10 Mistakes to Avoid if You Want to Be a Better Singer 

 September 13, 2023

By  Judy Fine

You may believe you know what to do to be a better singer. But you may be wrong. 

Be a better singer

At least, many aspiring singers are.

Everyone knows they should practice singing songs. But if that's all (or even, almost all) you do, you are not going to be a better singer. At least, not the way you really want.

Remember, singing is a physical skill. You have to grow it like you would any other physical skill. So, check out the following list of 10 mistakes to avoid, and start moving forward in a way that will REALLY help you be a better singer.

10 Mistakes to Avoid If You Want To Be A Better Singer:

  1. Believing the lie that you have to be born with it: Like I already said, singing is a physical skill. You DO NOT have to be born with it. Sure, some folks are lucky enough to start out with advanced skills. But that says nothing about the skills you can learn to advance over time.
  2. Not setting small, easily attainable goals from week to week: Big successes are the result of many small wins. If you only set one huge end goal, you won't experience the pride and motivation that come from noticeable progress. Set small attainable goals by the week, like increasing your range by a note or two, or holding out longer notes without straining. Small wins = Big successes.
  3. Not warming up: When you love singing, you just want to get right to it. But if you don't warm up today, you won't sing your best today. And if you don't warm up every time you practice, your voice won't stay in a state of limber readiness. The same way your body will stay limber if you stretch it every day, so will your voice.
  4. Not doing vocal exercises: Singing songs is not what improves singing skills. You'll get a little better at that one song, but you won't improve your overall skills. That's what vocal exercises are for. When done right, vocal exercises isolate one or two specific skills that you can work to develop across your entire range. If you stick to doing vocal exercises every time you practice, then when you sing songs, you'll see REAL progress.
  5. Only singing along with other singers: Others recorded singers should only be sung with as a guide to learn a song. The moment you don't need them, even if you might mess up a lyric or melody line, you should begin practicing with karaoke tracks. Singing with the singer fools us into thinking things like pitches, tone, and vibrato are better than they really are. PLUS, as long as you're following the singer, you're not really BEING the singer. 
  6. Trying to copy other singers: There is a lot to learn for watching and listening to other singers. You may hear or see things you want to borrow. That's great. But your goal should never be to BE like them. They already exist. We don't need another them. We need you - unique and original you.
  7. Focusing on advanced skills before you're capable of basic skills: You can't run before you can walk. You can't walk before you can crawl. And you can't belt out songs without straining until you've mastered good technique.
  8. Hyperfocusing on technical skills to the detriment of artistry: Technique is super important. But if, when you perform, your primary concern is having perfect vibrato or not messing up a lyric, you're focusing on the wrong things. Your audience would much rather here artistically botched lyrics than zombie-delivered perfection any day. Wouldn't you?
  9. Putting off performance until you're "good enough." Performing makes you a better singer. Period. End of story. If you wait to be "good enough" to practice performing - even just at karaoke night with friends - you will greatly reduce the speed at which you advance. And you'll have a lot less fun, too!
  10. Not getting feedback from the right source(s): I'm sure your mom or your friends think your singing is great. They're probably right. But if you don't get constructive feedback from someone who really knows how to help you move forward, you're wasting time. PLUS, if you have doubts about your abilities, your mom telling you that you're great probably won't convince you on a deep level. It can be scary, but feedback from someone who knows their stuff is the fastest way forward. That's why folks take lessons!
There you have it. 10 mistakes to avoid if you want to be a better singer.
These are the most common mistakes I see from both online students and DIY course-takers.

If you're looking for great vocal exercises and singing tools but you're not sure what's best for your goals and learning style, check out

the Help Me Decide quiz. Answer a few quick questions and get a recommendation based on your answers. 

Enjoy and happy singing!

Judy Fine

Judy Fine has been a vocal and performance coach since 2007, specializing in artist development coaching for aspiring singers and confidence coaching for women.

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