Most of my readers have never sung before. The question I’m asked more than any other question is, “How do I become a singer?” Here are some things you should know before you get started.
As a total beginner, your head is swimming with questions. Where do I start? How can I save money on lessons? Am I good enough to become a singer?
In this article, I’ll walk you through the most important aspects of becoming a singer. I’ll give you some tips on building confidence, finding a coach, setting goals, and starting a practice routine. By the end, you will have everything you need to get started on your vocal journey.
Singing is a tool for expression
I’ve been a singer for as long as I can remember, so in this case, I can’t give you the benefit of my own personal experience. However, I work with many singers and I get to see some of the challenges that they face.
One thing that I’ve learned is that everybody loves to sing. Even for a person with no experience, singing is an important tool for expression. When nobody is listening, people sing without fear of judgement, and they feel free.
You should try and replicate that feeling every minute of every day. Once you find your sound and your confidence, you’ll never want to stop singing.
Address your fears
You can do it. Remind yourself every day that you’re capable of becoming an amazing musician. Read my article on criticism to set aside some of your doubts.
Prepare to forget everything
To become a singer you’ll need to unlearn almost as much as you need to learn. Ignore the criticism you’ve received about your voice. Forget how past coaches have taught you to breathe. Unlearn society’s idea of “good posture”.
Start singing constantly
You’re learning to sing, so find time to practice everywhere. Sing in the shower, sing in the car, sing everywhere. Start analysing your voice and challenging yourself.
Get your head into learning mode. Research vocal technique, watch YouTube videos, read blogs, or sign up for a free singing course. Start learning more about the art form, and decide what directions you want your career to go.
Tips for Learning
Here are some tips based on the latest breakthroughs in the science of learning1:
- There’s no such thing as “learning styles”. In the past, people thought that certain senses improved learning in certain people. We now know that the best way to improve your learning is to engage as many of your senses as possible.
- Use it or lose it. This is common sense. The best way to keep your skills fresh is to practice regularly.
- Keep things fresh. Repetition is critical, but boredom is detrimental. Find a way to balance repetition with novelty.
Plan your journey to become a singer
Goals bridge your dreams with your reality. Without goals, your dreams remain dreams. Use S.M.A.R.T. goals to ensure your goals are as helpful as possible. Then go out there and achieve them!
Tips for setting goals
- Use SMART Goals. Science strongly supports the use of “specific hard goals” 2. SMART is the most widely-used format for creating them. SMART stands for:
- Specific – Decide exactly what you want to achieve, and how.
- Measurable – Define a method of tracking your progress.
- Aspirational/Achievable: Make big, lofty, aspirational goals. Divide them into small, achievable steps.
- Realistic – Make those huge “moon-shot” goals, but keep them real.
- Time-bound – Fight procrastination by giving everything a deadline.
- Write down your goals, commit to taking action. Send commitments and progress reports to a supportive friend. 3
Find a singing coach
Once you locate a singing coach, ask them for a consultation. Ensure you work well together before committing long-term. You can find one on Google, but don’t dismiss good-old word of mouth. Asking a friend for a recommendation is a great way to find a good coach. You then have the chance to find out some inside information before you commit to an initial consult.
Tips for finding a singing coach
- Check your gut instinct. Are they compassionate and caring? Do they “get” you? If something feels wrong, walk out and never go back.
- Ensure that the coach focuses on your goals. The best coach will help you plan your journey toward your personal goals and dreams. They will customise each lesson to maximise your strengths and minimise your weakness.
- Ensure that the coach has a strong background in vocal pedagogy. The teacher needs to have detailed knowledge of how the voice works.
- We offer vocal coaching directly on the Vocal Sensei website, but we can also help you choose coaches if you need to find someone in your local area.
Make your own playlist
Always have music playing, especially in the car. Create playlists of songs that you can sing, or that you’d like to be able to sing. Choose a couple of songs to use as benchmarks for your range or your performance and so on. Come back to these benchmark songs month after month and year after year to really track your progress.
Improve your singing
Find a support network
You need your own group of singers, who can guide and support each other. This could mean joining a choir, performing in musicals, starting an a cappella group or a band. Identify an idol, someone doing better than you, someone you can aspire to be. Get to know them. Ask them for help, and then help them in return.
Perform in public
Put yourself out there. If you struggle with self-confidence, this might be the last point on your list, but keep it on your list! Gradually build up your confidence over time. Once you start performing in public, you’ll be conquering your fears as well as improving in new ways.
This comes back to self-analysis. Take both audio and video recordings, and practice in the mirror. Play the recordings back and write down some strengths first, then some weaknesses. Plan to capitalise on your strengths, and minimise your weaknesses.
You’ve got your head in the game, you’ve set goals and planned your career, and you’ve started analysing and improving your singing voice. I’ve covered everything you need to get started on your way to become a singer. Learning to sing is achievable, and it’s exciting! Of course, I’ve only scratched the surface. You’ll learn much more, and maybe you’ll learn something about yourself along the way.
What else do you think is necessary when getting started as a singer? Let us know in the comments below.
- Breakthroughs in the Science of Learning https://www.brainscape.com/blog/2012/10/breakthroughs-science-of-learning-2/
- Goal Setting and Task Performance https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232586681_Goal_Setting_and_Task_Performance_1969-1980