Anyone can sing, but how many can do it well? Whether you’re looking to join a choir, impress your friends, or just improve your shower performance, learning to sing is both fun and rewarding.
When you first begin singing, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to feel comfortable with your voice.
In about a year, you should be able to sing more complex vocal techniques. In order to sound like a professional singer, you will need at least 3 to 5 years of consistent practice and improvement, although it will take a lifetime to master the skill.
Are you ready to get started?
Because your voice is your instrument, you’ll want to learn how to manage your airflow. Breath support, or breath management, is a technique to ensure you expel the correct amount of air for the notes you’re singing. Breath support can be improved with simple exercises such as breathing through a straw or making a hissing sound as you breathe out after a deep breath.
Another great exercise is slow breathing, where you inhale, hold your breath for several seconds, and then exhale in a slow and controlled manner. Breath support is the foundation for being able to hit the notes you want to sing.
Vocal exercises should be done before any practice session to warm up. Lip trills/buzzing can be done on their own or up and down a scale. Humming is also an easy way to warm up the vocal cords – try humming on a major scale, then increasing or decreasing a half step at a time to access your full range.
You can practice singing vowels on a scale as well with words such as “Me”, “May”, “Mai”, “Mo”, and “Moo”. Sing scales at the top of your range and at the bottom of your range, helping to strengthen those abilities and find opportunities for improvement.
Your head voice is the top part of your vocal register. As the name suggests, the head voice will feel like the sound is resonating in your head as opposed to your chest. It can be described as airier, lighter, and often higher than other registers. Male singers also have an even higher register, called falsetto, which can be practiced with similar exercises.
In order to learn how to sing in your head voice or falsetto, practice vocal exercises that strengthen these muscles. With consistent practice, you’ll learn to utilize these skills while singing songs as well.
Chest voice typically sits lower in your register and is the voice we use when speaking. It’s warmer, thicker, and often more powerful than the head voice or falsetto.
When people refer to “belting” a song, they are typically referring to singing in their chest voice. Learning to sing in your chest voice will take a different set of vocal exercises, mostly focused on engaging all of your vocal cords instead of the ones used only in your head voice.
After you’ve improved both your head and chest voice, try blending them together for something called the mixed voice. By using the muscles you’ve strengthened and skills you’ve developed over your entire register, you should be able to produce a steady, beautiful tone in a wide range of notes.
Even as you notice your singing voice getting better, continue to do vocal exercises to keep your muscles strong and your skills sharp. With practice, you’ll have a powerful skill to last you a lifetime.