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So I had my first lesson a couple of days ago. Actually, it was more like an evaluation for the first day. We started by the piano and she checked out my range. I didn't know what we were doing at the time so I'm a little disappointed. I think I could have gone higher if I knew what she was looking for. She was just kind of feeling me out. She seemed impressed though but I'm guessing it might be compared to clients she gets in there

(?)

She said that most men she gets have an average range of around 8 notes and I had 13 and she thinks I can get more. Like I said, if I knew what she was looking for when we did the exercise I think I could have done more. That didn't sound like a lot to me.

She liked my singing. She told me some things I know about already. Different terminology but same idea. She had me sing a couple of songs of my choice to my favorite CD's. I did the Paul Butterfield version of Little Walters "Blues With a Feeling" and Claptons "Running on Faith." She liked it and was commenting as I was singing about things she was surprised I was doing. She mentioned I was on pitch which, when I sing, I like what I'm hearing also...until I hear it played back. Like the version of Running on Faith I posted here. On play back it sounds pitchy to me.

Anyway, she said she could see my abs moving in and out like a bellows too much. She suggested I need to learn how to control the airflow and that I am running out of air at points because of the constant pumping. Thanks to a search here and an excellent post I found by FelipeCarvalho I knew she was talking about support. She also kept mentioning getting the sound "back" toward the back of my head. Well, those weren't her exact words but she got the point across and this is familiar to me. She mentioned not pushing the air. She kept mentioning the back thing. Pulling it back.

She ended by again commenting my singing and she actually said she'd have no problem putting me on her stage right now!

I considered that she might be just stroking me to get my business. But based on a few things, maybe not. First off she gave me an out. She asked me if I would like to continue with her. She said that if I wanted to sing karaoke and things like that I could already do well and basically didn't need her. She then said,"but" if I want to pursue this further than that or if I wanted to sing and realize where my voice could go/true potential, then she could help. She mentioned learning how to get higher notes without relying on getting louder. She also commented on working on my speech. And she mentioned starting sentences in my singing too hard.

I would think that if she was just trying to reel in a student, she would have pointed out more things that I needed or bad points or try to sell me on what I need rather than saying I could walk away and survive. Or complimenting me so much. The place is 4 minutes from my house and I had a red light on the way!

A funny note. She also asked if I'd be interested in working security at her shows. :D

I tend to get that a lot.

Tommy

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Make sure you're always working on expanding your current technique with your teacher. Some teachers tend to only try and polish what is already there. Also make sure your teacher can tell you exactly what to do, many teachers just say "support more" for every problem f.ex.

Can she sing well, and more importantly, in a style similar to what you want? Can she actually show you the stuff you want to sing and not just her personal style?

Does she say things with conflict with knowledge you already have, learned from sources such as this forum? There are incredible amounts of pseudo-science/facts about singing and this place is really up to date with reality. F.ex. if she says the average male has 8 notes then ask her what she think you can achieve in the long run? Some teachers say f.ex. you can only sing in falsetto above the passaggio area or what have you.

I think the average range for a beginner singer is probably around 1½ octaves which would be 18 notes, give or take. For someone who has been singing a bit two octaves -24 give or take (maybe partially strained) and for a trained singer three octaves 36 notes give or take.

Make sure she knows what you want to achieve, show her a singer that you would like to sound like, and don't be modest, pick someone whom you consider to be "the best" or very skilled. Ask her if she can help you achieve your goals.

You need to figure out if she can help you get to the level you want to be at.

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I think the average range for a beginner singer is probably around 1½ octaves which would be 18 notes,

I thought an octave was 8 notes (actually 7). Wouldn't that make an octave and a half 12 notes? And 16 notes-2 octaves, etc?

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i'm curious. what did she give to you?

Like I said. Nothing much. Just to start humming along with a few songs to get a feel for the pitch rather than singing them. Pick a couple of songs and hum them to try and match what the song is doing adding to pay attention to the breath as I hum and controlling the airflow. Not airy/air pushing hums but hums from the back (like she kept eluding to) more around the head. Part of the humming was to find the pitch and the feel of the song before singing it.

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I train with a female vocalist, but to be honest I would prefer to train with a male. I want the person that trains me, be able to do what I want to do. Show me that which I want to learn, and then tell me how to do it. I would have a lot more confidence in the person, if instead of saying "this is how you do it", would say "Let me do it, now, this is how you do it".

