How to Sing in Tune
By Chris Chew
If you have been watching singing reality shows such as The American Idol series, you would have heard the judges using words such as “pitchy” or “off key”. What exactly does pitchy means? It simply means that the singer went out of tune or could not sing well in a certain key or at times singing off key.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not only people who are tone deaf who sings out of tune. Even professional singers do sing out of tune occasionally. By the way, most tone deaf people when trained rightly can sing in tune. But that is for another article.
There are many reasons why people sing off pitch, such as developing bad vocal techniques, breathing the wrong way, singing in keys that are above or lower their vocal range or just simply being inexperienced or are not trained to sing well.
Furthermore, when performing on stage, because of the wide range of sound equipment and sound engineering, you may not be able to hear yourself well or are disturbed by other sounds being produced such by the band or from the audience. These environmental situations can make even veteran singers sing out of tune.
So how can you sing in tune most, if not all, the time? The first thing you should do then is to know your voice, your range and your comfort with the songs you are singing.
This of course comes with practice, not only on the songs you want to sing, but much more so with vocal exercises to train your voice production as well as exercises for pitching and voice flexibility.
One of the most important things you must be able to do in order to sing in tune is the ability to “hear” the note in your head before you sing it out. How then can you hear the notes mentally? Well, think of the note first, then sing it.
The problem is that if you do this on stage, you will be thinking too much and this will affect your performances and the delivery of the songs. You may sound too clinical and the delivery of your songs may sound too opaque, devoid of emotional feelings.
So the answer is to practice with the right vocal exercises and songs until hitting the notes accurately becomes your second nature. Remember, for musicians and singers, the practice and rehearsals are the actual work. The performance is something to be enjoyed.
Once you have achieved the ability to sing in tune all the time, you must be very meticulous and fastidious during the sound checks before the performances. If at anytime you have difficulty in hearing yourself, you must insist that the sound technician control the sounds until you can sing and pitch comfortably.
The same applies to your band members. If any of the instrumentation is disturbing or distracting you, you will have to ask the musicians concerned to do something about it. Remember, the lead singer is the star of the show and no musicians should overshadow you and make you look bad.
So to be able to sing in tune all the time ultimately boils down to practicing with the right vocal exercises, meticulous rehearsals and sound checks.