I am an amateur among very musically talented friends. They have repeatedly complimented me on my singing voice, and asked that I participate more in their musical get-togethers.
However, I found that -- while being able to sing adequately when solo, and being able to "sing to pitch", i.e. sing at the same pitch as another singer, or an instrument -- I have a hard time singing at my own pitch when accompanied. Whenever there's an instrument playing or another person singing, I become unsure of my own pitch, start to "slide" towards the pitch of whatever accompaniment catches my ear most, realize that it all sounds horrible (I do have a good ear for that...), and either just start "leaning on" somebody else's pitch, or shut up altogether before anyone notices. ;-)
Virtually all the people around me sing at a higher pitch than me, and unless someone picks up a base guitar, the instruments are higher pitched as well. ;-) Singing "to pitch" / much higher than my natural singing voice strains my vocal chords, and makes my voice sound much less praiseworthy... so I would really like to practice "holding my own".
However, taking lessons would be expensive, and / or organizationally a bit hard to come by. (Music school would be quite some way off, and expensive; and none of my friends really has the time or the teaching skill to take me on as a student.)
Is there a good way I could (start to) practice "holding my pitch" on my own, perhaps picking up lessons later?
Or would that be a bad idea, and taking lessons is really the best / only way forward on this?