poor technique.
I hate to sound so undiplomatic - but your voice really isn't that special.
My voice isn't special.
Aretha Franklin's voice wasn't special.
Chris Cornell's voice wasn't special.
Every single great singing voice out there is simply a balance of THREE basic fundamentals;
Airflow, Vibration and Resonance.
Stop defeating yourself before seriously trying - this was the biggest change in my singing approach that ultimately lead me to reaching and totally smashing my goals as singer; my attitude.
Do you have a set of lungs that can create and manage airflow? Yes.
Do you have a set of vocal folds that can create vibration from that airflow? Yes.
Do you have a pharynx, sinus and mouth? I certainly hope so (I'm going to call an ambulance for you if not!!)
So I posit this question to you if you're experiencing pitch issues - are you a MASTER of airflow, vibration and resonance? Like a SERIOUS master?
Think long and hard, and I suspect you're going to have to admit that NO, you're not a total master of at least one of these base fundamentals; and this is the true origin of your pitch issues.
Aren't You Just A Tenor?
This one cracks me up. The idea that "all good male singers are tenors" and "all bad male singers are baritones" just puts me in stitches of laughter.
Classical vocal fach really refers to your tonal quality within a specific range that fits a certain character with an Opera or theatre piece - and while you're asking, I'm actually a baritone; and quite a low one at that.
I've seen guys on YouTube that talk with really high, boyish voices saying "I'm a high-bari guys!", and you're right, these guys are Tenorprofundos; basically, Tenors with access to a few extra low notes than your average Tenor; often called a Bari-Tenor in contemporary terms.
My lowest resonant, sustained, consistent note is actually a B1, while most Tenor voices can sing an A2, or MAYBE a G2 at their absolute lowest. Check out this Mark Lanegan cover that I recently performed to see my true, natural baritone range at work;
While my range has gotten higher and higher and higher over the many years I've been developing my voice and helping others to become better singers - my natural low range has also developed and grown lower; so if you think the reason that you're pitchy is because you're a baritone, I just don't want to hear it, because you're obviously looking for excuses rather than solutions.
I've found actual baritone voices to be fairly rare in my years of teaching - and MOST people who think they can't sing 'because they have a low voice' are just bad singers who have a whole swag of technique issues they're too proud to admit and address.
Don't let this be you.
"Surely You're Just a Natural Then..."
Nope - I sucked at singing when I started.
In fact, I still sucked even after a good 5 or so years of weekly singing lessons.
I definitely wasn't a natural singer; the voice I now enjoy is the product of hard work, dedication and years of practice. I'm sorry that's not the answer you're looking for, but it's the absolute truth.
I'll share a "before and after" of my voice in a moment that will show you some of the issues I was experiencing in my days of regular gigging and touring - and yes, all that cracking and breaking you're going to hear in my voice was there even after many, many years taking lessons.
So let's talk pitch.
Can Anyone Improve Their Singing Pitch? [And What Is Perfect Pitch Anyway?]
If you're looking for the short answer, then YES, absolutely anyone and everyone can improve their singing pitch. If you're a pitchy singer, there's a good reason why your notes are all over the place.
And that's because your frequencies are currently a big bag of chaos.
I hate to say it, but you're driving blind.
You're throwing caution to the wind.
You're trying to put a square peg in a round hole.
Basically, you're just throwing notes, tones and frequencies out there and hoping for the best rather than actually resonating at the right tonal frequency for the pitch you want to sing.
But there's absolutely a better way.
Now pitch in singing is really judged from vibration in the bones of the face and sphenoid rather than "what you hear" per se. In many cases, with a dark vocal tone that isn't placed correctly - you've already made the wrong pitch before you 'hear it' with your ears, meaning you're always trying to correct your singing after hitting bad notes.
But a great singer places their frequencies in the right way to make use of the facial bones as their main resonator - resulting in perfect pitch through vibration and resonance rather than dodgy pitch that you hear after it's already been sung; kind of like chasing your tail - you're just never quite going to get it, and if you do - it hurts.
The key to perfect pitch is really forward placement - basically, resonating within the bones of the face rather than in the throat.
At this point, you're probably expecting me to direct you to a placement tutorial, or to tell you "the answer is in my course!" like everyone else does in these kinds of articles - but I'm just going to SHOW you how to do it right now. In fact, I'm going to do one better than this by showing you how to sing with ALL FOUR of The Four Vocal Fundamentals;
- Height In The Vocal Tract
- Forward Placement
- "All In One Flow"
- Mixed Tonality
Check out this video to learn more in <10 minutes than you've probably learned from years and years of wasting your time stuck in the YouTube loop of video after video after video.
The Four Vocal Fundamentals [And Bonus 5th Vocal Hack]
If you're having trouble with pitch, then vocal placement is really your first port of call. Basically, you need to learn how to resonate efficiently with the right frequencies rather than wasting your energy on vibration and frequencies which really don't 'buzz' in the right way - causing pitchy singing that probably 'feels like' you're singing the right pitch, but when you hear it back; you're more out of key than a rusty old lock.
So your first four vocal hacks for better pitch are as follows;
#1 Forward Placement - You need to resonate within the bones of the face and the sphenoid for a brighter tone and perfect 'sensory pitch' rather than trying to listen out for the pitch after it's already been sung incorrectly.
#2 Height In The Vocal Tract - A correctly sung vowel is formed in the pharynx and not 'pronounced' out of the mouth and throat like they often are in speech. By raising the soft palate correctly and learning to alter your resonant space to 'ping' the right frequencies for the vowel and register you're singing, your pitch is going to be absolutely perfect.
