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Is Singing More Complicated Than it Should Be?

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We talk about all these different registers, resonances, breath support, etc. One coach will tell you one thing the next coach will tell you another. But at the end of the day you get the same result, a better singing voice.  Does it really matter if what your singing is called mixed voice, or head voice, or something else? No, the only thing that matters is that you have grown your singing voice. We get so uptight with the little things that we forget the big picture. All good coaches teach the same thing but just have different ways of going about it. anyways.... just a thought

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Not at all. You could do what a lot of people do, which is just sing a lot of songs, and you're going to get better. However, when you know what you're practicing, and why you're practicing, you're going to improve at a much quicker rate. It makes a huge difference that you know what you're doing.

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16 minutes ago, Gsoul82 said:

Not at all. You could do what a lot of people do, which is just sing a lot of songs, and you're going to get better. However, when you know what you're practicing, and why you're practicing, you're going to improve at a much quicker rate. It makes a huge difference that you know what you're doing.

 

I'm not talking about singing with no direction. I'm saying many teachers have different definitions for different things and different ideas of how the singing voice works but at the end of the day they all give you the same result. One teacher will say "this is what head voice is"  and another teacher will say "no this is what head voice is" as long as you know what exercises to do to bring the result you want, it doesn't matter if you call it head voice or mixed voice or whatever. Teachers often sound very different but they all teach the same thing, a better singing voice.

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id say its similar to golf. Its as complicated or as simple as u choose to make it.

one thing to remember, you dont have to actively use every scrap of information that is available, every single minute of every day. If you do that you deserve to be overwhelmed lol.

 

Especially a singer like you. You already have a great voice. So instead of looking at every single term and freaking out, just take one aspect of your voice that u feel is slightly lacking and start working on it little by little.

Keep what u already got and slowly build it up.

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I don't think so. Knowing what is going on with your voice, and having precise knowledge about what works and why, is a benefit, not a drawback. That's one of the reasons why I like TVS - it digs into the mechanics of the voice and creates understanding of singing technique. If one doesn't want to get into the jargon of singing, then I can understand that, but I think it's best to make singing complicated. 

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It's why you can get paralysis by analysis. I see some young guys come in here and think they can learn it all and have the voice of the ages if they can just master all the dialog, technique, technical descriptions. But you don't get better at singing by talking about it. Though discussing it can, of course, lead to turns of phrase or realizations not seen before. But you get better at singing by practicing singing, even and especially if that includes training regimes. Pick one that you can understand. Stick with it for at least 6 months to a year.

I have a technical job and a huge technical background. But I find the simpler I make singing, the better it is for me. Maybe I just need the different head space that singing is for me.

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As a teacher, I have different terminology I use for different students. It depends on how simplified they need it to be, how deep they really want to go, and what seems to help them truly grasp a concept for better technique. Some like to go extremely deep into the science of it all, and more classical terminology. Others like me to oversimplify it, but I do find those particular ones are not going for gold either.

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Well, I am not a vocal teacher and have no students, so having nomenclature is not that important to me but it might be to others. What if I had  student that read too much on the internet and came asking about some other guy who teaches goosenfrabe and thingamajig. Yeah? And then what? Then I come off as salty, which is to hide the fact that I am a salty guy.

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13 hours ago, Jarom said:

All good coaches teach the same thing but just have different ways of going about it. anyways.... just a thought

That is categorically not true at all. 

13 hours ago, Jarom said:

Does it really matter if what your singing is called mixed voice, or head voice, or something else?

Yes it does.

13 hours ago, Jarom said:

We talk about all these different registers, resonances, breath support, etc. One coach will tell you one thing the next coach will tell you another. But at the end of the day you get the same result, a better singing voice.

Whats your point? That you have some vocal training programs and you spent a LOT of time on this forum learning how the voice works and learning what things are called so you understand better and you practiced... and then you became a better singer. HUH?... Did you just belittle the very thing that actually helped you to become a better singer?

And BTW... you are not referring to singing... you are referring to vocal study or technique training and practicing to get stronger. None of what you just layed out are elements of "singing". Singing is an art form that we participate in, often times after we have done some study and practice to become better at it.

So shouldn't the title of your topic be, "Isn't the study of singing more complicated then it should be"?... and the answer is, it depends on what you want to get out of it and what your expectation is and what your threshold is for serious study and commitment.

 

Click Menu on Top Left Corner to Select Video:

 

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11 hours ago, Jarom said:

many teachers have different definitions for different things and different ideas of how the singing voice works but at the end of the day they all give you the same result.

