Learn How To Sing In Tune

Can I Learn How To Sing In Tune?

Learning how to sing in tune is a skill almost everyone can master. From my experience as a voice teacher, people are generally much better singers than they give themselves credit for. In reality, only about 2% of people are actually tone deaf. Tone deafness means that a person cannot distinguish one pitch from another.

In all my years teaching , I think have come across only one or two people who were truly tone deaf. I’ve helped a lot of students with bad intonation (pitch) and all of them were able to improve with practice.

There are a few factors that can lead to singing out of tune.

First, The Brain. Ear Training = Brain Training. When you “train your ear” to sing more in tune, you are really training your brain. Using MRIs, neuroscientists have located a “pitch center” in the auditory cortex of the brain where pitch is processed. When you listen to music, the eardrum/inner ear sends signals to the auditory cortex. There the signals are sussed out and voila– you hear music.

Most people who have good intonation have been exposed to music in some capacity since they were children. That being said, even people who have studied an instrument sometimes have trouble matching pitch.

Don’t worry! You can develop your ability to sing in tune with ear training exercises that focus on matching pitch and developing relative pitch.

Relative pitch is the ability to find & sing a note by comparing it to a reference note. For example, if I play “Do”, a person with good relative pitch will be able to find & sing “Sol” or “Mi” or “Fa” etc. Relative pitch is essential for sight singing as well.

Check out these ear training tutorials-

Solfege- A Beginners Guide (Part 1)

Solfege Exercises For Singers (Part 2)

Train Your Ear With Solfege Syllables (Part 3)

Second, The Body. We create and change pitch by using our vocal folds (ligaments – fibrous connective tissue) and the muscles that surround them. We use two different sets of muscles to control our head and chest voices.

For people who are new to vocal training, learning where to place each pitch and finding the right balance between these two muscle groups can be a challenge, resulting in intonation issues (pitch problems).

Developing muscle memory for singers is just like the muscle memory that a piano player develops as she learns how to move her fingers across the keys. With practice you will gain pitch control and agility. Vocal exercises are a great way to train the muscles of your voice.

Check out these helpful exercises 5 Easy Warm Ups For Singers

Third, The Breath. If you don’t have enough air flow, especially as you sing higher, your pitch may end up underneath where it needs be. Adversely, if you are pushing out too much air, you can easily go sharp. Need some help with your breathing? Check out these two video tutorials and articles-

Breathing Technique For Singing

3 Easy Breathing Exercises For Singing

The key to learning how to sing in tune is daily practice. The more time you put in, the faster you will improve!


  • minette broschofsky

    Reply Reply November 11, 2017

    I play ukulele with a group of friends. I don’t sing because I cannot sing in tune. I have good music memory
    as far as knowing how tunes go, so sometimes I am asked to sing it before or while playing to familiarize the others… but usually that frustrates me (and the others, I’m sure) because I am not in tune. I would love the joy of being able to sing and I have explored various programs. I was introduced to this How to Sing Smarter yesterday from the Podcast Musicality and I’m really excited because I can see how this method can work for me. Even starting here with the most basic solfege 1 step up or down is challenging me- but it is a great start & I can see with practice I might learn to sing!
    Thank you, Mehgan!

    • Meghan Nixon

      Reply Reply November 15, 2017

      Hi Minette! Welcome to HowToSingSmarter. I have a lot more ear training exercises coming your way. Keep working at it. Matching pitch is just a skill- you can improve!

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