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View Full Version : Heard myself sing, never again!



kohanmike
11-04-2014, 11:42 AM
I've mentioned that I'm a member of the CC Strummers uke group out of the Culver City, California Senior Center. I never considered myself a very good singer, but thought I could at least stay in tune while singing along, and even try a little low end harmony.

The last few weeks I've been recording each song as we sing to help me learn to play the bass. Yesterday our leader, Cali Rose, asked me if I could share the recordings online to help the group practice for our upcoming Senior Center Holiday show.

I put them on my web site and while listening back to the recordings, I could hear myself, and holy moly, I STINK! It was so bad, I immediately decided that from now on I'm just going to lip-sync, so as not to subject anyone to my voice again.

It's really disappointing because if there's anything I would wish for, it's to be able to sing well, but now that reality has set in, I have to let go of that.

Brad Bordessa
11-04-2014, 12:21 PM
I think your decision is premature. A voice is just another instrument and you've got to practice with it. You can't expect to be brilliant from the get go just like you wouldn't expect to be brilliant the first time you picked up the uke. I have recordings from a few years ago when I was tracking demos in my room for fun. My singing was crap! Nasally and unpleasant to listen to. Now, after singing more and more, it's 100x better and I feel more confident with it! It's not anything special, but now I can use it, know that it's "me," and not feel embarrassed.

If you think your singing sucks, the worst thing you can do is not sing because then you are staying at the "suck" stage. Instead, make an effort to improve what you have! If pitch is your problem than you probably don't listen to yourself as you relate to the group. Stop playing and start listening as you sing. A finger in your ear helps you listen to your own pitch and your other ear can keep tabs on the group. Another thing that I find incredibly helpful is singing with a mic into headphones. Then you are hearing yourself as the world hears you. It's brutal, yes, I know. But you do get use to it and being comfortable with how you sound/what you have is key.

Just two cents from another poor sap who thought he couldn't sing. You can, it just takes some effort.

kypfer
11-04-2014, 12:30 PM
It's really disappointing because if there's anything I would wish for, it's to be able to sing well, but now that reality has set in, I have to let go of that Time was, I couldn't hit a note with a tennis bat, but I used my tape recorder to advantage (yes, a reel-to-reel 1/4" tape machine) to figure out the hows, whys and where I was going wrong. I discovered why a lot of the "old-style" folk singers sang with a finger in their ear ... it's so they could hear their own voice and pitch it to the instruments and the other singers.

I was never very good, but I was never booed off stage either ... and I was asked back, so I can't have been that bad ;)

Try recording a backing track, a few strummed chords will do, then play it back through one earphone with a finger in the other ear, and try singing along ... you'll hear your own voice and should be able to bring it "into tune" quite quickly. With practice you won't need the earphone or the finger (at least, I didn't) .... hope this helps :)

vanflynn
11-04-2014, 12:39 PM
Hi Mike, we are all too hard on ourselves and surprised when we hear ourselves. Thank God Bob Dylan didn't have an IPad!

Maybe you might be more comfortable in a different key. I know I play better in C and G but sing better in F. Go figure. All in all keep having fun

SteveZ
11-04-2014, 12:45 PM
It's all about "fun" and enjoying the experience. There's a lot of successful entertainers out there whose singing voices are/were, well, not angelic. Until dangerous stuff is being thrown by the audience, keep belting it out....

IamNoMan
11-04-2014, 12:49 PM
If you have a base or a baritone voice don't try to sing a low harmony line. I used to do this and drove my singing friends crazy. You should just stick to the melody line with a bass or baritone voice, at least until you feel confident enough to "know" what your doing.

What the lads here have said about sticking a finger in your ear is wrong. They have the concept down alright; but you should cup your hand over ear to create a sound chamber. When you stick your finger in your ear you are actually getting sound conduction through bone. It doesn't accurately relate to your sound in air.

Never stop singing. "Make a joyful noise" Psalm 100.

ohmless
11-04-2014, 12:56 PM
you are your harshest critic.

There is always the route I go half the time and do Lou Reed style and just lightly sing the lyrics like you were reading poetry.

