How to Sing Better fast

How to Sing Better Fast and Improve Your Singing Voice

Everybody wants to sing well and impress their friends, but very few people have confidence or skill in the area.

Does this mean singing is left only to the naturally-talented?

No way!

As a music teacher for 20+ years and vocalist myself, I’ve helped thousands of students of all ages improve their singing voice.

And here’s the secret:

It isn’t hard to do!

Becoming a master singer will take a long time, but the techniques and ways to improve your singing voice are mostly the same no matter what your level.

I constantly hear people count themselves out of the singing game before they ever learn how to sing well.

This is exactly why I decided to build this guide will help you learn how to sing better.

Check out the rest of this article for 19 game-changing tips to sing better fast.

What To Do To Sing Better

This section covers what I consider to be the 19 most important ways to get better at singing instantly.

Some of these work simply, while others require a bit more work on your part.

Each one is a part of the greater whole to improve your singing voice quickly.

#1 Improve Your Posture

There are some sites out which will hate on the fundamentals and boring things like posture. This is my first hint that such a resource is garbage.

One of the first things any singer (opera, classical, pop, country, etc) will do when working with an inexperienced singer is make sure they’re posture is good.

Without good posture, your muscles and voice won’t function properly under any circumstances.

Posture comes down to alignment.

By being aligned with how your body naturally functions, you remove all tension from your body and allow for deeper breaths and freer muscles and vocal tone.

Here is the basic check I do for my students when discussing posture when standing:

  • Standing with knees over ankles
  • Hips over knees slightly tilted forward
  • Middle of the upper back over the hips
  • Shoulders slightly back
  • Neck over shoulders
  • Head slightly above level
  • Jaw relaxed

Doing this simple little checklist for yourself goes a long way.

It’s as if there’s a string running through the center of your body, and when you pull on the string, your whole body is elongated and perfectly aligned on the string.

This video shows another exercise and a way to develop good posture.

Fortunately, posture is an easy fix every time you do this check, and it results in better singing right away.

Unfortunately, bad posture is a habit, and habits are hard to break.

Stick with it and be as consistent as possible. Over time, good posture will replace the habit for the better.

#2 Breath Correctly

There are few other tricks to sing better which have a greater impact than breathing correctly.

My students don’t always believe how important this is, and you may not either.

Consider this analogy:

Imagine you’re a NASCAR racer. You have the best car money can buy.

It’s a new design that’s guaranteed to be 15% faster and better than any other car on the track.

You’re also an experienced driver with dozens of won races under your belt.

Then you go and pour sand into the gas tank.

The point is this.

You won’t be able to sing to your full potential no matter what your experience and talent without the right air to support the sound.

Sound is just waves traveling through a medium. A singer’s medium is air.

Breaths should be deep and circular. There is no stop on the inhale; it continues directly into the exhale.

When you inhale, the following should happen in this order:

  1. Air enters through your open mouth AND nose.
  2. The stomach goes out slightly to allow room for the lungs to fill down first.
  3. Your chest raises from the bottom first as your lungs fill.
  4. You feel the air fills the lungs bottom to top.
  5. Your muscles grab at your lungs to provide resistance when you think your tank is full.
  6. At the point of complete breath, you instantly begin to exhale at the same rate.

On exhaling:

  1. You engage your voice to sing as you exhale.
  2. Your stomach muscles engage to provide more support to your voice by increasing the air pressure.
  3. Your chest and stomach retreat back towards their normal position at the same rate.
  4. As your air reaches its end, you don’t force extra air out.
  5. You begin the next inhale.

Some people make breathing properly a life-long study. Check out this video for a different way of looking at breathing for singers.

#3 Master Your Vowels

Vowels, vowels, vowels!

Not every singer appreciates the importance of good vowel formation, but this isn’t to be underestimated.

The way pop singers and classical singers form vowels is different, but the core remains the same.

Use correct vowels to provide the most space inside your mouth to resonate the sound.

