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View Full Version : ok... I can't sing.. NEVER will sing.. so, what songs should I think about?



Tailgate
07-24-2012, 04:29 PM
earlier poster said 'their dog leaves the room when they sing'.. my dog's out the door when I open my mouth... so, any recommendation's on songs to keep me (beginner) engaged? I'm having fun learning, but my expectations are realistic on the vocal issues...

thanks in advance for your empathy and your input..

noobie (can't carry a tune if you spotted me the distance) uke lover...!

itsme
07-24-2012, 05:04 PM
Hi, and welcome to UU! :)

I'm not a singer, either. Well, I've done choir type things as part of a SATB lineup, but I'm really not a solo singer.

What I love (especially coming from a background as a classical guitar player) is fingerpicking.

There's a lot out there. Look for Wilfried Welti's Solobuch and PDFMinstrel and Ken Middleton's site for starters.

janeray1940
07-24-2012, 06:23 PM
Hello from another non-singer! I've been fingerpicking and playing chord melodies since I first picked up the uke. Most of my arrangements come from my uke instructor, but there are some beginner-friendly things out in there: Aaron Keim's bluegrass basics (http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9A7CB82097A51568&feature=plcp) is one that comes to mind, as well as some of the arrangements here (http://mammothgardens.com/ukulele/).

SweetWaterBlue
07-24-2012, 06:54 PM
Learn to do chord solos (search UU for several good threads on this). Then, you won't be limited to what you can find already tabbed or written in sheet music. Once you learn how, you can create chord solos from the almost infinite variety of song chord sheets you can download. The basic idea is that most of the melody is usually in the chords. You simply have to play the right strings individually to find it. You also often have to change a finger up or down a few frets within the chord shape to find the tune. You still strum the chords at appropriate times (usually on the first of the measure, or where there is a chord change) Its a lot of work but worth it, I think.

CasanovaGuy
07-24-2012, 07:15 PM
Haha I'm a non-singer too xD

Maybe you can try transposing songs to the ukulele, which means that you play the melody on the ukulele instead of you singing it. Get the chords from a website or figure them out yourself. Then it's just a matter of getting the right mix of chords and melodic lines to make it sound good. It's hard but you'll definitely learn a lot.

As for a song recommendation, Jason Mraz's I'm Yours is good because a lot of people know it. Start in the key of C, because that's one of the most ukulele-friendly keys to play. Eventually, you should be able to play like 정성하 here if you're motivated enough: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2OEuyF_2u8.

Why did I recommend such a crazy-hard song? Because you only live once, as many people say ahaa

itsme
07-24-2012, 07:27 PM
ulele-friendly keys to play. Eventually, you should be able to play like 정성하 here if you're motivated enough: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2OEuyF_2u8.
Sungha Jung is an incredible player. I like him a lot, execpt his hair kinda scares me.

cantsing
07-24-2012, 11:30 PM
Any recommendation's on songs to keep me (beginner) engaged? I'm having fun learning, but my expectations are realistic on the vocal issues...

It sounds like maybe you're asking for specific song suggestions, so I'm wondering if fingerpicking and chord melodies feel a bit beyond your reach right now. If that's that case, it's fine to focus on chords and strumming--playing songs you like will keep you engaged. When you're alone, sing your head off. (Ignore the dog!) When someone's in hearing range, hum. And if you want to play for/with someone, ask them to do the singing. When you're ready, you can tackle fingerpicking. Fingerstyle Solos for Ukulele (http://www.amazon.com/Learn-Play-Fingerstyle-Solos-Ukulele/dp/0786673427/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1343208890&sr=1-1&keywords=fingerstyle+solos+for+ukulele) is a good book to start with.

The Big Kahuna
07-24-2012, 11:34 PM
When you're alone, sing your head off.

If he's anything like me, his singing probably embarrasses himself!

cantsing
07-24-2012, 11:44 PM
If he's anything like me, his singing probably embarrasses himself!
Ah, well. I can't carry a tune either, so I never sing publicly, but I allow myself to sing in private!

Louis0815
07-25-2012, 12:52 AM
I once knew a guitar teacher who teached his student singing before they ever touched the instrument - just to get some basic idea of harmonies etc.

