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Vocal Exercises without Scales

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I recently got a job working in a movie theater and there are a lot of times when im alone in a theater cleaning. I find it a great time to exercise my vocals. Now unfortunately im not allowed to have my ipod on me so I can't do vocal exercises to scales so I just try to wing it.

Anyway anyone have any pointers for exercises I could do to fill this time period?

Another thing, doing lip rolls and tongue trills to a song melody versus a scale? I would think it wouldn't be quite as efficient as a scale but is it a good or bad thing?

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Hey Aitcheson, I'll give you the secret that will help you figure this all out.

Do you remember the very first time you tried to ride a bike? What did your parents do? They put on training wheels.

When you are first trying to learn pitch memory and control, what do you do? You guessed it, training wheels. Having scales to sing along with, provides a reference note that helps significantly with not only executing pitch, but slowly 'absorbing' pitch mentally by rote. However, there are more useful ways to learn them than by rote. And here is one:

Play the first note of your scale on your guitar. Ok? Sing this note. Now, try to sing the next note of your scale without the guitar. If you can't get this right after say 30 seconds of trying, give up. Play the note to confirm what it sounds like, wait and start over. Repeat this process for each note, until you can sing each note.

Now, try to sing more notes without reference. Two notes. Three Notes. Four Notes. All the way through.

What you are trying to do is learn is something called an interval, which is the distance between notes, and train your voice to be able to execute this subconsciously. Once you internalize this properly, you won't need the reference pitch to get in the ball park, you will still want to have reference pitches to further train for precision.

Another way to look at it, find the intervals in the scale: If it's the major chord scale we all know so well, then it's root note, major 3rd, fifth, octave.... Move up or down a minor second, and repeat.


By the way, this same advice works for singing songs without reference. I've been teaching my friend online both pitch, scales, and songs this way, one note at a time. Your brain first needs to learn to hear a note, then it needs to develop some kind of grasp the relationships, if not intellectually then subconsciously. Doing this successfully can bypass the need to 'rote' learn things and you'll be able to sing any song you hear in your range and skill level very quickly on pitch rather than having to sit down and 'learn' them for a long time. You will also be able to improvise melodies on the spot with your voice in tune and write a song with your voice and no instrument.

You'll get there, and be able to do this without reference, but for now work really hard at taking the training wheels off slowly and fully absorbing the pitches both in your head, and with your voice.

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I don't know if it's just that I have a good ear, but can't you just start on an easy note and scale up for that? I don't NEED a file to listen to, to be able to sing a scale. It's just easier with one.

Aitcheson is early into his first forays into singing as either a teen or adult. He's only been singing for a few months, never having had any voice training and he may not have had much musical training prior to this.

As long as it has been for you guys, it's probably hard to remember what it's like to start from absolutely nothing and building from there. It requires careful concentrated practice in order for both the ears and voice to have an efficient roadmap of pitches to navigate.

You literally have to build something from nothing, through willpower and determination. It's like starting a house from a foundation, and building the whole thing yourself, but it's possible, I did it and anyone reading this can too. Concentrated practice (and careful listening) will get you there quicker and in a much more musically useful way than than mindless repetition of the same scale until rote kicks in, as then when it comes time to sing anything else (say a new scale), same problem.

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Major Triad - 1st 3rd 5th ... a 1st 4th 5th is a Sus 4 (Chord).. Unless you are talking Chord progression.

aitcheson , Do you know the song Do-Re-Mi (Sound of music), grab a copy. Also do you have a Pitch pipe or something close.

Have a look at sol-fa stuff (plenty out there) and get a grasp on some 'basic' music theory - So Major scale ... Tone, Tone Semi, Tone Tone Tone, Semi). Start at C.

Everyone - "doe, a deer, a female deer".

Based on Killers post below - I must press F5 more.

I'll add to this post, rather than clog - from CDEDC comes CDEFGFEDC comes Octave comes arpeggios, 1, 3, 5, 3, 1 comes 1, 3, 5, 8, 5, 3, 1 ... etc.

Basic theory Say Grade 1 - 2/4, 3/4, 4/4 time sigs ... Note values ... Major C, D, F, G Scales and construction (root and intervals), simple dynamics. 4 songs inc 1 folk, 1 theatre etc etc.

... give thoughts on having some of the rote basics, before fluidity starts to happen. i.e. When playing piano when do you stop learning by rote and stop looking at your hands ?, vs .. reading the music (when does the music theory and all the practice start to become ... easy), then reading the dynamics, then adding personal style to it.

... when does the C on piano scale stop become finger 1 (thumb), D finger 2, E finger 3 ... etc and the rest of the theory start to become natural ?

... had edt, as I seem to have finger troubte typing dynamics ...lol ... also just edt. as I had posted a Simpsons version of Do-Re-Mi ... "doh, a deer, a female deer".

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I typo'd, Stew, and tried to fix it before your post came through. :D

Solfege is useful too, I agree. But it's not really that useful as a scale. It's most useful if you can train your brain to be able to move around the pitches in random orders, as it breaks you out of rote, and into musical pitch training.

The one thing I believe, is rote alone is never enough to get fluidity and musicality at any instrument, including voice.

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... give thoughts on having some of the rote basics, before fluidity starts to happen. i.e. When playing piano when do you stop learning by rote and stop looking at your hands ?, vs .. reading the music (when does the music theory and all the practice start to become ... easy), then reading the dynamics, then adding personal style to it.

That's such an interesting and useful question. My theory: do practice on both as early as possible, but maybe rote learning can be sabotaged that way?

Food for thought!

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