KaraUkey
11-04-2014, 01:10 PM
I guess cupping your ear is the equivalent to using a fold back speaker in an amplified set up. You absolutely have to be able to hear yourself and the music you are singing along with, to give yourself any chance of sounding the way you would like to sound. Practicing with backing tracks as Kypfer points out is likely to help you get "in tune".

coolkayaker1
11-04-2014, 01:32 PM
I've heard Jake say the same thing, KM.

itsme
11-04-2014, 01:56 PM
I think your decision is premature. A voice is just another instrument and you've got to practice with it. You can't expect to be brilliant from the get go just like you wouldn't expect to be brilliant the first time you picked up the uke.
I agree. Your vocal cords are like any other muscle that can be strengthened and toned thru exercise.

OP, if you feel your voice is lacking, stick with the melody and don't attempt the harmonies as someone else mentioned. Also, don't try to "belt it out". Keep your voice soft enough that it won't stick out like the proverbial sore thumb.

ksiegel
11-04-2014, 02:09 PM
"Don't worry that its not good enough for anyone else to hear, just Sing - sing a song."

I don't know if I'm a good singer, or a bad singer.

I was good when I was 13-22, but that was a lifetime ago.

Now, I just sing.

That's what you should do, too.



-Kurt

Rllink
11-04-2014, 02:54 PM
When it comes to singing I'm bad, and I like it like that. I'm bad to the bone. I'm a department of defense secret weapon. They are gonna use me to torture prisoners with my singing, and I'm gonna do it. What I lack in talent, I make up for in volume. Crank it up. I have no idea why I'm posting this.

PhilUSAFRet
11-05-2014, 12:56 AM
Lots of successful and often popular singers didn't have a great voice, but they had great heart and that's what people heard. Who'd a thunk Kris Kristopherson could have made a dime with his voice?

Rllink
11-05-2014, 01:39 AM
Lots of successful and often popular singers didn't have a great voice, but they had great heart and that's what people heard. Who'd a thunk Kris Kristopherson could have made a dime with his voice?I was watching a documentary about the protest songs of the sixties, and Pete Seeger said in an interview that the first time he heard Bob Dylan sing, he thought that Dylan was the worst singer he had ever heard.

Jon Moody
11-05-2014, 02:01 AM
It's really disappointing because if there's anything I would wish for, it's to be able to sing well, but now that reality has set in, I have to let go of that.

I only read the original post.

Just a quick question; were you a good ukulele player as soon as you picked up your uke, or did you work at it? Singing is the exact same thing, and aside from working your vocal muscles, it's also giving your ears a workout, so you'll know that you're out of tune. Given that you've listened back to yourself and said "Oh my! That's out of tune!" should inspire you, because you're starting to notice your limitations and can now focus on improving those.

Don't give up.

VegasGeorge
11-05-2014, 04:14 AM
I was apparently blessed with a decent voice, at least people have told me so. But that doesn't mean I can always sing in tune or hit the notes I want. Often in a group setting, I will stick a finger in one ear so I can hear myself better. Otherwise, I can start to wander around pitch and note wise. I can see where sticking a finger in an ear would be difficult while playing the Ukulele, but what the heck, if you can master it you may find yourself a career in show business. Seriously, very few of us were born singers. The voice is just another instrument one needs to learn to play. Too many people think singing should just come naturally, and too many pop singers sing that way. The voice and ear need training. Have you spent time carefully singing scales and intervals? Have you learned Solfège? I have, and I can tell you it helps a lot. I can actually hear how my singing ability has improved with practice. Now that I'm playing Ukulele and trying to sing with it, I spend time carefully going over the intervals in tunes like "Isn't It Romantic" and "What Kind Of Fool AM I," trying to find the right pitch for each note without sliding around hunting for it. And, the more I work on it, the better or easier it gets. Just keep singing, and work on improving. You'll get there!

kohanmike
11-05-2014, 09:45 AM
Thanks for all the encouragement everyone. I do like the idea of wearing headphones while recording to hear myself. I'll give that a try.

