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Angel With A Shotgun - The Cab

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aitcheson
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Okay this time I decided to record a quick video of Angel With a Shotgun by The Cab. I really feel like my voice is improving and I think it sounds better as well. One thing is I attempt to go up into head voice/or falsetto (I've heard its debatable among singing teacher where the distinction lies.) So I can make the transition between the two very well while doing exercises or singing to scales but it doesn't seem to translate well during actual sing let alone when I play the guitar along, its a lot to focus on. Anyway its probably I just need to release more tension in my throat which is what I believe one of my main problems was from the start. Killer the advice on only using 10% a while back really helped me to get into a new mindset I just need to keep going in that direction I guess. Anyway maybe its not great but hey im proud of any improvement and have no intentions of stopping.

So critique, advice?

http://www.box.com/s/t6pte42h8c1fs0rf5ff2

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Aitcheson, I'm glad I could help you some, starting off. I'm rooting for you more than anyone here as you've probably had some of the furthest to go and it takes tremendous passion starting from ground zero. You've already improved a lot, I agree.

My advice to you, is to continue to go slow. You'll probably get your bridge down eventually, but do not feel rushed by others here and I'd highly advise lessons for when you try to learn to bridge properly as it can be done injuriously.

It's people like yourself that have kept me coming back, to try to help here, even though I have many misgivings about the culture here. Work as hard as you can, as safely as you can on the usual suspects (pitch control, support, range, etc). Absolutely follow what feels comfortable above all else and be very careful with 'weird exercises' you find.

Me, you know I already lost this game as I was rushed into bridging unaware by people with a certain mindset. Go slowly and carefully and you will become a great singer.

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Hey Aitcheson, I have decided to stick around a bit more, so I might be able to help you a bit more.

One thing I was going to say, is that breath support is one of the things that 10 percent doesn't apply to! What I mean by that, is not that you use a lot of air for the notes (don't breath too much air out), but you should feel a strong 'core' support around your lower ribcage which should expand on inhale and stay expanded to some extent while you sing.

It should feel like there is almost a 'holding back' of air in the abdomen, with no tension anywhere else. I have a feeling if you can focus on this a bit, you'll be able to sing with a bit more control and range without jumping into bridge or anything yet.

An exercise that might help, is swelling of notes, from small sounds, to bigger sounds. Try to take the smallest, quietest sound, and get it to grow into the thickest, most resonant sound you can without using too much air or shouting. If you get it right, you might even get vibrato, but if you don't, it's not a huge worry.

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On breath support, I know I've been telling you to slow down and watch out for random exercises, which has been good as you were rushing and tense, but if you look into some breath support videos, it might help.

To tell you the truth, there is no universal agreement on breath support, aside from basically that you want your diaphragm to lower which expands your ribs when you inhale, and keep your ribs somewhat expanded when you exhale.

Yeah, for this swelling note idea, take a quiet comfortable note, and swell it to a louder thicker one. The trick here is to try not to yell or push the note, but focus more on the feeling of 'opening up' the note as you increase the air slowly. Try to do both the soft and loud part with the best breath support you can muster, maybe even try to sound like a fake opera singer on the louder note. If you do this, you'll probably instinctively do something different. Basically what you're looking for are different resonators' which will give you richer tones.

On resonators: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vocal_resonation

It's a bit too complicated to really explain these completely what is going on, but I think if you follow one rule, that anything you try remains comfortable, you'll be ok.

For the pharynx, I found imagining an invisible egg size opening in the throat worked to give me an open feeling back there. Another way to do this is with a yawn sigh, it kind of opens it up. When this resonator opens up, I found it gives a lower, boomier kind of resonance. Makes you feel buff.

The oral cavity is your mouth, how open it is, the position of your tongue on backwards to your uvula, etc. Whatever you do there will change the sound. Personally, I put the tip of my tongue at my bottom front row of teeth, and didn't otherwise worry much more about this, but you may want to add 'twang' sometime with your tongue if you wish. Twang is a bit of a resonator in itself, and involves arching the middle-back part of the tongue upward towards the upper back teeth and widening it. If trying twang is uncomfortable, save it for later. No rush.

The nasal cavity is trickier. It's both related to how you project your voice and the positioning. I found imagining the air flowing upward and outward helps project sound here. Singing teachers call it singing into the 'mask,' but it's also related to the height of your soft palate (we discussed that before). It has to do the the nasality in the voice, and is difficult for me to explain in words. If you want to feel per nasality, you can try to humming, and if you want to control nasality, you can try pinching your nose and seeing if the tone changes much. You might have to experiment with different nasal sounds by adjusting twang and soft palate position too. It's all much too complicated to really explain. There is good, (if tonally biased towards classical singing, IMO) information here:

http://www.singwise.com/cgi-bin/main.pl?section=articles&doc=GoodToneProductionForSinging&page=2

Unfortunately I know very little about the sinus resonator. So I can't help much with that. I'm not an expert, dude, just a guy that loved the crap out of singing and has a lot of random knowledge. Back when I was singing, I found most of these through trial and error intuitively but they are actually pretty well documented.

In general if you think of your normal speech as more 'closed' and these resonators here as various degrees of 'openness' you can probably figure out how to swell a rich sounding note, with very good support.

But keep in mind, I give you this information under the 10 percent (or singing is subtle) rule. Like a lot of these other aspects of singing, it's not always about doing anything 100 percent (which might feel strained), it's about finding whatever creates comfortable, healthy, good sounds at the pitch you want.

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Now I realize that is a whole lot of information, but I believe having a well supported, resonant chest voice is probably more important for you than jumping into the bridge right now. Even this stuff, take it slow, and above all pay attention to what feels comfortable.

But what I want to hear is some shimmering murky depth from you dude. Not forced like 'fake low' Yogi Bear impressions, but more smooth like the air is just 'releasing' from your core support and you are feeling 'open' in your throat. When you get this feeling right, it will increase your comfortable range and help you with tuning your notes better. I think you'll be a lot more prepared on bridging if you can get a bit of support and resonance and air flow control feelings down.

One thing that might help, is to listen to some singers, who have very chesty, supported sounds. Now you're not a baritone to my ears, so you wouldn't have as much weight or may not be able to sing as low as Elvis here (he was was a heavier baritone than I was too), but he always helped me envision a chesty supported, lower tone. Listen for the murky, rooted sound. Seek your own version of this sound. It won't sound like his, but it will be your version, that will be support and resonance.

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