How to Improve Your Pitch

A Guide for Singers

What is pitch in music?

Pitch refers to how high or low a note is. For example, women have higher pitched voices and men generally have lower pitched voices.

As as a singer, when we refer to pitch we’re generally talking about how accurately you’re hitting each of your notes. If you sing slightly above a note, that is called being ‘sharp’. If you sing slightly below a note, that is called being ‘flat’. Singers should aim for good pitch accuracy by hitting each note right in the middle because that sounds the best. 

‘She’s a little pitchy’ – means she’s singing a little flat or sharp (or both).

‘Hit the note right on pitch’ – means you want to sing the note perfectly in the middle of the tone and get a really nice pitch accuracy.

How do you get good pitch?

Pitch is largely controlled by two factors: Breath support and hearing ability.  

Most singers have problems singing ‘flat’ because of poor breath support, but what has pitch got to do with your ears?

Well my friend, music is a hearing art form and singers need to develop their musical ears to be able to identify whether they are hitting the correct pitch or not. 

Its crazy how many singers can’t hear whether they are singing in tune or not. The best way to tell is to record yourself and listen back, but for now, let’s take a look at how to work on our breath support and musical hearing to make sure our pitch is, well… right on pitch!

1. Work on your breathing for singing

Its the most important part of singing and your diaphragm is like the engine room for your whole instrument. Your ability to breathe effectively affects so many elements of singing, including pitch, so if there was one thing to focus on above all else in your quest for amazing pitch accuracy, it’s breathing.

2. Improve your musical hearing

This is called ‘Ear Training’ and there are many, many different exercises that you can do to help you develop your ‘ears’ as we musos say. In the video below is a fun one I created for singing vocal harmony but it is a great exercise to start with that will help you develop your pitch.

(Learn the difference between Relative and Perfect Pitch)

So in a nutshell, to improve your pitch you need to work on your hearing and your breathing and then the pitch issues should correct themselves automatically. Both take a little time to master because:

Breathing – you are dealing with an internal muscle (your diaphragm) and need to build its strength and muscle memory in order to sing without thinking about your breathing. If you’re practicing 3 x a week for example, you’ll need to do breathing exercises for 5 minutes at the start of your practice session every time you sing for about 1 month in order for it to become second nature.

Ear Training – you are building up a sense that has been taken for granted for so long! That means your ears have become lazy and need a jump start. Consistent practice with your ear training is the key to developing this sense properly.

I hope you enjoyed this post

Thanks for reading and I hope this post was helpful. Let me know if you enjoyed it in the comments below.

Nicola xx

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