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Singing help!

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Singing help!

Postby garrettendi » Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:31 pm

Not sure where to put this!

I'd love to pay for singing lessons to help me hit the key properly, which is the major thing holding me back. But at this current stage of life (long story) I can't afford to buy anything non-essential.

Does anyone have any links for YouTube videos etc that will help me learn on my own?
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Re: Singing help!

Postby Temp » Fri Dec 28, 2018 8:49 pm

I used to run music workshops with this chap about 15 years ago and he was always a pleasure to work with - he cuts a good balance between engagement and discipline. Might be of some use to you (no affiliation other than stated).

https://www.youtube.com/user/moodmix1/videos

Cheers.
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Re: Singing help!

Postby CS70 » Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:54 pm

I do sing but not a teacher at all, so the following is purely based on my own experience.

First thing, you want to make sure you hear yourself when you sing. We pick up cues of "background" sounds very very easily, so the background should be quite lower than your voice - that includes also a strummed guitar. That allows you to quickly detect where your voice is with respect to where it should be, and which direction you need to send it by working your vocal cords! With time, you will remember the "feel" of a specific line or a specific way of singing and you'll be able to reach it almost instantly, the same way you put your feet in the right place when you get out of bed!

Also, avoid backgrounds rich in harmonics (distorted guitars for example) as they mask a lot of your own mistakes - the goal is to hear the brutal truth as you're singing it. Recording helps but only as a way to verify that when you think you've been singing in tune, you actually have - you've got to learn to pitch in real time :D

I recall you have some sort of hearing problem and that of course it's gonna make the job harder, but try to keep the accompanying music fairly lower that the level your hear your voice.

That said, the vocal cords are really muscles, and as any muscle you need two things: training for gaining strength to their max potential (which will drive your range), and practice to built the brain control structures to achieve fine control of them. A quick tonal sweep require really very good muscle control, and higher pitches require lots of strength - and you get 'em only thru practice. Practice specifically bits that don't work well - like any muscle work, warm up, take frequent rest and sleep over it after having practiced some, to give your brain the time to collect, analyze and reconnect neurons.. it's not so different than playing guitar (or walking).

Then there's a lot of vocal techniques to push the edges of what you can do - from reaching higher pitches to allow you to breath during long lyrics (that ain't easy sometimes!) but signing in tune is only about practice, hearing yourself and be honest with yourself.
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Re: Singing help!

Postby zenguitar » Fri Dec 28, 2018 11:00 pm

I remember that you are active with the worship band in your church. Is there a trained singer in the church who could give you some tips and exercises. Not formal lessons, but just giving you a helping hand.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Singing help!

Postby garrettendi » Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:04 pm

Thanks everyone, I'll be sure to take all of that on board! Sorry for the late reply, with New Years and a lot of housework I've been tardy.

zenguitar wrote:I remember that you are active with the worship band in your church. Is there a trained singer in the church who could give you some tips and exercises. Not formal lessons, but just giving you a helping hand.

There are several! Not many trained, but definitely many who can sing to pitch. One or two of them are actually vocal tutors, so I feel a bit wary of asking them for essentially a freebie. I'm particularly good friends with two of the leaders, both singers and multi-instrumentalists so they'll be my next port of call.

--

I just want to give a shout-out here to blinddrew... We've been chatting in PMs the last few days and he's been great giving me tips from my last recording, along with a stellar idea for recognising where I'm out of key while practicing and analysing.

Thanks again Drew, you're a star and the latest of many reasons why I love these forums. :thumbup:
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Re: Singing help!

Postby blinddrew » Wed Jan 02, 2019 7:39 pm

You're welcome, I'm pretty much only passing on what others have previously shared with me here. :)

Though I am reminded of Groucho Marx slightly...
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Re: Singing help!

Postby forumuser786849 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 9:45 pm

One thing I avoided doing for years that has helped tremendously is joining a choir. That way you have people around you to cue off and another motivation to sing. As noted, singing is a muscle and repetition is huge. Being in a choir gives you lots of opportunity to tune yourself to the sounds around you and to get a better sense of being in tune and in key.

There's a phone app called Voice Builder that I've used that is incredibly helpful at building vocal strength and confidence. It's deceptively simple, but it blows my mind how much easier and better I sing and how much more resonance there is in my voice if I use the app 3x a week for 20-30 min.

Good luck. Learning to sing well is hard in my experience if it's not something you grew up doing. Many people think it's a purely natural thing that you have or you don't, but that's miles from the truth. It's possible to improve hugely with diligent work.
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Re: Singing help!

