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Groovy
03-30-2008, 06:58 AM
As someone who can't sing (if you understand ... I always concentrated on instrument playing, but now I'd like to sing a few songs) ... can anyone suggest some techniques that can be employed to help out in trying to put over the song a bit better?

I know there is 'vibrato' and I've read a few posts on other threads... also there is 'falsetto' ...

Please help this struggler and suggest how I may be able to sound a bit better!

Thanks!

Kateri
03-31-2008, 08:28 PM
Warming up is definitely key to sounding your best. If you can do scales on a piano, it helps to sing along with it using different vowels in order to stretch your mouth muscles and warm up the vocal chords. singing each note in the scale as an "eee" or an "ooohh" or an "ooooo" helps a lot. There are other sorts of exercises but it's really hard to convey them in typing. :P Warm up for about 10 minutes before you start singing your songs. Helps, I promise!

seth
04-01-2008, 10:24 PM
I'll try and keep my post short.

Sing how you want, but keep several things in mind. I think these 3 things can help you round out a well balanced voice.

Breathing
Projection
Vibrato


Breathing - This is very important. Proper breathing effects your tone, your phrasing, and vibrato. Practice taking deep breaths. Have you ever watched a baby sleep? See how their bellys go up and down when they breathe, practice breathing that way. Breathe so your belly is going up and down. When you practice singing with sheet music, put a slash above the words in the song where u take your breaths, and stick to it.

Projection - Practice singing with confidence. Imagine people are at the opposite end of the room, you want them to hear you. Never be nervous too, if you get nervous, you wont be able to project. Projection helps with high notes and vibrato.

Vibrato - I always throw vibrato in because it adds a touch of class to anything you sing. The person can have an OK voice, but if he/she has a killer vibrato, it'll make up for the "OK" voice. I've heard different versions of good vibrato's from different voice teachers. One teacher said 6 cycles a second is good, but I don't agree with her. 4 cycles a second is much better sounding in my opinion. It's your preference really though, when you start practicing vibrato alot, you'll be able to control the speed at which you vibrato. So you can go fast slow whatever. When practicing vibrato, practice in your normal register key. Then practice on high notes/low notes when you are comfortable with it in your regular key.

If you work on these 3 things while practicing, you'll be noticing your voice and abilities change quite quickly.

Kateri
04-01-2008, 10:26 PM
To add to Seth's post, in regards to projection learn how to use your diaphragm. Controlling that will help you project far louder than you normally could. That is where the power will come from.

Also, vibrado isn't really necessary in the beginning stages of learning how to sing. It's not necessary when you're first learning basics. Learn breath control, projection and carrying a tune first. Then worry about making it fancy. :)

seth
04-01-2008, 10:33 PM
keep vibrato in mind though.

Plainsong
04-06-2008, 06:10 PM
But vibrato just naturally happens. It's a product of doing everything else. There's nothing worse than a forced vibrato. The note no longer has resonance. The word vibrato has never even come up and I've been doing opera stuff for a while. When a voice has a LOT of vibrato or seems very colored, then we start getting into coloratura, and if you have a voice that does that kind of stuff, you tend to know it. There's a great payoff to it, but it's lots of extra practice to reign that baby in.

seth
04-07-2008, 08:22 AM
The word vibrato has never even come up and I've been doing opera stuff for a while.

Vibrato always comes up at my shows.

Edit:
I like vibrato because it sounds fantastic, and it takes alot of work to perfect. And 9 times out of 10, if a person has a great vibrato, the rest of their singing voice will probably have fallen into place.

Plainsong
04-07-2008, 09:52 AM
What style of singing do you do, out of curiosity? I don't know how vibrato is graded, other than I know coloratura types that really have to work on it.. so I can't say how good or bad mine is, other than I suppose it's not ever been an issue. Working on voice placement for me is what seems to change the control over how much or little spin there is on the voice.

If it works for you or works for me there's no wrong answer. That's the great thing about voice. I'm just saying how it works for me. :)

seth
04-07-2008, 10:45 AM
i sing at one of the hotels where i live. contempary to hawaiian music. it is way different from opera though..

and i wasn't putting down your suggestions at all, sorry if i came off that way. i read most of your posts and i do agree with them, i'm just really heavy on the vibrato because the difference it made for me. one of my vocal teachers gave me the idea to work on vibrato (because i had doubts about my voice), and after the vibrato came out, everything really fell into place. in order to vibrato, i had to get my breathing, and projection perfect. that in turn molded my singing voice. thats the main reason i push for vibrato, it molds all aspects of your voice when done correctly.

