How to Become a Singer (10 Steps)
If you are an aspiring singer, you need to remember that just like any other instrument, it takes time, dedication, and practice to reach levels of mastery, it doesn’t happen overnight. Singers also need to be careful about the choices they make to protect and train their vocal cords.
It is widely believed that the Indian Classical music legend Tansen could summon thunder and make it rain by singing the Raga (Indian Classical scale) ‘Megh Mallar’, such was his mastery over not just the composition but also his control of his voice.
While it is difficult to verify such ancient folklore, one cannot deny the power vocal music has over us. So if you are interested in becoming a singer, here are a few ways of how you can go about it.
1. Take Singing Lessons
Think of your voice as a musical instrument. Even if you have a good range and can sound versatile, it is important to take singing lessons. Whether they are paid lessons with a private coach or even youtube tutorials, lessons will help you build a strong foundation.
You will also learn correct techniques about projecting your voice without harming your vocal cords.
Different genres generally require different singing styles, choose one that you are interested in and find a vocal trainer or a youtube channel that specializes in it. You will be able to hit those high (and low) notes in no time with training!
2. Practice Your Voice Daily
As clichéd as it may sound, practice makes perfect. So the more you practice, the better you will get at it.
Your voice may be hoarse when you first start, but you have to persevere. Create a healthy routine where you dedicatedly practice every day.
You don’t need to put in long hours, just be regular and consistent about your practice. Even 15 minutes every day can result in you improving by leaps and bounds.
3. Sing to Close Friends and Family
When we sing, unfortunately, we cannot hear ourselves. So if you have been practicing, the next step is to ask your trusted ones to listen and give you honest feedback.
Your friends and family will be able to tell you where you’re falling short and also highlight your strengths.
One way to do this is by finding a karaoke version of the songs you enjoy singing. The backing track will help you stay in tune while also making it entertaining for your mini audience.
4. Write Some Songs
If you can, start writing some songs. They don’t have to be exceptional. But writing songs will help you not just showcase your talent but also help you understand which areas you need more work in.
For those who do not play an instrument, you can start by writing lyrics and adding a melody to them. Read our article about writing better lyrics.
5. Join a Music Environment
Since there isn’t a whole lot of structure when it comes to music and the music business, being around other singers and music professionals can help you a lot. You can pick up tips and tricks from others and implement them in your practice.
Instrumentalists and musicians are always on the lookout for singers they can collaborate with. Find someone whose goals and aspirations match with yours. You can record, perform, or even rehearse music with them.
6. Learn From Others
Whether your contemporaries or famous singers you admire, learn from them by observing how they go about their craft.
Musicians such as guitar players often cover songs and try to sound as close to the original as possible. The same thing applies to vocalists as well. Practicing covers will help you get better.
7. Record a Demo/Song
Once you’ve spent time practicing and even writing some songs, record yourself. Even if it’s a cover. This will help you understand how your voice sounds.
Also, performing live is very different from singing something for a recording. You will learn about microphones and how to project your voice for them. You will observe that some parts require you to be loud and some soft.
Recording a song will help you understand how to correctly emote for a song. Besides, it doesn’t hurt to have a few demos ready to go if you are planning to send them to record labels or for auditions.
8. Release a Song
Once you have recorded a song, take the leap of faith and release it. These days one does not need the backing of a label to get their music out into the world. You can release your music on Soundcloud or even streaming sites such as Spotify and Bandcamp by yourself.
This will help you gauge the public, your potential target audience, and how they react to your music.
To know more about promoting your music and getting your music on iTunes, Spotify, etc read our piece here.
9. Perform Live
Live gigs are always a great way to test yourself. You can work on your showmanship and skills as a performer when you have an audience in front of you, reacting to your music in real-time.
Start with small, intimate gigs and gradually progress to bigger spaces. Many music venues often have ‘Open Mic’ nights. These are a great way to get started because you don’t have to feel the pressure of performing a full set. You can also use these to test new music and see if it works or doesn’t.
Performing live will also help you pick up seemingly easy but important skills such as how to correctly use a microphone and get the best out of your voice.
10. Promote Your Music
To graduate from singing as a hobby to a potential new career, you need to promote your music. At the end of the day, the music business is a business and you need to spread the word as much as you can.
Start by creating social media pages and updating the content regularly. You can also set up a mailing list and create your website.
Merchandise usually generates a source of income for many singers so come up with unique designs that your fans may be interested in purchasing. Also, radio interviews, collaborating with others, and television appearances will help you introduce yourself to larger and more diverse audiences.
Are Singing Lessons Really Worth It?
We can all agree that it takes talent to be able to sing well. But talent alone is like an unpolished diamond. You need to know how to use it correctly. Singing lessons will help you do just that.
While private lessons may be expensive, a vocal coach will teach you how to reach your fullest potential without causing any damage to your voice. This is very important because the constant stress on your vocal cords and not taking care of them correctly can cause serious injury in the long run.
A vocal coach will also guide you on how to sing with your throat and also your stomach. There are many youtube tutorials on the different kinds of voices, but it is always better when you learn something in a one-on-one setting.
So if you have the means, an investment in the form of singing lessons is well worth it because it will help you long-term.
You don’t need singing lessons if you see it as a hobby or an activity you enjoy doing. If you are planning to become a professional singer, then lessons are something you need to consider.
Is There A Specific Songwriting Process?
Different musicians have different approaches to songwriting. While some like to first create a melody and then write lyrics, others prefer it the other way around.
Many musicians like to write their music by themselves, while others prefer to work with a team of songwriters or a band.
You need to figure out which way is the most efficient and convenient for you. It generally takes a little bit of time to figure this out but at the end of the day, you need to do whatever makes you feel creative and inspired.
How To Handle The Business Side of Music?
Remember that at the end of the day, it is a business. So you need to work smart and not just hard. You will need to be on top of things such as promotion, recording, management, and organizing if you are planning to do this as an independent artist.
This is why it is good to be around other music professionals. When you start to feel overwhelmed, you can designate certain parts of the process to others. Read this essential guide on how to start a music career which gives you many useful tips.
Also, be sure to check out our article on how to promote your music.
Singing is an incredibly joyous activity but it can also seem difficult since we hit notes without having a tangible, physical guide. With dedicated practice, you will find yourself being able to hit notes and even sing runs with ease.
However, the most important thing to remember when it comes to singing is that no matter what the genre, you need to put your soul into it.
The listener will always enjoy your music if you are authentic and show them who you are by allowing a level of vulnerability. It is this trait that separates good singers from great ones.