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Well I guess I am still interested in singing, because I've been trying it again. :-)

Pretend I'm absolute beginner, which I basically am despite trying to sing for a few years and spent thousands of dollars on lessons.

What would be the first thing I should practice? Support maybe? How would you explain that to a beginner?

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You can try one of these:

a) Buy a head band like Steven Tyler had.

B) Practise singing in tune for the sheer joy of it.

c) Get a vocal program and/or a vocal coach. Subsequently train your ass off for a very long time and LIKE it.

d) All of the above, in that order.

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I've tried c) before. Not sure a) will help. I pick B). I really enjoy karaoke and singing along to my CDs. I'm just limited by range to about 5 songs in the karaoke book.

let's try a different approach:

glad to see you back egg.

what are the things you think you lack?

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Hi Bob. Thanks, it's good to be back.

To keep it positive first, here is what I can do well: sing comfortably and without unnecessary strain from F2 up to about C4. I can do it powerfully, softly, or in between. I tend to think in CVT terms (sorry to those who dislike them), so I would say I can do overdrive, curbing and neutral pretty well in this range (I don't like edge so I don't use it). I'm comfortable down here, but there aren't many songs available that don't venture outside this range!

From C4-F4 or so, I'm iffy, but won't embarrass myself. It's not exactly comfortable though and I will tire. I mostly use curbing up here, which is what I want, but I'd like to have less tension. I also have a tendency to keep my mouth pretty closed, but if I drop my jaw here, I'll flip into neutral.

From F#4 up, it's pretty much only possible for me to do a light girly neutral (falsetto or light head voice. Might be flageolet, because I can't connect it to my low neutral without a flip occurring) sound, which is totally unacceptable in most of the pop and rock songs I want to sing. I can take that up to about E5, but it's not particularly useful to me.

So basically, I'm stuck at the good old men's passagio area. Here is what I've tried so far to solve this. I've taken a bunch of lessons from various people with quite a variety of perspectives (maybe that was a mistake?). I will now describe my experiences. Firstly, I took SLS lessons. I did the exercises diligently for several months, which is where I got my high neutral from, but when we got to the "now lean in" part, I could never make the sound more like what I wanted - I can go from "thin girly" to "dopy girly" and "louder girly" but that's it.

Next I went to a Singing Success teacher, who took me through various exercises and for the first time I managed to connect on one of the twangier SLS-type exercises (I think it was meow). I also learned that bridging was not _necessarily_ about changing something as you approach the passagio, but about keeping everything the same and resisting the habitual urge to change something.

Then I bought CVT and learned a model of the voice that appeals to me, but I'm having trouble putting some of it into practice. One thing I succeeded with and found quite amazing was the first time I "bridged" entirely in overdrive. I can siren on "EH" from G3-G4 without a break, but it's very loud and shouty. It's useful for some high notes in rock songs though. I took a lesson to try to learn how to increase my range in curbing, but I was less amazed here - it's what I still want to do but haven't succeeded yet. This makes me suspect that maybe I don't understand something basic. Maybe support or how to use less tension or something.

I took a couple of lessons with Robert also, and I found his exercises very challenging. I practiced the TVS sirens on 'EH' but with a transition to head voice (different from the overdrive siren) but could succeed only about 10% of the time, the rest of the time I strained and I found it disheartening. I also had a very hard time overcoming my closed-mouth habit, which is crucial to Robert's approach. I feel like something more fundamental is wrong and once I get that set, *then* I can drop my jaw etc.

Anyway, that's all the technical stuff. I do enjoy singing and go to karaoke regularly, where people compliment me on my Beatles and David Bowie renditions (I'm an Australian living in the USA, and people often think I'm British because of the song choices). It would be nice to solve my technical issues and branch out song-wise though.

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Bren,

Descriptions are nice, but the most useful advice comes from actually listening to you sing. :)

Record and post a few exercises, like the G3-G4 siren in curbing (on I) and overdrive (on EH). If you're willing, you could also post a video, to show us what you're doing physically.

