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Help and advice would be much appreciated

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aureliaz
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Hello everyone,

Bear with me please – this is gonna be one heck of a long first post but I have a bunch of issues that need sounding out. I’ll get to the point and summarize with questions at the bottom of this post.

tl;dr

Alright so I started singing properly in a choir at 17 for a year or so (which is the most formal training I’ve had) and in small jazz bands, acappella groups and rock/pop groups in college. For the most part, I’ve been self-taught i.e. copying just about everybody I’ve admired. My tone is pretty decent and I’ve gotten away with it for the past few years. But deep down, I know my actual vocal technique is flawed– I can’t seem to sing with an open throat and my larynx is raised much too high most of the time so everything feels like its being powered by the throat and I usually suffer after a tough song or using my chest voice too much. Even my vibrato isn’t a natural response that comes with good support. It’s consciously controlled with my throat [which is not to say that control is particularly good].

Anyway, I recently sought out a voice teacher (primarily classical who had pop/jazz students as well) cause I figured, ‘Start with the basics and maybe you’ll eventually learn to belt without overstraining, control everything else properly and keep your current singing voice for more than 5-6 years.’ He expressed caution in even trying to go classical because my pop tone is so deeply rooted but we tried it anyway for the first lesson.

Second lesson, he asked for a demonstration of two carols – one I did in chest, the other in head. He stopped the lesson and said I needed to revolutionize my entire method (because I was mimicking and sounding okay but completely without proper technique. My “blessing and curse” as he put it) and that I’d be better off with an SLS teacher because 1) I need a new system 2) it’ll help to reconcile my head and chest voices. (My head is not very airy or weak. But the tones can sound drastically different. Examples at the bottom.)

The moment I heard "SLS" from a well-established, non affiliated classical dude, I had alarm bells going on inside because I’ve heard so many negative things about SLS. At the same time, I’ve worked with and respect one of the few SLS teachers in my country so I’m pretty torn. My friends have passed me their copies of SS and Mastering Mix along with KTVA Vol 1 but I don’t know if I should incorporate any of that now because I don’t want to reinforce anything that’s wrong.

To make matters better or worse (I haven’t quite decided), I’ve been offered a job teaching music and directing choirs. On one hand, well $$$; on the other, I’m petrified of teaching 30 young ones and leading them astray with my own unstable technique. I think I’m going to take a couple SLS lessons with the aforementioned teacher just to give it a shot but I’m just so skeptical.

/tl;dr

background blah blah I'm a copycat blah blah classical teacher told me to go for SLS instead

QUESTIONS

1) People with experience in the different singing systems – I really have no clue which system [sLS/4 Pillars/CVI/KTVA] is better for reconciling my head/chest, opening the throat and solving the way my hard palate closes in, making nearly every phrase start with an almost ‘explosive’ sound out. I’ve tried crawling through the forums but too much jargon made my head (and heart) hurt. Any thoughts? I’m not looking to start a war, I’m just pretty confused. I sing mostly pop/jazz these days, favouring my head voice cause it’s easier but agility, versatility (e.g. belting for rock and musical theatre) and a healthy chest is important to me too.

For reference,

(don’t speak – what feels like mostly head + a touch of non strained chest/(or mix?) till 1.30 then it goes to a really straining sorta muffled sounding chest with pitch issues that can lead to pain. I apologize for how crazily HD it is [believe me, my mug that close up scares me too ha] and for using videos. I know audio clips are usually preferred but oh well.)

(pure head voice)

2) Has anyone been at the point where they just copied without really knowing for sure what their ‘true voice’ sounds like? How do you find your authentic voice in that case? I feel like I’m in that situation and I can’t shake it off. The line between a copied tone and my original tone is almost non-existent to me which is...not ideal in the long run. I just sorta..adapt a tone for whichever genre/song comes along.

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regarding the issue of helping you to get in touch with your own voice......may i suggest you try singing songs which have very little, to no influence of the original artist...very generic songs....

such as:

happy birthday

mary had a little lamb

take me out to the ball game

hail, hail the gangs all here

just some examples of songs that may leave you to sing with your true voice since there's no frame of reference.

one way is to speak the first line, then sing the same line, speak the next line, then sing the next line and so on. you could even mix the order up, talk two, sing one, whatever.....this will tend to keep you focused on singing beautifully these simple tunes and take your mind off your mimicking tendency.

hope i've helped.

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Sing a lot (exercises and songs)

Listen to instructional videos/tapes

Record yourself and listen back, then try to work on it

Exercise your body

Sing in public -- it doesn't matter how ssmall you start, but even in front of one other person or even your dog is a start (seriously)

It takes time but anyone can improve. Probably not everyone can be Pavarotti or Buble or Stevie Wonder but when you sound a little better every week, month, year, and do things you never thought you could, that is what singing is about.

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Ive been on the same situation, and went through the process. Its worth it, although the teacher I went to teaches mainly pop/rock using classical technique. It made a big difference and I would not be able to teach the way I do today without it (I had other kinds of training before, it does not compare).

"finding your own voice" is not really the issue here, you can do it easily with a few references. The problem in this situation is that we cant simply stop singing and develop technique for an year and a half, and then resume. Thats probably why he told you to get to a SLS teacher that is closer to the goal you want, this way the person will have better condition to interfere on what you already do instead of working everything from the ground up...

Thats the approach that worked for me, I repositioned everything, both on chest and head voice, but I kept singing (and training twice a day for one hour and a half during a year). Take your time to choose a teacher that really knows what he is doing, I suggest talking to Dan and Dante. Dont start modifying things alone since at least you are getting quality from it, its a useful thing. GL! :)

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