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What to expect first time doing exercises, and the first month or so.

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PaulHart
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Especially on sirens and track and release. What should be happening when you get to those areas you can no longer maintain? Falsetto? Do you keep going up in falsetto or do you stop and start over?

My low/mid chest voice seems to be getting stronger, louder, but I'm hitting the same wall shortly into the break area/passagio.

The problem isn't pulling back, it's pulling back far enough not to strain and when I'm high enough theres nowhere to pull back any further too without turning it into a whisper or falsetto or just cracking all to pieces.

I'll just keep at it I guess.

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Sirens are really good and they are also really hard done correctly. Typically a lot of men have the tendancy to either oversqueeze or to just completely let go whenever they feel it's getting hard for them. Slides where you just randomly change positions in your vocal tract won't do as much for you.

Personally I enjoy the idea of focusing on keeping a solid position and then stretching that without allowing myself to grab that part, oversqueeze OR let go. You'll find you can stretch further and further eventually.

It's beter to practise 1 exercise right in a small range over and over and expanding then being a hero and practise for 2 hours without any clue what you're doing or why you are doing it.

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That's a very tricky thing to learn. It takes a lot of work and you need to work on the right things. No, going into falsetto isn't going to help you. You need to get on a practice regimine and you will go from low to high and then back down. Once you hit your highest note (without cracking) you work your way back down. Only go to the highest note once or twice in one day. Do it again day after day and that highest note will get a little higher - but only after a while. If you do it right you could gain an octave in a couple months. If you're serious about getting better I'd invest in a video instruction program like Lunte's pillars 2 or Tamplins KTVA program. Or take a lesson. That will get you where you want in the shortest amount of time.

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That's a very tricky thing to learn. It takes a lot of work and you need to work on the right things. No, going into falsetto isn't going to help you. You need to get on a practice regimine and you will go from low to high and then back down. Once you hit your highest note (without cracking) you work your way back down. Only go to the highest note once or twice in one day. Do it again day after day and that highest note will get a little higher - but only after a while. If you do it right you could gain an octave in a couple months. If you're serious about getting better I'd invest in a video instruction program like Lunte's pillars 2 or Tamplins KTVA program. Or take a lesson. That will get you where you want in the shortest amount of time.

Great post Geno!...To add to Geno's post make sure you keep the dynamic levels low until you feel you can connect the sound smoothly. Being loud and powerful is not the most important thing HAVING ONE VOICE IS.

So no chest voice and no head voice/or falsetto only one voice with less fold mass as you ascend the sclae, but greater fold closure at those lighter levels with that thin fold mass until you can maintain that fold closure easily then you can increase the cord mass progressively.

Just know as you increase the fold mass it will always be thicker fold mass on the lower end and progressively thinner fold mass at the top. The reason why we "break" into falsetto is because we are not coordinated enough to maintain that intense vibration/closure as we ascend the scale so we either hold on too much and sound like we are hitting a ceiling and struggling to get past G4, or we let go to much as we pass by C# to E4 and lose all thick fold mass and "break" into falsetto with a thin breathy sound.

Think of this analogy that I came up with, "you and your best friend or favorite relative of someone have formed this bond with your hands, but you are stronger than your counterpart and your counterpart is more flexible then you. You begin to swing each other around like ring around rosy with just your right hands; you will either over power him/her and hold on too hard or you will over estimate his'/her's strengths and release that bond. You two would have to find that balance between over pulling and releasing too much. " Chest vs. Head Voice should be one Coordinated Voice. #Zay_Iz_Muziq#

Good Luck with your journey! :cool:

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  • 2 weeks later...

I use Anne Peckham's "Elements of Vocal Technique: The Contemporary Singer" 6 days a week). I do the "High Workout" Mon-Wed-Fri and the "Low" workout Tues-Thu-Sat. On Sunday, I rest. As your voice gets stronger, hitting pitches become easier. My voice improved dramatically from doing BOTH high and low workouts (In the beginning, I used to only do high workouts).

It took me 12 months to really open up my voice. It takes that long to exercise and build up different areas. They strengthen at different rates. Every month, I was feeling changes in my voice (and I'm still feeling them).

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I use Anne Peckham's "Elements of Vocal Technique: The Contemporary Singer" 6 days a week). I do the "High Workout" Mon-Wed-Fri and the "Low" workout Tues-Thu-Sat. On Sunday, I rest. As your voice gets stronger, hitting pitches become easier. My voice improved dramatically from doing BOTH high and low workouts (In the beginning, I used to only do high workouts).

