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My biggest obstacles with singing are two things: Identifying suitable notes on the fly and keeping pitch.

I play guitar, have been for many years and I have always been singing along with it. I can sing through many songs and it sounds alright (also singer in a band, so I do have some experience, nothing professionally trained though).

Let's say, I play the classic chord progression: C Am F G

I usually start singing along random lyrics and after many iterations, I have a melody down, just by pure randomness and trial and error. This involves singing a lot of wrong notes and eventually my brain adjusts and I keep hitting the right notes that fit. I then often start to shake on the notes a bit, for instance, if you take away the guitar, I wait 30 seconds, I can't reproduce the melody acapella, just barely so.

Also, when I hear a catchy tune on the radio, I can feel/imagine it in my head a bit, but when I walk around and start humming/singing it, I am often way, way off. It takes me a few approaches until I've dumbed it down enough in my head to reproduce a somewhat recognizable copy of the song I have in my head.

So, long-story short: I want to practice more, and more effectively. So I started singing scales on the guitar, I just start on an F and go up the major scale and down, endlessly. Then I switch to, say, a C, and do the same thing. I keep doing this for all chords up and down, randomly. And I can feel how I get better at it rapidly during my training session. But as soon as I play a minor chord (Am), that major scale is obviously sounding terrible. Playing C Am F G is in the key of C major, so that's easy with the C major scale. But if I have a song in Am, or any other minor key, I am stuck.

Should I learn a chromatic scale for singing? A natural harmonic minor scale? What do I do here?

How does a professional singer hear a song in, say, Am, and hit all the right notes off the bat and come up with a melody? What do I need to train?

People often recommend going to a vocal coach, but I feel there's a lot I can teach myself theory wise first. I understand the need for proper breathing, producing sounds, taking care of your voice, warming up etc. --- but all this won't help with any of the above.

Does anyone have any guidance? I can play piano or guitar along, I can even write my own software to accompany me with any type of lession - but I fail at figuring out the theory on how to approach the vocal scales and singing along a given key.

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closed as unclear what you're asking by seseorang, Bob Broadley, Fergus, Dave, Shevliaskovic Jul 1 '14 at 8:15

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I counted 6 questions in here. They're not necessarily bad questions, but you might want to have a think about some specific information you want, and then ask separate questions if necessary. You may already find a lot of good advice in other questions and answers on this site; or these might guide you towards specific questions to ask. – Bob Broadley Jun 30 '14 at 19:43
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Learning how to sing involves mostly learning the technical aspects of singing itself. That is producing a good tone, having a good range, building stamina and confidence. Recognizing the notes or to put it better "feeling" the notes and then reproducing them (as long as they are inside your current comfort zone) is something you discover yourself through practice. I'm afraid theory or a vocal coach won't help much on this one. This is ear training and you exercise it whenever you play any instrument (including your voice).

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