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Singing tips...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by jenderfazz, May 27, 2004.

  1. I'm practicing my voice out of pure musical curiosity. I'd like to have a decent grasp on singing, but I've never really sung before and I'd like some tips on developing my singing voice. I like playing and singing along to some songs, and pitch isn't too bad for me, but I can't sing very loudly or constantly without losing breath or screwing up (or both). Any tips on building vocal... endurance, I guess? And just strengthening the whole system? Thanks.
  2. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    You need to build proper muscle strength and endurance just as you would for any other muscle activity: lifting weights, running, swimming, playing bass, etc.

    Since singing is a muscle activity and with all muscle activities, you should warm up the necessary muscles. Start by stretching out your neck by bending your head forward, backward, to te sides and then turning to the sides. You have alot of muscle in your neck and throat, don't be afraid to massage them! Slow long strokes from the ears and the bottom of the chin down to the shoulders and chest. After you've done that, sing some scales to get the vocal cords going. Start out softly and with easy notes (well within your range) and then slowly start to increase intensity (volume) and then pitch. Here's how:

    The trick to improving volume of your voice is to get the power from the diaphragm and not at the level of the vocal cords which can cause pain and damage. I look at it like this: When we lift heavy objects, we are taught to lift from the legs to preserve the back. The same goes for voice. Get the power from below (the diaphragm) so as to not injure the delicate upper system (the vocal cords).

    Some exercises you can do to improve the diaphragmatic role in breathing are to lay flat on your back and put a phone book on the soft part of your belly, under the rib cage. When you breathe in and out start to centralize the movement of the breathing from your rib cage down to the belly where you should start to see the phone book rising and falling. Get it down to where you are comfortable. After a few days of strengthening the diaphragm like this, start to add some voice to the exercise. (Again, make sure you are stretched and warmed up.) Start out with easy notes and say them softly. Once you feel like you aren't straining to get the diaphragm and the voice working together, start increasing the length of the notes without straining. After you start prolonging them, you may start increasing the intensity SLOWLY. Work on making it louder from the diaphragm. Also work on increasing the amount of inspiration (inward breathing) when not singing or speaking and then slowing down the rate of expiration (outward).

    To increase note recognition, start by matching notes on a keyboard or your bass. Start in the middle though and not at the extreme low end or top end. You need to actually find the resonant frequencies of both your head and your chest. YOu need to sing the high frequencies so that your throat and head resoante and your chest for the lows. Think of it as the difference in size between an acoustic gutar and a double bass. After you get a feel for the notes being said or sung, work on prolonging them while maintaining pitch. It's OK to feel tired in your throat after a "workout," but if you ever feel pain STOP! If you get pain or become hoarse, you have done too much. If you are hoarse the next day, you did too much.

    You should never strain your voice to get the loudness of pitch you want. A bass doesn't sound good when you tune it down and its bad for the instrumetn to tune it too high as well. Keep these in mind when you sing because your voice is literally a form of a stringed instrument.

    Some things to stay away from:
    Cigarettes (actually, ALL tobacco/smoked products)
    Caffeine (coffee, soda, tea, etc,)
    Carbonation (beer, soda, club soda, etc.)
    Milk products and thick juices (they increase phlegm)
    Cough drops (they have a drying effect and mask but do not cure pain)
    Mints/gum (contrary to popular belief, they have a drying effect)
    The voice sprays they sell in music stores are BS

    A singer's best and only friend is good old H2O... WATER and lots of it! If your body is not properly hydrated, you run the risk of damaging your voice. Everything that I have listed above counteracts the benefits of hydration for your voice. Who says that singers have it easy?! :eek:

    Anyway, its one thing to get some tips over the internet. Get yourself a competent voice coach but keep in mind that many tend to have a musical background with minimal knowledge of anatomy and the effects of some this overall. This takes a lot of time to get working properly and if you do anything wrong for a significant amount of time, you can do significant and permanent damage to your voice. Brian Johnson of AC/DC gets surgery every couple of years to repair the damage his singing has done to his voice. He probably doesn't have many surgeries left in him and chances are you don't have his kind of cashto fund such procedures. The metal "screamers" can't do it for very long. Eventually they ruin their voice or change the style of singing... If you have any questions, feel free to post them! :cool:
  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Many people think they don't have pitch problems when they really do. Just watch American Idol auditions to find that out. In fact, watch even the finalists. Even the best two of 75,000 who auditioned had some pitch problems on their last night before the final voting.

    To check yourself (before you wreck yourself) record yourself singing. You can even use a cheap $20.00 Radio Shack recorder. You don't need anything sophisticated. The reason I suggest this is that you don't really hear yourself quite the way you sound to others because your audience is in front of you and your ears are hearing from a different postion and also filtered by the bones in your head. A recording of your voice will make it much clearer to you if you have real talent or you are just one of "the seventy thousand."

