Tips for singers

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Mankind, Jun 5, 2004.

  1. Mankind


    Oct 20, 2003
    In most threads quite a few users "blame" their singers for lack of X talent. What tips would you give to singers from actually singing to onstage things?
    Hopefully this thread will also give some light to new users :)

  2. Chris A

    Chris A Chemo sucks!

    Feb 25, 2000
    Manchester NH

    The most important tip is to let the microphone do the work. Some guys think they have to yell in that thing to get volume. Then you blow out your voice in a couple of tunes.

    Chris A. :rolleyes: :bassist:
  3. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    1. Know your range.
    2. If you're trying to cover a song that's out of your comfortable range, either transpose or don't attempt it. Bandmates may not understand this, but they need to.
    3. Although it can be your job to project an image of confidence and maybe even swagger onstage, remember that you will get further in your musical life if you keep your ego to yourself as much as possible. This is true for players as well. Be easy to work with, and you'll find others easier to work with, and everyone will be happier.

  4. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Well said Donkey.

    I'd like to add these:-

    * If the musicians are saying that something you're asking for isn't technically possible, believe them.

    * The world does not revolve around you. There's no I in "Band" or "Team".

    * If you're fussy with your foldback, fine. Turn up early and do a soundcheck. Refusing to do so removes your right to complain about your vocal sound.

    * If the stage sound isn't perfect, plough on as though it is.

    * Don't lose your voice. Do whatever it takes to strengthen / preserve it. Stubornly abusing it makes mo more sense than if I constantly use my bass to chop wood.
  5. I agree on not shouting into the mic but if you don't put enough force into the notes you can end up singing flat. (Tricky to explain) I play flute and its the same for that - when you're nervous there's a tendency to underblow and end up slightly flat. Its about trying to use your diaphragm to breathe rather than your ribs. (My flute teacher used to get me to lie down with a pile of books on me and practice breathing to make them move up and down.... I was never quite sure he wasn't a tad kinky :) )

    Best advice ... practice singing through the mic, so you know when to sing nearer it or louder further away from it - very handy if you're struggling to hear yourself through foldback!
  6. jgbass

    jgbass Guest

    Dec 17, 2003
    Breathing through the diaphragm is sooo important to sing on pitch. Without that support, the pitch easily goes flat, just like underblowing on a flute. I've been taking some singing classes and we get to watch each other perform, and the students who aren't using their diaphragm, kind of have their voice stuck or frozen in their throat, or are tightening up somewhere, sing way off pitch.

    Having a teacher ask you to lie on the floor with a pile of books on your stomach..... used by my former voice teacher. Good exercise. Really, not kinky at all. That gets the abdominal muscles stronger. Without good abdominal strengh, its more difficult to get the diaphragm supported.
    La ti da. ;)
  7. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Best advice.....get a vocal teacher!
  8. :rolleyes:
    Sorry that was my attempt at humour as it does sound a little strange!

    He also had me pouting in front of the mirror - yes with good reason too!..... but then he started getting a little too touchy and telling me about his marital problems... that's when I changed teachers!
  9. jgbass

    jgbass Guest

    Dec 17, 2003
    Sorry too, I did think that was funny too. Practicing singing is something I try hard to do when no one else is at home just because of the strange things teachers ask us to do. I have a great exercise I do sticking out my tongue and singing.
    Glad you left your teacher. That's way out of line.
  10. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    To add to Donkey and Pete's wisdom.

    1. Singing in pitch is more inportant than how cool your voice sounds. I don't care if you can sing like Ronnie James Dio or Marvin Gaye, if you are singing flat it sounds like crap. If you're singing backup, people are going to hear the note more than whether or not it sounds like Janis Joplin.

    2. Come in at the right time. If the guitar player messes up the band can easily recover. Not so when the singer or drummer does. If a singer comes in a measure early or late, the song structure is messed up and the groove has to be interupted to fix it.

