Learning How to Become a Singer
Want to know how to become a singer? Want millions of fans screaming your name? Want to tour the world’s most fabulous cities in stretch limousines enjoying champagne and hiding from the paparazzi?
Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how to do that. There’s more to “how to become a singer” than dreaming of stars in your eyes and packed stadiums. Though there are some Cinderella stories in the world of music — I’m thinking of the explosion of Susan Boyle from “never been kissed” nobody to international singing sensation — most people who enjoy a meteoric rise to fame do so the old fashioned way, with hard work, dedication, and a lot of luck.
If you want to know how to become a singer just to enjoy the fame and fortune, there are easier routes — make a viral video, commit a string of high-profile bank robberies, or declare yourself a personality and release a “sex tape”. Singing is hard work, and the art of singing doesn’t need any more fame seeking wannabes.
What is Singing?
The scientific definition of singing is simply producing “musical sounds” with your voice. Singing is different from speech because it concerns itself with tone (the “pitch” or “note”) and rhythm. Singing takes place in showers around the world — many people sing while performing a menial chore or while at work. And yes, there is plenty of singing performed as an act of entertainment — from Broadway musicals to pop music on the radio, singing as an art form or as a means to fame is not difficult to find.
The Act of Singing
Starting with the lungs (which supply the air necessary to sing) and moving toward the larynx (known casually as the “voice box”), singing depends on a number of organs in your body. The larynx is a complex system of muscles and folds that “vibrates” air produced by the lungs through your chest and head cavities — that sound is then amplified by those cavities to produce a note. Depending on how a person moves their mouth, tongue, teeth, and lips, different words or sounds come out with the note. Singing with your lips closed is generally called “humming”, and can be an important part of singing.
Because every person’s body is different, every person’s voice is different. We’re not just talking about the size or shape of the vocal cords — the pitch of a person’s voice is affected by the size and shape of their entire body.
How to Become a Singer
It may not be fair, but some people seem to come out of the womb with a talent for singing. That’s why I suggest looking into your genes for built-in singing talent. It is no accident that the children of famous singers sometimes go on to their own great careers (John Lennon’s children are all musically inclined, for instance) — there’s something about the ability to sing that is built in to our bodies. While scientists haven’t been able to identify a single “gene” that creates a singer, we know that songbirds’ abilities to sing specific tunes come from genetic triggers. Does this mean that if you aren’t “born with it” you can’t learn it? Absolutely not. As with any talent, singing can be taught, trained, even drilled into a person.
Don’t have singing in your family history? Don’t worry. Read on.
If you’re wondering how to become a singer, you’ve already got this step taken care of — desire here just means you need to want to be a singer. There are plenty of people with vocal talent who don’t care for music, people who would rather pursue academic careers than a job in the arts, or people who never discover their singing abilities because of a simple lack of desire. If you want something bad enough you may be surprised how easy it is to get. Can you develop a desire to sing? Sure — listen to tons of music, watch performers live, surround yourself with music and see if you don’t suddenly develop the strong need to sing out.
3. Vocal Lessons
Whether or not you have natural talent, your singing abilities need to be refined by a vocal coach. Sure, some people have never taken vocal lessons and can belt out an aria like a pro, but the odds are that you’ll need vocal training in order to perform at your peak ability. Vocal coaches are everywhere — ask around at church, school, or any social function and you’re likely to find someone who can help turn your rough desire to be a singer into a finely tuned performance art.
Much like developing your desire to sing, studying great singers is like a kind of “continuing education”. Listen closely to singers that you admire, especially once you’re armed with the technical knowledge provided by vocal training. Listen to a singer’s timbre, pitch, phrasing, and any number of other technical aspects. Emulate what you love. Throw out what you hate. The great artists of the world, from Shakespeare to Lady Gaga, steal aspects of their art from those who came before them. Beg, borrow, and steal your way to a beautiful vocal performance.
So you’ve pulled yourself up by your bootstraps, learned how to sing, taken lessons, refined your style, emulated your heroes — now what? You have all the tools, the desire, and maybe even the genetics to become a singer so it is time to sing. There are opportunities for public vocal performance everywhere, if you think about it. Karaoke is free to the public and available everywhere (sometimes you can win cash or prizes) or you could audition for a performance at your church or at school. There’s a long tradition of “busking” (performing on the street) where artists sing or play music or perform some other feat for change — don’t be too proud to perform this way. Many great singers have thrown out their hat and belted out songs for their dinner before becoming rich and famous. Start a band. Record a demo. Do whatever it takes to get your beautiful voice heard.
Becoming a singer is not all glitz and glamour — in fact, it is a road paved with disappointment and hard work. If you have the strong desire to become a singer and take the proper steps, you could be putting on the shower performance of a lifetime (or tickling the eardrums of fans the world over) in no time.
For more information about how to become a singer, see the following: