How to Find the Starting Note in a Song: Part 1

womansinging1Ever wonder how to find the starting note in a song?

I travel quite a bit and work with a lot of singers who lead/teach others in singing. This might be a choir, sing-a-long, or other group gathering. For someone new to the role of leading a group, one of the most common questions/problems is “how to find the starting note”.

Of course this is a challenge for singers in all situations. At times it’s quick, easy, and comes naturally. At other times, depending on experience, and the complexity of the song, and your history of singing (eg, what you are familiar with) it can be challenging and sometimes embarrassing.

Well, let’s start by getting over the embarrassing component. The truth is that most of us, even regularly performing professionals, hit a wrong starting note from time to time. And, we’ve all done it in big settings with a song we know by heart – “where did that come from?” Usually followed by a laugh and sense of bewilderment.

We’re all friends here. Let us relax and simply know that it happens and step past the embarrassment.

For folks with lots of experience, you already know this. For those newer to singing in groups and public, you may need to work on self acceptance and letting go of perfection. Don’t let it stop you!

We could go on a tangent (and we will at a future point), but I’d like to get down to looking at ways to help resolve the challenge of getting the right starting note.


This discussion will go for a few days/weeks depending on the flow of questions and conversation.

So, the first thing we’ll look at in finding the first note, is getting or finding it from or within the musical accompaniment.

1) ask for a single note
2) ask for the starting chord (s)
3) picking the note out from an instrumental introduction

These are the most common situations and we’ll dive deeper into the “context” and challenges with each of these. And, of course solutions that will help.

I look forward to hearing from you.




Categories: Find Starting Note, Singing Lessons, and singing tips.


  1. Steve Shortt

    The bigger someones ego is the more nervous they will be about their performance. I see people with no ego issues get up and sing every week at karaoke and are very bad singers whilst the better ones are standing on the sidelines battling with themselves and nerves. The usual addition of alcohol then affects pitch in a negative way probably more than any other thing I have discovered.
    So yes..just get over yourself…very good advice!

  2. Tholuu sannii

    Good day sir,
    Can same be used to find the key of songs on my guitar.
    Cause i can’t transpose on it compare to the keyboard, if so, i am lookimg forward to your teaching.

  3. Andrea

    Yeah I love the subject or topic it’s really difficult for new singers or songwriters to find inspiration and where to start their song and also where to end so kindly be specific because it’s not clear so you are saying you only have to find the right note out from an instrumental introduction?

    • Singing Coach

      Hi Andrea,

      I’m not sure if I fully understand your question, but will try to answer.

      YES – You can usually find the starting pitch from the instrumental accompaniment.


  4. larry nadler

    I am a new song writer. I have written poetry for 9 years, and wish to transition into song writing. I have written 9 songs that I, and my friends feel could be hits, with the right melody, and singer. They are songs of relationships. Have u any ideas?

    • Singing Coach

      Hi Larry,

      Congrats on writing so many great songs. You ask a very broad question. I’d recommend getting your voice in top shape, recording demo tracks and asking for input on specific songs.

      All the best,

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