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Learning to Sing Better – Practice, Working your Voice and the Scale

I’ve spent considerable time with the chest voice and head voice, how to distinguish between the two, and how each is important. Today, I’d like to focus on one of the most important aspects of singing better; practice.

For many people, ‘practice’ is almost a dirty word. It shouldn’t be. Your voice is controlled by tiny muscles and like any other muscles, the more you exercise them, the stronger your voice will become. If you sincerely want to sing better, you should practice every day. This isn’t involved, it doesn’t take much time, and it can be done almost anywhere. Part of it can feel a little foolish at first, but it pays off.

How do you practice? I’m glad that you asked. There are two basic ways, both are valuable, and you are probably acquainted with the first: singing along with songs that you like. Don’t worry about it if you don’t sound great. Your purpose is to exercise those tiny muscles.

I won’t spend more time on this way of practicing since most people do it already, though not necessarily daily. The second way is the way that feels a little foolish at first, but it is actually more important than the first way: Sing the scale.

You basically sing the notes A-B-C-D-C-B-A, then go up one note and sing the same progression. Do this for the entire octave in the middle of your range. I’ll write more about the range later, but this is all the notes you can sing comfortably, from lowest to highest, without straining your voice or causing your voice to break. Use the middle of the range and do it several times. You don’t need to overdo it, but the first time, sing each note using the Ee sound. Repeat the entire sequence three times.

Do it the second time using the Oo sound, again repeating the whole sequence three times.

The third time, use a sound that you’d get if you said, “Duh” and repeat the sequence three times.

Note: Sing each note separately and clearly, don’t attempt to flow up and down through the scale. You are not only exercising the muscles, but you are also teaching your voice to sing the notes cleary. Believe me, this isn’t as easy as it sounds and practice is exceptionally valuable for learning how to do it.

If you again watch the videos I’ve shared, you’ll see that each of the singers is very clear when it comes to the notes they are singing, even if they aren’t actually singing words. That is the goal you are aiming for. The sequence is also stretching your voice, which will become important later. 

Here is the interesting part. If you practice every day for a week, I guarantee that your voice will become stronger and more flexible. How’s about that for stressing the importance of the practice? If you seriously want to sing better, practice is the place to start. I said that even people without talent can learn to sing well. I stick by that statement, but there is a condition; they must practice. The good news is that this isn’t at all difficult and it doesn’t take much time. 

By all means, also continue to sing along with songs you like. Before I even started this journey, I had many karaoke songs that I’d downloaded to sing to and with. I had even more that I simply linked to, so all I needed to do is click the link to bring up the karaoke tune on YouTube.

  • How often do you practice singing?

    • At least a few minutes a day
    • Often, but not daily
    • Only once in a while
    • I sing frequently, as long as nobody is around
    • I really didn’t know how to practice

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Written by Rex Trulove

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      • Every lesson started with scales, just as they did during my short and abortive efforts to learn the piano!

        During my student days I was a devotee of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas (a very British phenomenon!). Before every practice it was normal to warm up with a few exercises of this kind – just as you would do a warm-up if you were playing a sport of any kind.

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