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We don't learn to sing we TRAIN to sing.

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izzle1989
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People always ask how does this person sing this way or that way??? How did they learn to do this??? How can I learn to do this???

The answer to all of the questions are we don't learn to sing we train the muscles to become stronger, more coordinated, and more efficient. Nobody truly learns to sing we just train the muscles to perform at the given task better.

Whenever we open our mouths to sing or speak we are training our voices. Most off us generally have a stronger chest voice than head voice and the simple answer to that is we never use our head voice during daily life. I honestly believe that chest voice and head voice should be banned from the singing world because it inherently creates a break that should not be there. We are so accustomed to using only our low to mid range of the voice that we tend to disconnect when we have to ascend the scale or we strain and push a muscular coordination that is suppose to be assigned to a certain pitch well beyond what it is suppose to do.

The reason behind this is that we have not trained the pitches above the ones in which we are comfortable, so we try to use the same musculature as we ascend the scale or we completely change to the lightest musculature possible in order to release tension. Instead there should be a gradual shift towards a lighter muscular coordination without to much pulling of the antagonistic TA vs CT...These muscles should work together to create the sounds we make.

Any comments?

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Both of you are correct with your responses. I just wanted to oversimplify to help some of the newbies to understand that no article, forum post, or knowledge will replace the hard work that it takes to truly become better at singing.

Techniques are implemented to help us train in a safer way. True training takes more time then we are willing to wait. I feel that any scale or training of the voice will help to get to this target. There are many routes to Rome and no single vocal program is better than the way we apply them to our training.

I understand that different people have different vocal issues and the training approach will be different for each individual. I just want people to understand that it doesn't matter how much you think you know "how" to do something the knowledge will never replace actually doing whatever it is that you do.

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Also to add to that post we should train as many different parts of the voice in as many ways we can to achieve this goal...A variety of ranges, dynamic levels, and vocal colors. We should be doing any and everything that is safe to work the voice in the correct way.

If I want to get stronger I don't just work on my biceps, pecs, and the muscles that I think look good...I work on the weakest muscles of the kinetic chain the most which will feel anything but balanced and stable. I agree with you guys and I am not saying that I have some different way of training...I'm merely saying that we don't learn to sing as much as we strengthen the muscles to perform more efficiently.

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The problem with most people is that they try to sing like the speak. In american english, this is a real problem with our plethora, our veritable cornucopia of dipthongs. We chew our words. Second, most people speak with the residual pressure of a relaxing diaphragm which is okay for a few words but is not enough for singing.

Third, most people, and most especially men, detune themselves, trying to fit into a cultural expectation in themselves. I know, because I did the same thing. Trying to get my voice lower to "sound like a man." I have realized recently how much I held myself down expecting my voice to get lower. My step-grandfather sang bass in the church choir. How could I match that? Well, I tried but all it did was detune me. For years. My voice never cracked. I should have taken the hint.

Anyway, part of the first post makes me think of the practice of speaking resonantly. Roger Love has an excellent exercise for this. Say the word "hello" and hold the note on the "o." It is usually higher than the beginning and is also usually closer to the center of your speaking voice.

Quit holding your voice down. Get out of your own way.

Singing is mental.

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The problem with most people is that they try to sing like the speak. In american english, this is a real problem with our plethora, our veritable cornucopia of dipthongs. We chew our words. Second, most people speak with the residual pressure of a relaxing diaphragm which is okay for a few words but is not enough for singing.

Third, most people, and most especially men, detune themselves, trying to fit into a cultural expectation in themselves. I know, because I did the same thing. Trying to get my voice lower to "sound like a man." I have realized recently how much I held myself down expecting my voice to get lower. My step-grandfather sang bass in the church choir. How could I match that? Well, I tried but all it did was detune me. For years. My voice never cracked. I should have taken the hint.

Anyway, part of the first post makes me think of the practice of speaking resonantly. Roger Love has an excellent exercise for this. Say the word "hello" and hold the note on the "o." It is usually higher than the beginning and is also usually closer to the center of your speaking voice.

Quit holding your voice down. Get out of your own way.

Singing is mental.

Great post Ron I love the way you put a simple/layman's terms seasoning to your posts. I feel that we have many bad speaking habits and we have gone through most of our lives using a limited range of pitches except for when we are excited or surprised. Many times that spontaneity is enough to trigger us to connect our voices in a healthy way.

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Thanks, Iz. I'm a simple guy. My day is complex enough. The simpler I make things for myself, the better. It may not work for others but it works for me.

Others like more definition, more terms, more technology. And it works for them.

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Thanks, Iz. I'm a simple guy. My day is complex enough. The simpler I make things for myself, the better. It may not work for others but it works for me.

