3 Common Singing Mistakes – Symptoms, Cause & Solution

Learning how to improve your singing voice can sometimes be frustrating. I know how it feels when you love to sing, but struggle to get it the right way.

For those, who are seeking some guidance, this article is for you. In the next paragraphs I deal with 3 common singing mistakes and how to fix them.

Enjoy and find some inspiration.

Mistake no.1 – Reaching For High Notes

reaching high notes

This is probably the most common mistake you can observe in untrained singers. The higher the notes they want to sing, the more they are reaching to get them.

What lies behind physiologically is a high larynx. So when going higher in pitch, the larynx is being more and more lifted. Though, the problem, why you lift your larynx in the first place, is being rooted in using the “wrong” muscles for singing. That’s why you can’t fix this issue by only focusing on keeping your larynx low. The ideal position for singing (high, middle and low notes) is a relaxed larynx.


  • Narrow, weak and crimped sound.
  • Screaming on the high notes
  • Desperate look on the face.
  • Strained overall expression

To be honest, it will take some time and serious practicing retraining your body and mind. The best way to do so is by learning a proper and solid vocal technique. You can read on 4 Ways To Improve Your Singing Voice or choose to join an online singing program.

Anyways, there are some good exercises to make first steps in the right direction.

  • The right conception: We have to turn our minds world upside down. So when we want to sing high, we must think low. It’s like when you used to go up the stairs, you should now go down to the basement. Don’t reach for the high notes in the sky, find them deep down below.
  • Squats: For further back-up of the new conception, you can do this exercise. Sing an ascending scale with 3-4 notes. At the top note, you do a squat. What happens is that the highest note of the scale will instantly feel like the lowest.
  • Gently fix your jaw: This is also a good one, but you have to be careful. Put your hand on your jaw and gently push it a bit backwards. Now your larynx is in a relaxed position. Now start singing a scale and keep that position with your hand. As your body is now unable to engage and lift the larynx, he will look out for new strategies to sing higher notes. As a result, he will use the “right” muscles. You just have to be careful not to force anything here. Start low and give your body the chance to adapt to this new way of singing little by little.

Mistake no.2 – Singing Out Of Tune

This is another big issue and reason number one, why so many people shy away from singing in front of other people. It’s also claimed that you can have the worst technique or shrill sounding voice, if you can hit the right notes, you will still be deemed as someone, who “can sing”.

When I started out, I struggled terribly with singing on pitch. Although, in my head I knew exactly how the melody was, it came out totally different.

The common belief is, that we can’t fix this. You often hear people say:”I just can’t sing. Don’t have a voice”. If you’re not interested in it, it’s okay. But I’ve met so many people, who desired for expressing themselves through their voice.

All I can tell you from my very own experience is, that if you sing out of tune, you can fix it. Period.

Although the exact reason for singing off-key remains undiscovered, there are some things for sure. It’s not your ears – it’s your brain. It’s not your vocal chords, but it’s the proper placement and muscle tension.

While the symptoms are quite obvious -not hitting the right note- the range within is broad. From singing a bad note occasionally to supposedly singing a totally different song, every stage is covered.

Yes, yes and yes. There is something you can do about it. I’ve already shared some strategies in How To Sing On Pitch and How To Sing In Tune Instantly

Basically it’s all about this

  • Ear Training: The term is a little misleading, because -as I already mentioned- it has nothing to do with your ears, but with your brain. I would everyone highly recommend to start here. There are some great programmes in place. I’ve reviewed the one, I worked with. You can get more information at Earmaster 7 Pro Review
  • Brain synchronization: You only need a pen and a piece of paper for training. Draw circles clockwise and counter clockwise as well as lazy 8s.
  • Body tension: Not many know about this, but having the proper (muscle) tension is also key to singing on or off-pitch. To put it simple: If you’re too flabby – you’ll sing flat. If you’re too strained – you’ll sing sharp.

Mistake no.3 – Singing Outside Your Range

I still don’t know why someone would rather crack, scream and barely die at “We are the champions” than adapting it to his own abilities – or better choose another song.

Freddie Mercury Statue

This mistake is only made by amateurs. If a professional singer covers a song, he can’t sing in the original keys, he will either transpose it down or makes his own version, where he changes the hardest notes. For instance, take a listen at John Mayer’s version of “Free falling”.

There is a saying:”Life is a sales pitch.” Whether you like it or not, it’s true.

And when you’re singing in front of an audience, no matter if you do it for a living or just as a hobby, you sell your music and your vocal skills to others. If the buy it, they will applaud and celebrate you.

Solution – Become a smart singer

  • Buy a capo and find the ideal key for your voice.
  • Choose those songs, already written within your range
  • Write your own songs. Learn more about this at How To Learn To Write Songs

The Wrap Up

Over the years, I’ve noticed 3 common singing mistakes, primarily of the untrained and/or amateur singer.
Reaching for high notes, Singing out of tune and Singing outside your range.

It’s my deepest belief, that every of the 3 issues can be addressed and eventually fixed. There are several strategies in place. While singing outside your range can be changed immediately, the other two will take a while.

