Singing Out Of Tune? [Here's 5 Reasons Why]
Singing out of tune sucks, doesn't it? You can feel the groove, you're digging that heavy riff, the pre-chorus comes in hard and you step up to the mic and - BAM! You're totally singing out of key.
Why do we sing out of tune sometimes? Why is our pitch okay some days, then abysmal the next? Can anyone learn how to sing in tune? What makes a pitchy singer sing out of tune?
Learning how to sing in tune takes time and practice, but there's a key reason that you're really struggling with singing in key when other singers seem to just nail it without effort - in fact here's FIVE reasons that you're singing out of tune and how you can learn to sing in tune.
The First Reason You're Singing Off Pitch
The first reason you're struggling so much with pitch is actually one of the most important aspects of vocal technique, and one that often gets overlooked when someone is trying to fix pitchy singing; Vocal Placement.
Now, it's not possible to "move" or literally "place" your voice, but it is possible to sing with a specific band of efficient frequencies which not only sound better, but also allow you to sing in key. When singing, we actually judge pitch from vibration and resonance rather than the sound hitting our ears after the fact (we'd always be chasing the note if that were the case!), and vocal placement is paramount to incredible resonance.
Here's my super simple approach to developing vocal placement;
Placement is all about frequencies and managing your resonance correctly, and great singing is actually all about frequencies and resonance too - so if you're struggling to sing in pitch, and you're sick of singing out of key - placement really is the most basic and fundamental aspect of a great singing voice.
The Second Reason You Can't Sing In Key
Pitch is really just the tonal centre of your resonance, and resonance is the result of vibration - so the second reason you might be off pitch when singing is inconsistent airflow. If you're interrupting the vibration and flow of resonance, one of the first symptoms is an inability to sing in key.
This also explains why your pitch is inconsistent. Sometimes your airflow is okay and your pitch is okay, and then other times your airflow is inconsistent, strained or too aspirate and your pitch is going to suffer big-time.
Learning to sing with consistent airflow is one of the key aspects of the Four Vocal Fundamentals which I just covered in this article -> 5 Singing Tips That Really Work
The Third Reason Your Pitch Sucks
If your pitch is okay lower in your range, but it gets suspect the higher you go - it's likely you have an issue with your vowels and resonant overtones. Through each register of the voice, the overtone that creates the illusion of that vowel or word alters slightly with the shape and size of the vocal tract/frequencies of that pitch - if you're holding on to the chest voice overtone into your mixed register; you're going to have a hell of a time staying in key.
The solution here is another one of the Four Vocal Fundamentals;
- Consistent Airflow
- Height in the vocal tract (This one!)
- Mixed Tonality
- Forward Placement
Height in the vocal tract allows you to tune the size and shape of your vocal tract to the frequency and resonance of the register you're currently singing in. An example of this is the slight narrowing of all AH based vowels high into your mixed register; making your vowel/words sound like a slightly French "OU" sound, like the word "Heard".
Raising the soft palate is the key to staying in pitch as you ascend in range. Raising the soft palate in this way and altering your resonant overtone is sometimes known as Open Throat Singing.
Here's my super simple approach to Open Throat Singing;
Open Throat Singing Technique is super simple when you stick to the Four Vocal Fundamentals while building a powerhouse vocal foundation. You can get started with these fundamentals here in the foundation 101 Singing course.
The Fourth Reason You're Pitchy
One of the most common reasons for pitchy singing is a lack of practice and training. I know this isn't the magic bullet solution you're looking for, but a great way to improve your pitch - is to practice more efficiently.
You'll notice I didn't say "Practice makes perfect", as I really do believe that "Perfect Practice makes perfect". Understanding how and why each aspect of the voice works the way it does, along with understanding each exercise and concept that you're developing really is half the battle in learning how to sing.
This is why I developed the Foundation Vocal Method; as a way to set everyone up with a rock solid vocal foundation, no matter whether they've been singing for 20 years already, or if they've barely sung two lines in their life. Having a great practice routing and vocal method that is designed off the Four Vocal Fundamentals we just spoke about really was the key to building my own voice personally - without this powerful but simple approach, I'd still be struggling to sing in pitch to this day.
Practising regularly in a well thought out and intentional way is one of the most powerful ways to improve your pitch as a singer.
The Final Reason You're Out Of Key
The fifth and final reason that you're singing out of a key is a lack of foundation as a singer. Don't take that the wrong way, you're not alone - my foundation was lacking for a very long time. In fact, I recently calculated that I spent $15,000+ on singing lessons as a beginner singer and saw very little progress. I'd love to save you from spending that much money and wasting so many years with foundation like I did - so let's get one important thing straight.
There is no secret, trick or magic bullet that is going make you sing better - only excellent vocal foundation and a firm grasp on the fundamentals.
Now that we've got that out of the way, let me show you exactly what you can achieve when you put a rock solid vocal foundation into use. Here's just a few quick examples of what I'm achieving now that I've mastered the fundamentals and have access to my vocal foundation - just imagine the amazing and powerful voice you're going to enjoy once you master the Four Vocal Fundamentals!