Why is singing so hard for certain people?
Learning how to sing should be a simple and joyous process, and while there are goals and challenges associated with any form of learning – sometimes singing can be very hard for certain people. In this singing tutorial I’m going to share with 10 reasons why singing is so hard for some us, and so easy and natural for others.
10 reasons why singing is so difficult
With these 10 reasons why singing is so difficult you can reshape your approach to singing so you can develop any incorrect techniques for singing made easy. Singing is simply a process of developing coordination between the various elements of your singing mechanism, it’s not an entirely muscular pursuit as some expect. Working on individual techniques and then coordinating them together is the best way to build a healthy singing voice that is as controlled and consistent as it is expressive and powerful.
#1 – You’re trying too hard
Does singing make you happy? If you answered yes, but you simply don’t like practicing – then we have a problem, but fortunately one that is easy to fix. If you are struggling and sick of trying to make your singing voice better, this is because your expectations about singing are likely askew. The voice you have now is the SAME voice you’ll have when you develop your singing technique – you’ll simply have more control over the various aspects of your voice, from onsets, vowel modification, consonant grouping, middle voice and other elements of a great voice. If you’re TRYING to sing and MAKE you voice do something that a) isn’t natural and b) you don’t fully understand, then of course singing is going to be hard.
I quite often see singers straining and pushing for their high notes, only to wonder why it’s not easy, and the answer is simply this: They are trying to hard. Singing should be easy, joyous and free – don’t make it harder than it should be.
Solution: Start light, take your time and make sure you develop EVERY part of your voice instead of cherry picking the techniques you like or are good at. If you’re not good at a certain technique, the answer isn’t to avoid it, or fight it, it’s to train and develop this technique to the highest level so you CAN sing with ease.
#2 – Your foundation is weak
I often tell my students “your singing voice is only as strong as your foundation”, and while I get the obligatory nod, some singers simply don’t see the value in basic and beginner techniques like Diaphragmatic Breathing, Placement and Appoggio because they think “They’re for beginners!”, when in fact, every powerful singer is a MASTER at Appoggio breathing, placement and posture. Your voice is only as strong as your foundation, so set up your posture, breathe correctly and place your frequencies every time you sing for a strong and powerful voice that is easy to train.
Solution: Set up your foundation using our free foundations short courses for the strongest groundwork to build your voice.
#3 – You’re using your speaking voice
While they make use of the same mechanism, you might be surprised to learn that your speaking voice and singing voice are two separate process that require two different applications and unique training. If you want to build a healthy singing voice, you need to put your speaking voice and accent aside for a while so that you can focus on the actual process required for singing. If you’re not convinced:
- Do you breathe using your diaphragm for speech? No.
- Do you shape your vowels and tune your vocal tract width for speech? No.
- Do you group your consonants into types and form an individual approach to each in speech? No.
- Do you use the Mix Voice coordination for speech? No.
- Do you modify your vowels, place your frequencies, tune your resonance, use the concepts of Appoggio, Open Throat and Inhalare la Voce in speech? No.
As you can see, singing and speaking are two separate activities that yes, make use of the same mechanism, but are ultimately distant relatives. In my opinion as a professional voice coach who coaches students all around the globe how to improve their singing voices by taking control of the different aspects of the vocal mechanism, it’s my opinion that a singing method like Speech level singing are vocal approaches designed for singers who simply aren’t interested in developing control over their voices or building an extensive range, and only applies to singers who want to make do with what they’ve already got. This isn’t a Speech Level Singing review, it’s a simply a fact that SLS doesn’t teach you diaphragmatic breathing, Appoggio, Vowel Modification, Balanced Onsets, Placement or any other aspect of a healthy voice.
Solution: Separate your singing voice from your speaking voice – they are ultimately only distant relatives and require two separate processes and applications. Using your speaking voice for singing is like using a hatchback for offroading, you might get over a bump or two, but ultimately your car will get trashed and you will no doubt get stuck.
