Vocal Tips For K-pop Fans #12: Find the right key for your voice!

Quick Post here guys. This is my new video webseries called “Vocal Tips For K-Pop Fans”, where I’ll be posting vocal tips for you guys as often as possible. Please leave a comment, subscribe and share it with others. Let me know if you have any questions and please give suggestions for future videos!

37 thoughts on “Vocal Tips For K-pop Fans #12: Find the right key for your voice!

  1. This is my new favorite website; thank you for all this singing voice knowledge!!!
    It’s hard to find good quality videos about technique despite how simple it sounds to search.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been reading this wonderful blog for about 2 years and enjoyed all the things you have written and created. This blog has inspired me to learn how to sing with proper technique and I have finally raised up my courage to send in my own voice and ask for some directions on how to improve my voice and also answer some questions. If you have some spare time, please have a look at my singing and constructively critique it and also please answer my questions! ๐Ÿ™‚

    – Part of Your World: https://soundcloud.com/user-358811581/part-of-your-world/s-fjnb6
    – Cat’s Meow (a song from a Barbie movie (i know I’m lame)): https://soundcloud.com/user-358811581/cats-meow/s-oMYDC
    – God Help the Outcast: https://soundcloud.com/user-358811581/god-help-the-outcast/s-gPikY

    The questions that I have:
    Do I have the following and how do I recognise it in my own voice:
    1. Support
    2. Resonance
    3. Nasality
    4. Mask placement
    5. Tension (if so where)
    6. a Neutral larynx position
    Please provide time stamps if you can because I’m not very sure.

    7. Also is mixed voice exclusively for belting?

    Note that I have no prior vocal lessons and experience in singing (I just recreationally sing in the shower ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and I also have asthma which was flaring up a little (I don’t know if this impacts singing though). I also realised that I sang a line wrong for “Part of Your World” and went a little bit flat in some places. I also know that there are some notes that I couldn’t reach in “God Help the Outcast”. Sorry if I sound bad and you had sit through and listen to all of that. I also apologise for asking so many questions and making you read through all of this.

    Thank you so much!! ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Awww honey I am so happy you’re inspired to sing! This makes me feel like I’ve made a bit of a difference in a way or another. So let me take a listen and see what I hear!

      What I’m hearing is that in Part Of Your World, props to you for singing acapella, but you kind of changed the key when you got to the first chorus, it was 3 different keys, the verse, the pre-chorus sort of section and then the chorus. You went higher in the pre-chorus and then lower in the chorus. You stayed within one for each section for the most part though. I love it that you’re singing Musical Theater songs and especially Disney songs, which makes me comfortable listening to you cause I am confident with this genre.

      I wouldn’t say there is much nasality nor resonance. The support isn’t well established because I feel like you are not really used to using a chest voice almost at all. I mostly hear a LOT of headiness throughout. It’s like you’re always constantly in mixed voice and it’s not a very balanced mixed voice. It lacks connection, it lacks precision in the stretch of the vocal cords. There is a bit of a loose kind of stretch which makes your pitch wobbly in your lower range since you lack control in your chest voice, you end up pretty sharp too. It’s not much of tension as much as it is a lack of a developed muscle memory to control your sound. You sound bright, light and you lack fulness because the way you place your sound is often too much in the mask, it’s not opened in the back of the throat, it doesn’t explore the chest nor the head resonators, it stays in a small place for most of the time. It’s limiting for your range, for your dynamics. I would recommend working on finding your chest voice and being tighter with your stretch, make it really clean and clear. Less air coming through, less shakiness. Fight the shakiness. And also I’m sorry, but what do you mean is mixed voice exclusively for belting?


      1. Hello thank you for the speedy reply! ๐Ÿ™‚
        Yes most the things you said are definitely problems I noticed after recording and listening to it especially the changing the key one but I was too tired to re-record it as I have been doing so for an hour. Truthfully, I have been purposefully neglecting my chest voice (as I wasn’t confident) and wanted to at least have some foundation for the mixed and head voice but now I realise that I should equally develop all registers. I think that I have also had some misconceptions with the masked placement and I thought that to only resonate, you need to place it there but now I know that that’s not the case.

