View Full Version : Please help....

04-19-2010, 02:12 PM
Ok, so this is nervewracking for me, I've never sang in front of anyone but I am getting tired of just playing chords and doing the little bit of picking I know. So I recorded this little bit of me singing on my phone at lunch and put it in video form so I could get suggestions on how to make my voice people ready. don't be afraid to be harsh, I am looking for as much advice possible, even if that advice is to not sing =) plus I am a big boy, I can take it.
(Oh and sorry if the playing isn't up to snuff either, I've only been playing for about 8 months now and this is the first instrument I have played besides a 3 month stint with the guitar 10 years ago and a little clarinet during my 6th grade year)


King FarUke
04-19-2010, 02:49 PM
I am no singing expert (and cannot stand to listen to myself sing), but I think you sounded good to me. Your singing seemed to go good with the playing and your voice worked good with the song. The playing sounded good too. I would not be embarrassed to sing that in front of friends if I were you. Although, I would assume you may have to sing a bit louder in front of people. I seem to find that the louder I sing the more out of tune I get! I also have the urge to sing when I play so I always go and hide somewhere in order to feed my urge. I tire quickly of just playing the chords or picking. Good luck and happy playing (and singing).

04-19-2010, 02:51 PM
I suggest, first of all, that you take lessons. A professional voice teacher can teach you more than anyone can on a forum.

Good things - your voice has a pleasant natural tone. It's warm, round, and breathy.

Bad things - you're not really singing the melody that Oberst wrote. Your rhythm is mostly what he wrote, but a lot of the notes are not. That's not necessarily a bad thing either. When I cover a song, I try to "own" the song and make it my own. Sometimes this involves changing the melody a little bit. I assume you're trying to sing the melody as Oberst wrote it, however.

You're talking more than you're singing. Again, it's not necessarily a bad thing, Lou Reed built a career out of it. But if you want to hit those notes, especially those higher notes, you've got to get up there. It's a common problem for novice singers. Don't be afraid to get up there! Right now your notes are in a very small range. They're all right around where I suspect your speaking voice to be. Some of the high notes aren't high enough, and some of the low notes aren't low enough.

I'm not a natural singer. I usually have to know exactly what note I'm singing before I can sing it. To do this, I've got to figure out what notes the singer is singing. See if you can find the melody on your uke, or better yet, a piano if you've got one. An ukulele's notes will be much higher than the ones you have to sing, you'll have to sing an octave or two down from where the uke's notes are. Once you figure out the melody, match those notes with your voice.

If all this doesn't make any sense to you, you've got to take lessons. If you can't take lessons right now, practice, practice, and practice some more. Record yourself often, and listen to the recordings. Are you in key? Are you hitting the right notes?

Anyways, thanks for posting this. I hope you get some more feedback.

04-19-2010, 03:12 PM
Thanks for the help so far!
And yeah Seeso, you hit it pretty much on the head, I'm trying to find a place to take lessons now but I have no idea where to look, not to mention that I'm dirt poor right now (Starving college student) But I did feel like I was doing more breathy talking than actual singing, my voice is somewhat nasally and when I try to actually sing that really pops out, my mom overheard me once and commented that she thought I sang cute cause it sounded just like Kermit the Frog; thanks mom.
Hopefully I can find a teacher soon to take at least a few lessons with to give me some sort of direction and live feedback, I don't think the three months of choir in high school really was enough. And I do record myself quite a bit although its on my phone and I hear those aren't the best mics., but at the very least it helps build confidence.
And KingFarUke, thanks! I agree with the running and hiding while you sing, my only problem now is that I used to have the local park all to myself but now it's getting sunnier and filling with people, I gotta find a new spot! =(

04-19-2010, 03:24 PM
It sounded good. Seeso always gives good advice and I think lessons would probably be the best. I know I need them. If you're not quite ready to go the lesson route, like me, then just keep practicing and recording yourself. Try different things with your voice and listen back to see what you like. The changes you make in your voice might not make you happy with an entire song but you might find you liked the way a certain part sounded. Over time you can piece together the way you like the song to sound.

