I Wonder if I Could Ever Learn to Sing

Rllink

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So my wife took off for NYC to meet my daughter there to do some shopping. That left me here by myself. I admit that I'm intimidated by my wife, as she was once a singer. I guess she still is, she just doesn't perform anymore. But I was thinking that as long as she isn't around, I would spent the time learning to sing some songs from memory, so I can dazzle people when they ask me to play something on my ukulele. So that is what I've been doing. It has been going OK, but I didn't think that I sounded all that good.

The one thing to remember is that where I live, we keep doors and widows wide open to get as much breeze off the ocean as we can. You can hear your neighbors. So I was heading out last night, and my neighbor one floor down called out to me on the way, and said that they heard me practicing and thought that I was getting pretty good. So I stopped to talk, as is the custom, and his wife asked me if I was going to go out on streets and sing during SanSe, which is code for the San Sebastian Festival, which is next weekend. I told her that I was playing with the plena band. She said that I should sing myself, on the corner, because I'm a good singer and people would enjoy it. So that is sort of a surprise, and I wonder how many of us who think we aren't all that good, are just being too hard on ourselves?
 
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PhilUSAFRet

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Yes! Your voice is a wind powered muscle/musical instrument. It can be exercised and trained when combined with proper breathing techniques. I have a decent voice, but if I don't use it, it becomes weak and difficult to use. It's kind of like having a playable musical instrument that you don't practice with and never learned the use of "proper" playing techniques. There are a number of useful book/cd combos out there that may be available used/like new for a very reasonable price. Even full price, they are in the $20 something price range. I bought one from Berkley called "Vocal Workouts for The Contemporary Singer." After as little as 10 minutes of "proper" vocal exercising, my voice is noticeably better. Kind of like "warming up" before doing strenuous exercise. Hope this makes sense. Just my take on the matter.

I have the hard copy, but you may want to try this: http://freebooksdwloadpdf.blogspot.com/2012/07/free-vocal-workouts-for-contemporary.html
 

Down Up Dick

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I bought "Singing Exercises for Dummies", but I'm not real happy with it. There's another Dummies book that explains more about singing. I think that's more what I wanted. The one that I have has helped, but it doesn't tell me what I wanted to know.

Always another book. We say that we're "self taught", but what about all the books? :eek:ld:
 

Rllink

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I'm over 60 and I've played various instruments since I was 8 years old. My ear is decent; I'm pretty good at identifying relative pitch, can usually match what I'm hearing being played, can hear chord changes. So my problem isn't as my parents always said, that I am "tone deaf". I'm not.

But I can't sing. When I sing what I hear in my head isn't what the listener hears. I can carry a tune if it doesn't slip out of my very limited range and if I really know the tune, but it's easy for me to get lost and lose the tune. I can't transition at all from the lower part of my range to the upper part of my range; it seems like there are several notes in between that aren't anywhere in my range.

Not being able to sing is kind of a bummer. I'd like to do more with my uke than only play instrumentals. Don't get me wrong. I sing at home when no one can hear me a lot. I just can't sing in public.

I'm thinking about taking some singing lessons. I wonder if I could learn to sing well enough at least so that I could sing along with my uke.
I think that sometimes we don't give ourselves enough credit. I was singing while I was playing my ukulele, and one day I started to just la la la through the notes, starting at C, and working up. From that I determined that I had a little less than a octave in range. So last week I started a block of voice lessons. You can read my post if you want the long story, but after a half hour, it was determines that I have a range that spans over two octaves. I did not realize that. Just knowing that has really given me a lot of confidence. I'm not telling you to take singing lessons, but I am telling you not to underestimate yourself.
 

k0k0peli

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All good advice above. Yes, take community college singing classes, and join a chorus or glee club. Yes, find songs in keys that fit your current vocal range, and others that stretch you a bit. You could try the Rex Harrison / Richard Harris singspiel-ish trick. Hey, Harris could NOT sing but he had a mega-hit. (Get that damn cake out of the rain!) Yes, expect it to take work and time. If you *really* want to sing, you'll do it. Just like, if I *really* wanted to play STRANGE MEADOWLARK on chromatic harmonica, I'd get down to it. :D But desire is the key.