It took me 12 months to really open up my voice. It takes that long to exercise and build up different areas. They strengthen at different rates. Every month, I was feeling changes in my voice (and I'm still feeling them).

Great post and often stated by others in various ways.

I would a proviso from the method of Enrico Caruso. Practicing is fine. But what is just important as the act of practicing is how you practice. With total commitment and attention. Caruso did not adhere to such a finite and structured schedule as this. But he concentrated totally on what he was doing, whether it was scales, working out a piece, breathing, whatever.

I don't mean for it to sound like hard work, though others may see it that way. Unless a person wants to consider concentrating to be hard work. Which it can be. My day job requires intense concentration at times, as well as multi-tasking like a cartoon figure in 3 places at once. At the end of the day, I am trashed. Exhausted. But then, I have been concentrating on work from 6 am to at least 4 pm. 10 hours of wall to wall crises and minutae to manage. That's not counting the hour and a half drive home, checking company voice mail, dealing with burning fires, so to speak, while having a mental image of the problem in my head. But that is what I get paid to do.

So, you don't have to concentrate that intensely for 10 hours. Just for the 30 minutes to 90 minutes that you do your vocalising, etc. But make that time count. 30 minutes of doing it right and then leaving it alone will accomplish greater results than a few hours of increasingly worn-out attempts.

And once you do something right, it is tempting to do that some more until you are exhausted. The voice does not work that way. No pain, no gain is fine for running, not so much for voice. Do something right and then let it be. Next time you do that again, do it right. Let that be the habit. If you sing to exhaustion where everything starts falling apart, THAT will become the habit.

And so, it's going to take time. Two weeks, two months, two years .... who cares? You have your whole life, barring freakish decapitation in the next sequel of "Final Destination."

If you think one of these singing programs is what you need, then save for that. You have to decide what it is that you want and then stick to that. For your own reasons, not someone else's.

Patience. You can do a scale, right off the bat. And at the end of that scale, you will not be sounding like David Coverdale. You will be sounding like you after your first set of scales. There is no magic pill. Unless dedication and drive is a magic pill. In which case, you had that magic pill all along. You just need some guidance here and there. And there is no magic pill to make you sound like David. You could sing with the same technique as him, have a similar range, and sound nothing like him. Or do nothing special other than basics and sound a lot like him. It's a genetic crap shoot.

And yeah, some people have always been able to sing and just needed some pointers here and there. And some seemed to have been born swinging a golf club. But it still takes some dedication and persistence to do whatever well and consistently. And it will be work, if you don't want to practice. If you do want to practice, then it's not work. When I was teaching myself guitar, I could not wait to get a chance to play, or learn something different. Life got in the way of guitar playing. School, homework, dinner time, they were things to get through so I could have time to play guitar and sing songs. And it has always been my habit, even with guitar, to learn some new thing, and then do it in a song. But it didn't feel like work.

Another cheating tactic of mine is that if a particular passage was difficult or someone had written the sheet music in a difficult way, was to find a way to play it that was more managable and allowed the flow of the song to continue. I'm bad that way. Other times, I learned things note for note. I used to play the guitar solo in "Stairway to Heaven" note for note. And watched Jimmy play it live, several times. And he has never played it the same way twice. Essentially, anything you do in the pentatonic "blues" scale in the key of A will sound right for that song. His way was easier than mine.

You can do the same thing with singing, as well. I am also bad that way.

What to expect. Expect that things are going to feel or sound odd, at first. Remember that you cannot hear yourself the way we hear you. For several reasons. First, you hear yourself through bone conduction, mostly. Secondly, you hear yourself through your own psychological filter. Thirdly, we hear you through our own psychological filter.

I have been told that I should not sing a certain song because I cannot sound like the original singer. I did have some performance issues with the song, one of them being that I was trying to sound like the original singer and not making it. But the comment from another that I should not sing this song because I do not sound like the original singer, does that help with technique? Maybe so. Choice of song material is of key importance. But I digress.

Expect that it will take a while.

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Thanks for your feedback guys, all good ideas...

When you are referring to "sirens" and "track & release" you could only be referring to "The Four Pillars of Singing 2.0", from The Vocalist Studio. Assuming you are a TVS client and working out with "Pillars 2.0" content, my first question has to be, why did you not send an email out to me directly Paul? You are my client, you are training TVS content, I am here to answer you questions and listen to your audio files... Jumping on the forum and asking general questions is a good idea but digging into the specifics of individual workouts from the TVS system is risky... While these guys tend to know what they are talking about, if you ask them about "track & release", if they don't realize you are referring to "Pillars 2.0" content, you are going to get a bunch of confusing feedback and at worst, bad advise.