Get away from your consonants. They don’t create a good singing sound (with the exception of “m” and “n”).

If you hand on your “t”s and “k”s, your singing will sound muffled and unclear.

On long notes, focus on the vowel sounds and aim for creating those with a clear and open sound.

There are actually many more types of vowel shapes than just a, e, i, o, and u, but mastering these five shapes will go a long way to getting you producing a bigger and richer vocal sound.

Exercise: Try highlighting the vowel sound every word in a song you like to sing. Pick one of the 5 shapes above (even if it doesn’t make sense right away).

Slow down the song and focus on singing these vowels clearly. You’ll notice your voice gets stronger with these open sounds.

#4 Improve Your Ears

I can’t sing or do music. I’m tone deaf!

I hear this more than I would ever like to. Very few people are actually tone deaf.

Take this test to see if you are: Tone Deaf Test

Most people aren’t tone-deaf; they need to train their ears to hear pitch better.

Most professional musicians have developed their ears through 1,000s of hours of listening and actual practice.

Sure, talent plays a role, but not exclusively.

As a singer, a big part of your singing needs to include matching the pitches of the song. Your ears are key in this process.

You MUST train your ears through intentional listening and understanding.

There are many free apps out there designed to help you, but it’s better to follow a more dedicated program such as the one through Singorama (check out our detailed review).

#5 Warm Up Your Vocal Muscles

My students have done some research themselves on how to sing really good, and I can’t believe some of the blatantly incorrect tips out there.

One of them even says that warming up is a waste of time!

Try telling this to an athlete about to run a marathon!

Your vocal cords are a muscle! Warming them up is essential for the best singing and preventing injury.

These websites without any practical expertise will actually harm you if you follow their advice.

A good vocal warm-up is simple to do. It may not be very exciting, but it only takes a few minutes if you know what you’re doing.

Here are the basic steps:

  • Align your posture.
  • Take deep breaths to focus on correct breathing.
  • Sing sirens (general sounds with specific pitch) going high and low.
  • Vocal stretching singing from high to low on stepwise pitches.
  • Agility exercises hopping up and down stepwise more quickly.
  • Range exercises stretching your upper and lower notes.

All of these are also done with different vowel sounds at different ranges.

This part is quite involved, but I like this video. It gives you a good example of an overall vocal warmup.

I also have a few of my favorite warmups as well. Check them out here.

#6 Build Up Vocal Endurance

Along the same lines above, when people ask “How can I sing better?” and “Why does my voice get so tired?”, the answer is muscular.

Your vocal muscles need to build up endurance.

Professional musicians take a long time to work their way to perform a two-hour concert. Even then, many of them won’t go that long without also including an opening act or break for a group to play in the middle.

Singing isn’t like talking; it’s much more taxing on your vocal cords.

Pace yourself and practice singing every day for a little while at a time.

Give yourself plenty of time over weeks to improve your endurance, and you’ll be surprised to find your voice is stronger as well.

This is a sample practice schedule I ask my students to follow when they’re serious about increasing the length of time they can sing well:

 

Week # / Time per Day What to practice (in %)
Week 1 / 15 minutes 75% warmups and exercises. 25% song practice.
Week 2 / 20 minutes 65% warmups and exercises.

10% ear training.

25% song practice.

Week 3 / 25 minutes 55% warmups and exercises.

10% ear training.

35% song practice.

Week 4 / 30 minutes 55% warmups and exercises.

10% ear training.

35% song practice.

Week 5 / 2 x 20 minute sessions 40% warmups and exercises.

10% ear training.

50% song practice.

Week 6 / 2 x 25 minute sessions 30% warmups and exercises.

10% ear training.

60% song practice.

Week 7 / 2 x 30 minute sessions 30% warmups and exercises.

10% ear training.

60% song practice.

Week 8 / 70 minutes total. No more than 45 minutes at a time. 30% warmups and exercises.

10% ear training.

60% song practice.

Week 9 / 80 minutes total. No more than 45 minutes at a time. 30% warmups and exercises.