If you are willing to put some work into it and follow through, you will be rewarded with a new experience of how singing can be. I’ll be right here constantly educating and motivating you.

Leave me a comment. I’d be happy to find out, what you think about this article.







26 comments to “3 Common Singing Mistakes – Symptoms, Cause & Solution”

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  1. Sammy - September 10, 2018 Reply

    I was looking for some information about singing out of tune and pitching problems when I came across your article, and I’m glad I did. It provides so much useful information that I might apply now. For example, I wasn’t aware that you can actually resolve these singing problems. I always thought you either have a good singing voice or you don’t and that you can only fine tune your voice a bit. But having solutions to fix problems is very good news for my daughter. She loves musical theatre and being on stage but her weak point is singing. I think it would be a good idea for her to practice with one of the online programs available. What do you think would be best for her – Singorama or Earmaster 7 Pro?

    • Felix - September 11, 2018 Reply

      Earmaster is really all about pitch training in a very natural and fun way. I worked with this program some years ago and really got fantastic and quick results. So, if she’s mainly struggling on pitch than I would start with this one. If she in general has a weak and insecure singing voice (e.g. can’t hold a note long enough, struggling on high notes) than she should get a full training like Singorama or hook up with a vocal teacher.

  2. Cynthia Coronado - September 10, 2018 Reply

    Hey Felix,
    This is a very interesting article. Quite frankly I always believed that people that could sing were born with that ability and your article has opened my eyes to the fact that anyone willing to work for it can in fact do it. That is awesome. Thanks for the insight and great tips on how to get that great voice.

    • Felix - September 11, 2018 Reply

      You’re most welcome. Thanks for reading and discussing.

  3. Reaghost - September 10, 2018 Reply

    This is a great article outlining the most common mistakes people make when trying to learn how to sing. One of those vocal courses you mentioned would be invaluable- I’ll definitely have to check something like that out. My worst thing is reaching for high notes – even way before I get to one I can feel myself tensing up in anticipation, which is terrible I know! Your idea to think low and even do a squat at the top makes a lot of sense. If nothing else the squat will engage some other muscles and distract you from the tension in your larynx (maybe?). Thanks for sharing these tips!

    • Felix - September 11, 2018 Reply

      I know this problem and it’s a vicious circle. In fact, learning to sing is not building up new muscles. We have everything we need. It’s much more about your brain coordinating those muscles right. So sometimes we have to trick our own mind until it sees “Oh,I can sing that note without straining, cracking, you name it.” Confidence grows and soon you can’t even imagine that you once had a problem here. So the squat is such a trick.

  4. Kahlua - September 10, 2018 Reply

    This is such good information and I am happy to have read it.

    You probably hear this a lot but I have no singing voice. I really like how you addressed that some people are not into it and others want to express themselves. I am the other but don’t have the confidence to do so – Unless the music is really loud and no one can hear me.

    I will take your tips into consideration however and I thank you for that!


    • Felix - September 11, 2018 Reply

      Yes, I hear that a lot and I can only advice you to take this information and make a first step. From my own experience, I can tell you, that singing is so much more fun, when you know how to do it right. Go ahead and let me hear about your results. Maybe I can help.

  5. Tony - September 11, 2018 Reply

    Haha this is a great article, I am one of those people who sing completely out of tune. I just don’t sing because I am one of those people that just believe I can’t sing. Although i have tried practicing myself at times and I sound ok when I record myself. Perhaps the Earmaster 7 might be able to benefit me. I’ll have to bookmark this and revisit this when I have some extra money. Thanks for this.

    • Felix - September 11, 2018 Reply

      Absolutely, I can only tell you that I also struggled with pitch a long time. I’ve worked with an older version of Earmaster and got really astounding and fast results. Wouldn’t write about it otherwise.

  6. Vanessa - September 11, 2018 Reply

    Great article. Would recommend it to my brother who always sings out of tone. Hope he doesn’t take it the wrong way. LOL

    • Felix - September 11, 2018 Reply

      Hi Vanessa, thanks for reading. If he loves singing and wants to improve his pitch, than he should really go in for eartraining tools. You get really fast results.

  7. hong - September 11, 2018 Reply

    This is a great article. I learned a lot reading your article. You are spot on about these mistakes. I sing but definitely far from being a pro. I actually have made this mistakes and had no idea that these are actually mistakes. I appreciate you sharing this article and shedding some light. Keep up with the great work.

    • Felix - September 13, 2018 Reply

      Thank you Hong for reading and discussing. Now that you know your spotted your weak areas, I can only encourage you to give it a try and work on them. You’ll be amazed what changes you will see over time.

  8. Marita - September 19, 2018 Reply

    I love singing.

    Reaching for higher notes has been my struggle, so I usually sing songs that don’t require high notes, but another problem comes in. In these low-pitch songs, there are very low notes that I struggle with as well.

    I just sing to enjoy myself and for entertainment when I am with family and close friends, so I just try to sing the best that I can.

    Enjoyed reading your post.


