Jump to content

Totally New - Where Do I Begin?

Rate this topic


L_Master
 Share

Recommended Posts

I've always wanted to learn how to sing decent and not be absolutely awful because I adore singing and listening to great singing.

The real question is where do I start? Ideally I should take lessons but as a poor college student that just isn't an option for me at this point. What, if anything, can I do to start working on building a solid technique. Stylistically I want to sing classical/operatic music. I just don't have a clue where on earth to start. What do you work on first? What exercises do you use?

Much thanks for any advice or good recommendations of resources explaining where to start learning!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've always wanted to learn how to sing decent and not be absolutely awful because I adore singing and listening to great singing.

The real question is where do I start? Ideally I should take lessons but as a poor college student that just isn't an option for me at this point. What, if anything, can I do to start working on building a solid technique. Stylistically I want to sing classical/operatic music. I just don't have a clue where on earth to start. What do you work on first? What exercises do you use?

Much thanks for any advice or good recommendations of resources explaining where to start learning!

"Resonance in Singing and Speaking" by Dr. Thomas Fillebrown (0 dollars on Kindle, 10 dollars in paperback from amazon.) -

"How to Sing" by Lilli Lehmann, available on Kindle, both the german and the english translations, from amazon.

"How to Sing" by Graham Hewitt, the one that got me started back in 1988. I borrowed it from the public library. That cost me nothing but bus fare cross-town, when I was living in Dallas. His book is from the same perspective as Lehmann's but geared more toward a pop music sensibility.

"The Tenor Voice" by Anthony Frisell. 10 dollars on Kindle. A litle more for paperback. A most crucial perspective in how to approach the entire effort of singing. I believe the hard media editions come with audio recordings.

And one thing helps in learning how to do it right is to hear it done right. In opera, I would say listen to whatever you can of Enrico Caruso. In fact, Dr Marafiota's book on the method of Caruso is excellent. Caruso had a less than perfect vocal apparatus. He lived the life of a rock star before there ever was a rock star.

Also, Recordings and analyses of Jussi Borling. He produced so many harmonics and overtones.

A gazillion threads, here and there. Check the main site, the Vocalist Studio, for interviews with the masters of voice.

Plenty of tutorials on youtube. Check out vids of Kevin Richards (rockthestage NYC) led me to here. He explains so easily the technical concepts. He is a born teacher.

Robert Lunte, owner and provider of this forum and site who will answer any question. Of the popular singing systems out there, his most closely matches classical technique.

CVT is beneficial to many. It is structured in a modular approach and I don't mean just singing modes but the entire singing program. By organizing into sections of widgets, so to speak, it allows people learn in chunks, which is how most people learn, anyway. That is, of the systems I have seen, it is highly attuned to how people actually learn something and file it away in their brains.

Me, I'm not an expert in anything. Our Steven Fraser is the resident expert on things classical. I invite you to pick his brain. He'll never run out of brain cells. He grows new ones as fast as a teenager grows hair. In fact, just search and read any post by him. I consider it a travesty that he and I only live about 40 miles apart and I have never had the chance to meet him. He is also a featured voice expert on the main page. Someone with that much brains could be an arrogant snot yet he is one of the most humble people when you read his words or hear him speak.

Anyway, I think you are in the right place. Welcome to a group of people who share your passion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've always wanted to learn how to sing decent and not be absolutely awful because I adore singing and listening to great singing.

The real question is where do I start? Ideally I should take lessons but as a poor college student that just isn't an option for me at this point. What, if anything, can I do to start working on building a solid technique. Stylistically I want to sing classical/operatic music. I just don't have a clue where on earth to start. What do you work on first? What exercises do you use?

Much thanks for any advice or good recommendations of resources explaining where to start learning!

L_Master: Post a recording of an example of you singing a few phrases of a song, and we can help you get started.

Very many of the techniques discussed on this forum are applicable to Classical singing, and you can search here (from the main forum menu) for keywords that will take you to some fairly extensive and detailed discussions. I suggest keywords of 'onset', 'breath management', and 'passaggio' for starters.

Some things with Classical singing are combined differently than other genres: emphasis on legato, consistency of vibrato, tone quality/vowel shaping, dynamic shading during phrases. IMO, those items will eventually take you to the singing of particular pieces, and to foreign languages. To learn the diction of those languages, it will be beneficial to get some experience with the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), and to acquire some books which explain the diction of Italian, French, German and English using IPA. David H. Adam's A Handbook of Diction for Singers: Italian, German, French (which you can get on Amazon and elsewhere) would be a good investment. Its also probably worth your while to start collecting song sets in these languages. Start with Italian, as it is the reference language for the teaching of classical singing worldwide.