10% ear training.

60% song practice.

Week 10 / 90 minutes total. No more than 45 minutes at a time. 30% warmups and exercises.

10% ear training.

60% song practice.

Note: This doesn’t include any choir practices or private lessons. This is for your own practice.

Also, take cues from your voice. If it hurts, stop and hydrate. Go again the next day.

#7 Find Your Voice

There are a ton of different voice types, and it’s important to learn what yours is.

Singing in the wrong key or range is going to frustrate you to no end. No matter how good you are, you can only stretch your vocal cords so far.

On the flip side, singing in your voice type is important for how to improve a bad singing voice.

It’s often not even your singing that’s the problem. You just picked an impossible key for your voice.

Honestly, the best way to find your voice is to connect with an expert in person. There’s more than just range to a voice type.

But, failing that, there are plenty of videos out there to help some people along. I personally enjoy this one for the four main voice types: soprano, alto, tenor, and bass.

#8 Sing The Best Vocal Strengthening Songs For Your Voice

Once you know your voice type, it’s simple to learn to sing better. There are certain songs out there that are made for your voice.

Singing Voice typesEven if you don’t like them personally, the songs themselves are excellent exercises in strengthening your specific voice type.

It’s not about mastering the songs to perform; it’s about these songs helping you familiarize you with what your voice can do.

Here are a few songs to check out by voice type:

Soprano Voice

  • “For The First Time In Forever” from Frozen
  • “I Could Have Danced All Night” from My Fair Lady

Mezzo-Soprano Voice

  • “Hopelessly Devoted To You” from Grease
  • “There’s No Business Like Show Business” from Annie Get Your Gun

Alto Voice

  • “I Can Hear The Bells” from Hairspray
  • “All That Jazz” from Chicago

Tenor Voice

  • “Who Am I?” from Les Miserables
  • “Shipoopi” from The Music Man

Baritone Voice

  • “Beautiful Girl” from Singing In The Rain
  • “Dentist” from Little Shop of Horrors

Bass Voice

  • “Me” from Beauty and The Beast
  • “They Live In You” from The Lion King

#9 Listen To Your Favorite Singers

These next two tips for becoming a better singer are related to one another.

This first involves your personal favorite singers.

Make a list of at least 10 of your favorite singers and listen to some of your favorite songs.

But don’t just listen to enjoy; listen to learn.

Listen critically.

As you enjoy the music with an awake mind, pay attention to their voices.

If possible, find a video of them singing live. Find a video closer to the stage or in a recording studio.

Watch for the following things:

  • Watch for when and how they breathe.
  • Pay attention to their posture.
  • Listen to their vowels, especially on long notes.
  • Watch their mouth as they sing.
  • Listen to the quality of their voice as their voice gets higher and lower-pitched.
  • Notice the way they form their words.
  • Watch what they’re hands are doing.

Over multiple analyses of these singers, you’ll notice many common elements we’re talking about in this list appear.

You may also notice other common characteristics with singers in the genre you specifically like. It’s OK to integrate these into your own singing as well.

This listing is for style and to, hopefully, convince you that these important elements are common across all singers.

#10 Study Singers Of Your Voice Type

For this listening activity, you’ll need to focus on singers matching your voice type.

This will familiarize you with how your voice type is supposed to sound and what the range of your voice is.

It’ll also give you a large list of songs to learn which will be more successful with your voice type.

This isn’t to say you can’t learn other songs from other singers, but focusing on this for a lot of your learning will improve your voice without actually doing anything to your voice. It’s amazing!

Listen using the same list from above, but now it’s OK to sing along with them and learn a few of their songs.

I still stumble across this myself even after decades of singing. I’ll hear a song, sing along with it, and feel like it was made for my voice.

Then, when I look more into it, I realize the singer is a baritone like me! It’s always a revelation, and I rediscover how important singing is in your range and listening to singers with your voice type all the time.

It may seem silly, but the Wikipedia lists of singers by voice type is the best and most exhaustive list out there.

