The Best Exercise To Sing On Pitch

vocal technique Jan 12, 2023

Do you sometimes have the feeling that your voice sound shaky, or that you don't sing the notes quite right? Then this episode is definitely for you, because this week I'm giving you a great exercise to improve your pitch. Here we go!

Being able to sing on pitch means that you can maintain a note nicely. When you sing out of tune, you start on a certain note, but then you start going up or down which is of course not the intention while singing.

Common mistakes

When the beginner singer feels his voice shake, he will often start pushing on his voice to keep it more stable. That only creates extra tension, something we certainly want to avoid.

In addition, the beginner singer will also tense all the muscles around the larynx. That's a natural reflex to keep those vocal cords stable, but it doesn't really serve us as a singer, because that again creates extra tension.

Another mistake the beginner singer makes is not hearing whether a note is sung consistently. Often the internal hearing of the beginner singer is not fully developed as it should be. So those are some of the difficulties you could run into as well.

The perfect situation

Once we can overcome those difficulties, we find ourselves in the world of the confident musician. That is, of course, the ideal world we all want to grow into. The confident musician has great ears, when you're on this level, you can hear when you singing on pitch or not. A very important skill to have as a singer!

Once you're at the level of the confident musician, you know that using the diaphragm and breath support will help you to work through a "shaky" voice instead of tensing up the larynx and putting more tension on the throat. 

At this level, you will also realize that even though practicing breath support is boring, it can actually make a great impact on your singing. So the confident musician will repeat this exercises very often to keep on improving these techniques. 

So, I want to invite you to grow into that level of the confident musician and repeat the exercise that we'll go through daily for the coming week. Think of it as an experiment, or as a test.

Vocal warm up

Before we start singing, it's important to warm up your voice. A good vocal training starts with a good vocal warm up! Click here to download my free vocal warm up routine to get started.


What we will do to train our vocal stability is work with SOVT sounds. That stands for 'Semi Occluded Vocal Tract'. Very briefly explained, this means: singing with back pressure.

Air comes out during singing. When we start singing on a lip trill, or with a 'vvvvv', or on a straw, a little bit of air will be pushed back inside. Your vocal cords are in the middle of those two streams of air. That back pressure will then provide a nice massage for your voice.

The first thing we're going to do is hold a pitch on a lip trill, kind of like you do when you're cold. We will start very freely and relaxed on a low pitch. What we're going to do next is opening the sound to a long "oo".

It is important to do that in one breath, so without breathing between the lip trill and the 'oo'. It may be that your voice starts to shake on the 'oo', that your voice starts to become unstable and rise in pitch. Whatever happens, try to maintain the breath support you need to create that stable pitch when you sing the "oo".

Above all, listen to yourself. For example, what helps me is to “think” the tone “forward”. The more often you will do this exercise, the more you will notice that your voice becomes more stable.

>> Practice along with me by forwarding the video to minute 4:34.

In practice

We can also apply this in a song. Today we'll be working with The Weeknd's "Blinding Lights," and more specifically with the following phrase:

I said ooh

I'm blinded by the lights

(minute 7:47)

Suppose you are a bit stuck with that 'ooh', that it starts to move a bit. So let us practice that sentence with lip trills. At some point you are going to release the lip trill and open up the sound to an "ooh".

>> Sing along by forwarding the video to minute 7:47.

I hope you've found that working with a SOVT sound, such as lip trills, can improve your pitch. Because if you don't work from your breath support and diaphragmatic breathing, you will push more on your voice and create tension around your larynx. Of course we don't want that.

Be sure to let me know in the comments below how this exercise went for you and in which song you will apply it now. Because it is very important that you immediately put the concepts we learn here into practice, into a song.

Thank you for spending your time with me again, and I look forward to seeing you again next week!