Others like more definition, more terms, more technology. And it works for them.

I'm the type that likes the best of both worlds :)

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Also to add to that post we should train as many different parts of the voice in as many ways we can to achieve this goal...A variety of ranges, dynamic levels, and vocal colors. We should be doing any and everything that is safe to work the voice in the correct way.

If I want to get stronger I don't just work on my biceps, pecs, and the muscles that I think look good...I work on the weakest muscles of the kinetic chain the most which will feel anything but balanced and stable. I agree with you guys and I am not saying that I have some different way of training...I'm merely saying that we don't learn to sing as much as we strengthen the muscles to perform more efficiently.

This is something I've been trying to explain in many posts you have to hit the voice from all directions.No one technique or scale is the answer. There is no secret .No secret exercise no one way to train, it all depends on the person and personally I just make sure I can sing chesty heady weak strong ugly pretty velvety raspy you name it I work it. That's why I study or studied with everyone I could including singing a ton of songs(which I believe to be our goal)

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ronws wrote:

The problem with most people is that they try to sing like the speak. In american english, this is a real problem with our plethora, our veritable cornucopia of dipthongs. We chew our words. Second, most people speak with the residual pressure of a relaxing diaphragm which is okay for a few words but is not enough for singing.

This is why we ask how to sing. Singing is different from speaking. Those of us who have no vocal training have no idea what to do other try to sing. Yes we have to learn how to sing because singing and speaking are different.

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ronws wrote:

The problem with most people is that they try to sing like the speak. In american english, this is a real problem with our plethora, our veritable cornucopia of dipthongs. We chew our words. Second, most people speak with the residual pressure of a relaxing diaphragm which is okay for a few words but is not enough for singing.

This is why we ask how to sing. Singing is different from speaking. Those of us who have no vocal training have no idea what to do other try to sing. Yes we have to learn how to sing because singing and speaking are different.

You don't learn to sing you actually train the muscles to work more efficiently. It doesn't matter how much you know or don't know about singing the key is to train correctly.

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Second, most people speak with the residual pressure of a relaxing diaphragm which is okay for a few words but is not enough for singing.

Although youre probably right on the note that one is speaking without much pressure (I feel this can be debated though; speech *onset* seems to have a good amount of pressure), Im not sure about your "few words" point. Without taking any deep breaths or any other unusual procedures, one can speak a word or words for a good long time, both with quite strong and quite weak volume. Your example of extending the word "helloooooooo," for instance

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singing, depending on the style, needs way more energy and coordination then speech. Take actors, or newsanchors. Often they are allready using more support and energy to deliver the proper inflections, ... to make their speech more interesting or fitting the decorum.

Singing takes this one step further, and depending of the style it sometimes goes to the extreme. (for example opera :P)

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Yes we must train. We learn what to train. We learn that we must modify vowels and when to modify them. Then we know what to train. We learn that we must engage the diaphram and the support muscles. Then we know what to train.

We are taught what to train and how to train. I have been singing for years and trained my voice to do the wrong things at the wrong time. Because I did not learn how to train correctly.

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and to add my 3.5 cents, in the immortal words of my favorite cartoon character foghorn leghorn,

"a lot, i say a lot has to do with the mind and intention boy."

for those youngsters who don't now about foghorn leghorn here is a video....lol!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TK_h8F--1w&feature=related

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This is something I've been trying to explain in many posts you have to hit the voice from all directions.No one technique or scale is the answer. There is no secret .No secret exercise no one way to train, it all depends on the person and personally I just make sure I can sing chesty heady weak strong ugly pretty velvety raspy you name it I work it. That's why I study or studied with everyone I could including singing a ton of songs(which I believe to be our goal)

Thanks Daniel!

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Quoted for truth!

You hit the nail on the head.

Thanks Dante, I just feel that people should be more open minded with training. I see far to many people jump on this boat or that boat while criticizing another boat.

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People always ask how does this person sing this way or that way??? How did they learn to do this??? How can I learn to do this???

The answer to all of the questions are we don't learn to sing we train the muscles to become stronger, more coordinated, and more efficient. Nobody truly learns to sing we just train the muscles to perform at the given task better.

Whenever we open our mouths to sing or speak we are training our voices. Most off us generally have a stronger chest voice than head voice and the simple answer to that is we never use our head voice during daily life. I honestly believe that chest voice and head voice should be banned from the singing world because it inherently creates a break that should not be there. We are so accustomed to using only our low to mid range of the voice that we tend to disconnect when we have to ascend the scale or we strain and push a muscular coordination that is suppose to be assigned to a certain pitch well beyond what it is suppose to do.

