Karaoke is a fun activity that continues to sweep the world. Its popularity is on a meteoric rise. Though it was once most popular in Japan, it has spread across the globe. Thanks in no small part to singing shows such as American Idol, The Voice, and The X Factor, the idea of an amateur getting on a stage and blowing the crowd away is ingrained in many of our minds.
Karaoke is more than an enjoyable activity to do with friends; it’s also a way to relax and unwind. But can karaoke help improve your singing? That’s what we are going to discuss.
Can Anyone Sing?
The answer to the question, “Can anyone sing?” is often some variation of “yes, but.” The reason for this is boiled down to semantics.
While yes, anyone can sing, and anyone can improve their singing, the role that genetics play in one’s ability to sing well cannot be denied. Still, the power of practice and perseverance can’t be denied either.
Is Karaoke Singing Practice?
Karaoke is indeed an excellent way to practice singing. There is more to singing than being on key or belting. Singing requires many parts of the human body and relies on far more than just talent or ability.
One of the many draws to karaoke is its relaxed, laid-back setting. Karaoke bars and clubs tend to be judgment-free zones where singers, both good and bad, can grab the mic and perform freely to a group of friends and strangers alike.
Singing and anxiety often go hand-in-hand. Some of today’s top stars and vocalists have suffered from anxiety while singing. Many of them have even had to walk off stage or cancel performances because their anxieties were too great. While you may not be Camila Cabello or Zayn Malik, and your audience may be closer to 1 than 1,000, performance anxiety may still be affecting your vocals.
How Can Karaoke Improve My Singing?
One way in which karaoke can improve your singing is by allowing you to perform in a friendly and accepting environment. This warm environment can help you improve your singing because when you’re alone, you may be placing undue pressure on yourself to perform.
Even when alone, you may put pressure on yourself to perform at a certain standard. Karaoke can remove some of this pressure by focusing your attention away from your singing and performing and onto having fun and relaxing.
Karaoke’s ability to subside your anxieties is invaluable when it comes to improving your singing because when we are anxious, our muscles are tense. Since singing requires the use of many of the muscles in our body, it’s no surprise that anxiety-driven tense muscles can affect our voices.
Can Karaoke Improve Bad Singing Techniques?
It’s not uncommon for someone to refer to themselves as “tone deaf.” You may even be guilty of this yourself. The truth is, however, that only about 2% of us are actually tone deaf and lack an understanding of pitch. In reality, the other 98% of us have at least a basic enough understanding of pitch to at least know if one’s pitch is off or if something isn’t quite right.
If you’re guilty of singing off-key, it’s likely not because you don’t understand pitch or lack the talent to sing on key. What is hindering you from sounding like the angel you yearn to sound like is bad technique.
Your bad technique can be something as simple as not breathing properly (a common mistake), or it can be that your muscles are tense (possibly due to strain or anxiety). Your “bad technique” can also be the result of you singing songs that are out of your range, literally. What makes karaoke such a great tool for improving your singing is that it can help you recognize or possibly fix these bad techniques.
One cause for breathing improperly may be that you’re so nervous you forget to breathe. It’s not unheard of for trained singers who’ve had years of vocal coaching to hit the big stage only to forget all of the small things they were taught such as breathing from their diaphragm because they were so nervous.
When your focus is on performing, it can hinder said performance. If you sing karaoke often, the habits you use while singing karaoke can soon become the habits you use in every setting in which you’re singing. If those habits are positive (singing while relaxed, breathing, etc.), then when you perform in non-karaoke settings those same positive habits may transfer over.
Can Karaoke Improve Pitch?
One thing singing shows like American Idol get right is showcasing the importance of song choice. On those shows, picking the wrong song can be the difference between fame and fortune or humiliation and ridicule. Often, when you sound bad, it’s not because you can’t sing, it’s because you don’t know what you can sing.
It is imperative that anyone who is serious about singing knows and understands their vocal range. If you do not know your range and you sing songs in a key that is uncomfortable for your voice, you can do immeasurable damage to your voice and your confidence.
The most well-trained bass can not sing a song meant for a soprano in the same key without sounding like a pitchy, untrained mess. Likewise for the greatest soprano trying to sing in a key meant for a baritone. Good technique cannot negate bad song choice.
What makes karaoke so great is that it allows you to have countless songs at your disposal to sing along to in a relaxed, judgment-free setting. If you’re up to it, you can sing along to songs of different ranges and see which sounds better and feels more comfortable for your voice.
Yes, Karaoke Can Improve Singing
Social singing is at an all-time high. More than 32 million Americans are in singing groups, and more than 600 karaoke apps are available for download. If you’re interested in improving your singing using karaoke, now is the time.
Now that we know that karaoke can improve your singing, grab your friends, or maybe a stranger, and spend the evening singing some of your favorite karaoke tunes.
- VICE, The Science of Why You Suck at Karaoke, Feb 15 2017
- Penn State University, Probing Question: Can anyone be taught how to sing?, Dec 11 2018
- Chicago Tribune, The health benefits of singing a tune, Mar 15 20118
- The Cut, A Psychological Explanation for the Appeal of Karaoke, April 12 2018
- BBC, Fame, fortune, fear: Why do pop stars struggle with anxiety?, Sep 9 2016
- The Guardian, Why do stars like Adele keep losing their voice?, Aug 10 2017
- Forbes, How Karaoke Conquered The World, Feb 17 2009
- Karaokecloud, The History of Karaoke In America, April 12 2013
- Medill Reports Chicago, It’s your chance for stardom in your choice of style
- Live Mag UK, Why Is Karaoke So Important To Filipino Culture?, Jan 27 2015