If you want to take up singing, your first port of call will usually be a teacher or vocal coach. But what do you do if you can’t afford this, or don’t have access to a good one near to you? Can you even teach yourself to sing?
Many artists have been able to get a good singing voice at home, by frequently and regularly working on the right exercises. However, this takes time, effort and the inside knowledge of exactly how to sing better without lessons. And tech is a great help.
In this article, we’ll explain how to get a good singing voice without lessons, saving you money and enabling you to work on improving your voice anytime and as often as you like.
How to sing better without lessons: teach yourself to sing
Learning to sing is the foundational part of becoming a recording or live artist. Even if you have a lovely natural voice, you do need to know technique and understand how to protect and develop what is your instrument (your voice). Learning how to sing better without lessons, gives you full control over when and how you do this and makes it entirely free. Plenty of singers and musicians were self-taught at the start. And it really helps if you’re surrounded by music from a young age.
How can I learn to sing without teaching?
The short answer is that you need to make it a constant routine and a habit. You have to access online resources and stick to your commitment. Teaching yourself anything runs the risk of laziness or forgetting to keep at it, which is why many people need a coach to improve a skill. Conversely, doing it by yourself increases self-discipline and organisation.
Can I sing without lessons – is it possible to train your voice by yourself?
Yes, you can definitely do it and now more than ever, thanks to all the tech and online help we can access these days. While we do recommend a singing teacher for speed of development, feedback and bespoke training, singing is still totally open to you without one.
By training yourself to sing, you won’t really be doing it entirely by yourself. You’ll be using crib sheets, instructional videos, articles and helpful guides like this and maybe even books and podcasts. So you’re not really alone in it. But you will most likely be the only person in the room. Don’t be tempted to try and teach yourself to sing by copying other artists. You need to work on your own voice and while you can learn a lot from others’ performances, you could get it wrong if you’re just imitating them.
How can I make my singing voice sound better?
Practising is the key. Yet you have to practice properly otherwise you’ll just be cementing poor technique, which does far more harm. Your voice will become better as you train it to use the correct muscle groups. And even if you are already having lessons from a vocal coach the good news is that doing more by yourself will only serve to make it sound even more fantastic.
How can I train my voice to sing better?
Here is a rundown of the top things you need to do when training your voice:
Learn to breathe well
This is your absolute foundation. It will affect your vocal tone, power and range. Do breathing exercises daily and really work the diaphragm – don’t breathe from the chest or throat.
Start audible exercises with humming and sirens
This ensures you’re protecting your voice and warms it up gradually.
Sing through scales
Only sing as far as you can comfortably reach first, then gradually add in an extra note, then once you’ve mastered that add in another, and so on until you increase your range.
Get an understanding of vocal physiology
This means looking at diagrams and understanding how the vocal cords, folds, larynx, tongue, throat, diaphragms, lungs, soft and hard palates all work together – as well as what they each do individually.
Do diction exercises
This will bring sharpness and clarity to your singing and enable audiences to hear your lyrics. Many singers forget this part, as it doesn’t involve producing notes. But it’s very important.
How to get a good singing voice without lessons
Lessons are traditionally taken one on one with a teacher. Instead, you can work to get a good voice with other methods by yourself. Your first step might be to find a great tutorial video with a teacher whose style you dig. Most have many series of videos covering a lot of topics, so you can stick with the same one for a long time, picking up new skills and honing your sound.
How to get a good singing voice at home with YouTube
Following a teacher on YouTube is a really good way to learn at home. It’s arguably better than an app as you have visuals as well as audio. Take a look at how any followers the teacher has, as this will indicate whether they’re legitimate and any good or not. Also, take a look at the comments and reviews. Here are some of our faves.
Free voice training tips
Websites are a fantastic source of info and tips on how to train your voice. If you’re looking to work on something specific, or just general exercises to warm-up and practice singing, check out more of our articles on a wide range of vocal training topics.
It’s also worth following your favourite artists on social media, many of them including Christina Aguiera give out free voice training tips based on their experience. Documentaries are also a useful and fascinating ay to get the inside track on their vocal routines and habits.
How to improve your singing voice at home
We’ve talked a lot about exercises and practice, but these are not the only routes to improving your singing ar home. There are two other major contributing factor – exercise and food. If you’ve noticed you sing better after a run of hardcore pilates classes, or lots of swimming, you’re not mistaken. Exercises that help strengthen your core and improved fitness actually make you sound better.
How to make the voice clear for singing – foods to improve singing voice
One of the most common questions we’re asked is what foods to eat as a singer. And it’s very relevant as the right or wrong food and drink can bring clarity to your voice, or make it claggy. Eat a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet rich in plant-based products and your singing will sound better.
How can I sing better: More advice for beginners on the best way to learn to sing
If you don’t fancy the idea of using a video to help you learn to sing, or are unable to stream due to lack of WiFi, then don’t worry, because there are other options.