  9. sonia - September 21, 2018 Reply

    I think that this article would truly benefit people interested in a singer career. The first mistake “reaching for high notes” reminds me all those singers who go on Reality TV shows as American Idol, American Got Talent and more. Most of those singers in the audition phase are just terrible especially when they try to hit high notes. I think this article would help them improve. Thank you for all the great information as I truly enjoyed reading your article.

    • Felix - September 26, 2018 Reply

      Hi Sonia, thanks for your comment. Actually, I salut every single one, who dares to go to those huge commercial singing auditions. But there are a lot of people, who never really sang, learned to sing – you name it. Having a solid foundation would definitely improve their chances on performing way better.

  10. Carolina - September 29, 2018 Reply

    Your page really covers everything on the common mistakes you can come across when it comes to singing, and also on the ways you could probably avoid them. This would certainly make one want to pay more attention to their singing especially when in a live audience as well as in the midst of a group of people.

  11. Chris - October 17, 2018 Reply

    I’m not being picky here, but I really think Sibilance should be included in the list – especially from a female singer’s point of view! 

    Over the years I’ve spent 100’s of hours automating vocal tracks due to a female having that whistling effect on the ‘s’ and ‘t’ letters. At times it drives you to tears (as you push it too far and the singer sounds like they’ve got a lisp!). 

    What advice would you give a singer that suffers from bad Sibilance?

    • admin - October 17, 2018 Reply

      Thank you Chris, that’s a good point you mentioned, although more an issue with recording music. Anyways, from a vocal technique point of view, you normally don’t specifically address sibilance. However, there are two directions that will improve it. AIr compression: When you have a good singing technique, you will have no big deviation in volume if you sing low or high – of course a bit, but you literally act like a compressor. Secondly, good voice placement will move the voice from the throat to your resonance cavities. Eventually your pronunciation improves, which also benefits sibilance.  

  12. Yanick - October 17, 2018 Reply

    Very interesting article it is true that singing is not as simple as it looks. There is a lot of things to take in to consideration and it also takes a lot of practice. I’m no singer myself but I happen to sing in my car sometimes and damn it’s hard sometimes. Very interesting tricks that  can help to learn how to sing better.

  13. Netta - October 17, 2018 Reply

    Felix, I found your post fascinating.  I love singing (not so well, but with a lot of fervor) and, for sure, I am guilty of the Big Three.  I valiantly try for the high notes and crash and burn.  I always seem to be just a little bit off the tune.  And it always seems like the songs I like best are always outside my range, such as it is.

    I’m relieved to know that a lot of that is physical and fixable.  Cool!

  14. Wei - October 17, 2018 Reply

    Oh wow, I have all three mistakes. Never thought these can be fixed. Always just assumed singing is a gift and I’m always jealous at people who can sing.

    I love that you showed us the course of these mistakes as well. I’ll try the solutions you suggested and maybe finally I can sing.

    Thank you very much for sharing this.

  15. Juba HADJAL - October 17, 2018 Reply

    Hello there, I loved and enjoyed learning about singing and the mistakes one can make while trying to sing.

     Personally, I love to sing when I work, I generally sound better when I sing in my native language but when I sing in other languages like French or English I find it very difficult. I don’t know why. 

    Oddly, the only songs I am able to sing are high pitched songs, I also am able to sing as a choral or opera (lady’s voice, i am a man), my friends tell me I would be a good singer if I practice enough but I am too shy to take lessons. I improved my natural voice but I find my voice annoying to listen to. I guess it is psychological. 

    I know I will never be a good singer, unless I really put some hard work in it, but I would love to sing better and impress my artists’ friends during karaokes.

    thanks for your advice, I’ll practice 🙂 

  16. Telma - October 17, 2018 Reply

    Hello Felix, how are you?

    OMG, I am gratful that I find your Article. I love music, but I am the kind of person that have melody and sing too laud. In my church somethimes I see people sterring me with a durty look or even move to other seat.

    I fill bad, becouse everytime I try to sing lower, I get a etching in my throat and I starts to sneezing and coughing, is horrible. Is’s getted iven worse because half of my throat is fronzen after I had a stroke; you are right, music has something do with the brain. 

    Also we have 2 guys in our praising time that sings so lower that changes the melody very badly. I don’t have a good voice, but I think I can notice when someone is out of piach. Believe or not, I dream music, I eat music, I live music. I cant’t live with out music. I think about music all the time and even I don’t wan’t to learn or sing some kind of music, if I rearing 2 times, I get myself singing the music; happened allots time.

    Question: Because I have a very bad habit to sing laud, do you think with allos pratice, I can became a good singer someday? 

    All success to you,


  17. Sophia - October 17, 2018 Reply

    The only time I feel like I can sing a high pitch and get away with it is while I am in the shower lol – I know a lot of people who are training to be singers but they are just not *quite there yet* and they always attempt to do one of these exercises such as singing really high, or off tune, you are right – it has something to do with our brains and how we are hearing ourselves. I also believe that anyone can sing with practice. I am sure people like Jennifer Lopez didn’t start out with a stellar voice ( she really doesn’t have one right now but she is still a famous singer)  practice! practice! practice! Only then you will get it right.

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