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kickingtone last won the day on December 17 2018

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About kickingtone

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  1. kickingtone

    Preparing My First Ever Cover

    Ok, let's face it, it's karaoke -- some of us call these things "covers" so that we can feel professional and for the feel-good factor. But all I am going to do is slap vocals on top of a backing track -- karaoke. So... I got me a youtube video and had a listen, and compared it with my "in-memory" version!!! I give myself 5 out of 10 for effort! (I was probably singing a hybrid of a heap of different versions, which is fine for practising vocals, but not fine for karaoke or "covers"). Half of it is sort there, and god knows where the other half came from. So,.... work to do. It's what I expected, anyway. Most of my songs "from memory" turn out like that. No problem. I am off to make the real version "in-memory" when I find the time. That will probably mean goodbye to how I have been singing it. (I may have to unlearn that, as I learn a real version).
  2. Over the years, my vocal "training" has basically consisted of doing research and practising through snippets of a cappella. One reason for this is that I have had to fit everything round one huge, all consuming IT project. The project may let up soon and I'm thinking of putting everything together by doing actual covers of songs. It's gonna take time (I don't even have the right recording equipment yet) but I thought it would be fun to informally "blog" my progress in a thread. So.. My starting point is to pick a song I think I know more or less from memory, and sing it a cappella. This raw vocal should give me a rough idea of whether the song is doable, before I attempt to dot i's and cross t's Then I am going to go away and study all my errors and misconceptions, hopefully with no show-stoppers. The song I have chosen is Green Green Grass Of Home (Tom Jones)
  3. A lot of the time it is autotuned. The techniques classical singers use are good for melismata. You can find genuine examples from there. You can pick up bad habits by trying to emulate autotuned vocals.
  4. kickingtone

    Working on a song

    [Constriction and "choking" can also be a protective reflex. If the body detects that the pressure or airflow at the throat is unhealthy, it says, "forget the singing" and reflexes to shut off the problem. Just like your "blink" reflex, it is not a good idea to try to simply override it psychologically. You need to address the thing that is causing the reflex. For singing this is likely to be something like inadequate breath support.] Anyway, back to the OP. Decent vocals, imo. With proper diaphragmatic breath support, your voice will glide effortlessly straight over the passaggio, and you will get that responsiveness and agility you are looking for. I notice in classical training techniques that they make a big deal out of breath support (probably coming from traditions of singing without a mic), and relatively less of a deal about the passaggio (even though the term comes out of that pedagogy). Once you are able to employ a good diaphragmatic breath support method, .like appoggio, the passaggio is no longer a big challenge. It gets "fixed" almost automatically. Add that to the fact that you are able to siren up to G5 (wobbly, but an impressive foundation), I think you can really take your vocals places. Yup, I am not a coach. Just my personal take.
  5. kickingtone

    Breath Activation

    Producing a resonant, projected sound has a number of components, of which good breath control is one. (So improving breath control has to be achieved alongside the other factors if you want to observe an improvement in resonance and projection). I recently discovered a great diagnostic exercise. It came incidentally from another thread on this forum. You simply sing a single note on one vowel (perhaps, -ah- ), loud and clear, and hold it steady for as long as you can. Keep any vibrato to a natural minimum. Record yourself and play it back. Listen to the recording carefully. You will be able to hear at any point if your larynx jumps, your embouchure wobbles, your diaphragm or posture wavers. It will cause a wobble in the note. (Don't use vibrato to hide the wobbles!). You can use this feedback to practice relaxation and to iron out any twitches in your breath control. It will train you to correctly isolate the moving muscles groups (diaphragm, trunk, intercostal etc.) from the steady parts (larynx, embouchure, mask, etc., [and perhaps tongue, depending on which technique you use]). The note should last long enough for you to hear what gives first as you start to run out of breath. That will help prioritize what to work on. If 5 seconds is what the student is able to do, then start there. Eventually they should be aiming for 20+ seconds. I am not a coach. Just my own observations and tuppence worth!
  6. kickingtone


