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Have you ever embarrassed to sing in front of people just because your singing voice is “awful”? You might notice some of your friends who never taken any singing lesson. But, when they sing, their singing voices sounded like pro singer. In many cases, they were born with good natural voices.
A series of very doubtful question arose from my readers, “What if I don’t have a good singing voice? ; Can I still become a good singer with that bad voice? ; Any solution to fix my bad natural singing voice?
In reality, there are only leas than 3% of people who were born with a good natural voice. What about the rest of the 97% of people who are passionate and love to sing, but lack of the good singing voice.
To solve this heart-breaking problem for many singers. Thus, I decided to reach out to some professional vocal coaches for answers.
Advises From Vocal Coaches
Responses & Answers listed in the order they were received in:
Steve – The Naked Vocalist
It depends on what the singers’ personal perception, or definition, of what ‘good’ and ‘bad’ singing is. And also, what they aspire for. These vary immensely but one thing is for sure, once someone stops to consider and becomes conscious of these aspects they can normally start to answer the question on their own.
As an example, if a young girl aspires to sound like Beyonce because that’s what she perceives as being “good”, then there’s a good chance she isn’t going to be “good”. Which is a good thing, as we have a Beyonce already. Equally, if a guy defines “good singing” as being able to sustain a note with vibrato, there’s a chance he may be able to achieve that.
Musical theatre and classical singing give stricter guidelines for what is required from the voice but pop music is very subjective and gives a lot more room for what is “good” and “bad”.
Whatever the goal, or definition, it’s the singers’ starting point, guidance and time spent that will determine the outcome.
From: The Naked Vocalist
Edward Staunton (BMus, BSc) – Director, Soho Vocal Tuition Certified SLS Instructor
If you have a ‘bad voice’, you have some options: Do you want to keep your bad voice and sound ‘raw’ or ‘real’? If yes, then you are more likely to ‘make it’ if you sing in a genre that doesn’t require much in the way of recognised technique – i.e. think less opera and more punk! (or even just rap). If you want a ‘good voice’, or you just want a better voice, you can either:
- Practise yourself and try and find a ‘better’ position [NB – This can be hard, as it’s often quite difficult to know what is right and how to achieve it. Comparing different singers on record and live can help but it’s still difficult to replicate easily.]
- Ask some friends who can sing to help give you pointers – particularly if you can’t hear where you’re going wrong. [Choose some kind, loving friends or you might lose friends!]
- Research the subject online and view some videos of useful warm-ups. [A great first port of call, and usually free!]
- Visit a qualified vocal coach to get tailored voice lessons. [The quickest solution but the most expensive!]
Obviously, I am a vocal coach so I’m going to opt for the latter, but it’s very important to state that going for voice lessons will not necessarily make your rock voice sound like an opera voice or a musical theatre voice (unless you want it to). A good vocal coach should be able to keep your style and still improve your technique around it. This means better pitching, more control, more range. You should be able to sing more of whatever you want, more easily.
Edward Staunton (BMus, BSc) Director,
Soho Vocal Tuition Certified SLS Instructor at www.sohovocaltuition.com
Richard Fink IV – Vocal Coach and founder of THROGA
My short answer is this: “If you can talk, you can sing.” I know, I know, it can’t possibly be THAT simple! Allow me to elaborate…Singing has been a significant part of human history for as long as we’ve inhabited the earth. Historians and language experts all generally agree that singing, or forms of prosody (melody in speech), came well before any unified means of spoken languages. Communicating empathy, warning, compassion or fear with the rise and fall of pitch, swift and elongated rhythmic intentions, and clearly expressed thoughts takes place in our every day life. This is the true definition of singing! Whether it’s a mother humming random, soft, staccato tones in the Passaggio (transition between registers) to soothe her child to sleep, or a startling grunt, riddled with glottal-shocks, traumatizing the vocal folds, we connect. We speak. We sing.
Let me be clear. I am by no means under the delusion that we are all equal in our innate, or nurtured, abilities to control our voices with the same vocal acrobatics and consistency that many singers seek in todays’ society. Some of us, including myself, have to study and practice with great discipline to meet the publics standard of what is generally excepted as “good”, let alone “great”. What used to be an open forum of family, friends and neighbors singing purely for the joy of singing, slowly evolved into a disciplined and competitive art form. Only recently (within the past 500 years!) has it exploded into a highly coveted means of acceptance and reverence in what is now known as the “music industry”.
Fear not. If you are reading this article because you long to free your voice, please know that it already is! You alone have the ability to express yourself artistically without standard. In other words, if singing feels easy, and it brings you peace within your soul, you have already achieved what most will spend an entire life trying to accomplish! On the other hand, if you find yourself unfulfilled, even when no one is around to cast judgement or criticize your voice, then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and seek help from others to guide you in discovering what your true potential is!
There are several quality vocal coaches and techniques out there to assist you on this journey. The throat-yoga could be one of the solution for this voice problem. You need to tackle your voice from a multi-dimensional perspective, which includes specialized vocal exercises and guidelines to create balance within a singer’s foundation. This will allow you to ultimately express yourself in any way that you chose! So if you’re seeking a deeper understanding of your voice and to improve your vocal (1) flexibility, (2) breathing, (3) intonation, (4) range, (5) tone, (6) articulation and (7) strength with the 7 Dimensions of Singing.
Chris Johnson – Authorised Instructor (Vocology In Practice)
Firstly, what’s good in singing? Accurate pitching, good diction, clear tone, reasonable timing and rhythm and the ability to actually hit ALL of the notes? Well yes, they are some of the basics of good singing, but as listeners we are willing to sacrifice some of what is deemed basic for one thing: feeling. If we don’t feel anything when that person sings then we’ll probably switch off, or perceive that singer as ‘bad’.
However, when that persons voice displays the emotional and cultural charge within themselves, we perk up. We join THEIR journey for three and half minutes. We relate our own experiences with theirs, and we hear their musical influence as mysterious and appealing nuances. With all this in place there is a connection between the artist and the listener. With a connection this powerful you’ll likely review that singers being ‘good’, or probably something a darn site more descriptive than that!
For those singers who are focused on hitting the notes or ticking the examiners box, you’re doing a great job at fulfilling the basics of singing. Striking the balance between the basics and out and out feeling is the name of the game. Some singers have been incredibly successful through feeling alone, and pitch terribly. That’s how important it is to be open to style and expression.
Opening your mind and voice to the influences of many artists in a wide variety of genres is a way to develop a good sound. Emulate, imitate. Be aware to not become a tribute or parody, but allow subtlety to come through with help from a coach.
Great voices are a product of the unique combination of everyone they ever listened to, with the added ability of being able to portray emotion through their instrument. You might say that it takes many years to listen to, and absorb, that much music, so if you’re coming to the game late then your ‘good’ voice might take a while. But it WILL come!
Authorised Instructor (Vocology In Practice)