Thanks to the ever increasing world-wide number of singing shows, competitions and programs on various types of media, the number of people with singing aspirations is on the rise. However, new singers may be confused by the many different approaches to vocal development. There is an abundance of singing tips for beginners but often they contain conflicting messages. This may confuse new singers who are at the beginning of their journey.
To help you find your way through this information jungle, I approached world-renowned vocal coaches, voice teachers, professional singers, musicians and singing experts to answer one question:
“When coaching beginners, what singing tip has had the greatest impact on your students’ vocal development?”
I sent the question to many celebrity vocal coaches and experienced and knowledgeable singing experts hoping that someone would answer. You would not believe the overwhelming number of responses I received within a few short days!
I was extremely excited about each and every answer I got. I loved every piece of wisdom that arrived to my inbox.
I received 33 amazing tips to improve singing!
They are all unique, practical and effective singing tips. You can start using them right away and see improvements in your singing.
Before I share these tips for better singing with you, I would like to send a huge thank you to all of the vocal experts who took the time to share their knowledge and expertise. I am truly honoured to be a part of this project.
Bonus: Get a free checklist to find out if you breathe efficiently for singing and start improving your voice right away. Click here to get it now!
33 Most Effective Singing Tips for Beginners
Note: Click on the picture of the vocal expert to learn more about their achievements. A link to the expert’s website is provided under each singing tip for your convenience.
Singing Tip #1
The Pulling Technique
Judy RodmanAward Winning Vocal Coach
“The fastest way I usually get a new student’s vocal ability immediately improved is by getting them pulling instead of pushing for power. This synergistic ‘pulling’ technique focuses controlled breath most efficiently to power the voice through an open throat, and on to the ear of the listening heart.”
Singing Tip #2
Get Rid of Your Phobias
Mark BaxterLeading Authority
“The greatest impact for beginners is separating the facts from their phobias. People who don’t sing well have lots of reasons why that’s so. Debunking those reasons up front allows new behaviors to jump right into the driver’s seat. Singing is easy – it’s managing fear that requires practice.”
Singing Tip #3
Sing Deep and Back
Robert LunteInternationally Recognized Vocal Coach
“The singing tip that has had the biggest impact for singers is understanding that the frequency should not be perceived as “up / down” & “low / high”… this creates a bodily response to push or struggle for higher notes. Students should train their mental imagery to perceive higher frequencies in training and singing as “deep” or “back”… which is closer to the objective reality of the situation because higher frequencies are achieved by learning how to shift formants, or mastery of the acoustics of singing. Please enjoy this video I produced on this point.”
Singing Tip #4
Singing is Speaking on Assigned Pitches
Chris BeattyAccomplished Vocal Coach
”Singing is an extension of speaking. It’s really just speaking on “assigned pitches” for a specific length of time. I know that sounds to simple, but it’s not. We already know how to breathe, pronounce words and express feelings. As you refine the foundations of singing, like posture, breathing, diction and expression don’t let the real you be replaced by only technical things.
Also, this article on posture and breathing is a very clear and proven way to build healthy foundations while keeping the natural part of you intact. Here’s the link: Ten Steps to Better Breathing for Singers.”
Singing Tip #5
Make a Joyful Noise!
Justin StoneyInternationally-Recognized Voice Teacher
“New singers often need to discover that they can develop ALL the registers of their voice right off the bat. Even in a first lesson, there is nothing stopping a beginning singer from developing chest voice, head voice, falsetto, mix, and more. By learning how to explore the wide variety of muscular functions and resonance capabilities of the vocal registers, singers are often amazed at how much progress can be made in a short time. Vocal progress does not come merely by practicing, but knowing exactly WHAT and HOW to practice. Becoming familiar with the registrational possibilities of the voice is an effective tool for new singers to start shifting their thinking and vocal practice from the limited to the unlimited. Thus, it is an ideal way to discover untapped vocal potential and, of course, to ‘Make A Joyful Noise!'”