It is totally untrue?!  There are shitty teachers and theres re world class, brilliant ones... what are you talking about?

11 hours ago, Jarom said:

as long as you know what exercises to do to bring the result you want, it doesn't matter if you call it head voice or mixed voice or whatever.

... and where did you learn the excercise and HOW to do the exercise to get you that result? Where did that come from? Were you born with it? Did you get this from a shitty voice program, or one that has some merits?  Did you forget that you are actually a student of singing and you have been doing this for a while?

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10 hours ago, muffinhead said:

it's best to make singing complicated. 

Loved all your points Muffin... and you are dead on correct... except this. It is not best to make singing complicated. All things being equal, we generally don't want to make anything more complicated, be it singing, flying to the Mars and back, or going on a first date. Added complexity for the sake of just having more complexity has no added value. 

But some things are complicated in their nature, so levels of complexity are needed if you TRULY are going to understand what it is, what it requires, what is going on... and learning how the singing voice works, how to train the singing voice, and applying it... I have come to reluctantly conclude from thousands of hours of doing it and teaching it... IS in fact, complicated. I would prefer that it wasn't, but the fact is, it is. Again, IF... you want to really get under the skin and understand what is really going on, what to really do and do it correctly.

That being said about the nature of learning about singing... it is the job of the coach to try to make the complexity that is inherent in the nature of vocal study, easier to grasp for students. That is one of the jobs for any teacher, teaching any subject. If your not trying to make things that are complicated, easier to understand for your students, than you are a blundering, ineffective educator that should keep his day job.

 

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9 hours ago, ronws said:

But I find the simpler I make singing, the better it is for me. Maybe I just need the different head space that singing is for me.

Become a voice coach and you won't have that luxury... and again, we are not talking about SINGING, we are talking about the the study and practice of singing. Two related things, but very different... which adds to the confusion clearly.

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9 hours ago, Draven Grey said:

As a teacher, I have different terminology I use for different students. It depends on how simplified they need it to be, how deep they really want to go, and what seems to help them truly grasp a concept for better technique. Some like to go extremely deep into the science of it all, and more classical terminology. Others like me to oversimplify it, but I do find those particular ones are not going for gold either.

Great post... good teacher, knows whats up.

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As Rob said...  it depends on what you want to get out of it and what your expectation is and what your threshold is for serious study and commitment.

I will (always) be the first to admit.  Singing CONSISTENTLY well is not only not easy...I will go a step further and say as a gigging singer, it will remain not easy.

It a friggin' lifelong journey with plenty of roadblocks!

And I'm referring to ALL aspects of singing, not just technique! 

And at some point every singer will need to sort it out for themselves.  You have to get to a point where you can figure out what works for you and your own voice!

Remember, you're playing a growing, aging, living instrument!

 

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When you hit the stage, the technique part should be left in your gig bag. 

Now it's time to tell a story.  It does get easier... like Pavarotti said, "after 20 years or so."

Tristen, you just love to try to find the quick fix or the key to it all, but the truth is there is none...LOL

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Tristen quote:

"The reality of singing today is that the vast majority of successful CCM singers have received little to no formal training! They learned to belt by themselves! They're "untrained" so to speak.

How many times have you ever heard a famous CCM singer use a phrase like "head voice" or "head resonance" when talking about their technique? Never =p. So why are we?"

Some, but not many.....

I have a cousin that used to work at Capitol Records.

More have had voice training and voice coaching than we are going to be told they have...Intentionally this is not talked about or publicized.

You don't hear about that kind of stuff (voice lessons, coaching) because the recording industry needs to foster a myth that these artists are unreachable, one-of-a-kinds.

Record company execs are marketers, selling a consumable..."The artist."  They have invested millions in these people, especially the ones years ago.

They seek to create (and hopefully if they're lucky) sustain enviable, untouchable, "Products."  For every recording artist out there, I'm saying the cream of the crop, there are many more as talented or more talented that you and I will never hear of.

Not only do these people have voice teachers, they have several!

And some artist's contracts include having voice training as an obligatory part of their contract. 

The recording companies stipulate this so they are assured that cancellations due to an artist losing their voice and missing show dates are minimized.

Elvis had voice coaches along with him on gigs!!  But they aren't ever going to volunteer that kind of information.

AND Here's one I'll bet you never knew...Some famous public speakers do too.

Even if you are a "natural singer" you still are going to experience voice issues at one time or another.

