Who is a tenor? If you stumbled across the term, a tenor is the highest male singing voice that can be achieved without changing the quality of sound, that is, switching to falsetto. High notes have a tendency to infuse raw emotion into any musical piece, be it the screams of Steve Tyler in Aerosmith, or the operatic style of Pavarotti so many men want to know how to sing tenor. However everyone is born different and you have to know yourself and thus your “voice” before you explore how to sing tenor.
- Finding Your Range: Mark “Middle C” or C4 as your pivot on a keyboard, and see how low and how high you can go from it, to find out if you naturally know how to sing tenor. If you are unfamiliar with musical instruments, there are plenty of programs available for download that can help you out in learning how to sing tenor. Search for “tuners”, “keyboard” downloads. Tenors are expected to be at ease one octave below and above mid-C (C3-C5). More often than not it is not possible to hit those high notes on the first go. Never fear, for vocal range can be expanded through diligent exercise.
- Always Warm-up and Cool-down: While it seems odd to put it this way, singing is like any other physical exercise, and your vocal chords are your muscles. Pushing a muscle way beyond its strength is a recipe for injury and vocal atrophy when you learn how to sing tenor. Ease into your practice session on how to sing tenor by doing some neck exercises and loosening up of your chest and shoulder area. Start practicing singing tenor at your “speech voice” and slowly increasing the pitch until where you are still comfortable. Do this a couple of times, but don’t try to hit your highest note at the first go or hold yourself at the greater pitches for too long. The motto of the day is “relax”. And, as you wrap up the singing tenor session, again release all the tension by singing “gibberish tones” and coming back to your speech voice.
- Working with Pianos: Pianos, organs and other electronic keyboard instruments are there to provide you support as you practice singing tenor. When you hit the wrong note, they will let you know by how much, and slowly you’ll get to know how every transition “feels”. A word of caution here: it is possible to get over dependent on the keyboard. Know that your primary instrument is your voice and you have to let go of training wheels some time.
- Know Your progress, strength and weaknesses: More than hitting the “dog whistle” notes, your goal in singing tenor is to have a smooth and polished voice, to be able to transit seamlessly from any part of your range to any other. Don’t fool yourself, remember, go for the quality of notes not the quantity.
- Professional Training: If you have operatic aspirations for singing tenor, the necessity of training goes without saying. However even if you are the next Chris Cornell, know that training is not for weaklings. It will surely help out in singing tenor, but many a singer’s career has been needlessly shortened due to unhealthy practice. So, find the right sort of coach; check that they have proper credentials. Furthermore, the coach will help you quantify your progress and let you see where you are going in singing tenor.
- Have Fun in Singing Tenor! Just in case you forget. Join a church choir, it’s always fun to sing with others, plus you’ll get feedback, advice on the way you are singing tenor and most importantly practice. Expose yourself to a variety of music, from Pavarotti to Caruso. Knowing that variety is the spice of life will prevent you from trying to imitate someone, instead it will let you find yourself.
Some of the finest singers have been – and are – tenors. So, developing your voice such that you have a strong voice in singing tenor can be a boon to your singing career.