    Part of gaining confidence is discovering that things are nowhere near as bad as you imagine. It's a classic catch. You need the confidence to take the first step, but you need to take the first step to see what it is about and gain the confidence. The other thing is that negative opinions and thoughts are only as potent as the attention you give them. So forget all the imagined "horror" scenarios and think of the time when you are looking back and saying, "what on Earth was I worried about?". That is the prize you are aiming for. As a start, bear in mind that any competent teacher has seen and heard it all before: singers of all abilities. All the teacher is thinking about is building a voice -- none of the negative opinions you may have grown up around. So it really is up to you to drop that fear. The teacher is not going to even bat an eyelid. Listening to your clips, I would think that the first thing a teacher would tell you to do is to RELAX! Don't try to compensate for doubts in your head! Think six months ahead, man. I am not hearing anything in your clips that could stop you from sweeping away all your doubts within six months. It's your career. Is it worth that patience?
  7. kickingtone

    "How do you Make a Tenor Voice Sound Manly?"

    Growl a bit? (jk) Become baritone . I'd say that there is nothing in the tenor voice that is inherently unmanly. If the title said, "more" manly...then that puts a different slant on it cos you can always keep adding more and more of the more "obvious" manly vocal qualities, like weight and boom, until, yep, it is no more a tenor voice. But I'd say that it is more than just the obvious things that make a voice manly, just as a beard is not the measure of a manly face. There are other more subtle sound qualities that mark a voice as manly and make the tenor voice manly. Having said that, I can do a head voice that maybe could pass as a boy's voice, but never a woman's. This is my practice clip I did a while ago for switching between "mix head and chest" voice.. I can go thinner/lighter than that, yet sound more..uhm...mature, lol. So, it is quite complicated.
  8. kickingtone

    How to get less tired from belting

    I don't think it is a belt, actually. But dyaaaam! I've never really thought about trying to hold a single note like A4 for that long. Thanks for drawing my attention to a new exercise with this thread. I've just given it a try! It's gonna need work, lol! Dreadful! I won't even post my first two attempts. I think the main key is going to be keeping the diaphragm really steady. Maybe I should actually stand up, too!
  9. kickingtone

    Please help me unleash my singing

    It is amazing to me how Bollywood manages to churn out these beautiful tunes. What genre is it? (Sometimes, not understanding the language is a blessing. I am often disappointed if I see the translated lyrics. They are usually very average. ) Anyway, listening to you singing, I would say that you have good pitch appreciation (you may be thinking, "of course", but it is a big deal for some beginners). You do have some problems with execution as the pitch ascends (or occasionally as it fluctuates quickly), even though you seem to be aiming for the right notes. It sounds to me as if this is mainly to do with breath regulation and is made more difficult with a genre of music that uses a lot of melisma and arpeggios. I would recommend finding an appropriate diaphragmatic breathing technique. However, as I have not come across any coach or trainer of Western music who has correctly characterized the unique sound of this genre of singing, I can't really say which diaphragmatic breathing technique will work well. Somehow the Indian singers manage to get a lot of "cry" in the upper range, while keeping the lower range mellow. Some Western trainers confuse this with breathiness. In your singing, I think that the mellow lower end is going to come naturally. Breath control will be required to find the resonance in the upper range. That's my two cents worth of opinion.
  10. kickingtone

    I'm desperate for help

    I hear voices in the background. It may only be my (vivid) imagination, but you sound to me as if you don't want to attract too much attention to yourself. You sound as if you are singing to yourself. If you are singing somewhere where you are not yet comfortable, I advise that it is an absolute MUST to find somewhere where you can relax. If you don't, you could end up training all kinds of inhibition and nervousness or tension into your voice.
  11. kickingtone

