Jump to content

Why do people always say my voice sounds weak?

Rate this topic


NCdan
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm starting to get sort of annoyed, because I always get the same comment on my vocals, namely that they sound too weak, or there's not enough breath, etc... I know I'm not the next American Idol and I wander on and off key, but I just don't understand how my vocals aren't strong enough if I'm about 2 db's away from screaming. I'm a classically trained trumpet player and I think I have the whole breathing from your stomach and let your diaphragm do the work thing down pat. However, people always say that my singing isn't strong enough. I guess I'm just at a loss and I don't know what else I can do to get my vocals sounding bigger or whatever they need to be.

Attached are a couple of songs I recorded: nothing great, just some quick demos I did. I know, the first song "Wonderful" really sucks, but I just did it for my fiance in like 5 hours total, so I suppose that's a pretty accurate picture of my singing. So, can you guys be so kind as to tell me what my vox seem to be lacking? Thanks and happy new year.

http://www.myspace.com/rejectconvention

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I get told i sing way too "Soft" or "Clean"

No one is perfect i guess lol

i don't think you sound weak at all........but it does kind of sound like you hold yourself back a lot

i do the same thing myself it can be frustrating :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the feedback. :D

I think at least one other person has said something to the effect of, "You're holding back." That is where I'm lost. I know I'm singing from my diaphragm because I can switch between the throat sound and diaphragm sound. I am also singing with my throat and mouth open, because I can change back and forth between a cramped, nasal sound and a bigger, more open sound.

But what am I supposed to do, physically and/or mentally speaking, in order to not hold back, or push my vocals more? And I mean push in a good way. Sure, I could push even more air from my diaphragm and start losing control of pitch and getting gravelly vocals, but I'm guessing that isn't the key here. Does anyone else who listened to my posted songs have any idea what I may not be doing or need to do in that regard? Thanks and happy new year everyone.

:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm starting to get sort of annoyed, because I always get the same comment on my vocals, namely that they sound too weak, or there's not enough breath, etc... I know I'm not the next American Idol and I wander on and off key, but I just don't understand how my vocals aren't strong enough if I'm about 2 db's away from screaming. I'm a classically trained trumpet player and I think I have the whole breathing from your stomach and let your diaphragm do the work thing down pat. However, people always say that my singing isn't strong enough. I guess I'm just at a loss and I don't know what else I can do to get my vocals sounding bigger or whatever they need to be.

Attached are a couple of songs I recorded: nothing great, just some quick demos I did. I know, the first song "Wonderful" really sucks, but I just did it for my fiance in like 5 hours total, so I suppose that's a pretty accurate picture of my singing. So, can you guys be so kind as to tell me what my vox seem to be lacking? Thanks and happy new year.

NCdan: Hi. Welcome to the board.

I listened to the two recordings, and have some responses to your questions, and some other thoughts too.

First, you don't sing with 'not enough breath'. Whomever is telling you that does not hear your tone quality very well. To my ear, you are letting much more breath through your voice than you need to... you can convert much more of it to sound.

I think part of the challenge is that you are a classically-trained trumpet player. The bodily sensations of breath use are diffferent for trumpet and voice. But, before I can be sure about this, please answer a question: When you say 'Let your Diaphragm do the work'.... what does that mean to you? What bodily actions are you describing with that turn of phrase?

Looking forward to your reply.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey dude. It sounds to me that you're using a vocal mode which CVT calls "neutral" and that is a sound that has the same characteristic as a lullaby. You can't sing too loud or powerful with that mode, so it's mostly good for softer songs. If you try to get loud with that mode, you might get a badly sounding distortion, crack, or plain hurt your throat.

For the song wonderful, I think that the vocal modes "curbing" and "overdrive" might sound good. You could start out with overdrive. Simply try to imitate a person shouting to someone in the market. But make sure your tone is NOT breathy and your throat is as relaxed as it can be, so that your volume comes from your throat resonance and your choice of vowel and not from pushing. Who knows, maybe this info will push you into the right direction for what you want to achieve. Have a nice day!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When you say 'Let your Diaphragm do the work'.... what does that mean to you? What bodily actions are you describing with that turn of phrase?