    3. Learn how to use the mic. You don't have to eat the mic in order to be heard. Screaming into a mic, while it's right up to your mouth is a great way to piss off a soundman or damage speakers. Plus, you can't articulate if a friggin mic is in your mouth. In general, give your self enough space from the mic to properly move your mouth. The louder, or more forcefully you sing the more you should back away from the mic. If you want to accent the bass in your voice, sing closer. If you want to accent the highs, back off.

    4. What you hear in the monitors isn't exactly what the audience is hearing. Just because the stage monitors don't reveal your rich baritone voice, doesn't mean that the Mains and Subwoofers aren't. Just sing the right pitch and let the soundman worry about it.

    5. Sing from your chest, not your head/throat. That throaty voice might sound cool but it's a good way to trash your voice. Using your chest improves endurance, projection, and pitch. The vocal chords are like the strings on a bass. Your breath are your fingers plucking it. Your sinus cavities, mouth, diaphragm, abdomen are like the body of the bass. They add to the resonance of the strings.

    6. Develop your ear to develop your voice. Develop your voice to develop your ear. The ear and voice complement each other. There are no fret markers on a voice. You have to go with your ear. You have to somehow hear a note to sing a note. You'll find that as you develop your voice, your ear will improve because of the practice and the synergy with the voice.

    7. Listen to your body. If you sing an E, pay attention to how your throat and other parts of your body feel. Remember that for the next time you sing an E. Practice doing that and next thing you know, it becomes natural. Being able to feel the notes is key when the stage sound isn't cooperating with you.

    8. Find "your" voice. Find the voice that you are most comfortable and capable of singing. Not everyone can sing as high as Steve Perry or as low as Barry White. Not everyoe sings as smooth as Frank Sinatra or as raspy as Janis Joplin. Find your range and your tone and work with it.

    9. Use your bass to help your singing. Play a C on the bass and sing it, paying special attention to matching the pitch, and how your throat feels when you hit the pitch. Play a scale on the bass and sing the scale, paying attention to how your throat and body feel when going from the root to the II, etc. Play a major arpeggio on your bass and sing it, paying attention to how you feel when you go from the root to the third, third to fifth, fifth to octave. Play a note on the bass and sing the major third. Play the major third on the bass, if you're having trouble hearing it. Try all the above with different scales, keys, arpeggios, and chord intervals.
  11. thewanderer24


    Apr 29, 2002
    SJ, CA
    The technical stuff has been pretty well covered already.

    I will say that in a gig situation, in my experience, the singer has, by far, the most responsibility in getting the audience into what's going on. Most non-musicians (most of the audience at most gigs) are focused on the singer above all else.

    If the singer captivates them, reaches out to them and makes them feel involved, makes them feel interested, the band is good to the average gig-goer, even if the musicians aren't so great. That's been my experience playing with a couple different bands, and seeing countless others.
  12. baba

    baba Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd stone from the sun
    Don't get drunk every night at rehearsal and piss all over my yard while shouting stupid things that only you think are funny while undoubtedly disturbing the neighbors that I have to continue to live next to. Thanks, I feel much better now.
  13. Tips for singers....

    1) Don't think you aren't replaceable because you can sing.

    2) Don't think the band revolves around you because you can sing.

    3) Gig like you practice and don't start add-libbing something you think is cool if it is going to mess up your timing.

    4) Don't forget the lyrics and then mumble or repeat something you already sang.

    5) If you DO forget the lyrics, go ahead and mumble or repeat something you already sang. Better that than the deer in the headlights moment.

    6) Don't forget tip number one.

    7) Don't forget tip number two (see tip number one for reference).
  14. danshee

    danshee Banned

    May 28, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
    I think you guys covered it all with this thread. That about sums up my last 12 years of playing with singers. Van Halen called this problem LSD or Lead Singer Disease.
    There is no me in Team. Wait t-E-a-M Damn! I always say those things wrong. :rollno: