We’ve all been there.
All you want is to be able to sing.
And whether you’ve been practicing hard or are a complete vocal newbie, you have one major question:
Am I actually any good at singing?!
Asking other people can be scary, but you just want to accurately gage your vocal ability.
It may seem impossible, but I have a secret:
Assessing your vocal skills can be as easy as 1, 2, 3!
I’m about to give you the top 3 ways you can tell if you have a bad singing voice, along with some practical strategies to start fixing key issues – that you can use right now!
And here’s the best part:
After you read this and start learning the basics of evaluating your voice, I’m going to give you access to some resources that will really help you take your voice to the next level.
Exclusive Report: Click here to download The 8 Secret Singing Tips, which will you improve your voice instantly.
The Idea of Having a “Bad Voice”
Before I even get too deep into these practical tips (that can drastically change the way you practice singing), I want to start off with the notion that anyone has a “bad” singing voice.
Now I know what you’re thinking:
Some people can sing, and others can’t. It’s just the way of life.
But here’s another secret:
That’s a complete lie. No one (not even you!) has a bad singing voice.
Don’t believe me? Think of it this way.
I’ve been training my voice for about eleven years now, and I’d say I have a pretty good handle on these mezzo-soprano beauties I call vocal cords.
Now imagine someone gave me a beautifully crafted French horn and asked me to play them a classical piece on it.
Do you want to know what would happen?
You would hear the most dreadful, terrible, insufferable French horn solo to ever be played in the history of humanity.
Because I have no idea how to play a French horn!
And it wouldn’t matter if you gave me the most beautifully crafted French horn or one from the bottom of a Goodwill bin, I would still sound awful.
Now give that same French horn to an expert player, and you would get something beautiful and far more pleasant to the ears than my attempt.
I want you to notice something in both scenarios:
If you heard me play, you wouldn’t insult the actual French horn, you would insult my playing skills (or lack thereof).
If you heard the expert French horn master play, you wouldn’t compliment the French horn. You would compliment the person playing the French horn.
(Unless, of course, you happen to be an expert on the mechanics of French horn manufacturing!)
In both cases, the thing that separates my mess of a solo and the expert’s beautiful concerto isn’t the instrument. It’s the ability to play the instrument well.
Now what was the point of my fictional French horn scenario?
Your vocal cords are your instruments, and everyone’s is different. We were all born with different voices, and vocal folds that differentiate in thickness, etc. etc.
But while some people were born with a more natural “instrument” than others, we can all learn to “play” well with practice and hard work.
To go forward with these tips, it is important to first accept the idea that there is no such thing as a bad voice, only bad vocal technique.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get started!
Here are the top three ways to tell if you have bad vocal technique and how to fix them.
1. Relax, Relax, Relax!
If you watch enough concerts or singing competition shows, you’ll notice something very interesting when you see many of your favourite singers.
Many vocalists seem to tense up their bodies and shoulders when they sing, especially when hitting difficult notes.
That’s a MAJOR vocal technique error.
As counter intuitive as it may sound, singing should not be difficult.
This is not to say that you don’t have to put in any effort or hard work in your singing, but it should never feel painful.
Singing takes a certain level of athleticism due to all that diaphragm engagement and breathing going on, but you should never feel tightness in the throat and vocal cords.
So, if you feel tension from your diaphragm or stomach area, that’s fine. If you feel any tension in your vocal cords, stop immediately.
Any new sensation you feel while practicing should feel freeing, not restricting.
Your vocal technique will suffer and you could seriously injure yourself singing with tension.
I know I just said there are no bad voices, and it’s true. But you can damage your instrument and make it sound pretty awful if you don’t relax.
2. Finding Your “True” Voice
Imagine this scenario.
You’ve been practicing a song for a while now and you think you’re finally making some progress. So, you decide to record yourself.
And then… you hate your voice.
What is going on? Your voice sounded pretty good to you when you were singing, but this recording doesn’t sound anything like you.
The truth is that when you sing, you’re not hearing your true voice.
When we hear someone else’s singing (or someone speaking, or a car horn in rush hour traffic), the sound waves enter our ears through the outer ear before going into our ear canal and ear drum.
When we sing, we can’t hear what we sound like to other people because the sound is travelling (in laymen’s terms) up the sides of our face instead of going through our outer ear.
That along with the inner vibrations we get since the sound is coming from our own vocal cords makes for a sound that is drastically different to us than to other people.
So how do you go about hearing your actual voice? It’s quite simple.
Take two folders (or pieces of paper, or cardstock, or magazines, etc.) and place them in front of your ears sticking out from the sides of your face. These will act as sound deflectors and will stop you from hearing the “preview” of sound that you usually get.
Try practicing some scales or singing a basic tune like this to really get a feel for what you sound like to people.
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty.
When most people say they have a bad voice, they really mean that they have trouble staying on pitch.
It’s very rare for anyone to be completely “tone deaf”. Most of us can tell if we’re singing on pitch or not.
If you really want to test out your ability to hear pitch, you can take a free “tone deaf” test here at ToneDeafTest.com.
Now that you’ve seen whether you’re “tone deaf”, you can test your ability to match pitch while singing.
Record yourself singing along to a song that is within your comfortable range. (If you speak with a deep baritone voice, do not attempt to sing a Mariah Carey song. It will not work!)
A tape recorder works well for this, but you can use a smartphone, IPad, computer, and a myriad of other devices to do this. Check out these portable digital recorders which work well.
Listen carefully to the recording and discern whether you are on pitch. (It won’t be hard, I assure you!)
Want Some Extra Help With Your Singing Practice?
Our editor in chief Tyler has prepared a guide in which he shares 8 Secret Singing Tips.
Download the guide for free and find some tips to get you started on your new musical journey.