I was a busker when young, standing on street-corners with guitar and guts, singing with more energy than expertise. I improved. I didn't starve. Maybe I should get back out and try that again, with my older, lower, raspier voice, and a banjo or dobro for projection. I get pretty raccuous on CRASH ON THE LEVEE played bottleneck. Hope I don't get busted for disturbing the peace.
 

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Today I came across this thread and found it interesting. I sing out quite often, mostly with mountain dulcimer, and a couple of times with uke, my new love

Once while walking from a church to my car, burdened with gear, 3 or 4 ladies were talking, and one said:
"You know Terry, I still don't know if you can really sing, sometimes you just sound out there. But you have this way of drawing people in to what you are doing. I just love listening to you".

That's the best compliment I have ever received.
 

Highmiles

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When I was young I couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. As I got older, I learned I just needed a bigger bucket.
Seriously though, don't be afraid to keep trying. You certainly won't get better by avoiding trying. I did it eventually on my own, but, as others have suggested, voice lessons would really speed the process. Very few of us will ever sing like a pro, but then again few of us will ever play like Jake either. Playing the Uke is all about fun for me. The same thing goes for the singing. Start simple and see where you can end up.
 

terrgy

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Neil Young. Best example of a non singer I ever heard. At least the first 10 min. I ever listened to him, back in the seventies.
My all time favorite artist. Listen and watch him constantly while walking on a threadmil.
He gave thousands hope.
 

CactusWren

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I think the most important technical quality in singing is intonation. Even if your range is five notes, just make sure those five notes are in tune. Unfortunately, it may also be the rarest technical quality. I know good musicians who can easily tune their guitars by ear who are off enough to offend. In some cases there is a technical problem that causes one to be consistently flat. I would guess that in most cases, diligent practice, say matching a note, would gradually help.
 

tonelar

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I sing terribly, so I pick tunes like Sultans of Swing... more storytelling than singing.
 

terrgy

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Funny thing is I am comfortable with my singing, though I know my voice is nothing to write home about.
So I use the crowd in many of my songs. It masks my voice. Sometimes I'll solicit a half dozen backup singers and kazoo players. I always have the words to the songs pre-printed to hand out. Works like a charm every time. Fun for all.
And then when I do my solos, " they love me already". Don't have to be great, just entertaining.
 

Down Up Dick

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I think most of us sing better than we think we do, but that's not important. Probably not many of us are gonna be on television or singing somewhere for money. I've seen people in church singing those old hymns, and one can just see that they're really enjoying the heck out the experience. That's what it's all about!

Music is supposed to be fun! Something one does with a smile on his/her face. Folks don't have to be good they just have to be loud and somewhere close to the song they're singing.

The reason so many people say "Aw, I can't sing" is that they compare themselves (or their friends) to some song that they've heard on a CD or the radio. Those songs are recorded over and over, and mistakes are erased and corrected until they are almost perfect. It's no wonder that we just "can't sing" like they do.

So, just sing out and have a good time. The more people sing, the better they usually get at it. We're doing music hobbies for fun not as a chore.

We're all gonna die and rot in the grave some day anyway! :eek:ld:
 
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Rllink

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I think most of us sing better than we think we do, but that's not important. Probably not many of us are gonna be on television or singing somewhere for money. I've seen people in church singing those old hymns, and one can just see that they're really enjoying the heck out the experience. That's what it's all about!

Music is supposed to be fun! Something one does with a smile on his/her face. Folks don't have to be good they just have to be loud and somewhere close to the song they're singing.

The reason so many people say "Aw, I can't sing" is that they compare themselves (or their friends) to some song that they've heard on a CD or the radio. Those songs are recorded over and over, and mistakes are erased and corrected until they are almost perfect. It's no wonder that we just "can't sing" like they do.

So, just sing out and have a good time. The more people sing, the better they usually get at it. We're doing music hobbies for fun not as a chore.

We're all gonna die and rot in the grave some day anyway! :eek:ld:
Not me, I'm going out in a big ball of fire. When I get done, I'll just be a pile of ashes, and people will look at them and say, "man, look at that".
 

