Are you a young hopeful singer looking to make your mark in the
Whether you are a solo singer/songwriter , rehearsing your
first band, singing karaoke, or just wondering about how to get
it all going here is some advice that you might find useful.
Let's start with the central issue. How good you sound is much
more important than how good you look. This will sound like
crazy talk to some but it's essentially true. Singing is an
aural art form and your success as an artist will rest mostly on
how well you communicate with your listener. The best visual
presentation in the business will not help you if you sound like
crap. Or put another way, a blind person will not think you are
a great singer no matter how well you are dressed!
Many wonderful singers started out with only the very basics of
a good singing voice, perhaps just the raw ability to sing
confidently and more or less in tune. Along the way they learned
to bring out the best in their voice and to create a kind of
vocal charisma, a unique musical identity that is instantly
recognizable to the listener.
Firstly, don't think of yourself as a singer. Think of yourself
as a MUSICIAN. The human voice is merely an instrument like many
others and it takes dedication and skill to use it effectively.
If you want the kind of voice that will stop traffic, the kind
of vocal range that lets you sing in almost any key, the sort of
voice that most people would die for then you have to build it
yourself. Lots of raw talent is not enough in most cases and it
can sometimes be a disadvantage.
Why? Because it can make you a complacent low achiever and lead
you to believe that the world revolves around you and the
greatness you are destined to enjoy if only the world would
listen. A great natural singing voice is one thing but it's what
you DO with it that counts.
As a singer you must develop your musical judgment. You will
need to make good musical decisions every time you open your
mouth to sing. Deciding how to sing a phrase, whether to build
up a particular section or to lay back your timing into the
bridge or if you should sing out the end chorus an octave higher
with lots of licks all takes musical taste and judgment that
nobody is born with. If you think of yourself as a musician
first then you will be able to recognize these judgment skills
in other musicians and be able to learn from them.
Singers should always be looking to push themselves. Expand
your horizons by learning other instruments like guitar and
keyboards or bass, drums or saxophone. The mere act of learning
to play a bit on another instrument will teach you much about
singing. It will also help immensely with your songwriting, but
that is another rave.
Expand your horizons in other musical directions. If you sing
hip hop then try singing a bit of country or jazz. Force
yourself out of your comfort zone into areas you know nothing
about. Throw yourself into the deep end of the pool until you
feel the water flow over your head! Most musical styles borrow
on the same vocal techniques but differ in how they are applied.
For example, listening to how Michael Buble sings can give you
an insight into phrasing and how to create tension and release
in a vocal performance. Your understanding of this can be
applied to almost any contemporary musical style you wish.
Don't fall for the old lazy argument that you are an original
artist and you don't want to dilute your 'sound' with outside
influences. The truth is that influences are what make you the
singer you are and the great singer you will become. You must
absorb all the information you can, pick as many brains as you
can find, listen to the old players and try to figure out how
they did what they did. If you have a favorite singer then learn
everything you can from that person and then move on. Do not try
to sound like them even if you can. You must learn to move
beyond mere copying and into forming your own sound.
Above all, make this journey your passion. Leave no stone
unturned in your quest to be a better musician and a great
So, should you rush out and get singing lessons I hear you
Initially no. What you should be doing is hanging out with
other musicians, preferably better ones than you. Don't spend
all your time with friends who are hacks with no intentions of
doing anything meaningful with their music after the school
holidays. This can be difficult if you have strong relationships
with people you enjoy making music with but it is a necessary
step in your musical education and growth. You must find great
players to learn from. Most accomplished musicians actually
enjoy mentoring young hopefuls with ability and drive. Finding
some good players to learn from is the single most important
thing you will ever do for your musical career.
Then, when you are ready, look to improve your vocal technique
with some singing lessons. We can always use better technique
but remember this. Vocal technique is important but it is a
relatively small part of becoming a great singer. Most singing
teachers teach similar techniques. They can correct technical
problems and get you to sing exercises that help expand your
range, improve your vocal control and agility which ultimately
helps increase your confidence to sing. In an ideal world you
will be able to find an excellent singing teacher right around
the corner from where you live and you will be able to easily
afford the lessons. This, unfortunately is not always the case.
Finding a singing teacher can be a difficult and time consuming
problem. Don't forget that you are the one who decides if that
teacher is right for you. It's important to have a rapport with
that teacher. They need to be someone you can learn more from
than just technique. Remember that 'musical judgment' I
mentioned earlier? Find a singing teacher who can not only guide
your vocal technique but can give you some insights into
improving your musicianship, some advice in making those musical
Remember to be humble and realize that singing is an art that
you can master with patience and great guidance. It's critical
that this process brings out your own unique voice, not what
your singing teacher wants, but the voice that you have inside
If you cannot find a good singing teacher then consider doing
an online singing course. Online singing lessons are more
abundant now and there are a some good ones and some poor ones.
Just steer clear of things like singing review sites - they
usually recommend only the products they get commission for
selling and are not to be trusted.
Above all, set your sights high but your expectations low. You
must strive always to be better and not be afraid of change.
Test yourself with new challenges and concepts, meet lots of
like minded people and don't waste time. It's a precious thing
that you cant recover and your willingness to set goals and
achieve them will help create that singing career that you