Singing Tip #6
Simply: Lip Roll
Lisa HugoSought-after Vocal Coach
“I would have to say the use of the lip roll. Students instantly feel how they have to support through proper breath control. Through the relaxation of the muscles around the larynx, they are able to sing through their vocal range with no strain, and they start to feel how the notes naturally move into the resonance areas. Following on from this they can then learn to use these techniques when singing without the lip roll.”
Singing Tip #7
Focus on the Quality of Your Own Voice
Eve SotoVocal Coach and Producer
“I feel one of my most useful singing tips has been to remind beginner singers that their ability to sing should not be measured by how close they sound like a particular artist but on the vocal quality of their own voice and vocal presentation…”
Singing Tip #8
Daily Practice is the Key
Sarah PopejoyAccomplished Singer & Songwriter
“The best way for beginners to improve their vocal abilities at a rapid rate is to record their vocal exercises and then practice them every single day.”
Singing Tip #9
No More Shouting!
Lis LewisVoice Teacher and Performance Coach
“Most beginning singers think they have to push a lot of air pressure to sing higher, louder or longer. (They often think that’s what it means to ‘sing from the diaphragm’). Too much air pressure leads to straining, limited range, bad pitch and flat tone. It will make you run out of air faster. Great singers make it sound easy because they have learned how to keep relatively even air pressure across their whole range. No more shouting!”
Singing Tip #10
Hear It in Your Head
Irina FieldsExperienced Vocal Coach
“One of the most common and basic signing tips that help a lot of beginners is ‘hear the note(s)/melody in your head before you start singing it’ – this helps to come in on the right note and stay in tune instead of “fishing” for it and hit a bunch of out of tune notes and slides in the process. Another helpful tip would be on breath support – ‘use your lower stomach vs. the area right at the base of the ribs for breath support – this will give you a nice even vibrato vs. a goat-like shake. Examples of these two breathing methods would be Leona Lewis and Jessie J respectively.”
Singing Tip #11
Find a Good Fit and Learn to Breathe
Ryan LewisRecording Artist & Songwriter
“Great question!!! My answer has two parts:
1. I encourage my new students and their parent(s)/guardian(s) to be very open and transparent with me in our initial consultation to make sure we are a good fit for each other. This may seem off topic, but as much as I would love to take the money of every individual who comes through Elevation Music Studio’s door, the ‘fit’ is ridiculously imperative for both parties. No development or a subsequent break in development is certain if this is not attended to initially.
It is important for the vocalist to find a coach who is a good ‘fit’ – every individual, body-type, personal goal(s), voice etc… will be different, they need to be paired with the right personality that can help them to gain results or release the hidden potential. This is not to say, one coach is better than the other, it is all about the relate-ability factor.
I can’t say this enough, “there is no quick fix for being a competent vocalist; the best short cut is having fun, doing it right!!”
So tip 1 for vocalists and their long-term development – ‘find a good fit.’
2. Helping individuals find their ‘voice’ can sometimes take lots of patience and empathy, but one revolving pattern I have found in my 15 plus years of working in the field of vocal development is that correct breathing and body alignment has been responsible for seeing vast improvement in the area of vocal consistency and dynamics. There is much more to making a car go than putting it in gear and stepping on the pedal; lots of synchronization and mechanics are involved. Proper breathing/body alignment are paramount for maximizing the dynamic range and attaining/improving control of the voice and tone.
So part 2 – ‘Learn to breathe correctly.'”
Singing Tip #12
Open Throat and Open Pharynx
David JonesMaster Vocal Coach
“The most important part of developing the young voice is teaching the open throat or open pharynx. This allows for a healthy adduction of the vocal folds and helps to develop head voice.”
