Fear not, SUPER STAR!! Struggling with pitch in the studio and in live performances is normal for many vocalists, especially if you’re a beginner.
Booking a session in a professional recording studio is super exciting for any vocalist. You can’t wait. That day finally comes and the studio looks awesome! In the booth, you feel like Mary Katherine Gallagher and finish all your takes with confidence. You move to the control room and wait anxiously for playback. But when you hear your voice come out of the enormous speakers, your jaw hits the floor! Sinking down you think – “wait…is that how I really sound??”. It’s clear that your pitch is less than perfect. You practice and practice, but this continues to happen. You start to wonder – am I tone deaf!?
Here are 5 simple ways to improve your pitch…
- OPEN WIDER– Open your mouth as wide an apple. This may feel awkward now, but you’ll get used to it. Opening wider will help your pitch (and volume++) immensely, especially on those tough to reach high notes.
- VOWEL SOUNDS- Over emphasizing the vowel sound in each word essential to good pitch. Try speaking each word in a phrase in “super slow-mo”. Notice the sound, but most importantly the shape your mouth creates. Now sing it at regular speed using the same shape. For example, let’s try this with the word “when”. Speak the word VERY slowly and opening your mouth wide. Pay attention to the formation of your mouth- this is the vowel sound. The vowel sound for the word “when” is “eh”. Now say “eh”. Now say “when”. See!?Note the shape of your mouth. Now sing “when” using the vowel shape. Did your pitch improve?? Oh yeah, it works wonders!
- BREATHE CONTROL– Breathing exercises help with pitch, holding notes, calm stress and increasing your vocal endurance. Diaphragmatic breathing, aka balloon or belly breathing, is an industry and medical standard practice. This simple exercise will increase your lung capacity and show you how to breathe correctly.
- VOCAL EXERCISES– Vocal exercise daily is the key to creating strong vocals. There are many different types, and some are strange and unusual! Do what works for you. Your practice should include breathing exercises, tonal scales and ear training. Also use your practice to warm up and cool down for any vocal performance or recording time.
- PLAY AN INSTRUMENT– Relax, you don’t have to be Mozart! Using a keyboard or piano to help you find the correct pitch can be a game changer. Simply play the note you are looking for and join in vocally. You will feel and hear it when your pitch matches up with the note. Once you get the idea, create your own ear training exercise by playing random notes.
Programs like autotune easily correct pitch in the studio, but what happens when you audition or sing live? You want to be a pro right?? Practice makes perfect . FYI…Very few singers in the world have perfect pitch. You will develop an excellent ear and great vocals, over time with regular practice. Remember, preparation + opportunity = success!