Who could, only after practice, sing in tune?

Is there anyone here who could not sing on tune, who after training/practice, can sing on tune?

I’d really like to know if that’s possible and if it’s worth investing the time. I’m not talking about being able to sing in tune but not being happy with it and improving the voice. Actually just singing in tune.

Here’s my situation. I grew up unable to sing. Nobody in my house sang, I was the only one to play an instrument- drums. So singing was monotone or miles off tune.

A few months ago I started trying to learn. Doing basic ear training for singing, and using Yousician singing to try to hit notes and sing basic songs. It has a visual indicator of your pitch. I can do some basic stuff, with headphones on and my own voice playing into them.

I sing along to songs a lot in the car for some easy practice. However when I record myself it’s still off pitch. The only way I can get roughly (very roughly) on pitch is to have headphones so I can hear my own voice. And to sing in a way which is not close to my regular voice. It seems wrong. Remove headphones again = miles off pitch and melody.

Back to that question again - anyone who could not sing in tune, that now can?

And were then able to do it without headphones?

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I’ve never been able to sing either. I’d imagine singing requires much more external supervision than playing an instrument which is about visible motions and can be copied from videos. However, for singing, you use muscles/organs that cannot be seen but are still prone to exhaustion and/or stress/injuries.

In my opinion, being able to hit certain notes is one thing, but doing it in a way that you do not injure yourself (see pro singers developing nodules on their vocal cords, their voice becoming “shot” over the years, etc.) is even more important. If I were to learn to sing properly, I would definitely seek an instructor for face-to-face lessons so that they can correct improper technique and actually teach me what I should hear as “in tune”.

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Thanks !

I actually just listened back to your Hurt and Hallelujah covers and I think your singing is better than you give it credit for you.

You have a really nice deep tone and sound like Leonard Cohen. That’s who I wished I’d sound like haha but my voice just doesn’t have that quality to it. I’m stronger with higher up stuff but took a teacher to get me to realise that.

But you might be surprised what your voice is capable of . I think it’s about finding out what you’re strong with and playing to that but also not pigeon holing yourself and trying other things too.

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You sing much better than you realise JK. Pitch problems are often the result of poor breath support. There’s a few other factors too. You have the makings of a ‘good’ voice whatever that means. Sending you a dm.

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I’ve always been ’any old note will do’ :joy:, not consistently one or t’other either! Wife (who sings very well) has tried with my and given up, I’ve had a few online lessons, none of them have changed anything despite me trying really hard. It’s not that I am tone deaf because I can relatively easily transcribe to guitar and play by ear, it’s just that my voice doesn’t do what I feel it should be doing :joy:

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Not too worried about injury… I figure I can’t do any worse than what I have been.

@lewis2025 Thanks for sharing. I’ve listened to your recordings before and you’re a good singer now IMHO. Perhaps the “years” vs “months” is important - I haven’t been trying for that long. Only a handful of months ago did I learn that singers sang notes! Such basic understanding but I had no idea. I can hear when I’m off pitch but not when singing without headphones.

I’m only uploading what I think are “decent” recordings, most of my casual singing is terrible, and I know the ones I upload are miles off what they should be. Objectively, from a tune POV.

You described what I feel like @DarrellW. I can hear notes and melodies, transcribe a bit (although pretty basic there), but can’t reproduce the sound I hear in my head.

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Sorry I just accidentally edited over my last comment with this one!

Thanks for the compliment!

I actually just listened back to your Hurt and Hallelujah covers and I think your singing is better than you give it credit for. I don’t think it’s that different to what I do.

You have a really nice deep tone and sound like Leonard Cohen. That’s who I wished I’d sound like haha but my voice just doesn’t have that quality to it. I’m stronger with higher up stuff but took a teacher to get me to realise that.

But you might be surprised what your voice is capable of . I think it’s about finding out what you’re strong with and playing to that but also not pigeon holing yourself and trying other things too.

