Last night I hopped on stage and sang at an open mic in a hostel. The sound system wasn't great, and I found it really hard to hear myself relative to the music. Probably I was singing painfully off key. (Not to worry, so was everyone else!)

Is there a way to mimic bad public sound systems at home, to practise singing along?

I would like to take some time not in front of a bunch of people to acclimatise my ear to messy environments, so I can feel more confident in the future (and not dread people posting videos of my crappy performance on social media!)

3 Answers 3


Get some foam earplugs. Put them in. Then wear some overear headphones and play backing tracks or songs into them loud enough so they sound comfortable with the earplugs in. Then try to sing along. That should get you some of that horrible bone conduction only sound from your voice.

Optionally, record yourself singing like that and listen back without earplugs to see how bad it really is.


In addition to Todd's answer --

In general, I can hear my own voice best if I put a somewhat cupped hand on my face, with the base of the thumb on my jawbone, and some fingers resting lightly on the edge of my face, just in front of my ear. (I don't know why this works.)

I have had to use this technique when trying to sing happy birthday with my spouse, because if I change key to join their key, they change theirs.


Practice with the backing track turned up far too loud. Or turned down far too soft.

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