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Self-learning VS Lessons

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Jared
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Hey everybody,

I've had the pleasure of browsing some interesting topics over the last few days here. I have a question for all those experienced vocalists.

Has self-learning made you into the singer you wanted to be? Ebooks and DVDs...have they made you improve rapidly and to an impressive point?

I am all about self-help. I have invested in lots of marketing, photography, weightlifting, and tons of topics about becoming a better person...but all those had a visual measurable result. Am I getting more sales? Is my photographic process becoming tighter? Am I getting stronger and larger? It's very easy to look and see.

I totally believe in the process but I'm wondering if it's the right solution for me as everyone knows what you hear in your head isn't really the best judge of vocal talent. How do self-help enthusiasts get around this...do you record your voice a lot? I think even with recordings of my own voice, I don't think I'd be able to properly judge the pitfalls and successes of it.

I thought lessons would be the answer but I've had a really hard time finding a teacher who understood my goals and could help me. The best teacher I had was teaching SLS, and after reading here, it seems like it especially does not fit my goals. The best thing I've seen so far was Ken Tamplin DVDs which I'm highly considering purchasing.

For those in Toronto who have a teacher they'd like to recommend, I'm all ears.

Where I'm at is: I'm trying to develop my middle voice (in SLS terms? Or is it commonplace?) because if I understand correctly, I need to be able to hit the notes I want without strain before I can add heat to it to keep it in key? I'm coming out of a hardcore/metalcore background so protecting my voice is now very easy to me and I just want to back off the scream and into heat but keep those notes in key. Think Jonny Craig from Emarosa, Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters, or Chester Bennington from Linkin Park.

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honeslty ive had alot of teachers put me town, told me id never be able to sing metaltenor as i wanted to... Nowdays i laugh it off, sure there are still things to work at but ive made so much progress by the help of this forum and books that i dont think anything is impossible. The hardest part is deciding what you want and really go for it ;D

It's kindo easy to spot progress in your voice, go for sounds you like and when your voice starts to sound somewhat similar youll hear it :P

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The KTVA dvd's are great - I've made very significant improvements on my own with his DVD's. He's not going to teach you how to scream, but you've already got that down.

I know exactly what you mean about trying to acheive "measurable results" with singing and believe recording is the best way. I record myself all the time and I think this is extremely important if you want to make improvements on your own. You definitely sound different and you can better tell if you need to make vowel adjustments, or brightness adjustments, etc. But recording can be bad if you don't record in a good environment. IF you record in a room with some weird standing waves, it can make your voice sound strange. This can lead you to beleive things about your voice that aren't true and that can lead to overcompensation. It can play with your confidence too. You can set up a good recording environment with minimal investment.

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Thanks for the responses everyone.

I'm a little hesitant to put out work-in-progress voice clips onto the never forgetful internet, but we'll see.

I've never had teachers put me down. They've always been so encouraging to the point where I started to think it was a technique they use to keep me coming back.

That's awesome to hear guitartrek. I have some recording equipment that I've used before. Real simple Luna condenser and a firewire 410 into garageband. It'd be nice to set up a dedicated room or space so I wouldn't have to drag out everything each time I wanted to try it. I heard some of your stuff in the Review forum. Definitely impressive and inspiring to get started with KTVA.

Sounds like I'll give the DVDs a shot and maybe a Skype lesson with a teacher once in awhile. My only real issue now is I've recently moved downtown to a house apartment and got rid of my car. Where to practice!

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Thanks for the responses everyone.

I'm a little hesitant to put out work-in-progress voice clips onto the never forgetful internet, but we'll see.

I've never had teachers put me down. They've always been so encouraging to the point where I started to think it was a technique they use to keep me coming back.

That's awesome to hear guitartrek. I have some recording equipment that I've used before. Real simple Luna condenser and a firewire 410 into garageband. It'd be nice to set up a dedicated room or space so I wouldn't have to drag out everything each time I wanted to try it. I heard some of your stuff in the Review forum. Definitely impressive and inspiring to get started with KTVA.

Sounds like I'll give the DVDs a shot and maybe a Skype lesson with a teacher once in awhile. My only real issue now is I've recently moved downtown to a house apartment and got rid of my car. Where to practice!

jared, these dvd's, cd's and books (and hanging out at the forum)are all great ways to improve, but i do recommend a few lessons with a teacher either in person or skype initially.

with money a little tight these days, i go at it alone with my cd's 6-days a week. i read and re-read books, visualize, micro-intend getting better and better...

i can absolutely promise you, promise you, if you are willing to put in the time and are patient, work hard, both mentally and physically (it dosen't come overnight, and it has it ebs and tides), you will improve in ways you never dreamed possible.

i never exercised till 10 months ago, and man i can you you are gonna be so happy with your progress.

you cannot pre-know (made that up, lol!!) the surprises you'll get in tone, power, range it's all there for the taking if you work at it...

