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Anybody else have this problem?

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staticsound
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I front a cover band and usually practice new songs in my studio with headphones on and I can sing all day long. When we have rehearsals, I find myself pushing way more than I should and for some reason my technique changes enough to where I sound like two completely different people. We have good monitors...4 across the front of the stage, so the issue isn't hearing myself. Could it be that I've gotten so used to using cans to practice, that I can't transition back into "open air"? Idk...maybe IEM's would be the way to go? Any thoughts..

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For me, it's the other way around. I am used to performing live, though I have no band. It's recording that is alien to me and sometimes I strain myself by holding back. Just the same, It's great that you monitors across the stage but are they really giving you your sound. Could you get by with in ear monitor, that would also offer some ear protection in some ways, though not always. See, here's what trips me up in recording. Usually, performing live, I have a guitar in hand and my lyrics are timed from what my hands are doing. They have to be, to accomplish playing and singing at the same time. Plus, I am singing loud enough to be heard over a guitar. In recording, it need not be that loud. And, in recording, I have to learn to listen to auditory clues from the music and spikes or dips on the waveform if using a sound editor.

It sounds to me that you can hear yourself better in cans, so you adjust your support for the note you are doing. Live, you are not able to hear yourself so you push air, thinking more air is louder, therefore better. And it's not a conscious thought.

So, you are going to have to concentrate on your breath, adduction, and resonance. And up your monitor volume as much as you can without disturbing the mix and overshadowing the band. That's another thing. In recording, the engineer balances all the levels and a smooth product comes out and while recording, you can have can volume whereever you want it. Live, it has to balance and mix, which means your voice is another sonic instrument in the mix.

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Yeah, it's weird trying to get the right balance. I've only had this problem since I started doing covers...all my past original bands, it was fine. But then again, we wrote during rehearsals, so I wasn't practicing using cans. I may go the IEM route, but I think first I'll try working on songs without headphones and see if that helps..

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I have this problem.

When I practice at home or in the car, I can sing almost anything, it seems, at least after a few minutes of practicing. But as soon as I try to apply the newer techniques I've learned in rehearsal, it's like I go on auto pilot and sing everything the old way, ie pushing, straining and all that.

I can sing to our backing tracks and do great, but when it's live or in rehearsal, I sing it the way I would have before learning to sing it easier, if that makes sense. It's habit, and something about the performance triggers the old ways.

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It might be something psychological, certainly in the way of habits. As Thanos was saying, like myself, we relax when live and instinctively feel how much support is needed and how much to twang to be heard over live instruments. Recording in studio, for me, that's the back living area where the computer is, there is "red light" syndrome, pressure on myself because now the least mistake is recorded for posterity. And I'm the type that gets a tired voice if I work on the same song over and over. So, I've learned from the good ones around here to sing different takes, even different sections of the song at different times, when normally, I sing all the way through in one take, because I expect to perform it live.

When I learn a new concept or correct a problem, I immediately put it into a real song to break the old habits as soon as possible. I even use the jonpall method of using part of a song as the exercise. It's one thing to "oo" yourself through a scale. It's another thing to perform that scale with words ("do, a deer, a female deer, re, a drop of golden sun. Mi, a name I call myself. Fa, a long, long way to run. So, a needle pulling thread. La, a note to follow so. Ti, I drink with jam and bread. And that will bring us back to do, do, do, do, do, a deer.")

Maybe some visualization would help. When wearing the cans, see yourself in front of the monitors. Or, have some monitors in front of you, or something that looks like them. Recreate the visual environment that normal cues you to use the old habits. Could you also rehearse while wearing the cans, with one ear off? Bring the relaxation and concentration of the studio to your rehearsal? I'm just thinking of physical ways to bring one environment to the other until your voice can no longer tell the difference.

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I used to get this effect too. I often pushed too hard during rehearsal, and I wore myself out. It still happens sometimes. But in a show, I focus on pulling back my air, not filling my lungs full, taking my time, not pushing my consonants, etc., and I can last longer. The same goes for vocal practice and solo rehearsal. I can focus. I think the difference, then, is that my rehearsal atmosphere is noisier and less mixed/unmixed; thus, I can't hear myself as well, and there is less sense of "headroom" or "space" than on-stage. Additionally, I don't use my whole vocal rig in rehearsal, and sometimes I don't use my IEMs and personal monitor mixer.

Really focus on not pushing: sing at 1/2 volume, take smaller breaths, and don't push your consonants. Try asking the band to turn down so that you can really hear yourself without pushing. That might not go over well with some bands, but a simple rule is: if you can't hear something, turn everything else down til you can hear the voice or instrument that is too low. If you turn one instrument or mic up, it is likely everyone else will follow! Or try using IEMs in rehearsal, but try to mix in some room noise with an open mic in the room so that you get some sense of "space." These things have really worked for me.

Good Luck.

Andrew

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Thanx for all the advice guys. I've got something I'm going to try. I have a JBL monitor at my house, I'm gonna try running backing tracks through my studio setup and vocals through that monitor. I know it's not the same as a live rehearsal, but maybe sub-conciously might help.

@rocketagp - I do the same thing....if I'm playing a show everything comes out like it should, then rehearsal...bam, right back to pushing to hard. Funny how things work...maybe it's the adrenaline?

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I too have made the transition from originals to covers a few times and this sounds all too familiar. My take mirrors what Poured Music said, when you're singing original tunes you are being yourself and not pushing to "sound" like the vocalist you're covering. My band covers some challenging stuff and believe me, it's tough to nail Journey, Bon Jovi, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and others take after take. What I plan on doing at practice this week is plugging my head phones into the mixer to start and seeing how I react. Also, what I have noticed is that when I'm practicing with the band, I always feel like I'm on an audition and that everything has got to be perfect. That's just my personality. I couldn't even really open up to my vocal instructor for fear of hitting a bum note. That goes with being a vocalist, getting over the "mental" hump. Ahh, the continuing saga of a vocalist.

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I too have made the transition from originals to covers a few times and this sounds all too familiar. My take mirrors what Poured Music said, when you're singing original tunes you are being yourself and not pushing to "sound" like the vocalist you're covering. My band covers some challenging stuff and believe me, it's tough to nail Journey, Bon Jovi, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and others take after take. What I plan on doing at practice this week is plugging my head phones into the mixer to start and seeing how I react. Also, what I have noticed is that when I'm practicing with the band, I always feel like I'm on an audition and that everything has got to be perfect. That's just my personality. I couldn't even really open up to my vocal instructor for fear of hitting a bum note. That goes with being a vocalist, getting over the "mental" hump. Ahh, the continuing saga of a vocalist.

This band is challenging material as well...not so much the high tenor stuff, more 90's grunge. Takes a LOT of effort to pull off those voices, lol. It's funny, I feel the exact same way when I'm w/the band. I always feel like I have to nail every note, I know I can, but in my head I'm psyching myself out, lol. Funny how the mind works!

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Oh yeah, I forgot Video, we also do a JukeBox Hero/Whole Lotta Love medley. I've read enough posts to know you're a big Lou Grammatico fan. :)

oh definitely. lou gramm to me has a voice few could match. jukebox is a bitch to sing..in fact most of gramm's stuff is a bitch to sing the way he does. my wish is be able to sit down and talk vocals with him one day. please let me hear what you sound like if you post.

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