I guess either you're all exaggerating (I'd have a word with that dog anyway....) or you can at least whistle or hum a melody properly. If you can't you're probably completely wrong at music altogether.....
Just face your fears and start training, it will get better over time (just like playing ukulele)

The Big Kahuna
07-25-2012, 12:58 AM
or you can at least whistle or hum a melody properly.


No I can't.


If you can't you're probably completely wrong at music altogether.....


What exactly do you mean?

MadGoat
07-25-2012, 01:31 AM
I consider myself to be a horrendous singer too, so much so that I intend to take singing lessons in the not so distant future.

Secondly, I have seen uke vids with people who couldn't sing to save their lives, but one thing was common in all of them... They all had soul and at the end they were smiling, and that made me smile.

Thirdly for vetrans (and way off topic) does the image verifications to reply to topics ever go away?

Tailgate
07-25-2012, 01:40 AM
It sounds like maybe you're asking for specific song suggestions, so I'm wondering if fingerpicking and chord melodies feel a bit beyond your reach right now. If that's that case, it's fine to focus on chords and strumming--playing songs you like will keep you engaged. When you're alone, sing your head off. (Ignore the dog!) When someone's in hearing range, hum. And if you want to play for/with someone, ask them to do the singing. When you're ready, you can tackle fingerpicking. Fingerstyle Solos for Ukulele (http://www.amazon.com/Learn-Play-Fingerstyle-Solos-Ukulele/dp/0786673427/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1343208890&sr=1-1&keywords=fingerstyle+solos+for+ukulele) is a good book to start with.

good advice.. from everyone.. guess us non-vocalists have a lot of company... I'll concentrate on the finger picking.. I'm loving the video lessons from Aldrine and UU.. well worth the few dollars to enroll

The Big Kahuna
07-25-2012, 02:35 AM
Thirdly for vetrans (and way off topic) does the image verifications to reply to topics ever go away?

About 10 posts I think m8.

Louis0815
07-25-2012, 03:54 AM
What exactly do you mean?First of all: no offence intended http://86s.de/music

I noticed that quite often "musical illiterates" not only seem unable to sing/hum/whistle but also don't seem to have any sense of music - so the first could be seen as symptom of the latter.

But fortunately there are exceptions :)
My theory: these exceptions are understating/underestimating their musical capabilities.

The Big Kahuna
07-25-2012, 04:19 AM
First of all: no offence intended http://86s.de/music

I noticed that quite often "musical illiterates" not only seem unable to sing/hum/whistle but also don't seem to have any sense of music - so the first could be seen as symptom of the latter.

But fortunately there are exceptions :)
My theory: these exceptions are understating/underestimating their musical capabilities.

:) No offence taken dude, I didn't think you meant any

I've always had a problem where I can't pitch a note correctly. I don't know if there's a problem with the wiring in my brain, but if I try, I'm miles away. I can hear the tiniest difference in pitch though, so I guess I'm not "tone deaf"

vanflynn
07-25-2012, 04:26 AM
I guess I agree with SweetWaterBlue: chord solos, riffs, what ever you want to call them. I'm a marginal (at best) singers and not so advanced player. I've been focusing on learning barr chording. You can do things like the slide in "Dock of the Bay" fairly easily and it sounds good.

Please don't buy a kazzoo!!:D

beautifulsoup
07-25-2012, 05:31 AM
You could do some old B-52's, and release your inner Fred Schneider. Or try Ting Tings. Or punk-type music.

(I'm not kidding).

Garydavkra
07-25-2012, 06:01 AM
earlier poster said 'their dog leaves the room when they sing'.. my dog's out the door when I open my mouth... so, any recommendation's on songs to keep me (beginner) engaged? I'm having fun learning, but my expectations are realistic on the vocal issues...

thanks in advance for your empathy and your input..

noobie (can't carry a tune if you spotted me the distance) uke lover...!

One of the things that I like to do is to record a chord progression then play it back and improvise up and down the scale. I have several software music programs that will also let me put together a chord progression in an endless loop. The easiest key to play is "C". So record a chord progression in the key of "C" such as C, Am, F, G and then play the "C" scale along with the progression. As long as you stay within the "C" scale you can't play a wrong note and it's surprising what tunes you can come up with on the fly. It keeps me occupied for a while and helps to loosen me up. Plus it's a lot of fun! It's called jamming!

roxhum
07-25-2012, 06:22 AM
I noticed that quite often "musical illiterates" not only seem unable to sing/hum/whistle but also don't seem to have any sense of music - so the first could be seen as symptom of the latter.