Singing Tip #13
Warm-ups Are Crucial
Simon ChateMusic Educator
“Always warm up! Every time! Whenever you sing on an unwarmed voice you risk significant vocal fatigue and possible damage. Just five minutes of low to medium impact warm-ups will give your voice resilience and longevity. It’s the difference between singing cold and losing your voice after 45 minutes, and warming up and still singing strong after a three hour gig.
I always start with lip trills, ascending and descending two-octave sweeps. Start at a medium to low note within your range (eg, C) and sweep up and down, then do it again from the next note above (C#, then D, etc.) – moving up, warming and stretching your voice.
Daily sirens are important too – bouncing within your range – from lower to higher – using the “ng” sound. This teaches us how to release into the mix voice, and shows us the sound vibration pathways within our head and upper body.
Also, when touring or singing a lot, vocally warming down after performance or extended singing is a great way to ensure your voice is in tip top shape, and ready for the next gig. Sobbing down, like a puppy dog, for 2 – 3 minutes will do the trick.”
Singing Tip #14
Melissa BlackVoice Teacher and Vocal Coach
“Well – the first thing is to make [new students] feel as comfortable as possible! They are here to learn proper technique and new material but also to have fun at the same time. The great thing about my studio is – I am the pianist as well as the vocal coach and voice teacher. I can play anything and everything by ear – all styles and genres of music – so that makes it so much better for all of my students.
So – the greatest singing tips for beginners I would say are that I put them on the “path to greatness” right away – the very first lesson. We discuss what they want to achieve – what they want to do vocally – the things they want to audition for – what they have coming up as far as performances, talent shows etc…
Another great tip for beginners is – I encourage them to take piano from me as well because today’s artists have to be well-rounded performers – they have to be able to play – in my opinion – more than one instrument – and have those instruments mastered. There is more and more competition than ever these days – as demonstrated on The Voice – and I always tell students not to go up against “seasoned” vocalists without being totally prepared – mentally, physically and vocally.”
Singing Tip #15
You Are a Wind Instrument
Ruth GersonAccomplished Singer and Vocal Coach
“There are four major components to learning how to sing better: breath support, breath placement, positioning (of the tongue, mouth, jaw, larynx and palate) and of course, lots of ear training. One of the best singing tips for beginners ever given to me was the understanding that when I sing – I am a wind instrument. These four pieces come together in that concept: how I position my instrument and how I use the breath through it to make music.
Here is one beginner exercise I give to students and I hope it helps:
Pretend you need to make a comfortable and natural space for about a 1” tube from your mouth all the way to the back of your throat. This should open your mouth, release your jaw vertically, and help you lift the palate, and lower your larynx. It is a “beginning of a yawn” feeling. Then from your mid to lowest rib, allow the breath to fall into your body. Attempting to keep this position (both in the head and the lower core), just hold steady even notes on varying short vowels (ah, ee, oo). Use a chromatic tuner, and make sure you are matching pitches, and holding notes steady. Try following motion with your eyes by either using your hand or a pen, slowly extending as you sing each note. Keep your tone clear, not breathy, for this exercise. Hold the notes steady with a consistent volume as long as you can, but saving enough air to finish the note before you run out breath. Make sure your ribs stay in position as you begin the note, and try to leave them in position for as long as possible.”
Singing Tip #16
Understand Your Unique Voice
Andy FollinHighly Respected Vocal Coach
“Take the time to discover your own voice, without trying to imitate others, whether that’s your favourite artist or your teacher. Every voice is unique and you need to understand your own.”
Singing Tip #17
It’s OK to Sound Bad!
Richard Fink IVLeading Online Vocal Coach
“Permission to sound bad! Most beginners feel they have to sound ‘amazing’ in order to be able to sing at all. Ironically, the quickest way to improve vocal skill is to first allow yourself to sound ‘bad’ when vocalizing (training the voice). This will allow the singer to relax and discover any vocal imbalances they may have to work on.”
