Ask the Vocal Coach - Chris Beatty

Starting a Song on the Right Note

This week we have a question from Brenda who is having a little trouble finding the first note when performing a song. This is a common problem, and I suggest 2 practical solutions. Read on to learn more.

Your Question

Thanks for the great job that you are doing. I am part of a worship team in our local church and one of the key challenges that I experience is often starting a song on the wrong key.
I kindly need to improve on this as it makes it hard for me to accept lead even though I love singing and worshiping God in song.


Thanks for your question, Brenda. If I read you right you are not “hearing” the key and starting note. The musical introduction doesn’t lead you to an obvious note. Is that correct? If so, there are two things that can be done.

  1. First, whoever plays the intro (piano, guitar?) can be more “obvious” in introducing the starting note. They can lead into it stronger. Just ask your accompanist.
  2. Second, you can do some ear training that will train your ear-brain-larynx mechanism to hear and sing the correct notes. This kind of ear training can be done with a musician who understands the situation, or with your vocal coach.

As you’ve correctly identified, starting a song on the right note is pivotal, and this is very much a learnable skill. You can do it, but you will need a little coaching so that new musical “muscle memory” is learned.

If you don’t have a vocal coach you are working with locally, consider one of our Online Training Sessions

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