.[/QUOTE]

Oh my goodness Louis, you just keep digging a deeper hole for yourself. I would like to point out that people have different talents and gifts. I look at those long flexible fingers on youtube videos and know that my old short stiff fingers will never physically be able to do what long flexible fingers can do. Some of you folks have a natural talent while others have to work very hard at it. I am not a musical illiterate. But I also do not have a natural ability to pick up rhythm and easily figure out a strumming pattern. I can carry a tune, but I have a limited range and not a pretty sounding voice. Sure voice lessons would help but... How many hours do you have in a day? Just because someone knows music theory (musically literate) doesn't mean that person has a natural ability. Look at all the talented musicians who do not read music, hence musical illiterates. I am guessing this all comes relatively easy to you so therefore you assume it should come easily for others. I play both the accordion and the ukulele for hours every day and trust me, I will never be better than mediocre.

Okay, stepping off my soap box.

Joe90
07-25-2012, 06:45 AM
My advice would be to play any song you like and get mates or family to sing along, who made the rule saying you have to sing and play? I cant sing but it wont stop me playing a song i like.

PhilUSAFRet
07-25-2012, 06:51 AM
Take heart, look how much money Kris Kristoferson made "singing." Who'd a thunk it. I'll bet with some practice, you can sing as well as him! PS: Many folks sing for their own enjoyment.....only criteria is to have fun. Lots of great folk singers couldn't sing very well, but they sang with feeling and conviction and many of them did well.

Louis0815
07-26-2012, 12:31 AM
Oh my goodness Louis, you just keep digging a deeper hole for yourself.No worries, I won't dig any more (apart from this last post).


Just because someone knows music theory (musically literate) doesn't mean that person has a natural ability.And vice versa!
BTW: With "illiterate" I wasn't referring to knowledge of music theory but rather to musicality in general so pls don't nail me down to the theory.


I am guessing this all comes relatively easy to you so therefore you assume it should come easily for others.You're wrong on this one. Apart from being able to read notes I don't really have anything like theoretical knowledge about music and the deeper maths behind it all.


I can carry a tune, but I have a limited range and not a pretty sounding voice.
...
I will never be better than mediocre.We're in the same boat... (and I always admired accordion players - this instrument seems way to complicated for me)

PhilUSAFRet
07-26-2012, 03:01 AM
Get a harmonica or a KAZOO!!!!!!!!! Lots of nice ones now.

Skitzic
07-26-2012, 03:14 AM
Those who can't sing, rap.

Take the world by storm with your amazing ukulele rap tracks!

Wasn't there a rapper in the Mighty Uke? Anyway, I have no real advice except don't forget to learn your chords. I see this more in the guitar world, but I have met one or two ukers who could play amazingly complicated instrumental pieces...but never bothered with chords. Playing in a jam setting was nearly impossible for them, and uke players are a social lot.

Don't forget your chords!

The Big Kahuna
07-26-2012, 03:44 AM
Those who can't sing, rap

No. Those who can't sing...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hARDXYz2io

Louis0815
07-26-2012, 03:58 AM
Get a harmonica or a KAZOO!!!!!!!!! Lots of nice ones now.Got a Kazoo already :cool:
(I always preferred wind instruments coz they are the best excuse not to sing)

roxhum
07-26-2012, 04:07 AM
No worries, I won't dig any more (apart from this last post).

And vice versa!
BTW: With "illiterate" I wasn't referring to knowledge of music theory but rather to musicality in general so pls don't nail me down to the theory.

You're wrong on this one. Apart from being able to read notes I don't really have anything like theoretical knowledge about music and the deeper maths behind it all.

We're in the same boat... (and I always admired accordion players - this instrument seems way to complicated for me)

Hey Louis, thank you for your thoughtful response to my tirade. Ah musicality, I do believe that is what may be missing from my genitic makeup. I suppose the bottom line is to have fun and continue to learn.

