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If you are a singer or want to become one, you must know that learning to produce a pretty voice is only a small part of the equation. There are music skills for singers you will want to develop as you go.
If you have been singing for a while, you might be used to hearing things like… “oh, so you are a singer. But what instrument do you play?” (like if learning to “play” the voice was easy!!), or endless jokes about how singers cannot “enter” a song on time, or how we are not real musicians… time to prove them wrong!
Yes, of course learning to sing is quite different from learning other instruments. We learn a lot by ear, while for other instruments learning music theory is much more essential to learn parts.
Besides learning proper vocal techniques, there are lots of music skills we develop when we learn singing. But there are also other music skills for singers not so obvious that we must learn by ourselves.
If you are serious about singing, developing some basic music skills for singers is extremely important. They will give you a lot of benefits!
You can develop some of these skills right from the beginning.
Some of the basic music skills for singers you can learn are:
There are some basic melody skills every singer should know. Some of the things you want to be trained in are:
-Being able to learn a melody accurately.
-being able to tell when a note is “higher” or “lower” than another.
-knowing what a music scale is.
-being able to sing the major scale in a range that is comfortable for you, and if possible other scales commonly used in popular music: minor scale and its variations, pentatonic scale major, minor, and the blues scale.
-Being able to sing major and minor arpeggios.
-Identifying different types of melodic movements: ascending movements, descending movements, step motion, skip motion, no motion.
It seems like a lot right now, but actually, you are using all these elements when you sing popular songs already. Becoming more familiar with them, and the terms used to describe them, will make your singing much easier, and the communication with the musicians that play with you much more fluent and productive.
Learning basic rhythm for singers is really fun! At least it was for me when I could get the hang of it!
You don’t have to become a drum player, but you need some basic rhythm skills for singers if you don’t want your bandmates to hate you!
Here there are a few rhythm skills for beginner singers that you might want to consider becoming very familiar with:
-Being able to find the beat of a song easily.
-Being able to tell the time signature of a piece. Or at least, understand what the different time signatures mean and know what the time signature of the pieces you are singing is.
-Being able to find the strong beats of a piece.
-Being ready to start “on tempo”. This is, being able to start every melody at the right moment.
-Being able to identify basic note values: minims, crotchets, quavers, semiquavers.
-Being able to identify the strong beats and the weak beats in a bar.
-Becoming familiar with the differences between singing “on-beat” and “off-beat.”
Learning basic music theory for singers is essential to understand music at a basic level. Some of the things you could start familiarizing yourself with are:
-Learning what a “key” is and being able to identify the key of a song. This is really useful for you to find the right key for a song to suit your voice better. It will also make communication with the musicians that play with you much easier.
-Learning what a chord is and the different types of chords.
-Learning a musical instrument is of great value for singers! You don’t need to become a professional concert piano player to get the benefits of learning an instrument for singers.
Any instrument that you play will be really useful for you as a singer. But I would recommend you pick one that you can use to accompany your voice when you sing, such as piano, ukulele or guitar.
Some of the benefits you will get by learning an instrument as a singer, are:
-Learning to read music much more easily
-Understanding music theory more easily
-Being able to accompany yourself when you sing.
-Being able to use the instrument as a tool to warm up your voice (playing scales, chords, arpeggios, little melodies, etc.).
-being able to read the melody of a song from its sheet music much more easily, to learn it easily and accurately.
-Being able to write your own songs much more easily.
It looks overwhelming, but you don’t have to learn everything in one go!
As a matter of fact, if for example, you pick an instrument to play, you will learn all these other things as you go, and it will be a natural process.
Learning some basic musicianship skills will also open your ears to a much wider variety of music. And you will be able to appreciate it better!
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