Do you mean that your voice sounds bad in and of itself or do you mean that your voice sounds bad when you sing? Congratulations on both counts! A voice that sounds bad in and of itself, when trained becomes a unique and distinct voice. And everyone sings badly until they don’t: We’ll show you how to fix that.
There is no such thing as a bad voice, only bad technique. Very few people are actually tone deaf, meaning being unable to sing in key because they can’t distinguish the key. Sing the songs that you love when learning how to sing. This will sustain you while you improve and build confidence.
Here, we’re going to take you through the steps on how to make your “bad” voice become a “distinctive” voice. Doesn’t that already sound better?
RELAX! This is always the first thing for new singers to learn. Take some deep breaths, give your body a shake. Now, listen to a couple of songs that you like to sing along to and I mean have a good listen, especially to the way the singer feels into the song.
Your voice will respond to training like any other muscle system in the body, like a musician practicing any other musical instrument. As you become familiar with your “instrument” you will be able to use it automatically, like driving a car. All that’s left to consider is what do you want to do with your trained voice? Singing the songs that you can feel into the most is key: These are your songs and with a trained voice they can only ever sound great!
Most everyone started out unsure of themselves and most everyone are harsh self-critics.
Learn to Breathe (again): Take in a deep breath, then, as you breathe out hold a note. Breathe from your lower abdomen and engage your diaphragm. Hold two fingers below your navel and imagine that you’re your filling up your lungs from there. You are now engaging your diaphragm.
Repeat but hold on a different note. You should feel a bit of vibration in the chest and in the head and a kind of vibration in the throat. If you’re feeling a vibration in your face then you’re breathing from your chest instead of your diaphragm; it makes an unpleasant sound even if your pitch is perfect. Always sing from the diaphragm, never from the chest.
The “siren wail”: While saying either “eee”, or “aaah” start as low as you can go then slide up the scales with your voice. When you reach your highest note immediately come back down. It’s a great exercise for improving your pitch*, extending your range and strengthening your lungs.
*Pitch: The quality of a sound governed by the rate of vibrations producing it; the degree of highness or lowness of a tone.
Work on your pitch. This means making your notes clean and, more precisely, in tune. You want your notes to match as perfectly as possible. It’s not hard to learn, but it can be a bit difficult to master on your own. One thing that definitely helps is having an instrument like a piano or keyboard on hand.
Here is an online piano app: virtualpiano.net. Note-perfect and easy to use.
While you are doing this: record yourself on your smartphone. Record yourself while you play a note on the piano and sing the same note. You will be able to hear if you can tell whether or not your pitch matches. Tone deafness is rare; between two and five percent of the population is medically tone deaf. Some people learn faster than others but we all reach the milestones if we put in the effort.
This is the best step: Have fun with the songs you are singing. Simple as that. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little bit while you’re at it but during the early stages, keep your pitch as accurate to the original melody* as possible.
*Melody: a sequence of single notes that is musically satisfying; a tune.
Your pitch will improve over time. Just keep up with the exercises, explore new songs, don’t judge yourself too harshly but know when you can do better and your “bad” voice will become a beautiful and distinctive voice!