“Those who wish to sing always find a song.” - Swedish Proverb
Who’s never dreamt of singing on stage in front of thousands of adoring fans?
While many people are still interested in learning to sing, vocal technique isn’t innate and not everyone’s singing is worthy of a performance at the O2.
More and more people are becoming interested in singing. You can learn how to sing in tune and there are plenty of tips and advice out there to help you sing in tune, especially if you want to sing a cappella.
So how can you learn to sing in tune? What does singing in tune mean to singers? Do you need to take singing lessons? Does your timbre affect how well you can sing in tune?
In this article, we're looking at what singing in tune means and how mastering your breathing, warming up your voice, and getting singing lessons can all help.
What Is Singing in Tune?
Firstly, you need to know the basics and what singing in key and voice type are. Singing in key doesn’t mean that you have a nice-sounding voice, it just means that you’re producing the right note.
The only problem with singing a cappella is you don’t have any background music for reference. You need to be able to produce a note and use your ear to ensure that you’re singing in tune.
You can calculate this through the fundamental frequency. Frequency is calculated according to vibrations per second in Hertz. For example, the tuning standard is according to an A. The international standard for tuning is 440Hz so you need to harmonise with this (although there are arguments for a return to 432Hz).
Without any background music, you’ll need to use your singer’s intuition and knowledge of music to hear whether or not you’re in tune. While this can be complicated, it’s not impossible!
Find out more about the history of a cappella.
Mastering Your Breathing
If you want to sing in tune, you’re going to have to master your breathing. When you sing, you breathe using your diaphragm. This organ is incredibly important when singing and you need to work on your mastery of it. The diaphragm is a muscle that connects the thorax to the abdomen. When you sing, you should try to feel it working.
The better the mastery of your body and breathing, the better your singing will be. Let’s not forget that when you’re singing without any background music, your voice is essentially naked and unfiltered.
Breathing is an essential part of singing as well as activities like yoga and meditation and can be useful for connecting with yourself and getting more out of your singing practice. Any self-respecting a cappella singer needs to master their breathing.
Discover some great songs for a cappella.
Advice for Singing A Cappella in Tune
Learning to sing in tune sounds a lot easier than it is. There are many techniques you can use to improve your voice and avoid vocal fatigue.
Firstly, try singing while smiling. With your voice being essentially naked, you can hear a smile and it’ll make people want to hear more of it. It also helps with articulation, especially with phrases ending with “ee”, “ah”, or “ey” sounds. It’s a subtle way to improve your tonality.
Mask (or nasal) resonance can help produce a better tone. The mask is the area between the eyes and top of the mouth. This is where a cappella singers need to produce resonance rather than the throat. This technique, much like diaphragmatic breathing, can help you to project your voice more and improve its clarity. This will also help give you better control over vowels as the sound coming out of your mouth resonates at the top of the pallet, which can help with the tonality, too.
Finally, you’ll need to work on your rhythm to sing a cappella. Without the music backing you up, the voice is doing all the work and all its flaws are out in the open for everyone to see. Rhythm is essential, but not everyone has it. Without background music, you might need to tap your finger on your leg to keep time.
All these tips can help you get the most out of your voice.
Find some great singing tutorials on YouTube.
Warming Up Your Voice
Did you know that your voice needs 7 hours of rest to be ready to sing?
Warming up can make your voice more flexible.
The simplest and most effective warm-up technique is a lot like blowing a raspberry. Close your lips and blow. Start with a low note and then a high note. This exercise prepares your singing voice, larynx, tongue, and lips. You should be ready to go!
Next, try doing a scale either with or without the help of a piano. This is quite a simple exercise but it can help an awful lot. This can sometimes take a bit of time but it means that your voice will be ready. It’s also useful for helping you understand your tessitura and your vocal range. Your voice can move, evolve, and transform through vocal exercises. Vocal techniques might seem quite trivial but they can be really useful for perfecting your voice.
Don’t hesitate to record yourself with a dictaphone or audio program and listen back to your singing to hear where you’re going wrong. Listening to your voice will allow you to adjust your singing and make it better.
Good luck and make sure you enjoy yourself!
Taking Singing Lessons
Finally, the last advice we have for improving your voice is to get a teacher to help you. A teacher or tutor who’s trained in music will be able to help you with any questions or concerns you may have about singing.
They’ve been there before, after all. They’ll know about breathing, articulation, and anything else you may have questions on. They’ll also be a second set of ears to listen to you when you sing.
Your voice is your instrument and you need to take care of it and practise using it if you want to get good at singing. A cappella is a great way to improve your voice. You just have to know how!
So are you ready to improve your singing?
Go for it!
On Superprof, there are plenty of talented and experienced singing tutors to help you improve your voice. There are three main types of singing tutorial on offer: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials. Each type of tutorial comes with its pros and cons and some tend to be more expensive than others so you need to carefully think about what's available, how you like to learn, and what your budget it.
Face-to-face tutorials are the most cost-effective type of tutorial available. This is because you're the only student and your lessons will be tailored to you and how you like to learn. Of course, this means that your tutor will be spending time outside of the tutorials planning exercises and activities for you to do during your lessons. All this extra work comes at a cost so these tutorials are also usually the most expensive per hour.
Thanks to the internet, you can also get online singing tutors who'll teach you using video conferencing software. These tutors won't have to travel to you and can also schedule more tutorials each week. With less travelling time and more earning potential, online tutors tend to charge less per hour as they have fewer outgoings per lesson taught.
Group tutorials are useful for students on a budget as you can share the cost of a tutor with the other students in the tutorial. Whether these other students are friends of yours or strangers, you can get an hour of tuition quite cheap if you're happy to be in a group. Of course, this does mean that you won't benefit from as much one-on-one time with your tutor.
Generally, the more expensive the tutorial, the more tailored your lessons will be. Similarly, the more costly a tutorial is, the more cost-effective it is. However, not everyone can justify paying the hourly rate of some tutors or they don't live near their ideal tutor. Fortunately, there are so many different tutors and types of tutorials that everyone should be able to find something that works for them.
Make sure that you benefit from the fact that many tutors on Superprof offer the first hour of tuition for free so you can see if they're right for you and if you get along.