And I agree with Ron, I'd love to hear your take on Space Oddity. ;)

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Glad you are back, Egg. I second hearing some exercises or singing to get a better insight to what is going on.

My intuition is your breath management is not right. Have you tried putting your hand in front of your mouth to see how much air is coming out? If you have your breath under control, you should hardly feel any, otherwise your folds are probably being over powered.

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egg, i'll wait on the samples too.

one question, can you sing with a cry in your voice?

I will post samples tomorrow. I am taking a one off lesson with one of my old teachers and your comment inspired me to focus on cry in this lesson. I think it is something I haven't consistently been able to do, but when I have tried it, it works. I think when singing I 'accidentally' end up in curbing due to my closed mouth, not necessarily because I have the cry/hold correct.

I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks for the encouragement!!! :-)

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Sorry about the lack of files so far, the was a fire at my apartment so I've been quite distracted! Although I have been practicing some and I have been doing lots of whining/moaning sounds which reliably get me into higher curbing, so I'm planning to practice that religiously for a few weeks and see how it goes. I can't quite do it on a siren yet but that will come.

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Hey, eggplantbren. If you are going to get the headband, go ahead and get the scarves to drape on your mic stand, as well. And you will need laptop.

Warning: useless trivia stuck in my head will follow:

Steven Tyler has a laptop he keeps with him to catalog all of his stage costume pieces so that he never repeats the same ensemble twice. Too much time on his hand, methinks.

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Hi all,

Here are some attempts! They are imperfect but typical, which will help more than if I selected the best take out of many, out of shyness.

Here's an overdrive attempt. It's a bit shaky up top on the G4

http://lindor.physics.ucsb.edu/Clips/overdrive_attempt.mp3

Here's a curbing attempt. There's a crinkle in the middle. After that I'm not sure if I'm in curbing any more or whether I've switched to MLN. What do you think?

http://lindor.physics.ucsb.edu/Clips/curbing_attempt.mp3

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Here are some high Cs. I think they're in curbing - if that's the case then the problem is not so much with high notes but with notes in the middle.

http://lindor.physics.ucsb.edu/Clips/curbing_highC.mp3

egg, please realize singing full voice songs where the predominant notes lie in the pasaggio are some of the most difficult songs to sing well.

hotel california

broken wings

two toughfees that spring to mind.

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I tried to sing with more cord depth or something and I just hurt my throat. :-(

the trick is to engage more glottal compression and fold depth without involving the throat. it's a support issue.

as sub-glottal breath pressure builds, the folds have to be strong enough to resist blowing apart.

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Sorry to hear that.

I listened to your clips and it sounded to me like you could use a more open throat. Raising the soft palate and creating more space towards the back of your pharynx. But don't do it in a way that creates more tension; constriction. I've found Dante's description of opening the throat on the inhale very useful. I think Jamie Vendera says something similar. You might try practicing just this for a bit to get used to it. Inhale and suspending your breath with your cords open; using support to hold the added air pressure in your lungs in suspension.

It seems to help thicken the cords automatically before you even phonate. Kind of lowers the larynx naturally a little.

For me, having the larger space for resonation helps to make the cords vibrate more freely without as much turbulence and cord tension. Also for me, it took a long time for me to realize I was singing with too small of space in the throat. The smaller and more constricted space would more easily fall apart and cascade into even more constriction and closing down.

Don't know if this will help, but your never know what might click for you. I'm sure Dante will have some good insight.

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Hi Bob

I figured that when using more cord depth I would need to increase support, and I think I was blowing too much air when I hurt my throat. I was driving last night and tried to use more support and OH MY GOD I felt what it was like to be a real singer. It wasn't consistent or anything but now I have a better idea of what it should feel like. I will try to reproduce this feeling and post a clip to see if you guys think it's an improvement.

Thanks for all of your help!

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