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Well, she did show me a couple of examples using her own voice. We discussed vibrato and she gave me singing examples; and she also gave me examples, using her own singing voice, of one or two other bits. At this point I don't have a preference, male or female and wouldn't have thought it made a difference. But maybe you're right. We are different vocally.

Hey, but she did start me out with a blues song!! :D

Tommy

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Well, she did show me a couple of examples using her own voice. We discussed vibrato and she gave me singing examples; and she also gave me examples, using her own singing voice, of one or two other bits. At this point I don't have a preference, male or female and wouldn't have thought it made a difference. But maybe you're right. We are different vocally.

Hey, but she did start me out with a blues song!! :D

Tommy

It's just psychological for me. I can't take someones word for it, if they can't back it up. I don't want to waste my time. Though, I'm giving her a chance (it would almost be stupid otherwise, in this case), since she is an educated CVT teacher and a good singer herself, so she'll most likely have something to back it up ;)

If you hadn't thought of it, I wouldn't begin now. It doesn't matter, it's just preference. THOUGHT GAMEZ.

:D

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Well, I'll see how it goes. I'll feel it out. They have been in the area for many years. Anything I learn is a plus and if it isn't enough then I'll catch up fast and hit a wall. Then poof, I move on. If I'm getting constant and progressive information and knowledge/skill, then I'm there longer. I think I'm smart enough to figure it out. I've been teaching for 23 years (non music related) so I have a feel for this type of thing.

I tend to be a show me type of guy. In my teaching I run into problems because a lot of people get caught up in "dogma" and many teachers just parrot what someone else fed them. Then I have to debrief these students :D When I learn from someone my feelers are up. I always start out skeptical and distrusting (the curse of my other life). You have to prove yourself to me.

Tommy

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Tommy, I think you are doing just fine and you have the right teacher for you. Many often reply from their own desires and what they would seek in a teacher.

As for working door seccurity, I think the ink on you arms and the whole "cleaned up" Hell's Angel look kind of led her to that vision of you saying to a gate crasher "No, really, please, go ahead and try ... I've been needing some exercise tonight .... what are you waiting on, Christmas..."

Actually, the last one is a favorite of mine. A co-worker was talking about wanting to kick my butt. So, I got off my ladder, dropped my tools, and gave him that last line. He decided that working on a project somewhere else was more important, which was fine with me. See, I can get along with others. :)

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Tommy: Not trying to make a big deal out of it but isn't what she said basically what I said to you a while back? Sounds like she gave you an honest evaluation. But the good news is that you sought out lessons which will probably make you better if you continue. I think you have the potential to be a very good singer if you want. If you can already sing as well as you do without any lessons you have some natural talent.

Obviously not all teachers are made the same AND anyone can call themselves one. In fact, you can start teaching singing right not if you want. Just put an add in the newspaper or whatever. So, your skepticism is good. If you don't like her find another teacher, simple as that. Even if she is good she simply might not be able to communicate in a way that makes sense to you... find a teacher that can.

I bet if you take lessons from a good teacher you will be wowed in a year.

1. Good Teachers help with confidence. You don't like the sound of your voice because you are not used to hearing it like others. By singing in front of someone that will, generally, be nice about things and make you feel good you'll develop confidence that you sound good. Also the more you hear your "real" voice the more you will get used to it.

2. Good teachers will help with technique. You've got some issues(everyone does) and if she is any good she point the issues out and give you ways to fix them.

3. Good teachers help with motivation. A good teacher will make you want to improve and want to sing. It should bring out the kid in you. A kid generally wants to "impress" people(mainly their parents and family) and still strive hard to do better. After all, we are all just older kids... whether we realize it or not.

My opinion is that you go for it and have fun... You seem like you are really interested in it or you wouldn't have taken the steps to get a teacher nor be on this forum. I have no doubt you can get to the point of singing well and you seem to have some of the things required to sing well.

Take a few lessons with her if you already got a good feeling about her... If later you are not really feeling motivated enough find someone else OR, even better, just check out other teachers now.... sort of like getting a 2nd opinion and see what else is out there.

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Thanks Stretto. And just for the record, I didn't have any issues with what you said about my singing. (sometimes its just the pitfalls of text that make it seem that way) I appreciated the advice and guidance. I think at the time I just happened to be looking for something other than advice is all. Never mind...it's complicated and not a text thing. :D

Actually now, you can critique anything I put up. Let me have it. It's all good brother ;) It's all about learning. Let's see what I can do.

Tommy

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An outstanding post by Stretto, in my opinion.

