Keep It Simple Singer!

keep it simple singer

Simple Singing Exercises

I think when it comes to learning to sing, many of us fall into the trap that suggests ‘complex is best!’ With the prevalence of YouTube and ‘learn to sing’ channels there is an overabundance of complex singing exercises available to anyone with a mobile device or computer. Is there still a place for simple singing exercises?

Don’t get me wrong. There is a place for complex activities that workshop the voice and a singer’s technical ability in a more complicated manner. However, if you are just starting out on the journey of learning to sing then you probably should start with simple singing exercises. You have probably heard about the KISS theory: Keep It Simple Singer!

Make no mistake. This is not about ‘dumbing it down’ for the slow learner. Simple singing exercises help to lay a sure foundation for technical development. Remember: you need to learn to crawl before you walk before you run.

So, let’s look at two simple singing exercises together.

Simple Singing Exercises 1: Five Note Scale with Simultaneous Onset

This activity is designed to be simple, allowing you to concentrate on your whole instrument (your entire body). As you sing through the scale take note of any tension; especially as you move into your upper register. Tip: ‘Simultaneous Onset’ means your vocal folds and your breath-stream commence simultaneously; providing a clean, balanced start to the sound.

The stave below displays the five-note scale when written from C4 to G4:

five note scale

As an extension to the activity, place your pinkie (little finger) between your top and bottom teeth. Without allowing the jaw to become rigid or fixed, maintain a neutral jaw position. Ensure that the tip of the tongue sits in behind the bottom front teeth throughout the scale. For more about this exercise watch the following video:


Simple Singing Exercises 2: Triad with Simultaneous Onset

Try combining the values of exercise 1 (tension management and forward placement of the tongue) while singing through this triad scale. Use your finger (pinkie) as a spacer between your teeth to ensure the jaw does not drop considerably. Tip: you can also use your finger to safeguard against jaw tension – don’t bite!

The stave below displays the three-note scale when written from C4 to G4:

three note scale

The primary focus here is to manage the various actions of the exercise. With so much going on throughout your body you will need to monitor each activity (alignment, vocal tract shaping, jaw position, etc.) separately to start. It can be surprising how much more difficult the voice may find the three-note scale when compared to the five-note scale. You can learn more about the three-note scale exercise in this video:


If you are looking for more simple singing exercises designed to develop your voice and improve your sound, then you might like to check out Dr Dan’s Voice Essentials singing exercises CD. The first two tracks are 100% FREE!

Please also take a quick moment to comment below. I would love to hear from you how the simple singing exercises are benefiting your vocal development. Remember: KEEP IT SIMPLE SINGER!

Sing well, Dr Dan.

Ex 1 – Five Note Scale (Ascend & Descend) Free!
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