        I have also noticed that whenever I sing I don’t open the back of my throat and I’ve also asked my singing friend how to fix it but she wasn’t too helpful. Can you suggest how I can do so? Also, I asked her about how the connection of vocal cords works and how to do it but she seemed unsure; how do you do this? How do you ensure a tighter stretch? What videos should I watch from your “Vocal Tips for Kpop Fans” series? No.5 I think would be good but anymore?

        Sorry for all of these questions and thank you so much for helping me! ๐Ÿ™‚


      2. I feel like I took a while to respond actually. lol Mask placement can help with mask resonance but support and openness have to happen for that too. Well try yawning to kind of influence the movements of the soft palate, or sing and feel as though you have a mint in your mouth, so try to feel coldness at the back of your throat when you breathe in. Well I have the vocal tip on eliminating airiness but I’d suggest the one on support for this kind of issue with connection. So #8. ^ ^


  3. Ok thank you so much! I will diligently work on these vocal exercises. Is it ok if I send you a file of me singing a month or so later to see if I improved or need to keep working on the same thing?
    Thanks again! I appreciate everything you’ve done!! ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. Hi Ahmin, thanks for all your tips, you’re so kind and generous!
    Could I whether it’s normal or not that I lose a bit of my lower range after I practice my higher range for a while? I used to be able to reach B2/C3, recently I started following some of your practices and then realized that right after warming up higher notes (mixed & head voice), I can only go down to C#3, and then in a few hours C3 might come back lol, but I’ve not been able to project any B2s anymore. It could possibly be because I’m more conscious of staying relaxed and not forcing my voice out now, but I’m also wondering if this could be a common physiological phenomenon, or am I doing something wrong with my practices?


    1. It’s pretty normal yes, it’s part of the process of warming up actually. Don’t worry too much! ^ ^ Do remember to keep practicing your lower range as well.


  5. Hi Ahmin! I’m a tenor and as I was singing some of the major tenor songs in US-UK or Korean Pop, I noticed there are songs with a lot of falsetto’s and head voice involved, such as Writing’s on the Wall by Sam Smith. And as I tried those, I noticed my voice becoming very breathy and hard to sustain the notes. I have no problem with belting and putting my voice up to my nose and forehead but when it comes to those parts such as the “How do I live, how do I breathe, when you’re not here when I’m suffocating” with low intensity, my voice becomes very breathy. Are there any tips you recommend when it comes to these low intensity/ head voiced parts?


  6. Hi Ahmin! So I’m back on this site again after school ended ๐Ÿ˜› I watched all the vocal tips videos as well as took in your advice from last time and tried to improve my voice.

    This is a vocal cover of All of Me in the female key, which I feel like it was fairly easy for me to sing, like everything was in a really comfortable range and not too challengy at all. I am trying to solidify techniques in what’s a more comfortable range first ๐Ÿ˜›

    And the second is Let it Go because I used to be in the school musical theatre club and I feel like I sound better in musical songs than pop songs.

    I hope I have at least some sense of breath support and sound better than last time overall ๐Ÿ˜› Thank you again for posting all these advice videos~~


    1. I’m glad you picked a key that works comfortably for your voice and it helps you focus on technique and not challenging yourself with complicated stuff just yet.

      0:03 You’re not opening up the vowels enough, you’re keeping the sound very closed into your nose, it’s the diction and accent. You’re also overly pronouncing your R’s throughout. 0:09 “Out” you sang it as “Ah-Hout” 0:23 Ride you sang Ra-Hide, again you keep adding these puffs of air that come out as H sounds into your singing which show you’re letting go of the connection of your vocal cords, you’re not focusing enough on stretching and keeping the airflow steady, you’re not keeping support as you sing. 0:28 don’t make the slides too long, you are falling flat quite a bit throughout. 0:55 flat 0:59 flat again, you’re going too low on those bigger intervals between notes, it’s not as low as you think. You need to focus on singing with a more opened back of the throat, I want you to not let any of these extra H’s come out as you sing, don’t rely on breathiness to sing, rely on the vocal cords. 1:57 this could be an intentional crack and it sounds like it is, but be careful with it!

