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Trying "Voices" by Dream Theater, please critique

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Olem
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Hello, singers!

This song is one of my favourites, i love this song, it has everything, soft parts and aggressive parts and some stunning singing from James Labrie. I think Labrie is at his peak here, and that i even try to give this one a shot is so ridiculous but i only want to sing songs that give me an emotional boost so... :). One thing that struck me when i sang this song was that i didn´t stand a chance when it came to hold my tone as long as Labrie does. I also couldn´t sing the whole song without sooner or later running out of support so i divided it into parts and mixed it together. There are many other things i fail with i guess and i would appreciate some feedback here of what that might be according to you, everything that comes to your mind is welcome. I couldn´t find a backing track so Labrie is lurking in the background but i hope you can hear my voice well enough. If not i can send my vocals only.

http://www.box.net/shared/sy2fksu786

Thanx in advance/ Ola

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First off, I feel you have a huge voice. Great range, grit at the top, a very powerful instrument indeed.

Of all the parts, I believe the softer ones I liked the best - even though there were pitch issues - mainly because there was no strain.

That's what I feel is the problem ; too much strain on an already powerful and beautiful sounding voice -

in other words shouting to get the power which leads to pitch issues and further strain.

If I were you I'd map out the song in terms of notes and breath, try to sing it in a soft non breathy way for a few weeks until

I can pull it off without any strain and then gradually put more weight.

I am being brutally honest 'cause I've been there only to find I have to return to the basics to restore - or save - what's left of my voice.

I apologize if my comment sounds harsh, not my attention to offend, only protect.

Kind Regards,

Thanos

PS. I like your voice ten times more than LaBrie's.

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Thanx for your answers, Thanos and Mazzith, no offense taken. The pulling chest thing i am not familiar with :D. I think i will follow your advice there Thanos, start with a tiny voice and build my way up. The thing is, i know i have a problem with this (pulling chest). I am experimenting alot and try many different ways. When i am trying the softer relaxed approach, i record myself and then i hear FALSETTO. Ok, the solution is to add more twang, i do that but i still hear falsetto. Ok, maybe i can darken the tone just a little together with twang, i do that but still hear FALSETTO. Ok, then i try to add cry but then i hear and feel strain. This is what i often stick with anyway, to get that meaty sound, but i try to decrease the velocity as much as i can and to relax BUT THE THING IS I CAN´T REACH THE HIGH NOTES WITHOUT PUSHING. I know people here says that adding twang brings the meat out but i haven´t experienced that, not yet. I will post some examples later of what i am experiencing. Maybe i have some serious problems with my support, hahaha.

I think i have pulled chest for too long and now need a teacher to see what i am doing.

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A few times, you had some good notes in your passagio and it was when you were using crying or yawning configuration. I would try that some more. And, is this your natural voice? It was reminiscent of David Bowie and I mean that in a good way. You have a warm color throughout your range and that is a blessing. You emote as easily as some people breathe.

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Thanx for your reply, Ron, as always very kind and comprehensive in your answer. David Bowie i have nothing against but he is not really a singer i want to sound like:D, I was trying to add some cry in the soft parts but otherwise it´s pretty much my natural voice i guess.

By the way, i was wondering, when you say you hear strains and chest pulling on the higher notes, does that apply to all higher notes or are there any good ones. If not, then i guess it´s time to reset my configuration totally but if any exist then it would spare me some time and effort.

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No problem, Olem. I have found that it works better for people if you applaud what was good and let them lead themselves to more success than if you just provide a laundry list of what seemed wrong. I think you had some good high notes and I think they were the ones that probably felt lighter to you. That is, take some of the weight off.

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Thanx for your answers, Thanos and Mazzith, no offense taken. The pulling chest thing i am not familiar with :D. I think i will follow your advice there Thanos, start with a tiny voice and build my way up. The thing is, i know i have a problem with this (pulling chest). I am experimenting alot and try many different ways. When i am trying the softer relaxed approach, i record myself and then i hear FALSETTO. Ok, the solution is to add more twang, i do that but i still hear falsetto. Ok, maybe i can darken the tone just a little together with twang, i do that but still hear FALSETTO. Ok, then i try to add cry but then i hear and feel strain. This is what i often stick with anyway, to get that meaty sound, but i try to decrease the velocity as much as i can and to relax BUT THE THING IS I CAN´T REACH THE HIGH NOTES WITHOUT PUSHING. I know people here says that adding twang brings the meat out but i haven´t experienced that, not yet. I will post some examples later of what i am experiencing. Maybe i have some serious problems with my support, hahaha.

I think i have pulled chest for too long and now need a teacher to see what i am doing.

When you get to E4 you should be bridging into your head voice ( at least what Robert Lunte has taught me). At this point it sounds like it could be from your chest but it is not. So you get no constriction and you do not have to fight to get those notes. I sometimes find myself falling back to my old habits so I just do a quick octave siren of the high note I want and then I find the placement. I am sure a lot of this might be greek to you but I do not mind trying to help explain some of Robert's basic ideas studies are.

