Can I Learn To Sing Well?

I have decent pitch and a natural musical talent when it comes to instruments, but I can’t sing a lick. It just doesn’t sound good and my range is low.

I stay on key no problem

Assuming I went for lessons, did all my exercises and trained hard, can I ‘become’ a good singer eventually, or is this a talent you either have or you don’t?

Can lessons and training actually raise your vocal ceiling?


Yes on all counts, if you have good pitch you should be able to become a pretty good singer. Maybe not good to be lead in an Opera , but you could probably get pretty good(okay, you probably could be lead in an Opera, but with more practice than you’re probably willing to give).

And you can indeed increase your pitch ceiling/lower your pitch floor. eventually you probably will hit a ceiling, but my friend steadily practices to increase her lower range. The opposite principle applies too of course, but yes, you can extend your range little by little. You’d actually be amazed at the new pitches you can hit once you get basic singing posture down.

(I’m not a very good singer, at all, but when I had to do singing for band and theory I couldn’t deny I was definitely getting better and fast when I actually tried choir technique instead of half-heartedly singing Easy on Rock Band and failing because I didn’t really need to do it).

I agree with Jragon.

However, I do wonder if the construction of vocal cords give some folks a naturally pleasant (subjective, that) voice that others lack. I had a pretty voice before I ever trained it. Consider that we can identify some famous singers immediately by their unique voice. I probably couldn’t tell one opera soprano from another (I bet an opera fan could), but I know Billy Joel’s or Stevie Nick’s voice the minute I hear them.

Well, I didn’t sing at all until I got to college and found that they’d changed the rules for music minors that to get your lessons “free” (and by free I mean included in your $20,000 tuition) you had to be in an ensemble. There aren’t many piano ensembles, so I had to go sing. My voice improved by leaps and bounds when I was in school but now that I don’t do it, six years later, my range has shrunk a lot, my upper range sounds like crap, and I don’t have the breath support. It’s something you have to keep doing.

I’ve been a working musician for many years and I’ve known lots of people who were backup musicians , bass, drums, keys whatever, that were encouraged to sing harmonies and found out that with practice and effort they became decent to good singers.
If you really have good pitch you should be able to increase your range through practice. I’d recommend that you learn to discover your own voice and what it lends itself too. Don’t be afraid to experiment but I’ll believe you’ll discover your voice lends itself to certain songs and styles more than others.

There’s also things like texture and body and style. Willie Nelson is an example of a guy who’s basic voice is not so great but he makes the most of it and has developed his own style that works for him.

Certainly the quality of the voice is something that people are born with, but sometimes people with good voices don’t make the most of it. A person with just a pretty good voice can learn to be a good singer with practice. Phrasing has a lot to do with it as well. Singing in time makes the whole presentation better. Lot’s of good singers never impressed anyone with their range. They just delivered the song with style and emotion.

Agreed. Practice. I just tried to hit some notes I used to have no problems with yesterday. Where’d they go? The good news is they come back with a little effort.

This is true, it is important to remember that what any person perceives as a “pleasant voice” is extremely subjective to the listener, genre of music, and audience all at once. Some voices have more natural resonance, gravel, breathiness, timbre, clarity, or character than others.

Obviously, a booming basso filled with gravel like myself sounds idiotic singing pop-rock or emo ballads; while on the other hand I’m your man for a mind blowing metal, goth, or blues/jazz session. Consider your voice, as well as your preferred styles and buy a lot of material from artists who share both your range and musical tastes.

Your untrained range is of course set by the length of vocal chord which is genetic. With training one can indeed improve the range of notes available.

Thanks everyone.

I have no problem staying in the proper key, and I have a decent enough range. My problem is that my singing voice sounds like Dennis Hopper doing an impression of Stevie Nicks…

Heh, I have a very “pure” voice. I sound like the kind of guy who would be singing the theme to the Gummy Bears, which, in fact, is one of the few songs I rock at. It ameks it very difficult to sing that kind of “perpetual head cold” sound a lot of bands seem to have (Green Day, Pain - which is one of my favorites, etc).

Be glad you have such a voice. You can train yourself to mimic pronunciation and accents and that will get you bloody close to that sound. Make those songs your own is all I can tell you. Our voice instructor at the Arts Center I work at reccomended that same gem to me, and I haven’t looked back since. It’s the difference between AcidLamp doing Greenday, and AcidLamp Covering Green Day.