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Thread: I Wonder if I Could Ever Learn to Sing

  1. #1

    Default I Wonder if I Could Ever Learn to Sing

    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.

  2. #2
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    I'm a lifelong failed singer - like you, I can hear melodies and intervals and chord changes, but it's my voice itself that is the problem. My natural range is less than an octave, my break between upper and lower registers is in an awkward place (that transition that you mentioned!), and I can't breathe properly unless I really focus on it. With all that going against me, when I was a much younger person - mid to late teens - I took voice lessons with several instructors, most notably a gentleman named Seth Riggs, who founded this method. And my voice did improve, immensely, but it took a lot of practice - I was dead-serious about it and practiced anywhere from 2 to 6 hours a day.

    Long story short, I developed vocal nodes, had a surgery, and had to give it a rest. And within a matter of several months I was right back to where I had started - all those years of work just vanished. That was over 30 years ago and while I've considered revisiting voice lessons, I know realistically that in my limited spare time, I'd rather play instrumentals than sing. Although if a song is in A or Bb I can usually manage pretty well... but C, the so-called "people's key"? Forget it!

    So - my guess would be that yes, you could most likely learn from a voice coach and improve - I don't think age has as much to do with it as time and perseverance does. But speaking from experience, you'd have to be really committed to working at it. You might also try playing around with switching keys for the songs you play on uke - you might just hit on a key or two that works with your voice as is.

  3. #3
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    Aug 2009
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    New York
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    Has anyone ever tried a site advertised right here on UU
    www.thesingingzone.com

  4. #4
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    Some of the problems you described could possibly be resolved by a vocal coach. That is what I would try if you are committed to learn. It would be very beneficial.
    Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. ~Plato
    Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme liberty. ~Plato

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  5. #5
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    I'm an old guy, and I play lots of instruments from tuba to flute and tin whistles. My Hawaiian Godmother gave me an old Pinapple ukulele years and years ago, and I hung it on the wall where it gathered dust. I took it down a long time ago and tried to sing with it, but my mean ex-wife laughed so hard that I thought she would croak. So I put it back on the wall.
    Then a coupla years ago I cleaned it up and gave it another try. I'm an English Major, and I felt the need to sing some good old folk music. Well, to cut this history short, I found that I really enjoyed singing again, and my Ukes are an added bonus.
    My range is also shorter than I'd like, and I'm having some problems with pitch. I still fumble with my chord changes, but I'm having a very good time learning and warbling my heart out.
    Kala "Spalted" baritone - Lo D GBD
    Kala tenor eight string - gG cC EE AA
    Gold Tone tenor banjolele - Hi-D GBD

    Luna "Peace" concert - Lo-G CEA
    Flea "Red" concert - Hi-G CEA

    Kala "Exotic Mahogany" soprano - Hi-A DF#B
    Mahalo yellow "Smiley" soprano (Dad's Day gift) - C
    Ka-Lai Pineapple soprano (old) gift - C

    Eat, drink and make merry for tomorrow you’ll be too old.

    God gave us old age so we wouldn't mind dying so much.

  6. #6
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    I wanted to sing better so I joined my local sweet Adeline's chapter.
    "play till you don't suck no more" ~Chuck Deyo "I think it's cool you turned one of your 'some day I'm gonna's into a 'today I did.' " ~RichM "Self care is not failure." ~JerBear "It is impossible to reason with people who do not rely on reason." ~ mascompro "You make your own magic." ~ Mim"The riff-raff are my people." ~ Joko

    Other people's opinions of me are none of my business.

  7. #7
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    A guy (college singer) that I met at the local Subway said if one sings lots his range would extend. It seems to be working with me; I've gained a note at the bottom and one or two at the top, and that's really enough for now. I've solved the pitch problem too, and now I know where I'm supposed to sing and what chords to strum.
    Kala "Spalted" baritone - Lo D GBD
    Kala tenor eight string - gG cC EE AA
    Gold Tone tenor banjolele - Hi-D GBD

    Luna "Peace" concert - Lo-G CEA
    Flea "Red" concert - Hi-G CEA

    Kala "Exotic Mahogany" soprano - Hi-A DF#B
    Mahalo yellow "Smiley" soprano (Dad's Day gift) - C
    Ka-Lai Pineapple soprano (old) gift - C

    Eat, drink and make merry for tomorrow you’ll be too old.

    God gave us old age so we wouldn't mind dying so much.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Go monotone.

    It has worked for many over the years and they have become stand-outs.

    I right myself off as a hopeless singer but I reckon the trick is do not try. Instead, do a monotone dialogue with the Uke providing background music. You just have to find what suits you.

    I tried playing the chorus and talking only on the C chord and that sounded good. Anyway, have a fiddle about with a monotone it might make you happy.

  9. #9
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    I've never been a singer. I don't even sing in church, I just stand there and look around. But I want to sing, I just don't for some reason. So I attended a ukulele festival last weekend, and I just got caught up in the energy and started belting out the songs. It wasn't bad at all. I enjoyed it. I don't know whether I was good or not, but it was fun. So I've been out on the front porch singing away when I play every day this week. Just a little bonus for the neighbors. I don't know, I guess I will go with it until someone pays me either keep singing or to shut up. Either way, I'll get paid. Actually, I've always wanted to be a performer, and it is so far out of my comfort zone, but that is where I want to go, so it will be what it is. It is the same attitude I have with the uke. At my age I don't have the time to put years into it before I make my public debut, I gotta go with it now and hope for the best. My thought on it is that the more you do it, the better your going to get.
    Last edited by Rllink; 07-19-2014 at 08:37 AM.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

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  10. #10
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    The Netherlands
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    Quote Originally Posted by artwombat View Post
    Go monotone.

    It has worked for many over the years and they have become stand-outs.

    I right myself off as a hopeless singer but I reckon the trick is do not try. Instead, do a monotone dialogue with the Uke providing background music. You just have to find what suits you.

    I tried playing the chorus and talking only on the C chord and that sounded good. Anyway, have a fiddle about with a monotone it might make you happy.
    Do you have a sound (or youtube) example of what you mean by that?
    Not necessarily from yourself, just someone doing what you're recommending.

    It sounds promising, but I am having a difficult time picturing (earing?) it - might be a vocabulary problem on my part.


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