Well, I had the whole breathe from your stomach thing drilled into my head, so I do that subconsciously. It's just natural for me to inhale down there and exhale starting from there as well. To me, singing from the diaphragm means not using my throat as the power behind my singing, but using my throat more as a rudder and my stomach-ish area as the power. Although, I'll admit that when it comes to singing I sometimes do use my throat to generate more power, especially on high notes or when I try to sing loudly (which is most of the time). I guess that describes what I try to do when I sing. Thanks for the help.

Hey dude. It sounds to me that you're using a vocal mode which CVT calls "neutral" and that is a sound that has the same characteristic as a lullaby. You can't sing too loud or powerful with that mode, so it's mostly good for softer songs. If you try to get loud with that mode, you might get a badly sounding distortion, crack, or plain hurt your throat.

For the song wonderful, I think that the vocal modes "curbing" and "overdrive" might sound good. You could start out with overdrive. Simply try to imitate a person shouting to someone in the market. But make sure your tone is NOT breathy and your throat is as relaxed as it can be, so that your volume comes from your throat resonance and your choice of vowel and not from pushing. Who knows, maybe this info will push you into the right direction for what you want to achieve. Have a nice day!

I have never heard of vocal modes before. I do know that the vocalists who scream aren't really screaming but doing some technique that I can't figure out that doesn't hurt their vocal cords. I did figure out how to do punk vocals, but I'm guessing that singing as hard as you can and forcing your vocal cords into pitch is not considered a vocal mode, lol. I'll see what I can dig up on this whole vocal modes thing. I can see how I might be singing in "neutral" and as such my vocal mode might not be appropriate for vocals with more oomph or whatever it's called. Thanks for the advice.

Don't worry, some think I don't sound "mean" enough on songs. Maybe I'm just cursed with a clean voice, too. It happens. I'm also tall, blonde, and have blue eyes. Accidents of birth that I cannot change.

I had sort of thought that I just might not have a naturally edgy voice. So far the only way I can get my voice to get edgy is to sing loud enough so that my voice just sounds raw and out of tune which I'm pretty sure is not good for the vocal cords.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I had the whole breathe from your stomach thing drilled into my head, so I do that subconsciously. It's just natural for me to inhale down there and exhale starting from there as well. To me, singing from the diaphragm means not using my throat as the power behind my singing, but using my throat more as a rudder and my stomach-ish area as the power. Although, I'll admit that when it comes to singing I sometimes do use my throat to generate more power, especially on high notes or when I try to sing loudly (which is most of the time). I guess that describes what I try to do when I sing. Thanks for the help.

NCdan: Ok, I think I get the picture. An inhalation of that type is just fine. But an exhalation needs something to balance the force so that the laryngeal muscles don't get overwhelmed. The diaphragm, which is a muscle of inhalation, needs to stay involved (active) to balance off the natural reflex of abdominal contraction. If this balance does not happen, too much exhalation force reaches the larynx.

One way to assure that the diaphragmatic balance happens is to establish it right before the onset of the note. Take in the breath as you are, and at the end of the breath intake, pause the inhalation with your throat open, but without letting the exhale start. With one hand, feel the firmness of the abdomen in the area between the sternum (breastbone) and the navel. This firmness is the result of the continued action of the diaphragm balancing the stored-up energy in the abs.

As you onset a note, try to maintain this sense of firmness. With your prior trumpet experience, you no longer need to deliberately try to cause an ab contraction when you start a note... all the ab contraction you will need will happen reflexively as a result of your desire to make a vocal tone, loud or soft. The control on this exhalation results when you balance that ab action by letting the diaphragm resist it enough, so that the voice gets just what it needs.

