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Learn to sing (for beginners)

Learn to sing - image of singer

What’s the Idea?

A basic overview of how to learn to sing, using the advice and experience of a professional singer.

What’s the story

This period of self-isolation is a perfect time to take up a new creative pursuit, singing for example. Singing is the act of making melodic sounds with the voice, generally with the aim of performing songs or tunes. Anyone can learn to sing; if you can speak, you can be taught to sing.

At 15 I learnt to sing, taking lessons from my mother who is an ex-professional singer. Later I progressed to other teachers.

During school, I took part in school musical theatre productions. Eventually, I gained a place in The National Youth Music Theatre, touring with their production of “The Kissing Dance” for 2 years.

For uni, I got a place at The London College of Music and Media and achieved a BMus Performance degree there. During this time I got involved in the electronic dance music scene and featured on tracks and performed in clubs.

I was also in a 10 piece live drum and bass band called The Arabada Collective.

Now, I sing under the name ‘Dragon’ (trip-hop/chillout/jazzy stuff/funk/soul/hip-hop – a hugely eclectic mix) and work with my ‘music brother’, Rob Grant. We either perform as a duo or with our trip-hop/funky hip-hop band, Ambivert.

People should do this because…?

Singing can be extremely beneficial. In particular, it encourages people to express their emotions, sharpens communication skills and exercises lip and tongue movement.

It also repeatedly uses muscle memory.

In addition, singing with others improves human connection, listening skills and community spirit.

How do you do it?

When you learn to sing, you won’t automatically sound spectacular. Once the mechanisms to activate the vocal instrument are working, the quality will depend on musical aptitude and amount of practice.

Start with the basics, which include proper posture, breathing and vocal techniques. Furthermore, proper practice, a vocal teacher/voice coach or instructional video will help hone your voice.

Basic breathing exercises to help you learn to sing


  1. Breathe in to the count of 4, breathe out, hissing to the count of 4
  2. Then, breathe in for 6, and hiss out for 10
  3. In for 6, out for 12
  4. In for 2, out for 12
  5. In for 4, out for 16
  6. In for 2, out for 16
  7. In for 4, out for 20
  8. In for 1, out for 20

This helps to monitor your breathing, ensuring you can last through long phrases. Make sure the hiss is consistent, that it is not louder at the beginning than at the end. You are aiming for a smooth, even sound.


  1. Breathing in gradually, think of your lungs filling up in fractions when you count. Focus on the diaphragm, being careful not to hold tension in the throat.
  2. On the count of ‘1’, breathe in (1/4 full)
  3. ‘2’ (1/2 full)
  4. ‘3’ (3/4 full)
  5. ‘4’ (full)
  6. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 – breathe out gradually.
  7. Repeat, on the count of ‘1’ – breathe in (1/2 full), ‘2’ – (full)
  8. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 – breathe out gradually.

In terms of how long it takes to sing, how long is a piece of string? This depends on a combination of natural aptitude, effort, and guidance. It could be a few months to carry a tune, but a few years to reach excellence.


Stuff you may need

  • Music books
  • Sheet music books
  • Audition and repertoire backing tracks
  • Vocal exercise books
  • Lesson books for singers
  • Dictaphone
  • Microphone

Links to other stuffer pages

Learn to play piano

Become a music teacher to inspire future musicians

Links to other articles on the web

Links to other videos on the web

Links to apps

Links to books

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