    The teacher who taught the one and only singing course I ever took, told the class to hold a finger over one ear and sing. You will hear, he said, a more accurate representation of your actual singing voice and pitch.

    After that course, I decided not to add singing to my musical repertoire. Some of the students in that class were such natural, wonderful singers. It was effortless for them. For me, I could see that the effort to ever have even a minimally acceptable voice would be too much, so I just stuck to playing my bass. I hope you have better luck.

    I also advise you to take a few lessons if you ever get a chance. A vocal coach can point out your strengths and weaknesses immediately, something that might take you much, much longer to realize on your own.
  4. Jerry Ziarko

    Jerry Ziarko Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    You have just recieved some excellent advice!!!!! I can't stress enough how important it can be to get a good, reputable singing teacher/coach. Although we are born with a certain "bialogical" amount of talent, just about anyone can maximize their talent through good teaching, practice, and hard work. I have been performing for over 30 yrs. One of the best things I ever did was to take singing lessons. When I first started, I'll admit I was pretty bad! Over time I have developed into a quite competent, confident vocalist. Will I ever be a great soloist? Nope!!! Unfortunately I wasn't blessed with enough talent in that dept. But at the same time ,something I live by, and constantly stress to younger players-- become proficient on your bass and learn to sing to the best of your ability, and you will never be out of work!!
  5. tip #1
    It is NOT true that some people can sing, and some cant.
    Some people are born decent singers from the start, but most aren't. I dont believe in talent. Most people confuse talent with hard work. So if it doesnt come easily at first, it doesnt mean you cant be a great singer, you just have to practice to get good tone and pitch.

    I know a guy who, when he was younger, was singing and playing guitar, his mother actully told him not to sing and just stick to playing guitar cause he wasn't good. But he just practiced and worked on it, and is a good singer now.
  6. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Nay. I've known plenty of people who just can not sing...several of whom auditioned for the musical this year. It just isn't in some people. For instance, the understudy for the male lead couldn't sing a bloody note, but he was a phenomenal actor -- so he got that part. Unfortunately, he had a couple solo songs. He was trained by the best vocalist we've ever had go through our school (now on summer break from university), and yeah, he got waaaay better. He came miles, one might say, but he still didn't sound good. Every night all of us on tech cringed when he went up to sing. Sure, you can go miles with a good teacher and a LOT of practice, but you can only go so far on half a tank of gas.
  7. kserg


    Feb 20, 2004
    London, UK
    bob dylan
  8. Jerry Ziarko

    Jerry Ziarko Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    I couldn't disagree more! IMHO, I believe you can maximize your talent through hard work. At the same time your are born with only so much. eg..... sprinters, golfers, artists, etc. I could have trained from the time I was a child, and still couldn't run a 10 sec 100 - golf every day with the best instructors, and NEVER break 70... you see where I'm going with this. That is why some are just "special". If all it took was hard work, it wouldn't be that special. Anyone can get better at something with hard work and practice, but at the same time we are all born different from each other bialogically. Hell if I knew I could throw a 98MPH fastball, I probably wouldn't have ever owned a bass!!
  9. BassGod


    Jan 21, 2004
    Speaking of natural talent and hard work, could you get that raspy James Hetfield type voice through some sort of voice training, or is that a natural thing? I'd love to have a voice like that, it would make my band's music sound a lot better. Thanks. :)

  10. BassGod


    Jan 21, 2004
    Damn, I actually use these before and after I sing, at every show I've done. Does it actually hurt your voice, or is kind of neutral in that it doesn't help or injure you? I found it helped after I sang For Whom The Bell Tolls. After singing that my throat hurt, so I had a Halls, and it seemed to help. I also drink a Dr. Pepper after every gig, as kind of a tradition. I never realized that would hurt me. :meh:

  11. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Get a teacher.
  12. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    Certain things in moderation aren't going to ruin your voice. I'm sure that Celine Dion still has champange from time to time. Its more of having those things in moderation with good/healthy techniques. Now with that said, it certainly isn't going to help anything. It may be the kind of situation where it's not actively hurting anything, but cutting it out might also make a rather noticeable improvement. Even the "candy" cough drops like Ludens have a lot of sugar which isn't good either. Water is the absolute best thing for you to drink vocal-wise but I don't think a Dr. Pepper isn't going to hurt much as long as you don't feel particularly dry.

    Singing with a "growly" texture is actually pretty bad for your voice. Not as bad as screaming or even whispering which are awful, but over time it can give you polyps. If you absolutely have to sing with a alot of "growl" do it at very low volumes and allow the mic/PA to do all the work for you. Also work on some of the exercises I listed above to improve voice... ;)

  13. Don't tell Lemmy this :D
  14. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
  15. But if they practice, they can get better. I guess what i am saying is, they might not become amazing singers, but with practice, anyone can sing in tune fairly well.
  16. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Knowing the lyrics comes in handy! :D