This sensation is felt a variety of ways, but to many, this feels like a 'fullness' of expansion of abdomen is maintained....the abdomen feels firmed 'outward', or the breath feels suspended, as if while still inhaling, during the production of the note. To me, the amount of firmness feels somewhat like the firmness of a full water balloon when you press your hand flat on it.

Try starting out some notes this way, with the abdomen firmed outward, and see what happens to the clarity of the note and your volume. I think you will enjoy it. Please let us know what happens.

Looking forward to your response.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

NCdan: Ok, I think I get the picture. An inhalation of that type is just fine. But an exhalation needs something to balance the force so that the laryngeal muscles don't get overwhelmed. The diaphragm, which is a muscle of inhalation, needs to stay involved (active) to balance off the natural reflex of abdominal contraction. If this balance does not happen, too much exhalation force reaches the larynx.

One way to assure that the diaphragmatic balance happens is to establish it right before the onset of the note. Take in the breath as you are, and at the end of the breath intake, pause the inhalation with your throat open, but without letting the exhale start. With one hand, feel the firmness of the abdomen in the area between the sternum (breastbone) and the navel. This firmness is the result of the continued action of the diaphragm balancing the stored-up energy in the abs.

As you onset a note, try to maintain this sense of firmness. With your prior trumpet experience, you no longer need to deliberately try to cause an ab contraction when you start a note... all the ab contraction you will need will happen reflexively as a result of your desire to make a vocal tone, loud or soft. The control on this exhalation results when you balance that ab action by letting the diaphragm resist it enough, so that the voice gets just what it needs.

This sensation is felt a variety of ways, but to many, this feels like a 'fullness' of expansion of abdomen is maintained....the abdomen feels firmed 'outward', or the breath feels suspended, as if while still inhaling, during the production of the note. To me, the amount of firmness feels somewhat like the firmness of a full water balloon when you press your hand flat on it.

Try starting out some notes this way, with the abdomen firmed outward, and see what happens to the clarity of the note and your volume. I think you will enjoy it. Please let us know what happens.

Looking forward to your response.

Thanks for the continued help, Steven. I wouldn't be surprised if I'm exhaling too much air, in fact, there are times, especially on difficult material, that I will run out of breath early, so I can only assume that I'm switching to my reflexive breathing, which would be exhaling like I'm playing trumpet.

As far as the firmness of my upper abdominals goes, all I can say is that my abs/stomach don't contract unless I'm trying to sing really loudly, like pushing my vocal cords to the point where sustaining a steady pitch is really difficult. Otherwise, the area between the sternum and navel does get slightly firmer when I inhale, and the firmness continues when I sing a note. If I flex my abs I sound constipated. Maybe I am using up a bit less air when utilizing my "constipated mode," though?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As far as the firmness of my upper abdominals goes, all I can say is that my abs/stomach don't contract unless I'm trying to sing really loudly, like pushing my vocal cords to the point where sustaining a steady pitch is really difficult. Otherwise, the area between the sternum and navel does get slightly firmer when I inhale, and the firmness continues when I sing a note. If I flex my abs I sound constipated. Maybe I am using up a bit less air when utilizing my "constipated mode," though?

NCdan: Ok, thanks for the response. The activity of the diaphragm reduces the force of the air, and that lengthens the amount of time during each phonation cycle that the glottis is closed, what is called the 'closed phase', making the tone clearer and more firm. If the firming is overdone, the closed cycle gets too long, making the voice strident, and eventually may be described using your colorful word.

Play around with the firming out, some more, some less, and see what is the effect on the tone. It will be helpful to record yourself in this.

The next thing to look at is the glottal closure itself. I will give you an exercise in the next couple days to help develop complete glottal closure, that you can add to your firm-ab onset.

more later.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steve is right in everything he said and I'd like to add a word or two on placement. It sounds to me like your resonance is placed too far back and too low. You should feel your vocal resonance from the roof of your mouth up and just a ways behind your teeth to behind your nose depending on the note and the volume. Higher notes should be higher. This forward/ high placement aids projection, or more power with less work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...