#3 "All In One Flow" - You didn't think we'd talk about better singing without getting to diaphragmatic breathing did you? I've found that the concept of "support" often creates the incorrect impression that you need to "lift" or "push" or "carry" your voice in the high range rather than letting it flow out on the air in a healthy, resonant and powerful way.
The more you push, the less power you're going to have.
I like to call this concept "All In One Flow" for good reason - try to sing a vocal line, any vocal line. Let's go with the first few lines of Soundgarden's Black Hole Sun.
"In my eyes, indisposed, in disguises noone knows."
Now, if you try to just sing it in the way you speak it, you're going to be pitchy and pushy - and it's basically going to sound like crap.
Now instead, if you let the line flow out on one breath of air like it's "All In One Flow" with a resonant connection between words and phrases where appropriate, it's going to be a whole lot easier, and it's going to sound awesome.
Now, this might look like some other crazy language, but this is my favourite way of writing out vocal lines in a phonetic way - try it a little like this;
EH-n-m-AH-EE-AH-IH-s, EH-n-d-EH-sp-OU-z-d, EH-n-d-EH-s-g-AH-z-EH-z-n-OU-OO-AH-n-n-OU-s
#4 - Mixed Tonality
Your voice isn't just separated into Chest voice for low notes and Head Voice for high notes; your voice is actually capable of balancing in the centre between the body and the edge of the fold to create Mixed Voice - basically, a blend of chest resonance and head resonance that allows you to sing and connect in either direction without a vocal break, and without strain or tension.
Have another listen to your favourite singers - they're singing in full voice, but not YELLING in chest voice, right? That's because they've mastered the art of Mixed Tonality.
Sound too good to be true? Check out this free tutorial on singing with Mixed Voice to learn exactly how I show my students to sing in Mixed Voice - Exclusive Mixed Voice Lesson
The "Secret Singing Sauce" That Is Going To Explode Your Vocal Range
We talked about FIVE vocal hacks for helping you sing in pitch, and we've been through four so far;
- Height In The Vocal Tract
- Forward Placement
- "All In One Flow"
- Mixed Tonality
And what about that "Before and After" that you've been telling me about?
You also mentioned Chris Cornell, and having FOUR octaves of range - but I've only heard you sing low, are you serious? Can I hear your high range too?
Sure thing. You'll find the "before and after" below, and in the same video you're actually going to find The #1 Thing You're EVER Going To Learn As A Singer, aka The 5th Vocal Hack For Great Pitch and I'm not only going to demonstrate the high range I've become so well known for, that power "Cornell" style high range that I know you're looking for, I'm actually going to SHOW you how to do it yourself!
Watch the video below to hear my "Before and After", a bunch of demonstrations of my higher range singing as well as a tutorial on developing vowel overtones so you can absolutely EXPLODE your vocal range and nail singing in pitch like a master!
Sign Up To Your Free Vocal Plan Below:
If You Want Better Pitch - You've Really Got TWO Choices
So you've got issues with pitch - I get it, I had them too.
To sum up what we've been through already, if you want better pitch - you absolutely MUST master The Four Vocal Fundamentals as your first priority. Every single great singer throughout pop and rock history has absolutely mastered singing with forward placement, height in the tract, "All in one flow" and mixed tonality; it's a fact.
If you're struggling to sing in pitch, just like I used to, then you need to seriously ask yourself; have you mastered The Four Vocal Fundamentals?
So at this point, you've really got TWO choices - think of it as a Red Pill/Blue Pill kinda situation.
Option 1) You close this tab and go back to your google search/the YouTube video loop, and the memory of our little dance here will fade in a few days - you'll probably even forget about The Four Vocal Fundamentals, my "Before and After" video and even The Register Overtones that I've shown you here.
Instead of progressing like crazy, seeing more range than you could have ever imagined developing before your eyes, applying yourself to a proven method and reaping the rewards, mastering the fundamentals and ultimately developing perfect pitch - you'll still be looking for that 'secret answer' that never really comes from YouTube videos, google tutorials, marketing posts, courses and expensive lessons. You might even drop a couple of hundred, or even thousands of dollars on some singing course or vocal lessons that impressed you - but ultimately doesn't help you sing any better or improve your pitch; I know, because this used to be me.
In fact, I even detailed how I initially spent over $15,000 on singing lessons and courses and saw basically zero progress - until I discovered exactly what I've just shared with you.
You'll continue having pitch issues and probably even get to a point where you feel like maybe singing just isn't for you.
It's brutal, but it's true.
And it's SUCH a shame.
Especially considering you were just One Click Away from becoming a better singer and fixing your pitch issues.
Option 2) You listen to what I'm saying and actually invest in your voice like only a serious, dedicated singer would - and you get to work on the Foundation 101 singing course with almost immediate results (I'll tell you what, I'll even throw in the Growth level course for only a few extra bucks.);
Your pitch is better.
There's no more strain and tension.
The vowel modifications you learned in the 3 Part Vocal Plan really start to make sense and become an intrinsic part of your vocal technique - with wild results.
You double your vocal range. Hell, you might even triple it like I did.
You step off 'the YouTube loop' of useless "vocal coach reacts" videos and start seriously working towards your goals as a singer. You start writing new songs to match your increased range. Maybe you head into the recording studio. Your band starts touring - whatever your goals as a singer are beyond fixing your pitch, you can actually start working towards them now you're not having all those pesky pitch issues you were having before you bought Foundation 101 and saw the light at the end of the tunnel.
You're just one click away from a better singing voice.
I know which pill I'd choose.