Plainsong
04-07-2008, 11:57 AM
I didn't think you were wrong, it's just to me, singing is about visualization, and how you imagine things. Good teachers pick up on that, so that's how that right voice placement was found for you. :)

How it worked for me was that I never thought about vibrato, it just sort of happened, but then fast forwarded to university level, and there was just so much to think about that I was forcing it. My throat was tight, there was a disconnect between the bottom and top half of my body. Sort of like learning to walk again. Frustrating!

Then over spring break, I was just practicing back at home with no pressure. I wasn't trying to achieve anything, and was singing in a very relaxed kind of way. I thought I'd really hit on something but wasn't sure. Then I came back to the studio after the break, and the teacher was like "What the hell happened?? You're voice has opened up! Where do you imagine it? That's where you aim for."

So that was my eureka moment. :)

seth
04-07-2008, 12:17 PM
Sounds like we used completely different methods to end up at the exact same place. lol...

I know exactly what you mean about the tight throat singing. I had that problem for a long time, but out of nowhere it just went away. That tight throat singing really was irratating though. Sometimes I would sing that way, then end up using my complete nasal cavity to hit high notes, and it sounded terrible. I'm glad I don't do that anymore.

But yeah, I know what you mean about the turning point 100 percent. I just used vibrato to get there, and you used visualization. Pretty interesting the different methods we used.

I still sing lazy though, only time I open up is on stage or at practice. If I'm playing music with friends and stuff, I don't open up usually.

Plainsong
04-08-2008, 12:12 AM
I do the same thing as you. I don't advertise "classically trained soprano here!" - because that's pressure. :) If I have to sing loudly enough, which happened for this play that I'm in, they usually figure it out. Otherwise, I try to "sing normal".

redsedge
04-12-2008, 02:53 AM
Breathing from the belly like a baby - if you sit down on a hard backed chair and clasp your hands together with your arms behind the back of the chair, then that forces you to breathe from the belly. Then you can feel where the breath is coming from and try to emulate that feeling when singing.

This tip comes from Chris Coe, who teaches voice at Newcastle uni. Hope it helps.

Plainsong
04-12-2008, 09:04 AM
I think there's a danger of not taking in enough air if you use sitting down as a tool, although I know what you mean. My voice teachers often used a trick of making us stand as if we were sitting on a horse. Not pretty but it can help some get that intake of air that they need.

redsedge
04-13-2008, 12:34 AM
I'm going to try standing like I'm sitting on a horse, especially when I'm vibrating my lips together to sound like a horse.) I get the giggles all the time doing these singing exercises - it's great.

On a related note, I'm told my voice is too 'airy', that I use too much air when singing. Is there anything you could recommend to help with this?

seth
04-13-2008, 12:44 AM
I'm going to try standing like I'm sitting on a horse, especially when I'm vibrating my lips together to sound like a horse.) I get the giggles all the time doing these singing exercises - it's great.

On a related note, I'm told my voice is too 'airy', that I use too much air when singing. Is there anything you could recommend to help with this?

hmm.. sounds like breathing issues.. but before that, how old are you? if your early teens and you voice is changing, it sometimes causes it to be airy. if not, then its probably your breathing. hard to say without hearing it though.

Kateri
04-13-2008, 02:12 AM
I'm going to try standing like I'm sitting on a horse, especially when I'm vibrating my lips together to sound like a horse.) I get the giggles all the time doing these singing exercises - it's great.

On a related note, I'm told my voice is too 'airy', that I use too much air when singing. Is there anything you could recommend to help with this?

My voice can sound very airy sometimes. Opening your throat and dropping your jaw may help you, but like Seth said kinda hard to tell without hearing.

seeso
04-13-2008, 05:26 AM
It could also mean that your not getting that air from your diaphragm, which would make it lack power and sound airy. Make an mp3 or a video of your voice. Maybe someone can help you after hearing it.

Plainsong
04-13-2008, 06:00 AM
Sounding airy usually doesn't mean you're using too much air, but yeah, I agree it sounds like it could be a breath control/voice placement/throat openness thing going on. Or, your voice and/or its placement is changing. Or it could be as Sesso says. What does your voice teacher say?

redsedge
04-13-2008, 01:22 PM
It's great of you to take so much interest - thank you. I'm clocking on towards 49 years, so it's not a teen thing, but have only just started thinking about my voice and wanting to improve it. I don't have a voice teacher - perhaps that's where I should start.

I like the idea of doing a video, although it scares me silly too. I don't have a camcorder but will see if I can do something with my camera. Cheers!

redsedge
04-17-2008, 09:39 PM
[QUOTE I don't have a camcorder but will see if I can do something with my camera. Cheers![/QUOTE]

The quality was appalling, so it's back to the drawing board on that one. Thanks for your input everyone - I'll work on my breathing.