Two things, Izzle. #1. I really like your theories here in the above paragraph. #2. I don't feel I'm teaching my students how to sing, but how to remove the obstacles that are preventing them from singing the way they would like to sing.

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^ spot on, Renee. For that is what I have found in "training" my own voice. The main thing I am training is how to get out of my own way. Not forcing my voice to do what it won't do. Which causes some others to accuse me of being lazy or not doing enough with my voice. Quite the contrary. When you are used to stepping on your own feet, it takes a while to learn to quit stepping on your feet, so to speak.

To me, singer training should be about removing obstacles and impediments, rather than creating more. If, after a year or so, singing is harder rather than easier and it seems the mountain is even higher to climb than before than I think these things are in play.

The path one has taken is problematic.

Or the perspective is off kilter.

Usually, it's the latter. Because singing is mental.

So, every day, I learn better how to quit stepping on my own feet.

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I have to agree more with MDEW... It's a combination of both learning and training. We cannot fully train something if we have not learned how to do so, yet learning yields no practical benefits if we do not apply what we have learned.

If you put it into a different context, a footballer for example, he/she learns where to hit the ball and with what amount of power to achieved the desired shot. Then they go and kick a ball 1000 times until they can do it consistently.

If you take the very definition of learn from the dictionary:

"To gain knowledge, comprehension, or mastery of through experience or study"

knowledge, comprehension and study are your "learning" and mastery and experience are your "training"

I think there is definitely an argument for training over learn though. I myself feel I am much better at learning than training. I know a lot more than my voice suggests I do! I almost feel like I've learned too much (although I'm in no way suggesting I'm anywhere near fully knowledgeable on the subject, I'm just talking about my current level =P) that the phrase "paralysis by analysis" comes to mind...! Whereas someone training without going through the learning process can still make gains if they listen to their body and don't hurt themselves.

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I don't feel I'm teaching my students how to sing, but how to remove the obstacles that are preventing them from singing the way they would like to sing.

Brilliant! :) Sorry, I'm a little biased here. I say brilliant because I use this idea all the time in my teaching.

But I use the old

" How do you carve an elephant?” “First, get a block of marble and then remove everything that doesn’t look like an elephant.”

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I'm in no way suggesting I'm anywhere near fully knowledgeable on the subject, I'm just talking about my current level =P) that the phrase "paralysis by analysis" comes to mind...! Whereas someone training without going through the learning process can still make gains if they listen to their body and don't hurt themselves.

"Paralysis by analysis," indeed. Herbert Burtis described it, as well, in one of his books as the guy who gets on a horse and tries to gallop off in 5 different directions, at once.

And some systems are heavy on the lingo, esoteric descriptions fairly proprietary to that system. But I am a simple guy. And the more I simplify something, the easier things are for me.

I, too, am no expert.

And Tommy's quote also rings true for me. Sculpting, the art of taking away what is not needed to reveal the form beneath. I phrase it as getting out of my own way. And, as I try to improve my recording and mixing skills, I find that phrase to be true not just for the act of singing, but also the process of how I record, as well as how I mix the results. How much of what effect to use, or to even use an effect, at all.

And that could very well have something to do with the chain of effects and what order they are used. But I digress.

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Two things, Izzle. #1. I really like your theories here in the above paragraph. #2. I don't feel I'm teaching my students how to sing, but how to remove the obstacles that are preventing them from singing the way they would like to sing.

OMG! Amen! Amen!

I'm am sooooooo glad you mentioned this because we are all capable of expressing ourselves in whatever way possible. As a voice teacher if you are doing what you just quoted you get my vote. We have all been using or voices for our entire lives whether we did it efficiently or inefficiently. The only things that hold us back are our bad habits that we developed throughout the years.

If we remove the obstacles it is so much easier to gain strength and control within our voice because we are able to target the correct muscles. "Obstacles are just like me doing sit ups to improve the definition of my abs. I can do sit ups all day, but If I don't remove the thin layer of fat covering them I will never get that true definition that I want."

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^ spot on, Renee. For that is what I have found in "training" my own voice. The main thing I am training is how to get out of my own way. Not forcing my voice to do what it won't do. Which causes some others to accuse me of being lazy or not doing enough with my voice. Quite the contrary. When you are used to stepping on your own feet, it takes a while to learn to quit stepping on your feet, so to speak.

To me, singer training should be about removing obstacles and impediments, rather than creating more. If, after a year or so, singing is harder rather than easier and it seems the mountain is even higher to climb than before than I think these things are in play.

The path one has taken is problematic.

Or the perspective is off kilter.

Usually, it's the latter. Because singing is mental.

So, every day, I learn better how to quit stepping on my own feet.

Ron this will be a classic post...I agree with everything you have stated

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