How to Learn Singing “School” from Nirvana

Learning to Sing: “School” by Nirvana

“School” is a staple in Nirvana’s discography, showcasing Kurt Cobain’s raw and gritty vocal style. Learning to sing this song requires a strong understanding of vocal distortion and growling, two techniques used heavily in grunge music.

Vocal Distortion and Growling

The characteristic grunge sound in “School” relies upon vocal distortion and growling. Both create a harsh, raspy tone, adding emotional intensity to the performance. It’s important to practice these techniques safely to avoid damaging your vocal cords. You can watch this tutorial on how to growl without straining your voice.

Understanding Your Voice Type

Cobain had a baritone voice, adding a deep resonance to his music. Understanding your own voice type will help you adjust the song’s key if needed or alter the delivery to suit your voice comfortably. You can use this vocal range test to find your voice type.

Pitch Accuracy

Grunge often uses microtonal shifts and slurred words which can be a challenge to sing accurately. Our pitch accuracy test can help you work on this aspect of your singing as you learn “School”.

Embodying the Song

Emotion is crucial. “School” is a testament to Cobain’s distaste for the mainstream music industry. Authenticity in your performance comes from understanding the song’s context and channeling related emotions. To do this, it can be useful to refer back to this article on singing with intuition, skills, emotion, and thinking.

Other songs with similar vocal techniques

Songs by other grunge bands like Pearl Jam’s “Even Flow” and Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” also employ vocal distortion and growling. Practicing these songs can help you become more comfortable with these techniques.


Mastering the techniques used in “School” by Nirvana will not just help you to sing this particular song. It will allow you to comfortably explore the whole grunge genre. Make sure to utilize our pitch training and other educational courses in your singing journey.