#4 – You’re not placing your resonance
Your vocal chords are a magnificent piece of machinery, capable of creating a wide range of tones and frequencies with ease – but not all frequencies created by your vocal chords are useful, or healthy in a singing voice. To place your resonance, you need to limit any excess frequencies that have no use or little application in your singing voice so that you can focus your energy on only healthy and powerful frequencies. By placing your voice, you ensure that your frequencies and resonance will grow over time in a healthy way.
Solution: Develop placement using our free foundations short course Placement 101 so that you can resonate in an efficient and free manner.
#5 – You’re pronouncing your vowels
Remember, speech and singing aren’t related in application of your vocal mechanism. To SING a vowel, you need to form the right tongue shape and matching vocal tract width to ensure the most efficient use of your frequencies and allow a powerfully resonant sound instead of manipilating your sound into a speech vowel. I like to think of vowel shaping as “EQ” for your voice, altering the landscape of frequencies your voice is creating to give the illusion of a vowel sound.
Solution: Shape your vowels, tune your vocal tract width to each vowel
#6 – You’re running before you can walk
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Are you trying to hit high notes without having developed your vocal mechanism, or trying to push your chest register as high as it can go? In essence, you’re trying to run before you’ve learned how to walk.
Solution: Take it slow and get professional coaching to ensure you’re using the right technique
#7 – You’re using consonants as an onset
Did you know that an onset always occurs on a vowel? Every time you sing a consonant sound, or word, your resonance starts on a vowel sound, regardless of whether your word starts with a vowel or not. For example, the word “Too” has an onset on the “OO” vowel, with an articulated T at the very moment of phonation, same as a word like “Car”, which has the onset on a pure “AH” vowel with an articulated C at the very moment of the onset. Building an approach to each of your consonant groups is very important to healthy singing, and will allow you to start your resonance in a sharp and powerful way with minimal effort – while maintaining placement and breath support.
#8 – You’re not using the right approach (for YOUR unique voice)
Every voice is different, and hence every approach to singing needs to cater to voice type, native tongue and accent along with the many idiosyncracies that come with each individual singing voice. I often see voice coaches teaching what worked for them, whether that was what their students needed, or not. A great example of this is a lowered tongue; and sure, keeping your tongue free of strain and your mouth open is great for your singing voice, but forcibly depressing the tongue in a muscular way will CAUSE strain. The reason why someone may be teaching you to do this, and this is even more evident in self-service singing courses, is that this is what THEY were shown, and it worked for them. Now, this simply means that when they first started singing, they had tongue tension and held their tongue ‘up’ in a muscular fashion, and when they were told to lower their tongue and release strain it simple WORKED for them and improved their voice – so they force all of their students to depress their tongue. It’s a vicious cycle of misinterpreted and well meaning advice that applies to a specific voice and particular issue one singer was having, but this doesn’t mean that EVERY singer experiences this same issue and needs to lower their tongue in this manner.
Solution: Ask your voice coach WHY and HOW these kind of instructions will help your voice. If they can’t explain it to you, they likely lack the understanding that every voice is different, and requires it’s own unique approach to vocal technique.
#9 – You’re pulling chest
There’s a number of singing courses out there that teach people to belt and yell – whether this is what the students wants out their voice or not. Now, there’s nothing wrong with belting in itself, but you shouldn’t have to belt to hit a certain note, and you should be able to sing every single note in your range with resonance, class and finesse. The problem with the instruction many people receive to “Sing as high as you can in chest voice before handing over to head” is in semantics – if two different people have two different understandings about WHAT the registers are, and HOW they work, then this instruction will likely work for one of these students, and have a disasterous outcome for the other. Now, if you understand that singing high chest voices notes actually requires you to access your mix voice coordination rather than singing in a full and bellowy chest tone, then this instruction will likely work for you because you understand there really is no such thing as pure chest voice – but a student with little experience who can’t yet connect their head and chest registers by way of mix voice is going to strain and damage their voice with this instruction.
Solution: Don’t pull chest voice, learn how to coordinate your middle register instead.
