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Singing

Learning to sing can be great not only for the aspiring singer but also for regular people wanting to improve their skills at their local karaoke bar. On the internet there are various free beginner lessons that help out with the simple yet important subjects as breath control, physical rules, and overall tips and techniques.

Below is a terrific introductory article where you can learn the basics and how to get started. You can help grow our learning community by contributing your knowledge to the article. Just click on the edit tab in the wiki article below.

Use the white subtabs above to navigate the other Singing resources. We have a Singing forum where you can get your questions & doubts answered, a page with Singing how-to videos, a page with the best handpicked links to other sites, and a page with the best Singing books and products.

Good Luck and Have Fun!
Duncan Davis

 

Singing as a Hobby


Singing – we all do it, don’t we? In the shower, the car, when no one is listening, we sing. But take it up a notch and singing can be a fun and rewarding hobby. In essence, singing is using the human voice as a musical instrument, and a very flexible instrument at that. It’s the only form of music where there are words to give specific meaning, augmented by the melodies, tones, and rhythms used by other instruments. Singing ranges from songs around a campfire to High Mass in a cathedral, and everywhere in between. It is often accompanied by other vocalists (singers) or instruments. Pretty much everyone can sing ‘Happy Birthday’ or “Row, Row, Row, your boat’, but singing as a hobby implies performing in public, and without a bit of basic knowledge extended singing can lead to issues from a simple sore throat to nodes on your vocal chords that may require surgery. This article attempts to cover the basics of singing, including styles, techniques, health tips, and some general ideas on getting started in your new hobby.




Getting Started


While the basics of singing transcend musical genres, having a goal in mind can help kick start your hobby. Keeping in mind both the type of music you like and the where you’d like to sing, choose a simple goal. “I’d like to join my church/community choir” or “I’d like to enter a karaoke contest. Joining a band and winning a Grammy can come later.




Find a class or a teacher, either in person or online. You’ll want to have your goal in mind when selecting a class or teacher, if you want to sing country music an opera voice teacher will just frustrate you both. The instructor will help prevent incorrect techniques that can ruin your singing voice. Investing in an experienced voice teacher is well worth the money. If your voice is weak, know that this is usually caused by under-developed muscles or improper use of the resonators (the pharynx, the mouth, and the nasal cavity). Muscles can be strengthened and with training you can learn how to use your resonators to project a powerful voice. Church and community choirs will often provide some basic level of instruction as well. Even if you long term goal doesn’t include choral singing, the skills learned in a choir and the support of your fellow singers can be invaluable. It’s often a great way to ease into public performance as well. The first lesson or two will typically include determining your vocal range and avoiding vocal injury. A caveat here - almost anyone can learn to sing, but a small minority of people are tone deaf. Tone deaf people cannot correctly match pitches by ear, even though they may enjoy listening to music played by others. Even this isn’t necessarily a show stopper; it may just require additional time and effort to learn to pitch match. This doesn’t affect the ability to play most instruments. In fact, playing guitar or piano is a good way of working on pitch matching. Your vocal teacher (or choir leader) will probably start by teaching you vocal warm ups. Vocal warm ups are essential, like any muscle in your body, your vocal chords need to stretch to avoid injury when you sing. These warm ups often consist of scales or vocal drills, often rotating vowel sounds.




Breathing


Yes, you’ve been breathing your whole life, but to sing well you need proper breath control. Eighty percent of proper singing begins and ends with proper breathing. When breathing in, try to fill your lungs from the bottom up, let your stomach extend before your chest expands. Breathing out, the stomach should contract first, then the chest. This is breathing from your diaphragm, the muscle wall at the bottom of your chest. The diaphragm is more powerful and controllable than the muscles that expand and contract your chest.




Posture


Components of good singing posture include:




• Head forward


• Shoulders back


• Back straight


• Chest out


• Feet slightly apart




If sitting, stick with this as much as feasible. Sitting limits the ability to breathe deeply.




Voices and Style


Keep in mind that vocal training is for all styles, not just for opera types. Artists including Jennifer Lopez, Seal, Shania Twain, LeAnn Rimes, Axl Rose, and even Ozzy Osbourne have had voice training. Voice training is there to help make your voice stronger, not necessarily to make you sound like Andrea Bocelli.




Singing without accompaniment is called ‘a cappella’, either solo (alone) or with other singers. Most singing, though, is accompanied by other instruments. This can range from accompanying oneself by playing the guitar while singing, to singing in a choir with dozens of other singers while accompanied by a symphony orchestra.