Today I wanted to give you some of the best tips I’ve come across and used myself for learning how to sing and starting to sing without any experience. Now full disclosure – I’m obviously not the best singer; I’m not a super talented singer; but if anything, I think that makes my advice even more valuable and useful.
Hear me out: if you listen to someone trying to tell you how to sing and they were just an awesome singer from day one, it’s not going to be as valuable to you if you’re starting from scratch and maybe you don’t have a naturally gifted voice. So from someone who was basically a tone deaf singer and always petrified of singing in front of other people, who now sings regularly and does covers and solo original pieces, and sings them at least passably well….
I think I think I can give you some tips that will at least be valuable to you if you’re looking to start out singing and improve your singing skills.
1 – Start By Singing in Your Car
So first thing I’m going to recommend is singing in your car. And maybe that seems obvious or like a silly tip but hear me out. I think when you’re first starting out singing, if you’re anything like me you’re gonna be too shy to do it around other people – even if you have roommates or family members and so on.
But if you have a car and you drive a decent amount, this can be a great way around that, and a great way to get started with singing. Just playing some of your favorite songs and trying to match the notes that the singer is hitting can actually be very good practice. Especially if you plan on covering those songs yourself at some point.
So give it a shot if you aren’t doing it already. Start singing in your car a little more regularly.
2 – Use a Tuner or App to Test Your Pitch
If you’re okay practicing around other people or at least in your room, one of the things I did is I had a guitar tuner actually, and I used to practice just hitting notes on that with my voice.
First I’d play the target note on the guitar string. So let’s say, you know, Franklin’s Tower by The Grateful Dead is one of the first songs I learned to sing and it’s in the key of A. So i would pluck the A string, watch it on the guitar tuner, and then I would try to sing an A note – just the root of the chord – with my voice. And the tuner is nice because it will show you if you are coming in flat or sharp.
So that’s a little tip I used to do. Just start out and start trying to at least match the the root note of any chord that you’re trying to sing over.
3 – Sing Over a Single, Simple Guitar Chord
If you don’t have a tuner or maybe your tuner doesn’t pick up your voice another thing you can do is simply play a chord, let it ring and let it sustain. You can do this on a piano too if you’re not a guitarist.
But just play a chord and try to sing over it with your voice. Just make an ah or o type sound and try to hit either the root the third or the fifth of the of the chord. If you don’t know what those are then just try to hit a note that sounds good over it.
4 – Start Singing Simple Songs
You can also do this if you’re learning a song. Do that for each chord in the song. Really break things down and practice voicing and singing the root notes over each chord in the song and you’re gonna find that when you try to play through the whole song your voice is much more confident and you’re able to land those notes a lot a lot more easily.
After you’ve done this a few times, pick some simple songs you like that you want to learn how to sing over in full. Franklin’s Tower was a good one for me. Cat Stevens has a lot of really nice pretty easy songs to play on the guitar that are pretty easy to sing over. Also consider: The Beatles, Bob Dylan, stuff like that.
If you’re looking for more great songs to learn, I wrote up a whole list complete with tabs and video lessons on 50 Beginner-Friendly Songs.
5 – Slow Things Down and Strum Softly
If things get too complicated,go back to slowing things down. My other tip would be to play the guitar or your accompanying instrument quietly while you’re practicing your singing.
This is because what I used to do is play fast and loud to cover up the sound of my own voice and the imperfections in it. And so I would actually urge you to do the opposite now, which is what i do when I’m trying to work on my singing: play things slow and play them soft. And really concentrate on your voice rather than what you’re playing on the guitar.
Once you nail the vocals, you can go back to playing the guitar at whatever speed and volume you choose.
Give It A Shot!
So those are my biggest tips for you guys. I think if you apply them it’ll really improve your singing. Again I’m not a great singer but doing these things easily allowed me to five or ten times the improvement of my singing voice. So if it worked for me I’m pretty sure it’ll work for you too.
If you want to learn why I think anyone can learn to sing, and sing well, check out my recent article on why anyone can start singing.