Keep singing and have fun.

P.S. I really don't know what I'm talking about.

04-19-2010, 03:33 PM
I almost forgot. I'm not sure if this applies to you, but I find that when I sing without playing my ukulele I sing very different. I don't what it is about playing and singing at the same time but, for me, playing changes how I want to sing the song. I've been trying recording the same song with uke and without so that I can figure out where I want my voice to be in the song.

P.S. I still don't know what I'm talking about.

04-19-2010, 03:49 PM
Yeah, Every time I sing this song without the Uke everything is different, and then when I play and sing at the same time it just goes back to what it was. Although to be fair I just learned this 2 days ago so I can't really talk to much about patterns I've formed. I never heard the original song before this weekend and wow that original is so beautiful! I just wanna lay in a blanket all day and listen to it, but first I have to learn the song well so I can get a lady to join me in the blanket =)

04-19-2010, 05:36 PM
I have found that beer helps me sing better!!!!

04-19-2010, 05:41 PM
Come join our Thursday night jams online. You can observe without any pressure about performing until you're ready. Sometimes when watching others sing, you learn things about you own technique.

04-19-2010, 06:46 PM
saluk---Whaaaaaaa? Thursday night online jams? I haven't heard about these before but I am intrigued, when are they? How do I get to them?

Dparrot-hehe, yeah for sure, it helps me sing but doesn't help me sound any better. But it definitely helps the listener! =) And I am in the right place for it (Oregon is a micro mecca, we have more breweries per capita in Portland than anywhere else in the world, possibly second to Belgium,it's heaven here)

04-19-2010, 06:57 PM
saluk---Whaaaaaaa? Thursday night online jams? I haven't heard about these before but I am intrigued, when are they? How do I get to them?

The jams go on almost every night. Usually someone will post here http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?18178-UU-Mini-Jam But you can also just check in if you like. Normally there are people there at about 9:30pm / 10pm EST. They're trying to make THursday night a bigger jam, but you can check in when ever you like. I don't think there is any one there now.

04-19-2010, 07:24 PM
ukefett, your voice isn't bad at all. :)

Vocal cords are like any other muscle that can be developed and strengthened with regular exercise. That doesn't mean you'll necessarily ever be able to sing like Pavarotti, but you can improve if you apply yourself.

04-19-2010, 08:10 PM
Sounds good to me. Honestly.

04-20-2010, 03:37 AM
Thanks for the kind words and the help! I know a big part of singing is just having the confidence to let it go and your advice will help me do that. Plus its nice to know that even if I'm not Michale Bolton yet that at least I don't sound terrible and knowing that is encouraging. =)

04-20-2010, 04:17 AM
You've got no worries. Keep on singing, playing and enjoying yourself.

04-20-2010, 09:25 AM
I have found that beer helps me think that i sing better ;)

04-20-2010, 10:15 AM
I have found that beer helps me think that i sing better ;)
Funny thing.
I have found that beer helps me think that you sing better too.
Hey... just kidding.

Uke Gently Weeps
05-02-2010, 04:28 AM
I agree with what others have said that you're more talking than singing. I'm guessing it's just coming from some self-consciousness or lack of confidence. I've been singing for a long time, but don't sing solo very often. I sing in the car with the radio up loud enough to almost drown me out. Then I can work on singing loud/projecting, and not have to hear myself as much. Also, you said you were a college student, does your school have a music department? If so see if they offer voice lessons. They wouldn't cost a fortune and you would get credits for it.

Back to the singing, the louder you sing the easier it will be to hit the higher notes. Obviously you'll still have a range that you're confident in, but with practice you can expand it up and down.

Good luck and keep singing. There have been tons of "average" singers who sound great. Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, John Lennon. It's amazing how little people care about how awesome your voice sounds if you're authentic in the way you sing it.