Singing Tip #18
The Secret is Simplicity
Kevin RichardsVocal Instructor & Performance Coach
“Simplicity is the key to singing. Most of what you need to sing properly, you already know how to do. Breathe and Make Sound. Start with those two very simple but important things, and your voice will work like never before. The more you try to add to those two things, the harder it is to sing.”
Singing Tip #19
Feel Good, Sound Great!
Ben HardingVocal Coach and Author
“This quick tip has literally changed the lives of my students because of the rapid and obvious improvement that comes out of it EVERY time.
If singing feels good, it sounds great. When we sing, we like to listen to ourselves. We think about how we sound, and how we can make that sound better. And that’s actually a big problem because our ears lie to us.
Have you ever listened to a recording of yourself singing or speaking? Sounded totally alien, right? So why would we use those lying ears to assess our vocal technique?
Instead of worrying about how your voice sounds, focus on how it feels. If your voice feels good (meaning that it is increasingly relaxed and comfortable) it will sound good. So instead of asking yourself, “how do I sound?” ask these two questions:
Question #1: How does it feel?
How DOES it feel when you sing that exercise, song, or high note?
Question #2: How can I make it feel BETTER?
What is one small thing you could tweak, relax, or move to make that exercise, song or note easier to produce?
These two questions have made more positive change in my personal development than any other single question, tip, or exercise.”
Singing Tip #20
Mary WalkleyFounder of The Speech Level Singing Institute
“I think the most common mistake beginners make is in the area of air management. Everyone blasts too much air as they ascend in pitch, which blows their vocal folds apart & hikes their larynx. My solution is to first demonstrate and implement proper diaphragmatic breathing, and then introduce singing exercises for beginners that limit the amount of air, such as lip & tongue trills, squeaky door, “ng” exercises, etc. Also exercises that trick the diaphragm into dropping are good with beginners too.“
Singing Tip #21
Work Out the Core Muscles
Sonia JonesHighly Experienced Singer
“My tip for beginners is to work out the core muscles and practice breathing techniques every day for ten to twenty minutes. I have seen incredible developments and everyone can do it at home.”
Singing Tip #22
The Upper Belly Magic Spot
Lisa PopeilSinging and Speaking Voice Expert
“The one tip which seems to instantly help singers feel that they’re in control of their voices is the “upper belly ‘magic spot’” This is a region just below the sternum and can be felt with two or three fingers. It’s job for singing is to firm OUT for every note, high pitch or low, loud or soft. Though it’s not technically the diaphragm, the ‘magic spot’ is connected to the diaphragm and helps almost every aspect of singing control and consistency.”
Singing Tip #23
Place Your Voice
Kerri HoInternational Vocal Coach
“The thing that makes most of my first time students drop their jaw to the floor and their eyes light up is when I teach them about resonance. The fact that they can place their sound in the mask for their face to project their voices and sing without feeling an ounce of strain on the throat is a huge revelation for beginners. It gives them much needed hope and confidence because they love how much a little buzz can free up and beautify their tone.”
Singing Tip #24
Find Your Natural Instrument
Lucinda AllenExperienced Voice & Singing Consultant
“When coaching a beginner I find the most important focus has to be making the singing voice feel familiar and accessible to the student. For me this begins with the primitive voice, connecting safe, organic sounds in a way that feel ‘natural’ to the student. The most useful piece of advice I feel my students respond to, is the fact that the ‘singing’ voice could be considered to be more ‘natural’ than the speaking voice. Everyday we respond to emotive triggers by crying, whimpering, calling out, these are safe sounds we make from the day we are born. Singing should be an extension of these sounds and unfortunately can often be negatively affected by the stresses and expectations of the world we live in today. As a singing teacher my key aim is to unpack and reveal a reliable, free and emotive instrument.”