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Jared - looks like you have most / all the equipment needed. I use a reflexion filter for recording vocals. It basically simulates a true vocal booth. But it is a little expensive - something like $300. There are less expensive ones too that do the same thing. You can also set up your mic in front of a closet full of clothes. Main thing is to get rid of the reflections and standing waves. I know what you mean about having a set up that you can just "leave in place" - that's what I do. I'm curious to hear your voice. I would like to be able to sing like Chester Bennington - something I can't do now.

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Guitartrek, that reflexion thing looks incredible. Definitely on my list of things to buy now.

I always did the closet approach or hung blankets everywhere and made sure I was in a carpeted room.

Thanks for the heads up, I am a bit of a gear junkie sometimes and that is really a cool piece of equipment.

Is there any other home studio gear you'd recommend?

I wouldn't get too excited about hearing my voice at this point ha...In Melissa Cross's terms, I have the fire down perfectly. I can do whatever I want with my voice for over an hour, every night if I need to. The problem is once I back off and I'm just doing heat, I'm finding it hard to stay in good pitch with high notes. So here I am, trying to learn everything I can to keep control.

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Jared - What I found with the Reflexion filter is that it is pretty heavy. A regular mic stand is too wimpy. I bought a heavy duty boom that I attach the reflexion to. My mic is attached to the boom hanging down from above. Make sure to buy a pop filter if you don't already have one. A shock mount for the mic is also something to consider. Of course you'll need some closed headphones which you probably have.

Monitoring your voice while recording is something important to me. I use a UX2 as the audio device which works well because I can monitor my voice with Reverb while recording dry. Your device may already have that capability.

I'm leaving on a trip in a few minutes - back in a few days.

Good luck and keep us updated!

Geno

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Jared - What I found with the Reflexion filter is that it is pretty heavy. A regular mic stand is too wimpy. I bought a heavy duty boom that I attach the reflexion to. My mic is attached to the boom hanging down from above. Make sure to buy a pop filter if you don't already have one. A shock mount for the mic is also something to consider. Of course you'll need some closed headphones which you probably have.

Geno: A few years ago, I made a reflection-preventer for my home studio, out of anechoic foam. If you take a cardboard moving box, and line the inside of it with the stuff, you can put the pop filter and the mic inside (and hang the whole thing from the ceiling if you want.) The box prevents the primary reflection of almost all of the vocal sound. Mine cost me about $60 to make.

If you want to further stiffle reflections in your recording spaces, you can make simple picture frames out of 1x2 lumber, and glue the anechoic foam panels to it. Keep em in a closet while not in use. With them, you can make 3-or-4 sided informal (and movable) screens that can be hung from ceiling tracks and moved to whereever you need them.

Panels of this latter type would be about $60 each, depending on the size.

Anechoic foam panels are available from a variety of sources. Just doing a quick google search, I found a place that would sell 2'x4' by 2" panels in a box of 8 for $285. Should be able to outfit a studio pretty well with that.

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Hey Jared. Don't stop yourself from singing. You may not think you are very good, and who knows, that might be an honest and accurate assessment, at least from your standpoint. But we've got other singers here who thought they sounded like warmed over doggy crap and they sing just fine. Sometimes, your greatest hurdle is not a particular technique or even the physical limits of your voice. It is the limits you place on yourself. It doesn't matter what another person says. You are the person who holds yourself back. Every time. In good ways, it's self discipline. You control your behavior in public as you were raised by your parents. This allows you to be a productive person of society. But, in other ways, when you doubt yourself or take too much stock in the meanings of others or misunderstand their intent and decide that you can't do this or that, it is you that decided that. All the other person did was mouth off. It is only you that stops you. And it always is, good or bad.

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Guitartrek, thanks for the additional info.

Steven, that's a great point. In the future if I can find a room that I can more or less dedicate/share to home recording I'll look into the foam panels.

Ronws, I won't be stopping myself from singing. I'm not a pessimist, just a realist. I understand at this point in time I might not be very good technically but through practice/dedication/hardwork I can become a decent singer. I'm not destined to be a bad singer for life...just like I realized I wasn't destined to be a scrawny 135 pounds (at 6 feet) for the rest of my life (I'm not anymore). I think my worst self-limitations is respecting audio space...I don't want to annoy my neighbours so I just need to find a place to practice...and close enough that I can do it often.

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I don't want to annoy my neighbours so I just need to find a place to practice...

Neither do I ^^

Depending on where you live, you might want to try a lonely forest or some kind of field, although it's pretty cold out there.

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