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Rllink
04-23-2015, 04:57 AM
I started playing the uke a little over a year ago. I'm teaching myself, using books, internet resources, and a couple of ukulele festivals to steer me along. I'm pretty happy with my progress. I think that I'm turning into a pretty good ukulele player. I'm not satisfied just to strum away at chords and do some fingerstyle, I want to be the whole package. I want to stand on a street corner and let it all out. So I've been singing too. But my singing has not progressed as well as my playing. My wife, who is a singer, and who used to perform on stage, has been suggesting that I take lessons from her old voice coach from back in her performing days. So at this point I'm at a loss. I don't even know what to work on. I bit the bullet. I have my first voice lesson this afternoon.

Rllink
04-23-2015, 11:05 AM
Ok, it was fun. I found out, after going through some breathing exercises, that I have over two octaves range, and I hit all the notes as we went through the scales. So that is a very good start, and quite a bit more range than I thought that I was capable of. But I think that just the breathing exercises helped. Also, keeping my mouth open helped a lot too. He had me singing into a mirror so that I could watch to see. That helped a lot more than one would think. But all we did today was go up and down scales. My coach was very happy, and next week I'm to bring my ukulele and some music with me. Music with music, not just lyrics and chords. Sounds like Daily Ukulele will work for that. I paid for a block of four lessons, which was his suggested minimum.

Down Up Dick
04-30-2015, 04:45 AM
That's probably what we should all do. It's strange that we won't pay $30 for a music lesson, but we will plunk down $400 for another ukulele that we can't really play.

I guess stuff like that is what makes life interesting. :old:

Icelander53
04-30-2015, 06:24 AM
Well I can get a ton of free info on improving my voice on the internet. However it's hard to get a free uke in that same way. I'm good at research and often get the same quality of info on line that I could pay top dollar for.

Rllink
04-30-2015, 07:35 AM
Well I can get a ton of free info on improving my voice on the internet. However it's hard to get a free uke in that same way. I'm good at research and often get the same quality of info on line that I could pay top dollar for.Well, I can't argue with you there, because I have yet to take a ukulele lesson. But, I felt like taking voice lessons, so I did. I won't say that everyone who wants to learn to sing should take voice lessons, but I'm going to share anyway, and if someone reads it and decides that voice lessons are for them, more power to 'em. By the way, I have another one this afternoon.

Down Up Dick
04-30-2015, 08:49 AM
Well I can get a ton of free info on improving my voice on the internet. However it's hard to get a free uke in that same way. I'm good at research and often get the same quality of info on line that I could pay top dollar for.

When one takes a lesson of any kind, he/she plays the lesson, and the teacher corrects mistakes or gives advice. When we learn on our own from a book or from YouTube, etc., we might think that we are doing the lesson correctly, but we may be learning mistakes. And learning mistakes is very bad because they're so difficult to correct later on. I know that from experience.

But I guess we all wanna save $30-40 bucks a week. Save the $$$ from 6 lessons and one can buy another Uke! :old:

Rllink
04-30-2015, 02:08 PM
Lesson two, pickup notes. I was singing the pickup note on the down beat of songs that have a pickup note. Or at least I think that is what I was doing. I had it all figured out when I left, and now I'm not so sure. But that was throwing the whole song off. But today we actually worked on songs that I liked, and the ones that had a pickup note are the ones that I was having trouble with. We worked on that a lot. It was interesting, and it was very encouraging. Encouraging, in the sense that I have the tools. In other words, I can sing, I just don't know how to. But we made lots of progress today, and I am confident. I paid for a block of four half hour lessons, but I'm already thinking of buying at least another half block. Today he also had me playing the uke while I sang, and he pointed out some things on the accompaniment side of it that are going to help a lot. We worked on my strum, and he made me keep with the beat, which I was not doing well. I'm doing better now. He played the piano along with me, and I had to keep everything, singing, and strumming, in time with him. That helped so much. I learned a lot today. Again, I'll say this over and over, because the farther I go on this journey, the more I realize that it is true, I think that we tend to under estimate ourselves.

Down Up Dick
04-30-2015, 07:21 PM
Well, congratulations, Rollie. You seem to be doing everything correctly. One Uke until you're ready for another, and now singing lessons. That's just how I think it should be done.

Keep it up, someday you'll be glad that you did. :old:

Steedy
04-30-2015, 07:48 PM
Wow, this is awesome! Keep up the good work. I suspect many uke players could benefit from a few singing lessons! :)

Rllink
05-01-2015, 07:08 AM
One thing of note, my second lesson, yesterday, I played the uke while I sang. We spent some time talking about keeping time, strumming patterns, and chord changes. A little music theory thrown in as well. So I felt like I was getting three lessons in one.

Sabantien
05-01-2015, 10:31 PM
Sounds a good idea! It's on my To Do list. I find it's one thing to learn an instrument yourself online, but singing is so much harder. I really have no idea where to begin improving that, and no video or website i've been to has helped.