You remind me of this band as well. That singing tone is just so cool to me and I think you have it naturally.

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JK

Whether I can sing in tune is maybe down to your judgement and not mine !

All I know is that a voice is just like an instrument. You need to learn how to use it and practice effectively. I have my suspicions of what Maggie @batwoman might be sending your way. Pay attentions it will serve you well !

In the mean time here’s my story which I shared on the old forum in many guises but if you think I am doing alright its a success story in which you can join in. And as its me, this may be a long post. Grab a tinnie and throw some shrimps on the barbie !

As a young teenager I had a good voice, loved singing early Pete Green Fleetwood Mac and a lot of Marvin Gaye. A couple of years after my voice broke I discovered beer bikes parties and generally screaming at football matches . Quite natural for the team I followed as there was never much joy. Oh and I’d been smoking since I was 9 !!! Singing was usually a drunken affair at our weekly rock venue pub and bike rallies. I reckon I abused my vocal chords but was normally too wasted to give a rats. Work, marriage, child, domesticity followed and life got “normal” apart from the odd drunken rally a couple of times each year. Although I still loved to sing I was pretty much banned from doing so in the home as I could not hold a note. Well I could not find a note let along hold it. So singing was confined to letting rip in the car with the volume maxed out. The only one who put up with it was my daughter.

For pretty much 40 years I thought I was tone deaf and felt I was Mr Monotone. On the odd occasion I actually heard myself singing I knew what everyone was on about, It was rank and normally consisted of three notes if you were lucky. Despite the stop start guitar journey I eventually arrived here and after a while recorded a few songs but avoided singing until about 6 or 7 years ago. Our good friend and mega collaborator @RomanS aka Schlaffenwagen asked me to sing on a proto punk song from '71 by a group called World War III (they’d be popular right now !!) as he wanted a working class English accent. Now seeing as he had not heard me talk let alone sing it was all a bit surreal and I just said sorry I don’t sing. Back then most of Roman’s collabs had Leo @crocodile1 on vocals and there was no way I could match Le Croc De Vox. But he kept asking and I kept refusing and that went on for months. In the end I said I’ll do a demo and you’ll see you need some one who can sing !! Demo done Roman says “so you CAN sing why have we been dancing around for months?” So we did Ascension Day
which is on my Soundcloud catalogue but I knocked up this video a while later and I was pretty chuffed but still thought I had a crap voice and zero ability and minimal range.

Over the years that followed, I did a few more vocal stints for Roman, Born To Be Wild, Irish Pub Song to add a few “classics” but despite Roman’s nurturing I still felt false. I started a few of my own recordings but had to do the vox separate as I just could not sing and play. Plus I pretty much rearranged each song so it was in the Key of A. By then I think I had a limited range within that key but nothing elsewhere.

It clicked for me when I started singing and playing, which was a love hate affair that went on for many unsuccessful years until November 2020 and I recorded a short tester of Ralph McTell’s Streets of London. I thought it was crap vocally but the feed back I got here was amazing. That was pretty much what kicked off the Madman’s Diaries which was the saga of me singing and playing but I still thought the singing was pants and everyone here was being kind.

Towards the end of that year a few folks on the forum including @batwoman @DavidP and @LBro started talking about Chris Liepe and his initial 3 lesson free singing course and that fact that after that most had singed up for his 12 week Discover Your Voice course. Being the aging negative sceptic that I have been all my life I felt, yeah as if this bloke could make me sing !! But I did the freebie course and boy what a difference. I suddenly had range that I thought impossible, ok it was an octave plus but for me it was mega !! So I signed up for the 12 week course and it was worth every penny and ok I might have dragged it out over a year but boy what an investment, My range spans over two octaves now, I have falsetto and can sing in any key, in fact I now go out of the way to avoid the key of A and my old comfort zone.

