Maybe you noticed that I haven’t give you any information or exercises on pitch yet. This is quite unexpected for a course on singing and speaking—and we’re already at chapter 10! Most immediately start with scales and how to sing higher and all that jazz.

Hopefully you also understand why I did that. Pitch and singing higher comes naturally by applying the principles I explained. If you’re relaxed, you can sing much higher, because no tension is in your way. Pitch is trained: by trying to sing pitches a lot, you automatically hone in on them.


This has an interesting side effect. In the Western world, we all know the same pitches and scales. But other parts of the world have completely different scales and sounds. Our “middle C” might not be their “middle C”.

This means that knowledge of pitches doesn’t transfer. If you were asked to sing a song from another culture, you would need more training to immediately find those pitches. Because your ear and vocal folds are only trained for the pitches that you know.

Don’t be obsessed with doing scales or singing your absolute highest note. Be obsessed with exercising the core principles: breathing, vocal onset, relaxation, diction.

If you do that, you’ll notice you can magically sing higher and more effortlessly. Without even thinking about it! Thinking while singing is bad, in the same way thinking too much while playing a sport usually leads to a worse performance.

In general, good practice means varied practice. Yes, scales will help! But if you do the exact same scale every day, you’ll merely learn how to do that scale very well and nothing else. Varied and surprising practice has been proven, time and time again, to teach you something faster.

As such, if you’re going to do scales, do a different one each time. Use a different sound each time. Sometimes you only go up, sometimes you only go down, sometimes both. And some days you don’t train your pitch at all—you just focus on something else.

That type of variation will yield huge results over time. Following the exact same program every day, no matter how useful it seems, will not.

Why even mention this? Why write a chapter about it then? It’s still useful to know some pitch exercises and to iron out any issues there. (If you do the other exercises, these issues just have a lower chance of even appearing.)

Where to start?

I like to divide a vocal range in another way: Low, Mid and High (I promise this is the last subdivision of vocal ranges!)

You should start with training Midrange. This is your speaking voice. All of it should be easy, painless and comfortable. When you don’t now a song’s pitch, you will automatically sing it in this range, because it is you default range.

Make sure you can use this to its full extent! Singing here should be easy. You should be able to switch between speaking and singing (those same pitches) without effort.

This is where it all starts. This should form a strong base on which you can build your other notes.

Then you train your Low notes. Yes, it’s tempting to go for the highest notes. But don’t be like everybody else! Train your low notes first!

You will use them more often, so it’s more bang for your buck if these notes sound great. But, I’ve also seen numerous times that bad technique in this area is way more harmful than bad technique with higher notes. I’m not sure about the cause: maybe because your vocal folds are so loose ( = barely stretched), they damage more easily.

But that’s why I highly recommend training your low notes, below your general speaking voice, first.

And lastly you train the High notes. This is everything about speaking level. Everything that starts to feel outside your comfort zone.


The best vocal coach I ever had, did this. They started the session at the midrange, then did scales downward to active the low notes, only did scales upward (as high as possible) as the last exercise.

This means doing scales (or other pitch exercises) only in that range. But it doesn’t have to be that boring or restrictive! Instead, find songs with a limited range.

For your midrange, find a song that only has one (or even half an) octave. This way, you can still sing and perform, but in a way that doesn’t cause bad habits. As you progress, find other songs that fight entirely within the other ranges.


And here’s the best part about my three ranges!

The breaks (“passagios”) are precisely between these ranges, for most people!

Once you master your Midrange, and go to Low, you get your chance to iron out that break. Transition between the two a lot, trying to make it sound seamless. In my experience, this is the right order for training, which prevents bad habits or unnecessary tension.


If you just start to do scales, going from your lowest to your highest note, you will form bad habits around your breaks. You’re just not ready for it yet. So, straining to hit the right notes, you add tension throughout the exercise. This completely defeats its purpose.


Test yourself!

As always, I wanted a way to test if my pitch was actually correct. To check (for sure) if I was doing it right.

With pitch, this is easy! Because we have tuners.

  • Open a tuner app on your phone. (Or visit a website. Or use a plugin in your DAW if you also produce music.)
  • Sing into it and try to match the pitches exactly

That’s all there is to it. Use this amazing tool, frequently. To check if you’re improving. To check which notes are most troublesome.


It’s similar to using a metronome when practicing an instrument. Many don’t do this and think their sense of rhythm is amazing. Then you join a band, or start using one for recording, and you learn some hard lessons :p

Humming (for some)

Ah, the famous hum. The “hmm hmm” sound, like you’re saying yes to something, but now you use it to hum complete songs!

This perhaps the most fun and practical exercise. You can do it anytime, anywhere. People will not look at you funny if you hum a little song for yourself in public. (Might depend on the song and the quality of the humming :p)

I did this for years. My friends eventually learned to zone it out, although they sometimes asked if I was humming a real song or just improvising.

Why is it good? You practice pitch. You remove the “jaw” component, because your mouth can stay closed and relaxed. It places the sound forward, thanks to that “hmm” sound.

Why is it bad? Many people, myself included, still try to add the jaw. They force their mouth shut, grinding their teeth, while making this sound. This is obviously bad. It adds tension and trains a bad habit of “producing a certain pitch = clenching your jaw shut”

As such,

  • Try to hum with your mouth open. Might take some training, but perfectly doable.
  • Don’t hum if you notice this bad habit forming

The crying baby

Also sometimes called the “siren”.

Does what it says:

  • Make a loud wailing sound. It shouldn’t sound “good”—it should sound like an annoying attention-seeking baby or siren.
  • Use this to go up and down, sliding across pitches. Don’t jump around. Don’t stay on one pitch. Slide up and down, like a real siren.

This can be hard to do, again, if you’re shy or can’t make a lot of noise. But it is a great exercise.

Regular old scales

You can find many videos online where they play the piano part. You simply match those notes.

Alternatively, look up the major pentatonic scale and play it yourself on the piano.

Again, vary your vowels and consonants. Vary your approach. One day, do scales on an actual song. The other, do the scale on the vocal placement sounds ("-m", “-n”, “-j”, …).

Don’t “reach” for the ends of the scale. The idea of doing scales, is that it forces you to comfortably jump between pitches, without changing tone or volume. By using this pattern, it’s easier for you to just “jump” to the pitch without overthinking it.

If you have trouble, try a different sound, or just a lower scale.

Wobble the note

I apply this only when I notice I’m struggling with a note. If it doesn’t sound right, or takes too much effort, I stop my exercise and wobble the note.

What does that mean? Start from a nearby pitch that is comfortable to you, then slide towards the “troublesome pitch”.

Alternate this. Sometimes you approach from below, sometimes from above. Essentially, you are a tiny siren wobbling around this note.

I do this until I feel more confident or hear the sound is right.

Compensatory thinking (dangerous)

Many people automatically look upward for high notes, or look downward for low notes.

This is bad. How to combat this? Compensate by thinking or doing the opposite.

  • Think “down” on high notes, prevent your neck from craning up
  • Think “up” on low notes, prevent your chin from dropping down

This worked quite well for me. It helps keep your head steady, looking straight ahead. (As looking down or up while singing only adds tension and makes it harder for you.)

But it’s also dangerous. Again, this is a conscious and forceful change. This often adds tension and creates new (potentially bad) habits.

Still, I wanted to mention it. As a possibility. And a warning, because many vocal coaches online preach things like this.

Continue with this course
Support me and this website!

Want to support me?

Buy one of my projects. You get something nice, I get something nice.

Donate through a popular platform using the link below.

Simply giving feedback or spreading the word is also worth a lot.