Your problem is not unique. Welcome to the 'sport of vocal training'. Everyone on this service has faced the same thing you are facing... 'How do you keep from crapping out to full Falsetto or choking yourself to death with pointless pushing?".

BUILD AN ONSET:

As a TVS student, you need to first insure that your onset is correct and when I say correct, I mean perfectly anal correct. You need to dig in and sing onsets like you are threading a needle, slowly, and carefully working through your onset package work flow sequence (see the book), in front of a mirror to insure your embouchure is correct (I'm willing to bet that if I saw you do this, your embouchure would have problems... your not dropping your jaw enough and your not biting into your embouchure, am I wrong?)... with your ears you are going to listen carefully to the 2nd formant and work on dampening the larynx.

PUT THE ONSET ON THE MOVE WITH SIRENS:

Assuming you are capable of phonating a consistent onset package, you then begin to put it on the move with the power of sirens. The siren is there to train your body to calibrate all the components of your phonation package in a fluid way.... Ok, which leads us to your passaggio inevitably....

TRAINING BRIDGING:

1). You have to first train the body to release the constrictors which cause the instinct to push on high notes. This is the purpose of 'lift up / pull back' maneuvers through the passaggio... it is there to train the timing and placements of head voice work and to shut down the bodies ancient instinct to engage the constrictors on high pitches. Doing 'lift up / pull back' means that you will will lighten the mass into what I call the "Falsetto spectrum"... it may not be 100% Falsetto, but it would be a hyper light mass phonation that is probably windy... how far you pull back is an individual thing... the objective is to just get bridged without constricting, calibrate the timing (early) and fell your head voice on top... it is NOT there to sound cool. "lift up / pull back' is not a maneuver you would use in singing, it is a training technique for beginners or people that need to warm up.

Geno's assertion that Falsetto doesn't have a purpose is not correct. It does have a purpose, a very important purpose in training. Not so much in singing, but in training, especially beginners that are trying to learn to bridge, shut down the constrictors and just get into the head voice, regardless of the quality of the connectivity. Do NOT let the "it doesn't sound good" aesthetic of Falsetto take you off your mission!

How long you work with 'lift up / pull back' is dependent on each individual... could be 1 week, could be a month... its an easy thing to do...

BUILDING CONNECTIVITY IN THE HEAD VOICE:

Once you can bridge, (even if that means you are bridging into the head voice with Falsetto temporarily), you then begin working on the connectivity... or making your head voice sound full and in doing so, replace Falsetto mode in the head voice with a phonation package consisting of vocal twang, larynx dampening, intrinsic anchoring, a favorable training vowel ("Eh"), a great embouchure and your eyes off the floor!

You see, it all becomes a work flow sequence... See the "Master Work Flow Chart" in the book and follow these steps...

Learning to bridge takes about 1 day to 2 months for most people... learning to connect in the head voice takes a lot more time because its not just coordination, it requires muscle strengthening and coordination, generally speaking, a bigger task... so then, you "bridge & connect' on your sirens until you begin to get it all put together...

As you work through this process... you will find that the need to "lift up / pull back" becomes less apparent and this transformation from pulling back to the Falsetto spectrum to a more connected and full sound through the passaggio begins to happen intuitively for the body.

Another thing I want you to do is when you work on your sirens, work on modifying from an "Eh" to an "UH" where "eh' is at the onset and "uh" shading begins through the passaggio and to the top. When doing your top down onsets, you will onset onto an "uh" and modify back to an 'eh" through the passaggio as you descend.

My gut tells me this is mostly about the quality of your training sessions... students don't realize what level of detail you have to get into in order to calibrate the body to do this, especially in the beginning. They work on this stuff and have struggles... they get in front of me only to see that simple things like the embouchure are not in place... I'll bet you a million bucks Paul that if you turn to a mirror, your jaw is not down and you have no bite in your embouchure? What vowel are you training on? Is it an "EH"? Really?... or is it more of an "ae" as in "cat in a hat"? Are you bridging early... unlikely... if your choking, I'm sure your timing is off... all these things are the basics...

You need to get in front of me... you need three lessons with me so I can call you out on these phonation package details and help you to calibrate a higher detail. And remember, this is not about learning to sing pretty in the chest voice... learning to bridge and connect is hard work, it takes a lot of practice and physical development.... truthfully, if you just get in front of me on some internet lessons with Skype, you will do fine...

