Three Tips For Singing In Your Car -- And Seeing Progress

If you don't know how to sing but are starting to learn, formal lessons are obviously the best way to go to so you can learn to sing without injuring your throat. But singing in your car can actually help you a lot, too, and in fact, it's a great way to supplement your lessons once you start taking them. There's nothing magical about singing in the car; it doesn't directly improve your pitch, for example. But it does wonders for your volume, and that allows you to hear what you're doing with your pitch, your breath control, and so on. Here are three tips if you want to use your commute as extra studio time.

Hands-Free Headset

Chances are, someone's eventually going to look over when you're in traffic and see you singing. Rather than go through embarrassing moments where you hope the person isn't filming you, get a hands-free headset for a cell phone. Get one that has an obvious mouthpiece and earpiece, and wear it so that it is visible on both sides. If you can keep your head movements small, you'll look like you're just talking to someone over your phone.

Start Small

Instead of relying on the radio and trying to sing with whatever is on at the moment, prepare CDs or MP3 playlists. Start with a mix of songs and find the ones that seem easier for you to sing with, and then create new CDs or playlists of songs where the vocals are in a similar range. Don't add songs that require you to switch from your upper register to your lower register frequently as this can be frustratingly difficult for many beginners. Take it easy. As you improve and become more comfortable moving around your vocal range, create new playlists that incorporate more of your vocal range.

Warm Up

Just because you are in an informal setting without a teacher around does not mean you should skip warming up. Warming up is the perfect thing to do as you're just setting out, dealing with stop signs and freeway on-ramp traffic. When you sing, you're using muscles, and you need to warm those up just like you would your arms or legs before physically exercising.

Start with a basic "HA" exercise:

  1. Inhale.
  2. Slowly exhale while making a "haaaaaa" sound the entire time, starting relatively high and falling in pitch as your breath runs out. Don't stretch yourself too much on this, though as you improve over time, try to start a little higher each time.
  3. Repeat this a few times.

Continue with a basic rising and falling note:

  1. Inhale.
  2. Start to sing the syllable "aaaa" at a comfortable spot in your vocal range and then sweep it upward, and then back down.
  3. Repeat a few times. As you get better over time, move the initial "aaa" starting point up a note or two at each repetition.

Add in articulation exercises:

  1. Slowly start to say "Red leather yellow leather." Enunciate carefully.
  2. Keep repeating the phrase and gradually speed up. Keep trying to speak for a longer time and go faster without messing up.
  3. Repeat a few favorite tongue twisters, too.

A singing teacher can also give you more warm-up exercises and ensure that you're progressing at a good pace. Talk to a company like Canadian Academy Of Vocal Music to ask about other at-home (or in-car) warm-up exercises.