Basically I want to learn how to sing, but I want to mantain only as a hobby, not pursuing any career or academic success. I have no background in singing and I think my voice sounds terrible when doing it. Is it mandatory to find a teacher ?

Note that I have the following experience with piano: I have played for 8 years without any lessons, I just watched synthesia videos from youtube and practiced my favorite songs, no matter the level. I do not know how to read sheet music etc. I went to a few piano lessons, but they bored me when they started to teach me how to read music, play it in tempo etc. I decided I am fine with the skills I got on the piano, I am just doing it for fun, that's why I couldn't continue going to these lessons.

Now I want to learn singing on a hobby level and do it just for fun. I have read that there are many specific techniques and warmups involved, so I don't damage my voice. Is there any way to learn it alone (again, on a hobby level and doing it just for fun, only when I like to), or do I need a teacher to do that ? I am afraid it will be just a waste of time and money like the piano lessons.

What are your thoughts ?

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    Pretty subjective. Most teachers are going to want to use music sheets. You don't like them. Your voice sounds terrible. How do you expect to get it better by yourself? How would you know if an internet site is good, bad or indifferent?
    – Tim
    Commented Feb 24, 2020 at 14:25
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    @Tim so you are saying I need to go to lessons and learn how to read sheet music ? I am accepting that as an answer, maybe there is no escape, I just want to know what are the possibilities of learning alone with the tools on the internet and getting it to a level where I don't find my voice terrible and maybe be proud enough to show it to my friends on facebook for example :) Commented Feb 24, 2020 at 15:01
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    Learning to read music is a good goal, but lots of people can sing with being able to read. One particular incentive of learning to read is being able to read tons and tons or vocal exercises and song books. Commented Feb 24, 2020 at 21:39
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    Just sharing, I got a crash course kind of a thing. A Musical (Music+Theatre) Person took classes for me for 3 Months, It was not the technical stuff. Obviously You can't do all sorts of things that Professional Vocalists do in Three Months. He taught Exercises and Practice Routines that (Effectively) Open Up the Voice. It really does come a long way. He doesn't teach me anymore, It was just 3 months one hour a week. Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 14:49

6 Answers 6


You could never go wrong taking lessons from an experienced teacher. The problem with trying to teach yourself is that you don't know how to critique yourself and if you are doing something wrong you might hurt you vocal chords, or develop other problems. In my opinion it is not obvious what's going on inside the body and a good teacher will be able to assess what you are doing by listening to your sound, watching your body and communicating with you. We need feedback to develop.

If it's hobby and you think paying for lessons is too much you could do them once a month or so rather than once a week, search for group lessons at a community center or a local school which might be cheaper per person. Then once you have your bearings you can go on your own.

  • Seconding this! You will need a teacher to listen to your singing and give you advice. Singing is different from other instruments in the way that you hear everything through your inner ear, not outer. What you hear through your inner ear is not the same as your "outer" singing voice, you just hear vibrations from the bones/tissue inside your face. Your singing teacher will be able to tell you how your singing sounds to the outside and will give you advice how to improve.
    – jeppoo1
    Commented Mar 11, 2020 at 12:10

I'm having trouble reconciling...

...on a hobby level...just for fun


...but they bored me when they started to teach me how to read music, play it in tempo etc.


...I think my voice sounds terrible


...I want to learn how to sing

By what standard of singing?

If all you are doing is entertaining yourself, and anyone's attempt to correct you is a bore, it seems you can do whatever you like. But I wouldn't call that learning to sing. Just like playing the piano with bad rhythm isn't really learning to play the piano.

If you don't have natural singing talent, you surely will need to follow some practice method. Do you need a teacher to follow a method? No. But if you get bored when a teacher starts to teach you a method, how will you use a method on your own without a teacher?

At some point you need to set a standard and then work toward it. Playing less than perfect is one thing. But, playing with no sense of time and singing out of tune is not really learning. Just be honest with yourself about what you are actually doing and put in the practice time.


Like you have learnt how to speak without a teacher you will always be able to learn singing without a teacher (for a hobby). You can read information about singing and voices. You will find a lot of information and advice to improve your voice sound in this stack exchange community.


Find a local venue that does karaoke.
Sing things you enjoy once or twice a week for a year or five.

By that time, if you have any raw talent, you may be approaching a level at which you would actually be considered a singer.

No teacher required - just practice, perseverance & some innate ability.

  • Wouldn't you need to get prepared to be booed if you choose this route?
    – Dekkadeci
    Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 12:20
  • It's all part of the learning experience ;) tbh karaoke audiences tend to have pretty low expectations & be fairly forgiving. You know they like you if you can ever get better than half of them to stop talking for 3 minutes & pay attention.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 12:23

Singing technique has a lot of seemingly small but important nuances (tongue position and tension, how to inhale/exhale, chest + head voice, jaw tension and position, etc) that not only shape tone, pitch, and dynamics (like vibrato), but also prevent you from hurting yourself. So, for singing in particular, I believe it's a good idea to seek a teacher.

You can get pretty far with video tutorials on youtube though. I've seen several great teachers and vocal coaches from many different styles give awesome tutorials. The problem is that every voice is different, and your specific needs can't be met through a generalized youtube tutorial. They are pretty good, they can get you really close, but it's just still not close enough to being the one-on-one experience, and efficiency if you want to see it that way.

Having a teacher will speed everything up, and make everything safer. It's an important commitment though, since consistency is required to make progress, so think about budget and how much time you want to invest. But at the very least swim in video tutorials and other media/literature.


No singer needs a teacher, but for a singer at any level, whether a complete beginner with no serious ambitions or a top professional hoping to get even better, the right teacher is going to help them get the results they want. The key to success is finding the right teacher.

  • That's all very well, but what constitutes the right teacher?
    – Tim
    Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 11:12
  • @Tim That's a completely different (and much more interesting) question which has probably been asked here many times.
    – PiedPiper
    Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 14:44

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