Tenzen
07-26-2012, 05:15 AM
ummm... ANYONE can sing..

if you can learn to play an instrument, you can also learn to sing..

learning to sing is alot like learning to play an instrument.. not everybody can just pick up a Bassoon or trombone and play a nice sounding piece, just because you think anyone can do it..

the voice is an instrument as well, it needs to be practiced, with countless exercises, beginning at the very basic fundamentals

before you can play any instrument, you have to learn to hold it, and how to make it work before you ever play a note.. likewise, same things with the voice, you need to learn how to breath, how to hold the diaphragm, vocal chords, air-way, mouth resonance chamber, etc, before you ever make a sound

when you first play an instrument, you start by plucking a string, learning one note, one chord, and thats all u can do.. its a bit embarrassing if u let it be.. and likewise, you will ahve to learn to sing and hold a single note properly, and do it until you get it right.. no matter how dumb u may feel

and just like you cant pick up a saxophone and play like Kenny G, why would you expect to with the most awesome powerful instrument there is, your voice?

it takes time, practice, and dedication to become a master and wield it well, same as with any instrument

sure, some people can play a minuet in G minor on the piano their first time sitting at the keyboard... for the rest of us, theres voice lessons..

alot of community colleges have singing classes, and there's alot of singing instructors teaching out of their home in every city in the world

there is simply no excuse for not being able to sing, the same way theres no excuse for not being able to play an ukulele, or any instrument.. aside from your own lack of perseverance and dedication

but there are few Kenny G's in the world, and few master celloists & pianists, but those who study, practice, sacrifice, and dont give up.. those are the great ones.. same as with great singers

The Big Kahuna
07-26-2012, 05:26 AM
there is simply no excuse for not being able to sing

Actually, there are several. Two which spring immediately to mind are:

1. I can't be arsed
2. I have better things to do with my time

Louis0815
07-26-2012, 10:36 AM
another one springs to my mind: being deaf or mute or both. Or some other medical conditions.
Probably the only "valid" excuses for not being able to sing.

Sure, everybody could sing (technically) - but some simply don't want to for whatever reason.
Perfectly OK with me. A very important part of making music is having fun and enjoying yourself. If hearing yourself sing doesn't fit in there and you don't feel like changing that the world will not end. Just go ahead - and have some fun.
Just my :2cents:

Tenzen
07-26-2012, 02:18 PM
its still a bit like saying.. 'i cant fish, and never will be able to fish, so what other things can i do with my rod and pole?"

a few that come to my mind are:

1. "casting", its a fun sport you can play in the park to hit a target
2. "whipping okoles", it can also be played in the park, the more people there the better the chances of success

TCK
07-26-2012, 02:43 PM
Singing is a break through, so please allow yourself to do it in private. I am not a great singer (or player for that matter), but I am also tasked with teaching my wife (far less musically inclined than I am, and a task I do not mind at all) how to play as I learn myself. For MONTHS, she could not remember chord changes, so I finally just told her "sing it in your head".
She got the changes by doing that and before long, she was learning new songs (thank goodness!). Then I hear her out there mumbling to herself wildly off key- threw a video camera in front of her and let her do just that, lo and behold, she not only figured out she was off key, but also started learning new tunes even faster.
Finally, I told her to "sing like you're in the car". That was it- now I can't stop her, and she learns about as fast as I could ask of anyone when we play something new. She is also beginning to understand the rudiments of key changes and how they are related. Next stop ear training!
Point is- if you allow yourself to sing when and where you will not be criticized, the chords and notes will all fall out of what you are playing, and you will assuredly understand them and their relations a lot faster.
But- even if you don't, keep playing. It's good for ya!

peewee
07-26-2012, 07:15 PM
:agree:
I've never been too self conscious about singing, but I'm not terribly good at it either. What I have found is that singing in the car really is good for you. I'm currently working on finding vocal harmony parts that way, and it's an abomination. But it's fun and it's a good ear/voice control exercise.

The other thing I've found is that in two years of ukulele obsession, my ear has improved much faster than my singing. I think I probably sing better just from practicing, but I KNOW I'm better at hearing where I'm off pitch. Maybe this works against players who are reluctant to sing in the first place.
Just last week I was trying to sing Country songs on camera for the Seasons contest. Simple chords, simple melodies, but the originals are performed by guys who are such technically good singers (Faron Young, George Jones) that my results sound awful in comparison. This was a little disheartening, but I did what I could and it was fun.

