I often find pitch issues to be directly related to physical tension. This unnecessary tension can act like someone tugging on the arm of a person playing a fretless instrument. There would be no way to hit the notes perfectly in tune with that kind of outside interference. I've had a lot of fun double-teaming a few of my students with Ethan Kind, who guest-posted on the Alexander Technique previously on this blog.
Another source of inaccurate pitch is physical tightness in your throat channel when you sing. Your throat should open in three directions... up (soft palate and nasal membrane), down (jaw and tongue positions) and back (head balanced, tension-free, on tailbone instead of in front).
Problem-causing physical tension can originate from what I like to call "tense thinking"... psychological anxiety, causing physical guarding, collapsing the "scaffolding" from which the voice works most accurately. Here's where my post on the vocal magic of intention and expectation could help you.
Pitch problems can also stem from wrong vocal technique habits, such as powering your voice from too high in the body. Move your feeling of where power comes from lower... at the pelvic floor... (squeeze your butt for power, not your neck, chest or shoulders) and get taller, lengthening your spine when you sing instead of compressing it and make sure your head is not forward.
An action that can help get pitch right is to make sure you've warmed your voice up throughout your whole range. When the muscles controlling your head and chest voice are equally strong, aiming at pitch becomes much easier. Important: don't just do vocal exercises... find out how to do them CORRECTLY!
Another positive action is to focus your listening to an acoustic instrument in the track or band, instead of swimmy things or low instruments whose overtones tend not to be accurate and will throw off your pitch.
To summarize, here are 6 big tips to help increase your pitch accuracy:
- POSTURE... stand or sit tall and confidently, head balanced on tailbone.
- WARM UP... your voice correctly throughout your whole range, mixing it.
- LISTEN ...to the music, especially acoustic instruments such as piano and guitar.
- DON'T LISTEN... to swimmy instruments or bass to get your pitch center.
- AIM ...at the pitch... intend to hit a specific note.
- CONFIDENCE... expect to hit it!
- PRACTICE PERFECTLY... don't allow yourself to be content with pitchiness. Practice hitting the note you're aiming for, instead of allowing yourself to sing "pitchy". You'll train your ear to be much more accurate when you practice accuracy.
To book a pitch fixing lesson in person or by phone, contact me here.