The only advice I can add is to record yourself. And then listen to it so many times that you can, at times, become detached and hear the actual technical things. That's what I do, to get past any "I can't sing" or "I think I am great" pitfalls. Just to be able to listen technically to what I do. So, I found one of my older recordings where I covered "Holy Diver."

And, to my horror, I could hear myself going flat in the first chorus, something I didn't catch before. I'm on pitch for the rest of the song. But just that one spot, even I could hear it. And I think, how could that have escaped me before?

So, the more you can listen to yourself, the more you can work toward an objectivity. The hard part for some is to get specific when they have a critique. I prefer zeroing in with a laser. Which word? Perhaps it was an intonation issue which can sound pitchy.

I have also learned why I overload the mic so easily. Because of how I have the mic place. An overloaded mic can flatten the response to a note making it sound buzzy or clipping. Like cramming 9 lbs of stuff into a 3 lb bag. Something's gotta give.

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Tommy: I don't take anything personal and I just put out help whether it is wanted or not ;) The only way anyone of us can get better is by helping each other and I learn things in the process of helping too. Sometimes I give too much information but I always think too much is better than not enough. Some things work subconsciously and even though you don't necessarily understand something the moment you read it, your brain hashes it out in the background.

Just don't give up and I think you'll really like where you'll end up. Remember, it's all about having fun but sometimes you gotta go through the growing pains to get where you want.

ronws: lol, we are friends now? ;) j/k

Mic placement and control is very important. This was my point in the other debate... everything is important. Learn as much as you can because it is all relevant. The more you know the better off you will be. I know several singers that have poor mic technique and it ruins the live mix ;/ They simply don't know how to use a mic. Compressors(de-essers), pop filters, limiters, expanders, EQ, etc can all help with issues BUT ultimately your still limited by your weakest link. If you sing better or use the mic better it is adds that much more to the overall sound(and can actually have a synergistic effect). The more a singer can do for themselves to sound better the less a sound engineer has to do... which means the less chance he has to screw things up and he won't be trying to fix something that simply might not be fixable with effects.

One thing about mics that every singer should is the proximity effect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proximity_effect_%28audio%29

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If I might add some point of view about some issues from my experience: I think it is mistake to be too much concentrate on a voice range range.

It is a result of a good technique.. If you know what you are doing your voice will be elastic and healthy and you will go up and down with your voice in an easy way, taking of course in consideration the nature of your voice. If someone has a bad breath system/support he/she will have difficulty or limited range. The work as I see it should be working on "using your body" while singing, and not "checking" you out at that point.

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Tommy: I don't take anything personal and I just put out help whether it is wanted or not ;) The only way anyone of us can get better is by helping each other and I learn things in the process of helping too. Sometimes I give too much information but I always think too much is better than not enough. Some things work subconsciously and even though you don't necessarily understand something the moment you read it, your brain hashes it out in the background.

That's what happens to me. Someone will say something, blunt or not. Then, it gets stuck in my brain until a solution arises. Usually, it turns out, I was working at something too hard. Stress kills.

Just don't give up and I think you'll really like where you'll end up. Remember, it's all about having fun but sometimes you gotta go through the growing pains to get where you want.

ronws: lol, we are friends now? ;) j/k

I'm just blunt, in my own way. I don't think we were "not-friends." I think, with all the technical skills we can offer, also there should be a way to phrase better what we write. I have been reprised by he who giveth and taketh away to be aware of how I phrase something. A part of me hopes that others can follow suit. If not, oh well, at least I can change what I do or say.

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I spent years and years on forums but stopped a few years ago because...well just because...lol. But typically , text can be troublesome. With lack of emotion or voice inflection all too often words get taken out of context and problems arise. I don't sweat it. Life goes on.

You can never truly get a feel for someone (or what they are saying) unless you are standing right in front of them. Even the phone is a plus over internet text.

It has been my experience that things change a lot face to face. :)

As a side note, somewhat related. Off topic yes, but hey it's my thread!! Forums can be a great way to learn about something and they have been very valuable. But as some one who has spent years around internet forums, I have found that there is a tipping point. There is the beginning where you get loads of information. Then at some point you become part of the forum to a point that it all becomes like a particular "style." Almost click like. Even dogma stats to show. People then tend to get caught in a groove.

This could become a very long post. I'll stop there :D

Tommy

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You can never truly get a feel for someone (or what they are saying) unless you are standing right in front of them. Even the phone is a plus over internet text.

It has been my experience that things change a lot face to face. :)

Tommy

Live is where it's at. Where have I heard that before?