Rllink
05-03-2015, 06:15 PM
Sounds a good idea! It's on my To Do list. I find it's one thing to learn an instrument yourself online, but singing is so much harder. I really have no idea where to begin improving that, and no video or website i've been to has helped.Here is the thing about singing. It isn't about whether I can sing or I can't sing. Because I can sing. The thing is, that I haven't been singing. It is like public speaking. We all know how to speak, but how many of us find it impossible to get up in front of a group and speak? So I've never sang in public. I sing in the shower. Who doesn't. But I don't sing in front of other people. Why? That is where the lessons come in. So starting the first day, I am standing in front of another person, who I am paying good money, and going up and down scales, la la la la la la la la while my voice coach watches, and listens, and evaluates my singing. That right there overcomes the biggest obstacle. By taking lessons, I am forcing myself to sing in front of another person. Hopefully, and I guess I should say actually, it is working. Because I am a church goer, but I've always just stood there looking around during the hymns. But my voice coach is also the choir director in my church, and by taking lessons from him, I am putting myself in a situation where I have to sing in church. And I have started doing so, because my voice coach expects to hear me. So I force myself to sing. And I didn't sing before. And I am starting to look forward to Sundays, because I like singing, and once the ice is broken, it is easy. And it is fun. So lessons aren't just something one does to learn the mechanics of voicing notes, there is a lot more to it. It is about learning to sing to another person, and it is about singing with another person, and I don't know how one is going to get there, without another person.

Rllink
05-07-2015, 12:59 PM
Lesson three. Not too bad. I can actually read the notes and hit them. That is good. Most of the songs that I am playing, I only have the lyrics and the chords, so I'm relying on my familiarity with the song to carry me. That is bad, as I sort of make it up if I don't know. Margaritaville is one such song. I get monotone with it, especially the first verse. The voice coach went through his ten gazillion music books, and found one that had the music to go with it. When I actually had it in front of me, it helped a lot. The problem is reading the notes, the lyrics, and the chords all at the same time. Luckily, I know the chords and the lyrics of Margaritaville, so I could concentrate on the notes.Not so with some of the other songs I sang today. I struggled at times, but I feel like I'm making good progress. The ability to actually read the notes, and hit them, is a pleasant surprise. If one had asked me if I could do that before I started lessons, I would have said that there is no way. Instead of accompanying me on his piano today as I went through the scales, he had me accompany myself with the uke, within the range of the re-entrant tuning, and that was helpful as well. It is very interesting to find out that I have a lot more to work with than I thought that I did. I just wonder how many ukulele players, like me, think that they can't sing, when actually the can?

Rllink
05-14-2015, 12:40 PM
Lesson four today, and it was a struggle. I just wasn't with it. My singing and my ukulele did not want to play well together today. I did buy a half a block, which is two more lessons, but then I'm going to back off for awhile. That was the advise of my voice coach. I think he was ready for me to go off on my own after today, but I didn't want to end on a sour note. Sour note, get it? I make myself laugh. But I asked him, "what's the deal, are you trying to get rid of me?" He said no, but that I was where he thought I needed to be, for what I wanted to do. So that was good I guess. We did increase my upper range up two notes. But regardless, two more, then I will probably call it quits on the lessons.

Down Up Dick
05-14-2015, 04:49 PM
Well, keep on singing, Rollie, even if only for fun. Everyone tells me that singing helps one's singing.

I haven't been playing my other instruments lately, though I played my alto flute well today. :old:

Rllink
05-15-2015, 07:24 AM
Well, keep on singing, Rollie, even if only for fun. Everyone tells me that singing helps one's singing.

I haven't been playing my other instruments lately, though I played my alto flute well today. :old:That is kind of what my voice coach said. He said, more or less, OK, go out and sing now, you are ready. I really thought that it was going to be a long term process, and it hasn't been. Anyway, like I said, I bought two more lessons, but I'm not sure that I needed too. At this point, I think that I'm paying to sing to my voice coach, and just about everything I sing, his comment is, "relax your jaw, and sing out more", and frankly I know that, without him telling me. I think that under the circumstances, we are done. That isn't to say that he has transformed me into a great singer, I think that it means that my singing is good enough to play my uke and sing. There is a woman who is always finishing up when I get there, and she has been taking lessons from him for years. But listening to her, I can tell that her goal is not the same as mine. She is a singer, a great singer. She sounds like she should be on a stage, doing a musical or something like that. I don't hear her singing any Jimmy Buffett while I'm waiting my turn. So anyway, I'm not sure what we are going to do the next two lessons, but I guess I can sing some old sixties anti war songs for him and see what he thinks.

Down Up Dick
05-15-2015, 09:32 AM
A big part of singing or playing an instrument is listening--both to yourself and to the rest of the group. Folks should listen to what they're playing and decide how they want it to sound and then do it that way. Get yourself a recorder and, if your singing sounds okay to you, go ahead with it.

Anyway, Rollie, keep on keeping on and doin' what you wanna do. :old:

Rllink
05-21-2015, 11:39 AM
Number five. I went in today and we went through the scales. Then we worked on a song that I've been struggling with. We changed the key to put it more in the middle of my range, and it sounded better. I've already paid or one more, but I told him just too keep it on the books, and I would maybe get together later in the summer. He went over fifteen minutes last week, and twenty minutes today, so I'm not real concerned about it. He agreed and said that at this point, the best lessons are going to be actually going out and singing. So that is what I'm going to do. I'm really glad I took the lessons and I'm really surprised what four or five lessons can do.