#10 – You’re not supporting… or OVER supporting
It’s one thing to lack support in singing, but did you know there is such as thing as too much, or too forceful support? There’s a reason why classical singers often refer to breath support as “prop” or “lean” – if lean your arm on a post it will help you stand with ease, but if you push against this post you’ll fall over and push the post over with you. Your breathing is the same – too much support equals too much pressure and compression, resulting in a wide vocal chord coordination that results in a shouty and strained tone. Support is a fluid aspect of your singing and should be a coordinated effort along with placement and adduction to create JUST the perfect amount of air pressure for powerful and easy resonance. You can often hear when a singer is over supporting by the staccato way they change between pitch – a fluid legato approach to phonation is impossible when your vocal chords are fighting against hyper compression and over support.
Solution: Don’t over support and “push” your prop over with too much compression and a forceful delivery.
Do you recognise any of these 10 reasons why singing is so difficult? If so, you need to head back to your foundation and rebuilt your techniques one by one while learning to coordinate these different elements into one powerful singing voice that occurs with control, consistency and ease.
Learn to sing fast and easy
If you want to improve your singing voice fast, then you need to follow a steps-based approach to singing. Following an intuitive process of steps that are built into your singing technique is the only way to learn to sing fast and easy. I like to start with posture and then build the other elements of singing into my students’ warmup care of their voice type and singing experience – remember, every singing voice is unique.
- Engage the diaphragm
- Register Release
- Vowel shapes
- Vocal tract width/vowel tuning
- Middle voice
- Register connection
- Vowel tuning/Vowel modification
- High range extension
- Mix voice coordination
- Consonant grouping
As you can see, each of these elements is relient on the previous steps in a steps-based approach to singing. This approach is a proven and foolproof way for absolutely anyone to learn how to sing – even as a complete beginner, or if you think you have a bad voice, Bohemian Vocal Studio’s steps-based approach to singing technique is simple, practical and easy to implement.
A truly superior singing method
Bohemian Vocal Studio coaches voice students all around the world how to sing better with using this truly superior singing method, and since launching in 2010 has steadily grown into the premier voice studio online. With extensive resources available to every singer, such as the free troubleshooting guide in the navigation bar to your right, free foundations short courses and an extensive library of video tutorials at the BVS YouTube channel – Bohemian Vocal Studio’s superior singing method has become known as the most practical vocal approach in the world.
[quote] I seriously feel like I’m singing better that I ever have in my life! (Mark – Australia)
[quote] The best voice coach in the world! (Ivan – Russia)
[Quote] Thanks so much for helping me through this journey! (William – USA)
[quote] If you want to sing Rock or Blues, THIS is the guy! (Mau – Australia)
[quote] Awesome information! You’re the best. (Troy – USA)
[Quote] The high stuff is definitely less pushed and I’m surrendering more and more to middle voice! (Ben – Australia)
[Quote] You’re like the Yoda of singing – “Trust in the vowel, mmm?” (John, Sweden)
Bohemian Vocal Studio has coached beginners and touring professionals alike, and has help students reach their goals sooner and more efficiently – from starring in muscial theatre productions of Rock of Ages, Fiddler on the Roof, The Producers along with smoothing out the audition process for many students trying out for established bands, tribute shows and working towards their first professional studio recordings and live performances.
Learn to how to sing
If you want to learn to how to sing, then Bohemian Vocal Studio has a number of free resources available to every budding singer, no matter your singing experience. In the nav bar to your right you’ll see our troubleshooting guide which details tips and tricks for all manner of vocal techniques and voice issues, along with our free foundations short courses available in our course repository.
It’s east to learn to how to sing well with Bohemian Vocal Studio’s steps-based approach to practical and intuitive singing technique. By developing each element of your voice and controlling your vocal mechanism the way it was intended, you can build an extensive and expressive vocal range and reach your singing goals sooner and more efficiently.
If you’re ready to take your voice to the next level, you can book a Skype session with Kegan at Bohemian Vocal Studio today and get started on your way towards the BEST singing technique and an incredible voice.
If you have any questions about learning to how to sing, you can 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.