Head on over to this Wikipedia category page and click on your voice type to learn more singers.

Here is a quick list for you if you don’t have the time for that:

Soprano

  • Christina Aguilera
  • Joan Baez
  • Anna Kendrick

Alto

  • Cher
  • Michelle Lambert
  • Lady Gaga

Mezzo-Soprano

  • Idina Menzel
  • Sara Bareilles
  • Whitney Houston

Tenor

  • Michael Jackson
  • Adam Lambert
  • Bruno Mars

Baritone

  • Louis Armstrong
  • Josh Groban
  • John Legend

Bass

  • Leonard Cohen
  • Josh Turner
  • Barry White

#11 Care For Your Voice

There’s a lot that goes into the health of your voice which keeps it strong.

This is an easy tip to master, theoretically, but it requires some self-control. However, a healthy voice is a strong voice and one which improves quickly.

When folks ask me “Is there a way to sing better?” and they are already pretty good with a lot of training, I ask them about their vocal health habits.

More often than not, the answer is: What’s that?

Your vocal muscles are very sensitive. We hear stories about famous musicians demanding special types of water and specific conditions of their green rooms and throwing fits if it’s not right. We laugh and call them divas.

While this is true, it’s also necessary to some degree.

There are a lot of things that will limit your voice without even realizing it.

Fix these things consistently to improve your voice quickly:

  • Keep the humidity up in the rooms where you sing
  • Drink a lot of water (no sugars)
  • Avoid caffeine, specifically from soda (or pop for us mid-westerners)
  • Avoid whispering or screaming
  • Rest your voice when not singing by speaking calmly and quietly
  • Stop when your voice is scratchy
  • Use good air to support the voice
  • Avoid drying out medications such as allergy medication where possible
  • Don’t smoke
  • Avoid spicy food
  • Treat heartburn (the acid is rough on your vocal cords)
  • Avoid alcohol, especially around singing
  • Have good oral hygiene (with non-alcohol based mouthwash)

#12 Learn Many Vocal Exercises

Vocal exercises (along with warmups) improve your singing abilities dramatically when done over time.

There are literally thousands of exercises out there, and they’re good for almost all types of voices when done correctly.

Pick up a book on vocal exercises, watch some vocal videos, and/or enroll in a program like Singorama as I mentioned above.

Specifically, I recommend looking for what are called etudes as well. These are simple “songs” designed just to improve your voice.

I’ve always personally enjoyed and seen improvement from my students with these 50 Vocal Lessons.

Just make sure you get the ones for your voice as the book has the lessons written in three ways:

  • For high voice = soprano, tenor
  • For medium voice = mezzo-soprano, baritone
  • For low voice = alto, bass

#13 Open Your Vocal Cavities

A quick way for how to sing vocals better is to provide more space for your voice to resonate.

Sound, as I mentioned above, is waves in the air.

But your talking voice doesn’t always have the beautiful quality you want your singing to have.

How do we manipulate the sound to make singing better?

You may have heard the joke that “singing is just sustained talking.” This is sort of true, but not if you want to sound good.

Let’s look at the guitar briefly.

The quality of sound and power in a guitar is due to many factors, but one of the most important is the space inside the body of the guitar.

The more space in the body of the guitar, the more air is allowed to vibrate when the strings do.

This is called resonating.

How do we do this as singers?

We create more space in our vocal cavities (fancy word for mouth and inside-mouth).

You need to relax your jaw (not force it more open), raise your soft-palate, and open your throat.

What’s my soft palate?

Run your tongue along the roof of your mouth starting behind your teeth and going straight back towards your throat.

Just over halfway back, you’ll feel the roof of your mouth turn soft. This is your soft palate.

Open your throat and raise your soft palate by relaxing your body.

Imagine you’re trying to inhale and exhale a ping-pong ball without letting it touch your throat or mouth.

Warning! Please don’t actually do this. Just imagine it.

#14 Sing Clearly (Diction)

Diction, or pronunciation, is key to singing understandably.

