The fear of singing out of tune or off pitch is something that many singers face.

Let’s break it down & take some of the power back so that you can sing on pitch all the time.

What is pitch?

Frequency is the rate (KHz or Hz) at which a particular note vibrates to create it’s sound or tone. Pitch is our perception of that frequency.

When are we off/on pitch?

Think of the centre of the pitch as a bulls eye or target. Hit outside that red circle & you are off pitch. You can be sharp (above the intended pitch centre) or flat (under the intended pitch centre).

Ideally you would use your aural perception to tell you if there are pitch problems. However, sometimes the ear may not be trained enough to recognise that you are not hitting the note on pitch.

HOT TIP: Record yourself & listen back. Know where you are – sharp or flat by checking the notes on an instrument or digital tool. You can also get feedback from someone musically inclined that you trust to be honest with you!

Put that pitch in it’s place…. 😉

How to correct sharp pitching.

RELAX already! That is the first step. You may be tensing your muscles, a locked jaw, or lack of focus. You can correct for these problems by:

  • Relaxing your abdominal muscles.
  • Releasing any jaw tension with facial massage & ‘cow’ chewing circular motions in both direction.
  • Look at your breath management – maintain a steady stream of air – avoid pushing!
  • Listen to your voice & keep focussed on the task at hand.

How to correct flat pitching.

In this case, you may actually be tired, unable to focus & have breath management issues as with sharp pitching. If the key of a song is outside of your vocal range or you have overly relaxed facial muscles this can cause flat pitching also.

  • Focus on breath management.
  • Visualise landing on the pitch from above as opposed to below.
  • Keeping your chin parallel to the floor through an aligned & neutral posture.
  • Smiling to lift the soft palate (breath of wonder/surprise as I have heard it referred to!)
  • Change the key of the song to get it within your comfortable vocal range.
  • Make sure you are well rested before a singing, performing or even lessons.

Some tools to play with & help improve your pitch:

Embrace a little bit of music theory & know the road map of where you are going & you’ll have a huge head start.

Singing scales

Major scale & arpeggio – understand intervals or the relationship between the notes can help you recognise the pitches better.

Major Scale

Start with a C Major scale & move up or down once you’ve mastered this.

The pattern of a major scale is Tone Tone Semitone, Tone, Tone, Tone, Semitone or Whole step, Whole step, Half step, Whole step, Whole step, Whole step, Half step.

Arpeggio

Play a major arpeggio on a piano. 

Basic arpeggios follow this pattern: 1, 3 (Major Third), 5 (Perfect Fifth), 8, 5 (Perfect Fifth) , 3 (Major Third), 1.

In the key of C it’s C, E, G, C (up the octave), G, E, C. Start at Middle C or the C below.

Pitch matching – use an instrument/guitar/tuner etc

Pick random notes & check that you are pitch matching – use this cool free online tool  https://trainer.thetamusic.com/en/content/vocal-match

Or you can get loads of apps for your phone or iPad like:

Pitch Perfect – Pitch Pipe & singers tool

Sing Scope – check pitch & see the pitch in various forms – wave form & graph

Ear training, sight singing, music theory

Ear Training, Solfege & Music Theory app

Do Re Mi – Ear Training – for singers, teachers, students – more advanced (I use this one)

Relative Pitch Interval Ear training – FREE

Relative Pitch Interval Ear training – PAID

Trouble Shooting for key changes

High Note = tempo & key changer

Play around with these tools, see which you like best & then practice, practice, practice!

Let me know if you have any questions about pitch & how to improve it further by posting a comment below or emailing me, as there also some more advanced techniques that you can tackle if you are still struggling.

Keep working at & it & happy pitching!

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