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How to (re)start?

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Mithali
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Hi guys,

I love singing but I am not good at it and I would like to be..better :) Over the years (I am 27) I developed many bad habits (especially "supporting" with my throat rather than with my diaphragm) as I was singing with guitar and trying to be louder than the guitar.

I gave singing a break but now I have a bit more time, so I am trying again. I am looking for a teacher in Prague... but it is not that easy. We dont have big singers community here so I dont have any contacts or references on teachers and so its hard to find the "right" one.

Anyway my question is... are there any basic exercises I can do on my own until I find someone to help me? Something I cannot do wrong..:( because I feel like even with the easier things I tend to involve those muscles that rises larynx etc. And if I really concentrate on not engaging them my tone is very weak and hard to control... and as I think about all these things I become all stiff :)

I would post an example of me singing but I dont know what should I sing to showcase all problems of my voice and I dont know anymore what is my natural voice as I was trying various techniques. But I can try and record something if it would help and it you tell me what you wanna hear... :)

Thank you,

M.

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If you are supporting with your throat versus your diaphragm, your natural voice will sound naturally weak and thin : P. Diaphragm support requires the proper posture, so always sit/stand up straight with your neck straight.

Finding your proper vocal weight is also hard to do so it's a normal occurrence if your voice is all over the map.

things you should check for yourself, make sure your tongue is flexing as you sing.

vibrato is something you could work on if you don't have it yet. It takes a few months, but if you just keep trying every time you sing, you will probably make progress. vibrato also works very well when you combine it with diaphragm support, but that takes a little more experience.

Post what you like to sing, scales, high songs, low songs, any songs.

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Thanks guys,

So I tried some quick recordings of how I sing - sorry for the audio quality:

1) This is how I am used to sing... Even though I feel I really do use diaphragm in the higher parts I still know I do it somehow wrong because I cannot really control loudness much - I just have to be loud otherwise I start to use the throat to much and that is not comfortable at all. But if I am loud I know it is not correct but at least it doesnt hurt a bit or anything. Anyway my range with this is pretty limited - I think I couldnt go much lower or higher with it than this song does.

2) when I try to lighten it up - so I can go higher - the tone is very weak, cracks and I am all over the place :/

As for lip bubbles.. I tried the Brett Mannings program for a while - he has lip rolls there which is I suppose the same thing - I am not able to go high with them... I feel like I need a lot of air to keep the bubbles bubbling and it is a big pressure on the vocal chords and my throat tense up... So it is not easy exercise for my and surely not one I could do correctly :) Will look into the others though, thanks

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no. you have a very nice tone to your voice. there are times where the voice seems a little too breathy and other times where it connects nice and light.

i myself always begin with the breath and breathing before anything. i would suggest you start there.

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Thanks guys,

So I tried some quick recordings of how I sing - sorry for the audio quality:

1) This is how I am used to sing... Even though I feel I really do use diaphragm in the higher parts I still know I do it somehow wrong because I cannot really control loudness much - I just have to be loud otherwise I start to use the throat to much and that is not comfortable at all. But if I am loud I know it is not correct but at least it doesnt hurt a bit or anything. Anyway my range with this is pretty limited - I think I couldnt go much lower or higher with it than this song does.

2) when I try to lighten it up - so I can go higher - the tone is very weak, cracks and I am all over the place :/

As for lip bubbles.. I tried the Brett Mannings program for a while - he has lip rolls there which is I suppose the same thing - I am not able to go high with them... I feel like I need a lot of air to keep the bubbles bubbling and it is a big pressure on the vocal chords and my throat tense up... So it is not easy exercise for my and surely not one I could do correctly :) Will look into the others though, thanks

Mithali: The first song is almost entirely in the lower 1/3rd of your voice. Its strong, but a little irregular, partly (I think) from the way you are expressing the text.

THe 2nd song spends a bit of time in your middle voice. I heard 1 place where you cracked in the transition from the lower part of your voice to the middle, but all the rest of it sounded perfectly fine. This is not a weak area... you are singing in a very low-intensity way, with a mild vibrato.

That place where you broke is about the E or F above Middle C, and you can smooth that out with some sirens across that region of pitches... from low to high, and from high to low.

If you want to learn to sing more consistently, then do vocalexercises which use consistent tone quality and volume. Pick a note and a vowel, start the note, and sustain the volume for several seconds.

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I can't conceive of how any one could hear your voice and not think you are a woman or have any doubt.

Anyway, I think you were only breathy on "Wild Horses" because you were singing below your normal range. Granted, some women can train to sing low but most songs expect you to be soprano, which you are.

As for greater volume in higher notes, as per Frisell, that is to be expected. And I think you did just fine. In fact, I don't know what the problem is.

Then, again, I am a loud singer, too. I am trying to learn how to record myself, as I stink at it.

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Thanks everyone...

@VIDEOHERE. Right, I will focus on breathing exercises... I found one that is as simple as breathing in and than slowly exhaling with "ssss" sound... feels helpful in becoming aware of how my diaphragm feels when its working and learning to keep the air flow steady.

@Steven Fraser. Will definitely try sirens... it is hard for me to find a way to sing in lower part without being weak and breathy and still being able to go higher... I mean it feels like if I want to sound "fully" in the lower parts of my voice I have to cut of the higher parts and the other way around... but maybe it just takes time before I will find "the spot" where I can stay connected and fully sounded throughout my whole range.

@ronws: I am not sure I understand, you think that I am soprano? ...I am almost sure, that I am alto... And as for recording... do you have mac? I love garageband... or if you have windows pc Audacity will do...

Question... When I use diaphragm and I need to sustain note a bit longer I also feel like I tense some muscles in my chest - like holding breath while I am exhaling... it helps me regulate my airflow without help of throat muscles and keeps my chest in inspiratory position... do you know what is it that happens here? what are those chest muscles and what is exactly happening? just curious - I know many singers have this feeling.

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Professional help. I recommend classical trainning.

You have a very nice voice, take your time to find help. It may save you years of wasted efforts.

If you are really eager to start, search for relaxation exercises. It will help starting to notice exactly what are the bad habits you will have to let go.

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So today I went to this teacher(with classical background) I found via internet. He told me that I need to learn how to control my diaphragm, that after I do that the muscles in throat will discharge themselves as I won't feel the need to use them anymore. Also that from start it is harder to sing quiet than loud - dont really know how to explain this to neighbors at 7pm - so I should sing as loud as I need for start. And also that I have tendency to use too much air as I go higher and that that(together with wrong support) is the reason my voice cracks...

I must say that after 30 minutes of singing with piano with him I had hard time laughing how were my belly muscles tired :)

So I was really surprised - this was the cheapest teacher I ever went to, with no references what so ever and he was the only one that was able to analyze me so quickly and I believe that also correctly... But its really inconvenient that I don't have where to practice in "full sound" during week days :/ ...but we will see :)

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