Pueo
11-05-2014, 09:51 AM
Just keep singing. I recently listened to an older video of mine on YouTube and I almost took it down, I really need to re-record it, I can sing much better now, and that was four or five years ago. I have never taken any lessons or anything, but I definitely sing more now than I did a few years ago. Don't worry about it, and most of all have fun with it.

PeteyHoudini
11-05-2014, 12:53 PM
Singing is one skill that really puts one's in a vulnerable public position for criticism. We can all become self-conscious about it. In my life, I have met some people that just can't produce any nice sounding singing tones. I don't know the biology or physics behind it but it is true for some. Luckily, most of us can produce a few notes more or less that sound half decent, and one does get better with practise or lessons.

It is a shock at times to hear one's self on a recording and think like you thought. I would say practise more alone and give it time.

I attended a folk open mic night once (not ukulele) and this one guy really couldn't sing and his guitar was also horribly out of tune. It became comedic because he would often stop in mid-phrase and say, "Argh!!! the guitar is out of tune!!!" He did it so many times it became funny and the guy beside me started making me crack up (uncontrollable laughing) and the whole thing became embarrassing.

I started singing when I was about 12 but I wasn't very good. I just kept doing it because I liked writing my own silly songs songs on the guitar. No one in my my family ever said I was a good singer. When I was 18, a neighbour said to my sister, "Hey, who is that guy singing with the great voice in your house?" My sister replied, "Huh?" Then, she figured out it had been me singing in my bedroom that faced the neighbour's house.

So, it took 6 years to get a compliment! LOL True story! So, soldier on!

Petey

mds725
11-05-2014, 01:24 PM
I think your decision is premature. A voice is just another instrument and you've got to practice with it. You can't expect to be brilliant from the get go just like you wouldn't expect to be brilliant the first time you picked up the uke. I have recordings from a few years ago when I was tracking demos in my room for fun. My singing was crap! Nasally and unpleasant to listen to. Now, after singing more and more, it's 100x better and I feel more confident with it! It's not anything special, but now I can use it, know that it's "me," and not feel embarrassed.

If you think your singing sucks, the worst thing you can do is not sing because then you are staying at the "suck" stage. Instead, make an effort to improve what you have! If pitch is your problem than you probably don't listen to yourself as you relate to the group. Stop playing and start listening as you sing. A finger in your ear helps you listen to your own pitch and your other ear can keep tabs on the group. Another thing that I find incredibly helpful is singing with a mic into headphones. Then you are hearing yourself as the world hears you. It's brutal, yes, I know. But you do get use to it and being comfortable with how you sound/what you have is key.

Just two cents from another poor sap who thought he couldn't sing. You can, it just takes some effort.

Yes, this. You may never like the sound of your own voice (we hear ourselves through our skull bones, while we hear our recorded voice only through our ears), but you can get better at the skills of singing.

Nickie
11-05-2014, 02:23 PM
I don't think you should give up. You might try a voice coach. I don't like the sound of my voice either, even though it's in tune. But other people do.
What I decided to do, sicne the mic scares the beejeezus outta me, is learn to play instrumentals as well as I can, and only sing WITH others.

Down Up Dick
11-05-2014, 02:41 PM
When it comes to singing I'm bad, and I like it like that. I'm bad to the bone. I'm a department of defense secret weapon. They are gonna use me to torture prisoners with my singing, and I'm gonna do it. What I lack in talent, I make up for in volume. Crank it up. I have no idea why I'm posting this.

When one first joins the service and is in basic training, the TI makes everyone "speak up". He continually yells "I can't hear yoooouu". And that trained us not to mumble and murmer. Well that's what I do when I'm in a good mood and feeling my oats. I just belt out a song and really ham it up. I don't know what the neighbors think. Maybe they even like it.

Any way, stop yourself from being selfconscious. Have some fun with it. Go some where to be alone and let 'er rip. Try to sound like Mario Lanza or one of your favorite singers. Belt out a tune like you mean it. If you make mistakes or slide off key correct yourself. When you feel more self confident, you can start making adjustments.

As everyone on this thread has said, have fun with singing. It's not a life or death matter. Wail baby! :old:

P.S. We can't hear yoouuu!