It did take a lot of focused practice and discipline but his techniques are actually quite simple and you will find you already have an incredible range that you use in everyday talking without realising the fact and its just a matter of transference. Oh and imitating a lot of cartoon characters and most importantly getting used to not caring what you sound like and just making noise. Its fundamental building blocks that unlock the potential you already have and that’s everyone.

When I did my recent recording and OM performance of Aerosmith’s Amazing the first thing my daughter said to me “bet you didn’t think you’d be doing Tyler 18 months ago” ! my response was that I never thought I’d be doing anything from Mr Tyler. Ha and let alone Grace Slick and White Rabbit

Despite 45 years of being told not to sing in the house by my missus, she is now my No1 fan and can’t wait for the OM recordings to be published and is now happy for me to sing around the house.

So now back to you my friend.

JK you have a great voice (listen to Mrs B @batwoman). It has a great tone and timbre for the songs you have been covering, which sometimes I don’t get the time to comment. But you are doing very well for sure. So maybe it is just some confidence and self belief that you need but are doing ok. Chris Liepe’s course is not free but if you want to take your singing further I can attest that it is a worthwhile investment and may inspire you to look at his other courses.

You already have a good foundation to build and the tools to take that further are not that difficult or complicated and are certainly achievable. It just depends on how far you want to go ?

Let me know if you need any links to Mr Liepe’s material but Maggie may have already done that.

At the end of the day in tune out of tune just have fun. I have covered so many songs over the years but the Rumjacks cover stand out as the best for the craic. Demon production from Roman, great contribution on vox by Leo and his female friends and a stella guitar performance from Mike Sebastien. Some time it don’t matter if its on point. But it just needs that Je ne sais quoi !

Sorry for the ramble!
:sunglasses:

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@jkahn

Dont be so hard on your self JK!!

I think you have developed a great deal from i saw your first AVOYP until the last one.

I really enjoyed Hurt and your take on AIC, and i think you are improving yourself and you have this cool signature in your voice that most dont have.
Cant put my finger on it. But deep without being deep if that makes sense….
There is a lot of good feedback on the forum on this vocal course i dont remember the name of on top of my head, i considering to check it out at some point.
Maybe worth checkin out if that could make you feel better and further develop your vocal…

But Keep it up JK, youre doing great IMHO!!

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Really interesting reading your story and journey Toby.

“Mr Monotone” or being all over the place - that’s me. I listened again to your Aerosmith cover, focusing on your vocals this time, and yes you can sing now. So it is possible to get better even after a lifetime of not singing well. Quite encouraging. That’s kind of what I was looking for honestly. I feel it’s one thing to be able to sing and then improve to get better; it’s something else entirely to go from not hitting the notes at all to be able to hit them. Which is the journey you went on.

Thanks Trond, I’m not trying to be hard on myself, just reflective and to figure out what is possible. I’m definitely not one who gets down on himself, more likely someone who’s always trying to improve and likes to look in the cold, hard mirror under unflattering lighting to see what’s real. Good to hear you’ve noticed some improvements already - means that what I’ve been doing so far has made a bit of a difference.

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@jkahn
Much already said, perhaps no need for me to throw in my 2cs worth, but hey, you all know keeping quiet isn’t my way :grin:

My pitch, tone, and phrasing was pretty poor when I started, I’d objectively say far poorer than your current performance. Today it is far better. Still not a singer but I feel I can sing, maybe not as ‘well’ as I play. In short, the answer is YES.

I can share before and after links if you would be interested in such.

I think this is normal, and the way it is done in studio by the pros, the way Chris Liepe recommends. And you may find it is even more effective if you add a little reverb to your voice.

As to your ‘voice’ … it is not by accident that Chris titles his course ‘Discover Your Voice’. The more your sing, the more you will discover and develop, and in time be able to sing live without the headphones, to be get closer. Not sure if you have heard me sing in a Community OM which would be me without the headphones as used when over-dubbing vocals on home studio productions.

