How To Sing On Key: It’s Not Your Ear

Posted on 18. Oct, 2008 by in Singing

Do you ever sing off key?  Do you know how easy it can be to sing better on key (aka “on pitch”)? Do you know that you can learn this for FREE?

Let’s face it; being able to sing on key is crucial. Being able to match notes is in essence what makes singing different from speaking. Singing "off key", aka "off pitch", is frankly not very pleasant for the listener.

However, even pros sing off key once in a while. And if you ever watch American Idol or its international counterparts, you hear complaints about the singer being "pitchy" all the time.

In short: If you want to be a singer that people actually want to listen to, there’s just no way around it: You have to be able to sing on pitch.

Now the question is: How do you develop this skill…

Or maybe it isn’t a skill. Maybe it is something we are born with?

If you’ve read “The New Era of Singing Training”, you know what I think about the “born with” belief.

Yes, of course this skill can be developed. The question is how, and what is the most effective way to do it.

What I find so interesting is that most people – yes, even singing teachers – think that in order to learn to sing notes, you have to practice singing notes.

Now, I know I seem like a fool for believing differently. After all, it seems perfectly reasonable, doesn’t it?  Of course you have to practice singing notes in order to be able to sing notes, right? Of course you have to practice catching the ball in order to catch a ball….

But wait a minute, isn’t that what I wrote in The New Era of Singing Training, when I gave the example of the child learning to catch a ball?

I wrote: "Catching the ball is insignificant in the process of learning to catch a ball". Hitting notes is insignificant in the process of learning to hit notes.”

My friend, my statement is this: Singing off key is far less an ear issue than most people think. It is not the person’s inability to hear notes that makes them sing off key

Being able to release free vibration – i.e. a free voice – is far more a muscle issue than an ear issue.

Having said that, ear training is incredibly important. Ear training is crucial. With ear training your musicality and singing ability will be enhanced even more dramatically.

However, developing a free voice, and developing your ear are two separate processes. To get maximum results, we want to separate the processes until they organically intertwine.

However, in traditional singing training they are always baked together in the same process. You try to sing scales – i.e. you try to hit the notes – without ever being given permission to REALLY EXPLORE what a free sound might FEEL like. You are conditioned to always go for the result – i.e. trying to hit the notes accurately.

Five years later, you have a singer who sings with far less freedom than he could, and has just developed his ear moderately.

With the Bristow Voice Method we treat these as two separate processes initially, and the results are always astounding.  I have had people who believed they were tone deaf who learn how to sing on key within 40 minutes. Can you imagine how many detrimental limiting beliefs we live with that are just plain false?

Now, I have created a powerful ear–training program that takes a student from learning to distinguish between frequencies to learning to recognize notes, intervals, chords, complex musical patterns, and more.

When this is used in conjunction with the vocal training, it goes without saying that this, not only improves the student’s singing ability, but also makes him/her a greater musician. We simply get to appreciate music even more.

If you are wondering where I sell this program, I don’t. I don’t sell it. I give it away for free. Yes, it is free for all members of the Sing With Freedom/The Singing Zone home study program and is not available anywhere else. 

If you want to experience for yourself what happens to your voice, you are welcome to go to and try it out at no risk on your part.

The bottom line is that being able to sing on key is like everything else – a developed skill, although it certainly may come easier for some. If you’re not used to singing on key, you can learn quickly if you become less result-oriented and more process-oriented. To really develop rapidly, we move away from the standard approach of singing scales – i.e. matching notes – and instead separate vocal freedom training and ear training. Ultimately, we make singing feeeeeeel gooood.

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