Rllink

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I check all the time, but not much chatter here. Anyway, the summer has gone well, and I've gotten to be quite the singer. Especially for a guy who didn't even sing in church before this spring. But for me, playing the uke and singing songs is what it is all about, and one without the other is like doing the journey on one leg, so I really savor posts in "singing", to the point that I read the old ones over and over. I think that one of the best things that happened to me in regards to both playing the uke, and singing the songs, is the back yard bon fires that have become popular in our neighborhood this year, and that people are inviting me to bring my uke to them. That has been a lot of fun, and it is really exactly where I wanted to go with it. Funny how that just happened to work out. But the singing angle to it is that people don't come to hear me sing and play the uke, but rather come to sing along. Often times, if I don't know a particular song, people will ask me if I can learn it before the next one, because it is a song that they want to sing, not just want to hear. But it surprises me how many people who are not afraid to sing, to the point that I wonder why I was so afraid to.
 
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bunnyf

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I too get all excited when I see a post about singing, and have been known to re-read old ones for tips. I'm just a so-so singer but enjoy singing and playing very much. My goal is not really to become a great player but to learn more tunes by heart so that I don't have to rely on chord/lyric sheets. I really admire guys in my guitar circle who can play tons of tunes by heart. I'm not sure if my 60+ brain can do that, but I'm gonna continue to work on it. If I can't, it won't spoil my fun (thank God for iPads) but it sure would be nice.
 

Rllink

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I too get all excited when I see a post about singing, and have been known to re-read old ones for tips. I'm just a so-so singer but enjoy singing and playing very much. My goal is not really to become a great player but to learn more tunes by heart so that I don't have to rely on chord/lyric sheets. I really admire guys in my guitar circle who can play tons of tunes by heart. I'm not sure if my 60+ brain can do that, but I'm gonna continue to work on it. If I can't, it won't spoil my fun (thank God for iPads) but it sure would be nice.
Bunny, it sounds like you and I are on the same career track when it comes to playing the ukulele and singing.
 

Rllink

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I've hesitated to record myself. First of all, I just can't get excited about singing to a recorder or a camera. But the second thing is that so many people say that they were singing, until they heard a recording of themselves. So I didn't want to know if I wasn't very good. But yesterday I found an old mini cassette recorder when I was looking for stuff to throw away, stuck some new batteries in it, and went for it. First off, I don't sound too bad. I mean, nothing to write home about, but far from embarrassing. And the more I sang, the better I got, so I was doing songs again, that I had done earlier. Also, I noticed that I didn't hear a lot of the mistakes that I thought that I was making during the recording. I just thought that was interesting, because I would get done recording a song, and I would think, wow, I really butchered that one. Then I would play it back, and it would be hard to find them.
 
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DownUpDave

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I've hesitated to record myself. First of all, I just can't get excited about singing to a recorder or a camera. But the second thing is that so many people say that they were singing, until they heard a recording of themselves. So I didn't want to know if I wasn't very good. But yesterday I found an old mini cassette recorder when I was looking for stuff to throw away, stuck some new batteries in it, and went for it. First off, I don't sound too bad. I mean, nothing to write home about, but far from embarrassing. And the more I sang, the better I got, so I was doing songs again, that I had done earlier. Also, I noticed that I didn't hear a lot of the mistakes that I thought that I was making during the recording. I just thought that was interesting, because I would get done recording a song, and I would think, wow, I really butchered that one. Then I would play it back, and it would be hard to find them.


Recording has helped me in a couple of ways. First off as you have mentioned the mistakes are not nearly as noticable as they seem to yourself while performing. Secondly and the biggest help was how different my singing was while playing. The very first time I recorded myself I just sang the song first and then I played and sang. I sounded good while just singing but I became more monotone while playing and singing. This was good feedback and gave me something to work on.
 
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TCK

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I like where this has gone so I am going to chime in late to the game. I have a friend who just got his first uke and my first piece of advice- RECORD EVERYTHING. I have had the rare opportunity to record myself over 600 times (Seasons) and I go back and listen to everything. First video- no way was a I going to sing...now, nothing is going to stop me. Did the same song in eight keys a few weeks ago.
Of course, my voice ain't the greatest (30 years of smoking did not help) but I can find the notes and the proper pitch because I have spent the time doing it and then going back and watching it. First few outings were APPALLING.
I often think I have improved very little as a player and singer- then I head back to my channel and watch a few oldies.
Sure- I have improved, and the only thing I have done to get there was to make videos.
Just my 2 centavos.