Geno was right about one thing and it probably the best advise on here, you need to take private lessons with me ... experienced vocal technique geeks understand that point... Students that can afford three lessons, but choose not to because they think they are going to get all this figured out on their own and save some money, are fooling themselves. You need to train with me, at least for three sessions... I'm not just trying to up-sale you, I'm trying to help you... and that's the bottom-line.

Lastly, stop trying to "hit high notes"... remove that from your talk-track. Too many people say they "hit" this not and tried to "hit" that note... We don't "hit hight notes", we "sing deep notes"... I refer you to the x axis on your x/y intercept graph from "The Geometry of Vocal Technique" in "Pillars 2.0"... so long as your mental programming is in the primitive and you are trying to "hit a high note",,, your body will try to push and 'hit' it... when you change your mental programming to "sing a deep note"... you begin to cover, shift formants, bridge, release constrictors, etc... this is the psychologic component that you need to fix... and if you think I'm just full of new age B.S. and mental programming doesn't matter, you're not in the sport of singing technique... there is a very powerful auditory imagery component and attitude adjustments that need to be made... bade code in, bad application out... debug your mental programming.

coach

Here is the link to the internet lessons:

http://www.thevocaliststudiostore.com/Internet-Lesson-Packages_p_32.html

Here is a video that emphasizes the need to understand all the components in your phonation package:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81oONVUXxwY

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Paul, this "one voice" advise is correct in the sense that, this is the end game. This is the goal and quickly in your process, sometimes very quickly, your bridging and phonations will become more and more one voice... but it won't happen until you first build strength and coordination in your mechanism. You have to have a basic foundation before you begin to "ram" into the passaggio with what you think is a "full voice". With all due respect to my colleagues here, what they don't fully appreciate sometimes, is the process required for raw beginners. Often times the training process for beginners requires some additional preparation along the lines of strengthening and coordination.

On this forum, we tend to talk about and recommend advanced techniques and concepts here... This post about fold mass is correct, but do you really get the meaning behind the relationship between the physiology of your "fold mass" and the resulting acoustics it produces? Maybe it is helpful, but all I'm trying to say is... FIRST learn to stop constricting and learn to phonate a proper onset, train with sequential work flows to make your training efficient and get some lessons.

Lastly, in your book there is a "Trouble-Shooter" matrix that has a list of common problems for students, the cause of the problem and the suggested solution... did you consult the "TVS Trouble-Shooter" matrix, if you had, your answer and solutions are there for you to try.

Feel free to send me a private email if you like... I'll listen to your files or lets sesh up...

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Sirens are really good and they are also really hard done correctly. Typically a lot of men have the tendancy to either oversqueeze or to just completely let go whenever they feel it's getting hard for them. Slides where you just randomly change positions in your vocal tract won't do as much for you.

Personally I enjoy the idea of focusing on keeping a solid position and then stretching that without allowing myself to grab that part, oversqueeze OR let go. You'll find you can stretch further and further eventually.

It's beter to practise 1 exercise right in a small range over and over and expanding then being a hero and practise for 2 hours without any clue what you're doing or why you are doing it.

It has been a surprise to me to discover that sirens are "hard"... I always thought they were rather easy, but maybe that is just my experience I suppose... but its true, for beginners, they seem to be hard at first, but once you get it, it really races you forward in your pursuit to get command and control over your voice. What makes sirens hard is not that it is a siren, it is the requirement to calibrate or check/balance all the components in the phonation package in a fluid way without anything losing its balance or optimal calibration.

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And the mere mortals bow down and the gates of heaven open as the angels sing a sweet lullaby. Paul this information that you just got is completely correct. Some of the information that I gave you may have been a little more advanced since I have been singing and grew up with a singing family all of my life. Those statements just reminded me of the long journey that it took for me to get to the point where I am at now. Just know that the journey may be long, but it is well worth it.

Good luck! If you do everything that Rob just stated you will be joining the singing Gods before you know it!

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paul, another best advice i can offer you is "i promise" if you work consistently and dilligently at this, you will improve.

don't rush the development. it will come. and you won't just see improvement in only one area, but several areas, and areas you didn't even plan on.

so for example, while you're busy working through your passaggio, you are also going to be developing a more resonant voice.

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paul, another best advice i can offer you is "i promise" if you work consistently and dilligently at this, you will improve.

don't rush the development. it will come. and you won't just see improvement in only one area, but several areas, and areas you didn't even plan on.

so for example, while you're busy working through your passaggio, you are also going to be developing a more resonant voice.

Exactly just stay persistent and you can be or do anything that you want to do.

Practice! Practice!! PRACTICE!!!

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