And I think, many pro singers are not as accurate as you may think when singing live in concert compared to studio. And that is without even talking about the use of pitch correction which can be used both in studio and live, without it being used as an obvious, ‘creative’, effect.

And I have always wondered when watching live performances, what is playing through the vocalists in-ear monitors? It could be the band, could also be their voice; I don’t know

So if you have a desire to improve your singing, have the time and energy to devote, then pursue it. Like playing, singing can be learned and developed. Like playing we will probably never be as good as our heroes, either players or singers, but we can become good enough to play for an audience well enough not to be gently asked not to come back in future. And that for me is a wonderful thing.

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@DavidP makes a very good observation on the accuracy of what we think of as professional singers. Back in the day many bands sounded awful playing live and many a lead singer was carried by more talented backing singers. With the advent or portable sound desks and digital mixers much of that is covered up these days but there is still a lot of mediocre “talent” out there. The only differences is they some how got a break. And a lot of the magic that happens in the studio now gets taken out on the road.

But you can make really big improvements with some simple and fun routines and it doesn’t cost the earth.

For anyone interested in Chris Liepe’s method here is the link to his free 3 lesson course, as a taster to his 12 week course Discover Your Voice.

https://chrisliepe.com/free-your-voice-now/

:sunglasses:

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Good point, they certainly will have their voice in the in ear monitors. Otherwise at a noisy gig you would be singing but literally not able to hear yourself on the stage.

Really, in the context of popular music we only really ever hear a person’s voice through a mic and reproduced by speakers, it’s not like a classical concert where we hear their voice naturally in the air

This means that you can sing a lot quieter through a microphone and get different sounds , or you can do really cool things in the studio like double tracking the vocal.

I notice that Chris Liepe does always sing into his mic with the headphones on.

I think it’s still good to sing without the mic though so you can do acoustic sing alongs etc but my point is , I think a few contemporary artists would be nervous about letting their voice out there like that.

But I don’t think I’d have got better at singing without the ability to record myself and to constantly listen back. I’ve now lost that feeling where you think your recorded voice sounds different to what’s in your head as I’m recording myself so much .

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I thought I couldn’t sing neither. But when I hurt my hand a while ago I took some singing lessons, they were very helpful.
I also have this app, Sing sharp, that tells me if I’m on the right tone or not. I’ll never be a Tom Jones or so, but it’s ok for me and what I aspire :wink:

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Absolutely. To just be able to play and sing along even if your singing isn’t amazing is just a great feeling and really helps my mood :slightly_smiling_face:.

And even then , so many well known artists don’t ha have what the mainstream public would call a “good voice”, sometimes they don’t even sing in tune (but that can sound good to me - don’t we all love the blues because of the inherent dissonance? ) . They all have their own character. Shows like the X Factor are so negative for people’s perceptions of musical expression

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Hadn’t noticed that at all David :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:.

Also encouraging. I watched a few early videos and recent videos on your YouTube channel, and yes there is a marked improvement. Well done. It’s good to know it can be done. Also interesting that Chris Liepe recommends to practice with headphones. Must help a lot to hear your own voice through the ears rather than … well, whatever way we hear it without headphones.

Modern pop music has really warped perceptions, yep. However there ARE very, very good singers out there though. Earlier this year I went to the theatre and saw Frozen the musical (kids were interested), and those singers, doing stage musicals - wow, they can sing. As can many other famous singers in bands. I saw Tool live in the early 2000s - and wow, can Maynard sing. I saw Foo Fighters live about the same time and Dave Grohl was not a good singer live. A long time ago now though, recordings of live gigs I’ve seen since then he sings really well live. So maybe he was just having a bad day.

Sounds interesting, I’ll check that app out. I’ve been trying out the tuner in my DAW or phone and they’re both meant for tuning guitars so are a bit hard to read live.

I’ve finished with the 3 part freebie video series from Chris Liepe. Some interesting techniques I’d never tried before. Might give the course a shot.