Postby CS70 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:37 am

forumuser786849 wrote:One thing I avoided doing for years that has helped tremendously is joining a choir.

It's certainly all personal, but I met an awful lot of people who sing in a choir but can't really sing well individually. My guess is that just like in a heavy-harmonics or ..chorusy :-) background, being a little bit off when singing in ensemble doesn't harm, but simply mix in well with other voices (just like you can't have two violins, but one or more than two.. :)). But that "little bit" can get too big when one sings alone. Not everybody of course but just something to be wary of.

My $.10 is that to learn to sing one has to hear the naked truth, with nowhere to hide. A bit painful at start but leads to very quick improvements.
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Re: Singing help!

Postby garrettendi » Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:40 am

A very good point. As well, I appreciate the idea of joining a choir, but I'm not really a "people person" sometimes, so I'd rather practice in the privacy of my little studio ;)
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Re: Singing help!

Postby Stickman0_3 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:53 pm

I don't know of any Youtube videos but I'm sure there are some online somewhere.

I've started singing - but only in the studio. If I am out of tune, we have a program in Cubase that will auto tune my voice. To me, it is a good way of learning to sing and to hit the right notes.
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Re: Singing help!

Postby Folderol » Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:27 pm

I vaguely remember there was a TED talk about the importance of breathing correctly when singing - sorry, I can't remember the details :(
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Re: Singing help!

Postby Dr R » Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:35 pm

As someone who was genuinely told to mime the national anthem when on stage with a couple of hundred other primary school kids, am in in awe of anyone who can sing.
Apparently laughter loosens the vocal chords and diaphragm, so maybe watching this video counts as exercise ;-)

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ju8Wxmrk3s
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Re: Singing help!

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:58 am

Ha! I was told the same when I was at school. :)
I was also told by our music teacher that I was the only person he'd ever met who genuinely couldn't sing.

Some people would probably agree with him... ;)
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Re: Singing help!

Postby garrettendi » Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:00 am

Thing is when I was young my family told me I was a good singer. Now I've gone through puberty everyone says I'm awful!

Clearly growing up did a number on the ol' vocal cords...








....or my family just didn't want to hurt a young boy's feeling.....
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Re: Singing help!

Postby Dr R » Fri Jan 04, 2019 2:10 pm

garrettendi wrote: ....or my family just didn't want to hurt a young boy's feeling.....

Obviously they're not music teachers then, based on Blinddrew and my experiences!
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Re: Singing help!

Postby CS70 » Fri Jan 04, 2019 2:24 pm

garrettendi wrote:
....or my family just didn't want to hurt a young boy's feeling.....


Haha well there’s different expectations from a child to a grownup. But anyone can learn to sing, you have no problems there no matter what others say.
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Re: Singing help!

Postby ConcertinaChap » Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:05 pm

There are people who cannot sing but they are rare. I've only met about three such in my life. I'm yet another who left school believing they couldn't sing. I was very lucky in that I got involved in the folk scene in the early 70s, a time when there was a huge amount of egalitarianism when it came to singing and a lot of encouragement to do so - a characteristic that is still present to a significant degree in folk clubs even today. If people expect you to sing, well, you end up singing.

Having said that, once you've started singing you still need to improve and for that you might need help. Singing teachers can be good. I was lucky in that I came under the influence of one Frankie Armstrong while she was still developing her ideas. At that time she taught a style of singing derived from the Balkans that basically involved giving it full on welly. I cannot recommend that too highly. If you can sing with some power you can always wind it back, but you can also belt it out when you need to. Singing, say, a sea shanty with a full-throated holler is a lot of fun.

CC
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Re: Singing help!

Postby CS70 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:03 am

That’s a very important point that CC is doing, which I’d completely forgotten.

When i started singing “for real” I distinctly noticed how big difference it was making to be able to sing loud at the studio or in rehearsal. In a normal home situation you just don’t, it sounds silly and probably will ear some reprimand from your manager.. pardon, wife. :)

But - at least at the beginning - most people sing low and with no confidence and that makes much harder to hit and keep the notes. Loud is the way to go!
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Re: Singing help!

Postby ConcertinaChap » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:31 am

CS70 wrote:Loud is the way to go!

Yep. You've got it. I have no problem with my wife because she also is a graduate of the same school of singing.

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Re: Singing help!

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:38 am

When, in the past, I've given advice to aspiring singers (and be assured I'm not a great singer, merely competent at best and I only achieved that relatively late in my career) I've said "open your throat and sing out". I can't remember where I heard that but I'm sure I didn't invent it, either way it works for me and I do get by these days singing solo+guitar and in a duo and lead in my band.
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