I've been told that my singing is off key. I've tried many things to sing on key, but the results are always the same. If I just play scales at a piano, I can easily match pitch with the notes. But when singing with actual guitar chords, I'm always off key. Does anyone have suggestions on how to improve singing in pitch? Any recommendations for teachers who can help with such problems?
For singing, a one-to-one teacher is really the best advice, because (a) it's hard for you to hear how you sound (you hear yourself more through the bones in your head than through your ears), and (b) the technique for controlling your voice is not as easily explained as the technique for controlling an instrument.

But there are a couple of ways to help hear yourself as you sound to others. The old non-tech way is to sit or stand facing the corner of a room - as close as you can get. Then when you sing your voice is reflected back to you. Of course, you need to have your instrument with you to check your tuning - and if it's a piano that's tricky! (The story about Robert Johnson recording while sitting facing a corner was supposedly due to his shyness. I think it was to help him sing in tune.)

The tech way is to use a mic and headphones. Ideally have both mic and guitar coming through the headphones, so you'll need a 2-channel amp.

When singing to chords, the idea (of course) is to sing one of the notes in the chord. So begin by arpeggiating the chord - play one note at a time, and sing each one. Then strum the chord and sing the root (usually the easiest to tune to). Strum again and see if you can find the 3rd (with your voice); check with the guitar. Then the 5th. Then sing the arpeggio (maybe up to the octave of the root if you can). Repeat, as much as you need to with that chord. Move to another chord. etc.
Thread was moved to forum: Singing & Vocals
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Quote by Jet Penguin
lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
Quote by Hail
you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
I'm not a teacher or anything but I remember going out of key way more often in the past.
something that helps for sure is practicing singing and playing for an hour or 2 a day

I used to match pitches on the guitar and I wasn't seeing much improvement besides it's boring.
Last edited by João1993 at Jan 7, 2017,
bryanmcand I would recommend, like some users have said here, to sing and record yourself so that you become more aware of where you're going off pitch. You might not like the sound at first, but you'd realize that what you're listening to when you sing is not the same other people hear coming out of you. Through practice you can improve this self-awareness and sing on pitch more consistently. Since you mention a recommendation for a teacher, I'd say try out Robert Lunte's The Four Pillars of Singing program. You can get private lessons with him if you want but the program also provides e-files for you to work on this reference training I'm talking about.

there's more to singing than staying on key so if you're interested to learn more, check the program out here: https://thevocaliststudio.com/the-four-pillars-of-singing/?ref=9

Good luck and have fun with your singing!
It helps to be able to clearly hear your own voice, which is trickier than it sounds. If you are just singing to some other accompaniment, holding your hand next to your head with the fingers together and the entire hand cupped can help. You basically sing into the heel of your hand and listen to what comes up to your fingertips. Or, if you are using a mic, be sure to use headphones to hear your voice more clearly. As everyone knows, your own voice sounds a lot different to everyone else than it sounds to yourself. 

There are software programs out there that will translate the sound of your voice to a visual depiction. That "feedback" lets you know if you're flat or sharp, and you can adjust. 

Using karaoke videos on YouTube, along with any of the techniques to hear your own voice, can be a good training exercise. Good warm up exercises before working on singing will always help you hit the notes better and avoid vocal strain. 

And if you can afford real lessons from a skilled teacher, they're worth it. 
1. Always have your phone there to record everything you sing   2. Guitar strumming isn't the easiest to sing to as the chords make the notes sound very blended  so try singing to chords with a single strum (drag pick to clearly hear notes) and sing it that way.  Over time you'll get used to it.  3.  Hum the song first so you don't even have to think of annunciating words.  4. If you have a good singing friend or a teacher, that will let you try things out and give you tips, you'll improve fairly quick and constantly get better.  Real time feedback is the best, even better than recording many times.  5. Don't listen to the idiot who said singing on key is boring....no it just sucks. haha good luck!  I was in your position just last year so feel free to hit me up
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Do ear training

Strum a chord. Sing the 3rd. Strum a chord. Sing the 5th

Play and E note. Sing a M6 interval away

Play a D# note. Sing a m3 away

Sing the notes of a Maj chord ascending

Give yourself a starter note and sing a scale without the piano

Go to teoria and do some exercises

and get this http://www.miles.be/ functional ear trainer