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I think everyone needs to practice in order to sing in tune. It’s just some people got the practice in earlier in their lives.

I grew up singing at school and in school and church choirs so I can still sing in tune, across OK but not great range, but I doubt that any of that was really innate. I reckon that practice starting when I was 5 years old, so not self-conscious at all, got me singing in tune. Then some actual technical practice stuff with a church choir master - singing scales, practicing matching a note from the piano etc - just like I’m having to practice technical finger movements now.

So just like I’m learning guitar at 45, with some effort, I reckon nearly anyone who can hear can learn to sing in tune. I’m never going to be as good a guitarist as someone who’s played since a young age but I can certainly learn to strum chords in time and pick out a melody. And I think you can learn to sing in tune.

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Hi JK, I’m still finding my voice and cannot say I’ve achieved a singing level that I feel good enough to make any of my covers public, but I want to share a little of my own experience and search.

I sing to acompany my guitar playing because is fun and convenient. I’ve found useful the concept that when a person plays the guitar and sings is playing two instruments at the same time, because it makes it clear that to play the guitar and sing well a person needs to work on each one as if he or she was learning to play guitar and saxofon at the same time.

The same way that a person could be ages learning to play guitar without significant progress, it could be ages learning to sing without significant progress, if the method is following, if any, is not geared the best to his or her needs.

The other concept that some have mentioned above is that speaking and singing are not as different as it looks. Sometimes that a person does not get the best sound out of his or her throat it may be because is forcing it go out in an unnatural way (assuming singing as we speak is the natural way). The risk of injury singing in a forced way is real and something to be aware of.

I think that being able to produce a specific pitch with the voice is something that can be learnt the same than other techniques. I thought until following the advice of Chris Liepe and checking my vocal notes with the tuner that my A2 note (fifth string) was good. It was not. It was more like a D3 in the Guitartuna App (this exercise works better with a chromatic tuner or a specialized app than with Guitartuna, but it was a good start). When I manage my throat to produce an A2 (it is very low for me), I cannot sustain it or do it consistently but I know that with proper lessons and practice time I should be able to achieve it.

As different guitars have different timbres each person has a different timbre in his or her voice. You should work to enhance yours rather than fight against it. Since my practice time is very limited I am working on my voice only marginally but it is something I want to work more in the future and the same way, I have to do it the way that works better for me.

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Andres @dobleA

Like you I am trying to play and sing at the same time, part way through Grade 1 guitar.
For singing I knew I had to take lessons. My first lesson was embarrassing I really just spoke the words fortunately it has got better. My teacher is very patient and have agreed with her in the next month or so I am going to take my guitar in and see what she thinks.
I started just over a month ago trying to combine the two, and at present I can play the guitar better when I am not singing and vices versa but it is starting to get better.
My earlier experiences are covered in another post, see below.

Michael

https://community.justinguitar.com/t/strumming-and-singing/86010/6?u=mat1953

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Although I ended touching the playing guitar and singing topic it is good to go to the original question. That is: can anyone learn to sing in tune by just practicing? That can be formulated also as: do a person have to be born a singer to be able to sing in tune? I think that if a person can hear and speak he or she can with proper training learn two skills: one, to produce vocal sounds (notes) at certain pitch and two, to use the right pitches in a sequence of sounds (melody). The first is vocal technique, the second is ear training.

I can play notes in the guitar but I cannot yet know what note to play in my guitar to replicate a note I hear in a record or in my mind. That is what a person does when tries to sing a song replicating the sounds he or she is hearing in the record or his or her mind but doesn’t know which fret and string to go in their throat fretboard. I think I do some kind of trial and error thing.

A different aspect is if the vocal sounds are nice that is very subjective. As far as I know Ringo and George of The Beatles were at the beginning limited in their vocal capabilities and were given easier to sing songs to participate in the albums. Ringo still sings in a simple way but has 20+ albums in his discography. He just developed a style that suits him.

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