A Beginners guide to improving pitch…
Fear not, SUPER STAR!! Struggling with improving pitch in the studio and in live performances is normal for many vocalists, especially if you’re a beginner.
After booking a session in a professional recording studio (Infinite Recording Studios perhaps??) you start the process of preparing for your session. 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! 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!? Fortunately there are ways to work on your pitch control as well as your ability to hear pitch changes/intervals.
Here are 5 ways to improve your pitch…
1. 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.
2. CONCENTRATE ON 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!
3. LEARN 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.
4. DO 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.
5. LEARN TO PLAY AN INSTRUMENT / LEARN YOUR MELODY ON A PIANO
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 Antares Autotune or Melodyne 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!