How to Avoid Common Singing Mistakes

Learn how to avoid the most common singing mistakes from vocal coach Cari Cole in this Howcast singing tutorial.

Hi I’m Cari Cole. I’m a celebrity vocal coach and artist development expert. And I help artist find their voice, craft their music, and create successful music careers. I’ve worked with Donald Fagen from Steely Dan, Courtney Love from Hole, I’ve worked with the band Journey. I’m going to teach you how to be a better singer and performer
So I’m gonna talk today about common mistakes that singers make. I would say right off the bat, there’s four, the first one being pitch. Pitch is non-negotiable. You have to learn to sing on pitch and learning to sing on pitch requires having an ear, listening to a lot of music, recording yourself a lot. I think recording is the number one way that I correct pitch with singers. Singers hear themselves from their inside ear not from the outer ear. When you cup your ear you can hear yourself more from your outer ear. This can cause a lot of mistakes with pitch. Pitch is a number one, non-negotiable issue with singers. If you’re not singing on pitch…. Phrasing, if you’re off time with your phrasing. Phrasing means timing, means rhythm. Some of the best singers in the world were drummers because their phrasing is so awesome. So getting good phrasing is a really important part of learning to sing well and its a really common mistake. A lot of people focus on the notes and it’s not just the notes. Its the way you deliver those notes, the rhythm of those notes. A singer is a rhythmic instrument as well as a melodic one. Presentation. I see a lot of people make mistakes with presentation. How you present yourself, how you talk about yourself as a singer, not trying to be more than you are, which gets into the fourth one which I’ll talk about in just a minute. Dress the part. If you wanna be a rock star, look like a rock star. If you wanna be a folkie, look like a folkie. Pay attention to how you’re presenting yourself because you are your brand 24/7. It’s not about being inauthentic, its actually about being very authentic. Its about bringing who you are to your presentation more. You wanna look the part, act the part, dress the part, look the part. Another common mistake is overreaching, trying to do things that are outside your scope. Trying to hit these crazy notes when you don’t have them in your voice is not benefitting you, its not showing anybody that you can do it. You need to sing the notes you know you can deliver. That is a big part of not preparing enough. I feel like because the voice is the instrument that lives in your body and you don’t have to go purchase it at the store its common for a lot of people just to think that they can sing. People ask me that quite often, "Do you think anyone can sing?" And on a professional level, I say "not really." But then we look at singers that are not great "singers" but are awesome storytellers or songwriters. So it isn’t all about the singing voice. So, there’s many aspects to that, it’s not a straight answer, but it’s learning how to feature your strengths and downplay your weaknesses. So someone who understands what they’re good at and brings that to the forefront is gonna be more successful than trying to do something they can’t and don’t have naturally. So those are four mistakes that beginning singers make.