    A siren

    My siren (it's getting to where I want it to be, but it is still work in progress) (I've deliberately allowed the harsh open tones at the high end of the scale, rather than alter the vowel.) NB It is all my own opinion, so don't let it turn into a slanging match as it has in the past. If you disagree, why not post your own siren and explain the differences. Objectives: 1. Throat, larynx, upper body and vocal tract should be completely relaxed and naturally posed. Nothing much going on there. 2. All effort is concentrated in the abs, trunk and diaphragm, regulating air flow and freeing the larynx. This should enable you to glide through the passaggio. 3. Maintain a single placement. Don't flip registration. 4. Keep effort uniform throughout. Any volume change (and it can be quite substantial) is caused by resonance shift only. 5. Sing on one vowel** but allow vocal tracts resonance shifting to cause its natural change in vowel. 6. Keep the siren slow. You should be able to hold abruptly at any point. 7. Relax. No "blasting" to force ascent at any point. 8. Control. No collapse on descent. 9. Both ascent and descent are important. 10. If you are running out of breath in the 20 seconds, your breath support is probably inefficient. ** But close the vowel to protect your vocal cords from damage if you find the vowel is too open to sing safely at higher pitches. A characteristic heady resonance may kick in at around A4 for males. It may not sound pretty. Don't worry. The exercise is taking you through the second passaggio. Don't let it become a psychological barrier.
  12. Sounds like good advice to me. But think of "change" as your voice expanding -- being able to achieve more. Thin tones, harsh tones, etc. all have their place. Work on them, and build new tones. There are people with heavy tones who struggle to thin their tone when appropriate. Celebrate what you have been gifted with, and work on everything. Also, know the difference between repetition and practice. Repetition gives you the opportunity to observe, but it is not itself observation. Observation is critical to progress and is a key part of practice. So many little improvements happen first fortuitously, but you have to be very alert to take advantage, by hearing the improvement and promptly exploring and learning why it happened right then. That takes real awareness while practicing -- so you are not going through an hour of blind repetition, just hoping that eventually improvements will "happen". 3 months is not very long. Sounds like you are doing well. I would say 3 months is about the time it takes for some muscles you are learning to use just to start to become strong enough. Then they have to become even stronger so that they can do the job in a relaxed way. That relaxation opens the door to the sort of control needed for regulating tone. All that is contingent on observing and engaging the correct muscles. So, it takes "time" and patience.
  13. kickingtone

    Vocal recording does not sound like me at all?

    I'd still like to hear JonJon's take on what he said (and I hope your reply hasn't changed what he meant! ) Yes, I know what you mean. I did a thread on such psycho-acoustic effects once, although I don't know if it is on these forums. When listening to my own vocals, I take a break from time to time to assess how they sound fresh. I have to say, that I don't see it as the ears being fooled, though. It is just how the ears work. The psychological sensory experience is built out of physical clues and cues. The more we build up the sensory experience, the slightly less significant the physical clues and cues become, and we can become more tolerant in joining up the dots. After we let the picture fade, we need the cues back again, otherwise the music may sound ambiguous or ill-defined. I think that skilled composers exploit this behaviour. They start off very explicit, but later in a piece of music they can exploit tolerances and expectations built up earlier, to artistic effect. Sometimes, it also seems as if writers exploit your familiarity with the original, when writing a cover. They play off the original, so to speak, even though you cannot physically hear the original. It won't work as intended, though, if the listener is not familiar with the original. It may even sound loose or lacking.
  14. kickingtone

    Vocal recording does not sound like me at all?

    Audacity has a dropdown for selecting the driver and some middleware. You can change whatever gets selected by default. My mic comes with its own driver that says "compatible with Windows 2000, XP, 7 blah, blah, blah... operating systems", but it sounds much better with the native Windows driver, so I get that to load instead. Obviously, the sound card is also a factor. The reason it sounds better with the "wrong driver" is probably because "compatible" only means that it will load and won't crash. It doesn't guarantee the quality. Clearly, the native Windows driver is a better match for the mic than the mic's driver is for Windows and my soundcard etc. in my setup.