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So I had my first lesson a couple of days ago. Actually, it was more like an evaluation for the first day. We started by the piano and she checked out my range. I didn't know what we were doing at the time so I'm a little disappointed. I think I could have gone higher if I knew what she was looking for. She was just kind of feeling me out. She seemed impressed though but I'm guessing it might be compared to clients she gets in there

(?)

She said that most men she gets have an average range of around 8 notes and I had 13 and she thinks I can get more. Like I said, if I knew what she was looking for when we did the exercise I think I could have done more. That didn't sound like a lot to me.

She liked my singing. She told me some things I know about already. Different terminology but same idea. She had me sing a couple of songs of my choice to my favorite CD's. I did the Paul Butterfield version of Little Walters "Blues With a Feeling" and Claptons "Running on Faith." She liked it and was commenting as I was singing about things she was surprised I was doing. She mentioned I was on pitch which, when I sing, I like what I'm hearing also...until I hear it played back. Like the version of Running on Faith I posted here. On play back it sounds pitchy to me.

Anyway, she said she could see my abs moving in and out like a bellows too much. She suggested I need to learn how to control the airflow and that I am running out of air at points because of the constant pumping. Thanks to a search here and an excellent post I found by FelipeCarvalho I knew she was talking about support. She also kept mentioning getting the sound "back" toward the back of my head. Well, those weren't her exact words but she got the point across and this is familiar to me. She mentioned not pushing the air. She kept mentioning the back thing. Pulling it back.

She ended by again commenting my singing and she actually said she'd have no problem putting me on her stage right now!

I considered that she might be just stroking me to get my business. But based on a few things, maybe not. First off she gave me an out. She asked me if I would like to continue with her. She said that if I wanted to sing karaoke and things like that I could already do well and basically didn't need her. She then said,"but" if I want to pursue this further than that or if I wanted to sing and realize where my voice could go/true potential, then she could help. She mentioned learning how to get higher notes without relying on getting louder. She also commented on working on my speech. And she mentioned starting sentences in my singing too hard.

I would think that if she was just trying to reel in a student, she would have pointed out more things that I needed or bad points or try to sell me on what I need rather than saying I could walk away and survive. Or complimenting me so much. The place is 4 minutes from my house and I had a red light on the way!

A funny note. She also asked if I'd be interested in working security at her shows. :D

I tend to get that a lot.

Tommy

It all sounds good man, think you found a good coach. This pulling the voice back thing kinda worries me, but then again you say its something that you figured from what she described... did she call it "covering"?

Anyways keep track of exactly what she is trying to tell you. Just pulling back is not the answer, not by a long shot. Im sure that she will work this slowly with you when its time, do not rush into it on your own.

Remember to have patience and to work with discipline on your exercises, always aim for comfort and precision on them, with time, it will pay off.

GL!

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Tommy: yeah, I used to be into forums and really this one is the first one I've messed with much in a long time.... in fact I have better things to do(like practice) than "lecture" people about things(most people don't like lectures). I like to help where I think I can and like to learn... I don't like ego though since it just gets in the way of that stuff. For me, if I'm wrong about something then I want someone to prove to me I'm wrong so I can fix it. I'm very skeptical and do not just believe people because they want me to. This is what debating/arguing is about... unfortunately some people try to skip that step and just pretend they are right about everything. I you think I'm wrong about something and want to correct me then prove I'm wrong and if you are successful then I'm a smarter person for it. If you are not and have the right mind then I might prove you wrong and you are smarter for it.... either way, it is a win win. When one side doesn't care about the truth then it is a lose lose(or possibly a lose win but usually it's just a lot of grief that way).

ronws: Well, I come from a highly technical background(although my communication skills my not show it as I tend to be very lazy in typing and I do not check what I say to make sure it make sense). One thing that peeves me, and there isn't much, is illogical arguments. Why? Probably because I studied logic, mathematics, and engineering in college. Because when an argument is illogical it is useless to discuss and some people try to ram it down the others throat as if it's actually means something. Sometimes, actually most of the time, it is not illogical but an issue with terminology. I do believe most people are logical more or less and what arguing/debating does is help clarify definitions and terminology. Sometimes it's a miscommunication. I'm not trying to say I am perfect or completely logical but for me it is important to be logical. If I am completely logical than it is just a matter of learning the "facts". If I am illogical it doesn't matter about the facts.

For example, you can prove 0 = 1 quite easily(or things like unicorns exist) with illogic. Such a world where illogic rules is a world where facts don't matter because you can believe and prove anything you want that makes you happy. To me that would be a very confusing world and I don't like to be confused ;)

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