That's why if you listen to these old, so called "Live" performances on TV, many times they were lip syncing.  One of the reasons why was to sustain your image. Yes, maybe the singer was not in good voice, but more often than not it was just too risky for these singers to sing live, when millions of dollars were at stake.

The studio-perfected recording was the product...the sustainable image!

Search the web and if you find a "true" live recording from years ago was the exception to the rule. Take a song like this.  Do you honestly think that D5 was available to him live any time we wanted it?

And....I've also been told some of these tracks were intentionally speeded up (raising pitch) which left room for more commercials on the radio stations!

 

 

 

 

 

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Sure! That's why everyone working with just any system or method, or even on their own, are all awesome singers that can breeze through pretty much any song they want and sound great.

-.-

 

Provided that the mechanics are well understood, that the teacher can execute it properly, AND that he/she has experience using it on the craft, then yes I agree that whatever means of organizing the technique are just fine. But then again, under these conditions the differences will tend to be smaller.

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Sure, some.

But there's also a lot singers (and record company execs) who don't like to admit or want you to know that they've had voice training.

It's not something that most singers are dying to tell you, like DIO....LOL!!!

You will be hard pressed to find a comm. pro act say in any interview..."Oh, well, I've had numerous voice lessons over a period of several years with several voice coaches."

They might say "I started in this band...then I went to this band.."

But the more you study the more you can pretty much tell whether or not a singer has had some kind of training.  Even it was all done on their own.

I believe their tonal quality, the tonal accuracy gives it away.  Then the level of difficulty to the song. 

 

 

 

 

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And a lot of what makes success in the music biz is marketing.

Bugs Henderson was a great local legend that could play anything well. Johnny Lang played just as good but because he was so young, he was a prodigy, something the labels could sell. Both were great. Most of you may have heard the latter, very few of any of you have heard of the former.

So, yeah, there are awesome talented guys that you never heard of. But have all the famous singers had coaches? I don't know and they are not talking or they have nothing to talk about.

Joe Lynn Turner talks about taking lessons. So did Geoff Tate. So did Anne Wilson in the memoirs with her sister, Nancy. Lou Gramm talked about it. Michael Bolton talked about it. Dee Snider talked about being trained as a counter-tenor in school before getting with Twisted Sister, later. Kip Winger had classical lessons. In fact, he just broke a record. he released a classical album that debuted at number one on the classical charts.

So, I don't think all singers are hiding their magic.

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I've coached bands across the world, both signed and unsigned, in their business and careers for the last 15+ years. I've also interviewed a fair share of highly successful bands during that time. The industry definitely likes to push the myth of everything happening by pure dumb luck and talent; to the point that I've considered writing a parody book called Music Success by Pure Dumb Luck. Sadly, that book seems to be written with every interview published to the general public. After pulling a few teeth, and perhaps selling your children, every artist will eventually tell you how much hard work went into every single part of what they do. I don't believe for a second that any pro-level, touring singer hasn't taken lessons, although I might concede that a minuscule percentage of the terrible sounding ones haven't.

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1 minute ago, Draven Grey said:

I've coached bands across the world, both signed and unsigned, in their business and careers for the last 15+ years. I've also interviewed a fair share of highly successful bands during that time. The industry definitely likes to push the myth of everything happening by pure dumb luck and talent; to the point that I've considered writing a parody book called Music Success by Pure Dumb Luck. Sadly, that book seems to be written with every interview published to the general public. After pulling a few teeth, and perhaps selling your children, every artist will eventually tell you how much hard work went into every single part of what they do. I don't believe for a second that any pro-level, touring singer hasn't taken lessons, although I might concede that a minuscule percentage of the terrible sounding ones haven't.

You really need to write that book and then let me know, because I will buy it. I work very hard for my money, so that means something.

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4 hours ago, Draven Grey said:

I've coached bands across the world, both signed and unsigned, in their business and careers for the last 15+ years. I've also interviewed a fair share of highly successful bands during that time. The industry definitely likes to push the myth of everything happening by pure dumb luck and talent; to the point that I've considered writing a parody book called Music Success by Pure Dumb Luck. Sadly, that book seems to be written with every interview published to the general public. After pulling a few teeth, and perhaps selling your children, every artist will eventually tell you how much hard work went into every single part of what they do. I don't believe for a second that any pro-level, touring singer hasn't taken lessons, although I might concede that a minuscule percentage of the terrible sounding ones haven't.

Some of the terrible technique ones are some of my favorites, like Wayne Coyne.

 

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