There's a joy in singing a song that is well worth pursuing. I hope to get to the point where I can ditch the song sheet, and relax enough to tell the story instead of just singing the words. I don't care so much about technique. There are plenty of singers I love who are technically terrible, but compelling to listen to just the same. The main ingredient there is confidence and comfort, the ability to tell a story.

Tenzen
07-27-2012, 12:06 AM
i used to drive around listening to voice-teaching programs... my favorite was "Can You Sing a High " C " Without Straining?"

http://www.amazon.com/Can-Sing-High-Without-Straining/dp/0963233920

i really think it was very helpful, and a great place to sing where nobody can hear you, nobody knows you, and the only people who laugh at you are behind glass and u'll see them again anyway

that was probably even more beneficial for me than private classes i've taken at people's houses

and probably more useful than the community college course on how to sing i took.. though that was really useful too

but really good singing takes alot of breathing, posturing, and diaphragm muscle etc, so its not good for freeways, but it's be a good thing to find an empty lot and park in the middle and do

dhoenisch
07-30-2012, 09:48 AM
Couple of days late on this discussion, but I thought I'd add an idea.

I couldn't carry a tune if I had a bucket to hold it in, but as lousy of a singer as I am, I sing anyhow. A few weeks ago, I was at my mom's house, playing her uke, and I kind of lost myself. I started singing along, and my mom just lost it and started laughing at me. Yeah, I suck that bad. The kids at music camp last week laughed at my singing, but I sung with them anyhow. I told them they would just have to sing louder than me to drown me out.

One thing I, and others have noticed. When I sing with an accent, somehow, I do just fine. For example, I can sing "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport" just fine if I try to sing with an Australian accent. It might be something worth trying.

Dan

Trinimon
07-30-2012, 10:46 AM
Well my cat used to leave the room when I started singing but I've managed to bribe her with cat treats each time I start singing so now she will come by and hang around when I start to play the uke. Yes, it's come down to bribing animals to listen to me.

I started singing Jason Mraz "I'm Yours" and my niece was on the couch too and she closed the laptop down saying "No... no...no..." That was a bit heart breaking... and I bought her shaved ice that day too!! GRRR!!

Nickie
07-30-2012, 05:20 PM
I never ever wanted to sing aloud solo before I got my uke. Once I decided to try to learn to sing and play together, and had success, I loved it. Now I sing all the time, the uke keeps me on key. But without it, nope!

beautifulsoup
07-31-2012, 07:22 AM
I've been meaning to reply to this again for days.

How about Johnny Cash: A Boy Named Sue?

The Big Kahuna
08-13-2012, 05:44 AM
I just downloaded Autotune Evo for shits 'n giggles. I threw a recording of me singing Over the Rainbow at it and the poor piece of software didn't stand a chance.

You know you can't sing when the industry standard in Autotune Software drags itself off into a corner to cry.

RoboKaren
08-16-2012, 04:04 AM
Join a big uke group and fake sing and fake strum. That's what I do! :-)

It'd take a sharp eye and ear to note that there ain't no sound coming from this mouth or these fingers. :-)

Bill Mc
08-16-2012, 05:35 AM
Join a big uke group and fake sing and fake strum. That's what I do! :-)

It'd take a sharp eye and ear to note that there ain't no sound coming from this mouth or these fingers. :-)

That's the best post in the entire thread and the only one that made me laugh out loud !

spookefoote
08-16-2012, 07:46 AM
I would recommend anything by Bob Dylan post 1971 as he never really sang all the way through a song after that!

Tailgate
08-17-2012, 03:13 PM
I would recommend anything by Bob Dylan post 1971 as he never really sang all the way through a song after that!
you got that right.. what the hell happened to him? I can't understand a word he sings... :)

Dorothy
08-22-2012, 12:41 AM
Get a harmonica or a KAZOO!!!!!!!!! Lots of nice ones now.

A few years ago my hubby was trying to learn harmonica. We discovered a family oriented harmonica weekend that was taking place, and went to it. Workshops all day long. I went to one for beginners; we were told to play "Mary had a little lamb". I asked what numbers to play - since I knew a little bit - and was told to just play what sounded right. Well, that was the end of that ... to me it all sounded the same. Instructor told me I was hopeless!! Harmonica is obviously not for me :)

I know I don't have much musial skill ... but I do LOVE ukulele. And yesterday I was playing ... and was able to tell when my finger was on the wrong fret for C .. just by the sound :)