Singing Tip #25
Stay Engaged and “In” Your Body
Dileesa HunterMaster Vocal Coach
“I think the biggest help for a beginner is to understand the power of the breath, not just breathing in correctly but learning to engage their diaphragm so that the air is given direction. Air is ALWAYS moving, either into your body or out, and when we sing or do breathing exercises we always need to give the air somewhere to go, and it needs to travel fast. Never stop to hold your breath between phrases, you’ll lose momentum, and good placement. Always feel like you are singing even when you’re not. Stay engaged and ‘in’ your body.”
Singing Tip #26
Breathing is the First Step
Ellen SheaSoprano Soloist and Voice Teacher
“I work on breathing techniques with all of my students, whether beginning, intermediate or advanced. If I were to pick one thing that I tell a student in one of the first lessons –
Put your hands on the sides of your ribs, with your thumbs to the back. Take a deep breath, starting in your belly, and feel your ribs expand. When you sing, no matter how long, short, high or low the phrase is, you want to keep those ribs expanded. The belly will go in and out, but the ribs stay expanded. This way, you don’t have to keep rebuilding the breath every time you take in air.
I always give a ton of information in the first couple of lessons, so I’ve got tips on vocal production, resonance and relaxation – but coordinating breathing is the most important first step.”
Singing Tip #27
One Step at a Time
Breck AlanSinger, Musician and Voice Teacher
“Start off as lightly and easily as you can. Don’t worry about volume or even your full range until you can easily just touch the notes. Power comes from coordinating the elements of the voice and not from force or pushing. Those elements are much more easily learned when you have a light touch.
For beginning singers having pitch problems,
First of all, there’s no such thing as tone deafness. You can learn to sing in tune, no matter how far out you might be coming from. But it takes patience and proper guidance.
With all of the elements of vocal training, you’ll save a lot of time by researching and finding a very good teacher to assist you. Voice requires a lot of guidance and adjustments to stay on course and not develop bad habits. It’s hard to listen to yourself as you’re trying to learn. That is a lot of what you’re getting when you work with a skilled voice teacher. Someone that can identify exactly what you’re doing and have the ability to communicate with you on how to proceed with corrections. It’s a very “one step at a time” process, and the more you are willing to have the patience to do the steps, the faster your growth will be.”
Singing Tip #28
Positive Approach to Learning
Brian FarrellVocal Coach and Mentor
“Here’s my singing tip – it’s a positive approach to learning:
Three areas to focus on: Groove, Story, Technique. Participate in music for a lifetime – listen to great singers and all styles of music. Get out of your way and enjoy learning. With a positive approach to learning and working with an experienced vocal coach who excites your learning – the journey is absolutely the best experience.”
Singing Tip #29
Support the Voice
Andy BarnesVocal Coach and Author
“For me the best tip I have seen for my own development and other students whether beginners or experienced singers has been learning how to support the voice properly. It can take a little while to get used to it, but once you do it you really start to sing with an open throat, free from any interference. To me, this is the foundation of good singing, or it could be described as the engine room of the voice. Doing this helped me to access my head voice and sing high C’s where before I could only sing an F#. The ultimate goal for me as a singer is to achieve a consistent line from the bottom of the range to the top, where high notes are just another note in the line and should take no more effort to sing than a lower note.”
Singing Tip #30
Sing Like You Speak
Sally MorganVoice Teacher and Innovator
“In Sing Like You Speak, the technique I developed, we always begin with the fact that everyone has the perfect musical instrument which is you, your body. So your body must be well-aligned – posture strong and straight. Think of the inhale as opening your perfect musical instrument. Begin by loosening your jaw and think of the inhale as opening your instrument from the tip of your nose to your bottom. The exhale becomes a release of breath and sound.”
Singing Tip #31
Roger BurnleyCelebrity Vocal Coach
“I think the biggest tip I can give a beginning singer is for them to understand that they can develop a great voice with the right training, technique and direction. Most beginners will have a mental block because they may have been told they don’t sound good, are tone deaf, or have no ability. I get them to understand that none of that is true and that all singing is physical and using your body correctly. They can develop perfect pitch with practice. I also get them to understand that they simply need to be patient with the process and also when they work with a coach they should feel definite results in each lesson.”