I struggled trying to get twang at first. Robert told me quack like a duck, then say quake, then Me-Eh. I'll do a rough record tomorrow on my day off of part of that song and give you an idea of what I mean.

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I wanted to add a few more kudos for Robert Lunte. I found this forum through a youtube video of Kevin Richards (rockthestageNYC.com). And consider myself fortunate to pick at the wisdom of Maestro Lunte. As it turns out, in his vocal education, he was a client of a vocal maestro who also coached Layne Staley and Geoffrey Tate, two voices I greatly admire. And I can hear that influence in his personal work, as well as some of the tutorials. In addition, he knows how to perform. Anyone can, with some training, hit a note. But he can also "perform" the song, emoting, without costume, standing in one spot. I am still, to this day, inspired by his performance of "Gethsemane." Even though I have sang that song a long time ago. The inspiration brought back to a place I needed to be.

And he usually gives more than he is contractually obligated to give. He walks the walk and his heart and soul is in this, 100 %.

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I wanted to add a few more kudos for Robert Lunte. I found this forum through a youtube video of Kevin Richards (rockthestageNYC.com). And consider myself fortunate to pick at the wisdom of Maestro Lunte. As it turns out, in his vocal education, he was a client of a vocal maestro who also coached Layne Staley and Geoffrey Tate, two voices I greatly admire. And I can hear that influence in his personal work, as well as some of the tutorials. In addition, he knows how to perform. Anyone can, with some training, hit a note. But he can also "perform" the song, emoting, without costume, standing in one spot. I am still, to this day, inspired by his performance of "Gethsemane." Even though I have sang that song a long time ago. The inspiration brought back to a place I needed to be.

And he usually gives more than he is contractually obligated to give. He walks the walk and his heart and soul is in this, 100 %.

Robert learned from David P Kyle. David is a legend in Seattle. He taught a good bit of the talent that was coming out late 70's early 80's. Anne Wilson of Heart, Geoff Tate of Queensryche, Chris Cornell Soundgarden and Layne Stanley of Alice in Chains. This is a major reason why I started my lessons with Robert. If his teacher was good enough for that all star lineup then it would be perfect for me.

On your comment about "performing" this is one thing Robert tries to use to separate himself from the crowd. When you go to a lesson in Seattle your on a stage with a PA and you get comfortable up there. He also picks are you for little things I hear all the time... "Get your hand out of that damn pocket!" "Open your eyes" "Pick a place in the back and focus on it, do not look down" haha. The one thing I loved is that no matter how bad your lesson goes he finds a way to instill confidence in you and want to come back for another lesson. I started out planning on doing once a week for 1-2 months to make sure I was not going to over practice something wrong from our lesson and here I am 6months later still doing a lesson every week haha.

I have nothing but love for my teacher Robert.

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All those phenomenal singers you mentioned came from the Seattle area and generally, the pacific northwest. And wisely seized the opportunity to train with someone that talented. For being a coach or teacher is also a talent that requires work to perfect. It's one thing to be able to do something. Another thing to teach it. For example, a baby can hit a piercingly high note, all by itself, because the physical dimensions of his/her noisemaker. But how do you teach someone to do that without being able to physical reach in their throat and hold the muscles a certain way?

And, like you said, little stage hints that mean everything. So that he's not telling you what dance steps or trying to choreograph like Busby Berkely. That's up to you but the little hints that allow you to connect with the audience and them with you. And it's not about being handsome or pretty. Viewpoints. You don't sing to your bandmates. You don't sing to your invited friends. You sing to the stranger in the back row. That's the person you need to connect with because they will buy your album over the years. Your circle of friends and the band, of course they're going to be there. But you're after that person you don't know. If you're just singing for friends, then you'll primarily stick to parties and family events. But even then, you have to sing out.

One of my favorite bits on singing and performance comes from Bruce Dickinson. One must remember that Bruce is of small stature. He is in danger of being stepped on by most anyone else in Iron Maiden. And the play on these huge stages, where you could average 6 miles a night, traipsing around. I mean, look at the size of the stage on the Flight 666 tour.

Anyway, he makes grandiose movements and offers a singing style designed to, in his words, reach the very last bloke in the nosebleed section of seating. That it may be a sports arena at the beginning but by the end, we're all sweating in the same little closet together. All 60,000 at once, get to feel that connection to the performance. That is his aim.

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I tried to sing the 1st chorus again today. I tried to focus on support and to relax my throat more, but it´s still hard. What do you think, any approvements? Please be brutally honest, that will help me more.

Ps. I sing only acapella, no music in the background and it´s only the 1 chorus.

http://www.box.net/shared/n8k5x9qfj3

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