Teach yourself to sing apps and books
There are a number of apps that will take you through the basics. Many hone in on singing in tune and will give you feedback on your tuning. This gives apps a benefit over videos, which only operate one way, in that they don’t listen to you or evaluate what you’re doing.
The analysis of these isn’t always 100% accurate as they can’t tell whether you’re singing in a way that could strain your voice. But apps are still a very handy tool.
How to sing better instantly
It’s practically impossible to change your vocals instantly. But you can do something with 5-10 minutes. If you wake up groggy with a claggy voice, you’ll be amazed at the difference you can make with a thorough warm-up (humming, sirens, scales and tongue twisters) and a cup of honey and lemon in warm water.
Sucking on a VocalZone tablet is also helpful. Don’t expect miracles though. It won’t be a total transformation, but doing these things will better your singing to an extent, straight away.
How to improve your singing voice in a week
A week gives a lot more scope than an instant. Now you can really get those vocals moving. Set aside 20-30 minutes a day (longer if you can spare the time and your voice is used to working out daily).
Do your usual warm-up including breathing exercises, humming, sirens, scales, diction work and then allocate some time to working through songs. Set a timer so you don’t forget. Then add in some pilates or swimming, cut out dairy, drink lots of water and see how your singing improves!
How long does it take to train your voice?
It depends on what you’re training for. Classical music training takes many years part time, as well as three years of full-time training at a conservatoire. Otherwise, your voice will start to be ‘trained’ in around a few months. Although to refer to yourself as a ‘trained’ singer would normally mean you’ve got a few years of lessons under your belt.
How to get better at singing for guys and girls
The route to becoming a better singer applies to male and female voices. But there are a few things to consider and possibly work on if you want to get noticed and become more employable and sought after.
How to sing better for guys
Bass voices (that the lowest voice type) are rarer. Yet they’re just as needed as other voice types. So that lack of availability means they’re often more in demand – especially in choirs and groups. If you’re a bass singer, it’s well-worth developing your lower range.
How to sing better for female voices
Similarly to men with a bass voice, alto singers are often harder to find than sopranos and mezzo-sopranos. As more women lean toward higher register singing. There’s also a trend among female singers of recent years, for using vocal runs in songs – this is were extra notes are added in to create an improvised type effect.
This takes practice but is very useful and important for singing certain types of music. Mariah and Whitney were the queens of vocal runs, so watching them is a masterclass.
How to sing better for beginners
As we do recommend singing lessons, we should just mention the pitfalls of not having a coach and when you should really consider getting one. There are some significant downsides to not having a teacher, especially as a beginner.
When you need singing lessons
If having taught yourself to sing and are continuing to work under your own steam, but you find yourself in the following scenarios, then you should definitely start seeing a coach.
- If you experience recurring voice loss or a husky voice after singing. You should also speak to your doctor to check there aren’t any signs of vocal nodules or vocal bleed. Even if you just find you get a bit of a sore throat or feel a bit strained after singing, speak to a professional teacher. Your technique is probably wrong.
- If you get a record deal, tour or a large quantity of paid gigs. As a professional singer with a gruelling schedule, you need support. In these circumstances, you should be earning enough to pay for lessons (they are tax-deductible too, so actually work out less than the full amount in the long run). Working with a coach will give you solid tools and you’ll have someone to monitor your vocals as you use them more intensely, making sure you’re not doing any damage.
- If you see no improvement. This means you’re not doing the right exercises for you, or not doing them correctly and you need someone to watch and reflect on this.
- If you want to learn a tricky technique like vocal fry or whistle register. You can do this on your own, but we suggest you don’t try as you risk hurting your voice.
How to train your voice to sing higher
If you want to sing higher, you can gradually increase the notes in your regular sung scales. Or you can develop a technique like falsetto or whistle register. As we’ve mentioned, it it far better to take on these latter two methods with a coach.
Many artists like Ariana Grande made careers without any formal training. So if singing lessons aren’t an option for you, don’t let it stand in your way. You can go far as a self-made singer by being smart, savvy and allowing your natural talent to shine.
- How can I be good at singing?
Some of your ability will be natural. But you can work on that with lessons and/or lots of practice. It’s also important to get out there and gig – this will really grow your skills and provide honest live feedback.
- Can anyone be taught to sing?
Yes, anyone can learn to sing. How successful this can be will depend on your vocal anatomy. You don’t need to have an amazing natural voice to get pretty good though. You do need to work on it, however.
- Why do I sing better with music?
Few people have perfect pitch. It’s hard to sing a cappella – your voice is more exposed and likely to go off-key. The better the backing or accompaniment the better you’ll sound. This is why so many artists have backup singers as well as a band.
Do you have any tips on how to sing better without lessons? Are you a self-taught artist? Tell us about your journey in the comments below.