      Let It Go 0:21 flat 0:40 flat I’m not sure if I asked you, but is English your first language? Wait I looked back at some old responses of mine to you and one of them was about how you had a heavy approach and how you were breathy, but you’re not breathy in these at all nor heavy, you sound like a very heady soprano to me and I know I said something about being a mezzo, scratch that. Do you perhaps have those recordings? Because it’s hard for me to know about improvement if I can’t hear the difference to compare…ใ… ใ…œ Cause if you were breathy and too heavy, you’ve definitely improved and changed your approach on some aspects, while diction, openness, a lifted soft palate, pitch and stretch still need to be addressed.


      1. Hi Ahmin! English is my first language BUT I picked up accents here and there due to my family moving around a LOT as well as learning my second language at a fairly young age and spoke more of it when I was younger (also my mom isn’t a native English speaker so when I picked up a bit of an accent from her). Unfortunately I did delete a bunch of soundcloud trying to save space lol, but I do remember you addressing the heaviness in both the previous responses from you ๐Ÿ˜›
        So I do show evidence of support but they are not consistent at all? Also for the “very heady” comment, it implies I show head voice right? Sorry for not understanding :S But thank you still for the extremely helpful tips again~


  7. Hello :] I have a question that hopefully you guys will be able to have fun answering! I know this vocal tip section is mostly Ahmin’s thing, but I’m curious to see Pandayeu’s answer as well so i hope she also responds!

    I was wondering: if you guys were given the chance, who would you MOST like to give vocal lessons to in the idol world, and why?

    Is it a great singer (Chen, Ailee, etc.) who has only a few flaws holding them back from really shining, and you want to help ease them out to make them especially shine?

    Is it a lower ranked singer (Jessica, Sungjae, IU, etc.) who has several glaring weaknesses, but a timbre you’re particularly attracted to and want to see them become technically talented to compliment the voice you love?

    Are there ANY idol vocalists, sub or main, that are EXTREMELY weak technically (Xiumin, Chaeyeon, Leo, Kara’s Seungyeon) but you think have a lot of hidden potential/promise that you want to make blossom?

    You can answer all of them or just one, whatever you want to do, but please explain why! I’m curious to know more about the admins :]


    1. Pandayeu is a he, actually. lol Who would I most like to give lessons to? Well I’d love to teach Bom and help her make an amazing come back with great technique or Tiffany because I love her voice. I’d love to help those who want to learn the most, like BTS’ Jimin because I know he wants to improve, he just needs some guidance. I would love to also help Ailee cause her issues should be much easier to fix. Mostly, I want to teach those who have voices I like or who want to learn the most! ^ ^


      1. Oh I thought I remembered you referring to him as she/her in other comments, but my memory must have been wrong LOL, my bad!

        And that’s interesting:D I hope kpop vocalists get some good teachers like yourselves so they can improve more and more~

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Help me please! Hahaha
        Just kidding, but I want to ask, is there any average time to take to develop a semitone-higher supported range? Because really, even if I followed all the vocal technique videos, all I can hear was me regressing ๐Ÿ˜ฆ after I had cough or illness, then I cant go back to the notes I used to able to hit…


  8. Hi, Ahmin! How have you been? I want to sincerely say thank you for this video because now I know that I’ve been singing a song a bit too low for my voice type @_@ Even then, I’m still thinking that A4 is a bit too high for me (I finally kind of figured out what holds me back from mixing above G4 thanks to your videos xD), like when I want to sing Taeyeon’s Fine, her D5 should be equivalent to my A4 right because I’m a tenor? But I usually change the key, lowering it even more so I would hit G4 or G#4 instead of A4. Is it just me not being trained enough or that my voice is naturally not that high(?)?

    One more question, Ahmin, sorry @_@ Is this equivalency also applies to falsetto and head voices as well? As far as I remember (I watched this video a long time ago) you only said this is only for mixed voice (and chest voice maybe?). So a Soprano hitting a head voice or falsetto C6 would be equivalent to my head voice oe falsetto F#5/G5?