Personally, this is still an area I need to focus on.

When singing, those far away from you will struggle to understand your consonants. You need to overemphasize them.

For an exercise, sing a song you know well, and make your consonants over-the-top pronounced. Make your “T” sounds almost spit across the room.

Now, rein it back a little. This will be where you need to be.

You may want to record yourself from across a large room to get a feel for what’s understandable at a distance.

Check out these other diction exercises as well.

#15 Take Lessons

I know this one may seem obvious, but when learning how to sing beautifully, fast, private lessons from a qualified teacher will get you there quickly.

Voices, even those within the same voice type, are so different from one another. In-person, specific instruction goes a long way in helping you discover your specific voice.

The teacher will also be able to see what areas your voice is weak in and pick specific exercises to help you.

The downside of private lessons is that it requires a consistent time blocked off and often costs a decent amount week after week.

#16 Follow An Online Program

If you can’t take private lessons (or want to supplement the lessons), you NEED to take an online program.

Following all these tips to become a better singer will help, but a program will cover all the areas and keep you more honest in developing yourself in every area.

As I mentioned before, Singorama is a good option for this.

Their lessons and exercises cover all of these areas well, but they’re not the only one.

If you’re interested in learning about Singorama, though, check out in-depth Singorama Review here.

#17 Sing In Harmony

Singing in harmony gives your ears a quick training on how songs belong together.

This will help you make songs sound better and be able to sing with others more effectively.

Harmony is a blast and impressive, but it’s not as hard as it seems to be. Most people just don’t know where to start.

Believe it or not, singing in harmony actually improves your own solo singing too. Your ear learns how to hear the pitches more accurately.

I’ve seen this over and over with my students. I even start my youngest students on basic harmonies starting in 1st and 2nd grade.

The first step is to find some duets you know and like listening to.

Make sure one of the singers is the same gender as you (same voice type would be good too, but not strictly needed).

It’s best if the other voice is the opposite gender.

Sing one of the voices along with the person over and over.

When you feel comfortable, find a Karaoke version without your voice but including the other.

Sing along and practice until you get it.

Repeat with other duets or learn the other part in the duet.

Overtime with multiple songs, it’ll become easy.

Here are some good duets you may wish to learn:

  • “Shallow” from A Star Is Born
  • “True Colors” from Trolls
  • “Faithfully” the Glee Version
  • “A Whole New World” from Aladdin
  • “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”
  • “Endless Love”

#18 Improvise Harmonies

Now, listen to some of your favorite solo songs.

At certain points, specifically in the chorus, you may notice a soft harmony from back-up voices. Learn to sing along with these.

Even if they aren’t there, you may begin to feel what the harmonies could be. Try to make up your own.

With time and practice, you’ll be able to improvise basic harmonies.

This is a sign your ear and voice are getting where they need to be.

#19 Stick With It! Don’t Give Up!

The hardest thing to do when improving your voice is to handle the frustration.

These tips will all help a lot, but they all need time and consistent practice.

There will be times when a practice doesn’t go well or you feel like you aren’t making progress.

Believe it or not, every single singer no matter what their level feels this way on occasion. You’re not alone.

What separates those with good voices and those without is the focus and grit to keep going when the practices get frustrating.

Unlike other teachers, I do recommend if you find yourself too frustrated to take a break for a while.

Either come back later that day, the next day, or two days later with a fresh attitude.

It’s never too late to start over or pick up where you left off.

But you must be as consistent as you can.

Good singing is really about developing better vocal muscles, good singing habits, more accurate ears, and a quicker musical mind.

This won’t happen if you don’t stick with it.

Final Thoughts

I hope you find this detailed guide on how to sing better fast and improve your singing voice helpful.

This may seem pretty in-depth (and it is), but it’s also just the starting point.

Implementing all 19 of these points may seem like a lot, but you’ve got to give it time and work.

But the great singing voice you’ll develop is more than worth it.

Now get out there and sing!