I hope this helps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One other thing I would like to add. A good point from a member who is no longer here. Sometimes, you have more than adequate instruction in your area. Averaging $30 to $50 a lesson. Point being, a few well placed lessons can carry you for years if you are an apt student.

In his own words, Geoff Tate took lessons from Maestro David P. Kyle. He took 6 lessons. Once a week for six weeks, so he was able to work on principles taught in between lessons. Those 6 lessons have lasted for a career. Granted, Kyle was an astounding teacher. But Tate was an astounding student. To this day, the words of Kyle ring in his head.

It's not going to be a matter of how long you study or even how much you study. It's how well you study.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

L_Master: Post a recording of an example of you singing a few phrases of a song, and we can help you get started.

Very many of the techniques discussed on this forum are applicable to Classical singing, and you can search here (from the main forum menu) for keywords that will take you to some fairly extensive and detailed discussions. I suggest keywords of 'onset', 'breath management', and 'passaggio' for starters.

Some things with Classical singing are combined differently than other genres: emphasis on legato, consistency of vibrato, tone quality/vowel shaping, dynamic shading during phrases. IMO, those items will eventually take you to the singing of particular pieces, and to foreign languages. To learn the diction of those languages, it will be beneficial to get some experience with the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), and to acquire some books which explain the diction of Italian, French, German and English using IPA. David H. Adam's A Handbook of Diction for Singers: Italian, German, French (which you can get on Amazon and elsewhere) would be a good investment. Its also probably worth your while to start collecting song sets in these languages. Start with Italian, as it is the reference language for the teaching of classical singing worldwide.

I hope this helps.

Okay here are two brief clips of me singing. Obviously needs tons of work in so many areas, but hey thats why I am here after all!

http://www.box.com/s/saubf4xeg6sdzy258bdm

http://www.box.com/s/fm6sz99dy6tdo461dp14

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks to everyone who has posted so far!

Ronws, I really appreciate the the good books and resources you suggest and will be taking a look at them. Definitely a good point about coaching too, and I'll be doing some research into voice teachers in the area. On that note, know of any useful places/databases of teachers or how to find out about them given I'm not in any way connected to any of the local singing/music scene?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay here are two brief clips of me singing. Obviously needs tons of work in so many areas, but hey thats why I am here after all!

http://www.box.com/s/saubf4xeg6sdzy258bdm

http://www.box.com/s/fm6sz99dy6tdo461dp14

L_Master: Ok, thanks for posting these. They are very helpful.

You are right, there are many aspects of your singing that need work, but there are three things that will pay big benefits right away:

1) Maintain your volume within a phrase, so that all of the sounds can be heard. By this, I mean that all the sounds, vowels and consonants, must be energetic enough so that they can be identified and understood. Its ok to make some louder and softer for emphasis and musical phrasing, but all should be heard. Especially, do not let the volume decrease too much at the end of a phrase.

Exercise for vowel volume: Sing a song entirely on one vowel in the language of the song, without consonants, smoothly going from note to note without new onsets except after each breath. Repeat on other vowels in the song.

2) When pronouncing words within the song, in general, sustain the principal vowel in a syllable for almost all its note length, and make all other vowels and consonants as rapidly as you can, while still allowing them to be heard.

Exercise: For each word of the song, Identify the vowel sound to sustain in each syllable, and sing just those vowels in the rhythm of the song.

3) Connect each word to the one before, and one after, within each phrase.

Exercise: Find the final sound in each word, and practice pronouncing it in combination with the initial sound of the next word, so that there is no separation between them.

I hope this is helpful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you really want to learn and do plan on singing, wait until you can pay for the coach. There is too many ways you could go wrong on your own without even knowing, which would place your health in risk and would probably get in your way when you finally can afford a coach. And the style you want to sing on is not forgiving to mistakes.

Even if you do not plan on being a professional and right now money is short, consider this: If you want to learn, this means that singing means something for you, possibly quite a lot. What makes more sense? Wait until you can get someone to help you or risking hurting your instrument without even getting the quality you would like to have in the first place?

Be patient, a year or two is not so much time in this particular subject, and could actually save you from wasting a few more years of unlearning wrong habits.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...