Singing Tip #32
Work on Breathing
Nicola MilanProfessional Singer and Vocal Coach
“Keep working on your breathing for singing until it becomes habit. It takes time and repetition to form a new habit and many students move on to other aspects of singing before their breathing becomes automatic. It always comes back to haunt them down the track and they find themselves struggling to sing certain repertoire as a result. Do yourself a favour and get your breathing for singing down pat first.”
Singing Tip #33
Relax and Release!
Dylan BallExperienced Vocal Coach
“The first singing tip I give to every student, regardless of whether they have had singing lessons before or are complete beginners, is…relax! Breathe in slowly until you are comfortably full of air, with an open throat and then just sigh into the sound as you let the body deflate naturally. It sounds easy but can take several lessons to get right and it’s crucial to do this properly if you want the correct foundation for building the voice, in both awareness of correct/incorrect tensions and the correct muscular coordination to build a great voice.
Often students will open their voices up very quickly once they have totally released into the sound. I have had students increase their range from 1 to 2 octaves in one session and some even more.”
Bonus Singing Tips for Beginners
I received two more vocal tips for beginners after publishing this blog post.
These bonus tips are as fantastic as the first 33 singing tips!
Take Singing Off of its Pedestal
Dan ParilisLeading Voice Teacher
“I would say the single most important thing I’ve offered my students over the two decades I’ve been teaching is the idea of taking the act of singing well off of its pedestal.
Many developing singers (and even professionals) view the art of singing well as an almost mystical act, and sometimes unattainable phenomenon. What they don’t realize is that when we sing, we use the exact same anatomy and physiology that we use when we speak. When done correctly, singing is performed the same way as speaking — just more SPECIFICALLY and INTENTIONALLY.
During my first session with a new student, I usually demonstrate by walking across the room normally, then turning around and walking back in a silly, synchronous “Walk Like an Egyptian-esque” dance. It usually makes them laugh and breaks the ice. Then I explain that both the regular walk and the silly dance used the same legs, arms, joints, etc…I simply chose to walk more INTENTIONALLY the second time, moving my feet and swinging my arms in time to an imagined beat.
‘Singing can be compared to speaking in the same way. When we speak, we are merely sliding our voices from one part of our range to another; when we sing, he hit specific notes on purpose. When we speak, we speed up and slow down at will, we take breaths whenever we want to, and we don’t really care how our voices sound as long as we get the point across. When we sing correctly and effectively, we follow very specific rhythms, and feel a very specific pulse; we breathe only in particular places, and we are much more conscious of how our voices sound, to fit what we are trying to accomplish artistically, emotionally, expressionistically. And just like comparing my silly dance to walking, singing shouldn’t be any more difficult than speaking; just more intentional.’
I find, when framing it that way for my students, that they have a much easier time taking the act of singing off of its pedestal and tackling it in much more down to earth way. (:
‘I help people become the singers they strive to be. It’s what I love to do, and it’s what I do well.’”
Feel the Inner Rhythms
Renee Grant-WilliamsVoice Teacher and Musician
“Getting singers to sync their vocals with the underlying instrumental music which will have at least one push in every bar. Instead of ignoring the band why not let the rhythmic pushes cradle your voice and carry the vocal accents forward? Simply feel the inner rhythms and how the vocal line fits with accents—especially the push-ahead part of the rhythm.”
What a fantastic list of singing tips!
Now it’s your turn. Take some singing classes, do some singing exercises, or just sing for fun!
But before you apply these singing tips to your mind-set or practice routine, make sure you share this blog post with your friends.
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Thank you and happy singing! There are a lot more singing tips here – so keep browsing.
Bonus: Get a free checklist to find out if you breathe efficiently for singing and start improving your voice right away. Click here to get it now!