    Thanks, Ahmin for the hard work! I hope you’ll be doing well as always!xD


    1. A4 and D5, kind of similar yes. You could always sing G#4 instead, like I said in the video, it also depends on your skill level and how comfortable you feel! It’s okay to develop your voice slowly! Yeah head voice is a lot more complicated and a little harder to compare between the voice types, so don’t think too much about it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much Ahmin for replying kindly xD I have another question but it’s kind of unrelated, is it possible that it is easier for me to hit higher notes in head voice/falsetto (I still can’t tell whether I use which one). I mean like sometimes hitting C#5~Eb5 can cause me to crack and airy (airy means falsetto, right?) while when I attempt to hit F5~G#5 I don’t usually have to worry about cracking and airiness (but the A5 and afterwards is kind of painful sometimes). Well it’s just sometimes though, hitting G#5 is still an inconsistency for me though.


      2. Yeah! Because singing around your passaggi/vocal breaks/voice bridges is harder than singing above or below them so it makes sense.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. uhh, hello!!! question: well, kinda lame but I have to lol! aside from diaphragm/throat (??) exercises, what other exercises that I can do to help me boost my strength for singing? thanks for replying … if ever. ;p


  10. Hi Ahmin, first of all I wanted thanks for all your generous tips! I like singing (& Kpop of course), though I also had chosen to follow my other passions for my career, learning to use my voice more properly still makes me enjoy singing more :).
    I’d like to ask if singing with a jaw tension could be harmful or is it just limiting? I had a wisdom tooth removed a few months ago and I was having a bad reaction to the anaesthetic, since then I haven’t been able to open my mouth fully or relax my jaw, I noticed that I started to have this fast vibrato and my voice just sounds a bit different. My dentist says the conditions will go away slowly, but could it be actually damaging when I’m singing/doing vocal exercises in this period? Thanks for your time.


    1. No, no, it shouldn’t be damaging to your vocal cords at all. It’s just like you said; limiting. Jaw tension just prevents the sound from projecting freely, it has nothing to do with the vocal cords themselves. So yeah, don’t worry about suffering from some major vocal damage or anything. However, it might feel uncomfortable like after singing your jaw may feel like tired because it wasn’t able to fully relax. Don’t push yourself and don’t over do it okay?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Not an admin but it depends on your voice actually, there’s no actual limitation or boundary to where baritone can mix but many baritones can go to Bb4 (I know that myself as a baritone), while some can barely get through F4. SHINee’s Key can sustain C5 in Everybody, and possibly C#5.


      1. When Ahmin had the other standards in place, I was able to see that a possible max realistic supported mix note for baritones was definitely not F4, but I get what you mean, in the sense that it’s really hard for some to get beyond F4 without cracking/going off pitch. For example, I could initially only get up to A4 as a tenor. I agree generally with Dzung. It really depends first and foremost on voice type and your particular voice. Key from Shinee goes up to C5, Hyunshik from BtoB to D5, and Ahmin in a tweet said he went up to B4. These guys are all baritones. As you develop your mixing muscles, you can go higher over time, but there is most definitely a cap. As for Dzung, I still believe he can go at least a semitone higher (B4). My personal theory is that, starting from their first passagio, every male can squeeze an octave out of their mix voice and MAYBE one or more semitones for males and for females I feel their first octave is guaranteed and the rest is at least three or more semitones.


  11. Hi. Forgive me if this has been asked before. Can you categorize someone who sings in a perfectly healthy manner, but only within the comfortable range a weak vocalist? Say a soprano who only belts C5 the highest (but supported) as she’s aware that belting higher than that will strain her voice. Let’s say she happens to be very agile and capable of executing complex melismas as well. Do we rely solely on the fact that “she sings in a healthy manner” and that she’s “agile” that it’s enough to rate her as an excellent vocalist, or will we also consider that her range is too underdeveloped and not capable of belting higher than most sopranos can, and therefore, would be rated as a weak vocalist? Looking forward to hearing back!


    1. See youโ€™re asking questions that are very very hard to answer for a couple of reasons. First of all these terms youโ€™re using are obsolete, have been replaced and are kind of irrelevant to us at this point. Also youโ€™re making a very interesting point but with no case study behind it. Itโ€™s a hypothetical question, I understand that, but I donโ€™t think I could even imagine a soprano who only mixes up to C5 EVER (which isnโ€™t weak either btw). Id need to hear said vocalist but this is why our CURRENT labels work better without ranking a vocalist but instead simply categorizing them by what they do best. Our current labels would work well for this hypothetical vocalist, but our older ones would put her at a disadvantage. So thatโ€™s the flaw in that system as well. Which is why itโ€™s been changed.


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