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DO YOU OR DON'T YOU?

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HI FOLKS, WHEN YOU HAVE REACHED A POINT IN THE LEARNING OF A NEW SONG WHERE YOU HAVE IT NAILED EXCEPT FOR ONE OR TWO HIGH NOTES DO YOU...

1. STAY WITH IT, REACHING AND REACHING (PROPERLY) TILL IT BECOMES MORE CONSISTENTLY ATTAINBLE TO HIT.

2. JUST STOP AND LOWER THE KEY.

I PERSONALLY HATE TO GIVE UP ON A SONG WHEN ONLY ONE OR TWO NOTES ARE STOPPING ME. THE SONG IS "LOVIN' TOUCHIN' SQEEZIN' BY JOURNEY. I AM DOWN A 1/2 STEP ALREADY.

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR EXPERTISE.

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two answers. 1 is if you feel comfortable singing it in a lower key why not? no one will think less of you and lets not forget range is just one part of the singing puzzle. i would rather listen to someone with a nice tone that sings lower than someone who can sing high but whos tone does nothing for me. answer 2 is if you really want to sing it at the original pitch and your willing to put in the work it is entirely possible to sing the ranges in that journey song by learning to properly connect the bridges or passaggio in the voice. most guys can sing to at least the the tenor high C this way. (i have to say i do think that the lighter types of voice such as steve perry have an easier time in connecting up through the bridges and is probably one of the contributing factors that in examples such as this song he has a seamless voice from bottom to top. i mean just listen to the begging of the track. its a very light tenor tone. he starts the song on a F#. most guys especially untrained will be either "pulling" up chest voice there or in a disconnected falsetto)

this leads on to your question. in terms of practice it isnt always practice makes perfect im afraid. its how you practice. 10 minutes of "good" practice a day would make more advancements than 3 hours of "bad" practice a day. in fact the 3 hours of bad practice a day would make you go backwards. let me explain, for high notes you should never have to reach. its 100% not like the process of weightlifting. for instance some guys seem to think "man i just cant hit that tenor high C, my voice is just not strong enough, or i just cant sing that high" it actually doesnt work that way. if you constantly try to reach up or stretch your voice for high notes using muscle you will be doing the "bad" kind of practice. its not like lifting weights and building up strength that way. it SO much more subtle than that and requires specific exercises to achieve (the "good" practice) not raw, brute power or strength. to use an analogy, if you were to take up skiing for instance at first you would probably be falling about all over the place using much more effort just to go 1 foot than those whizzing past you. its not because there stonger than you its because they have mastered the coordination it requires and in fact the coordination has little to do with physical effort. something that is interesting is often a singer wont be able to sing higher because they have already set up the wrong coordination in the previous note(s) they are on or have already passed.

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I have good advise on this from real life experience... option 2. There comes a time when your working or recording a song when you have tried and tried, or have tracked this part 13 times and its not coming... if you find yourself in that situation, stop... rewrite the part, sing it lower, sing it easier and move on!

Dont let your ego make you chase your tail. Some parts are not meant to be... Understand you may be able to hit that note in a different song, a different context, but for some reason... because of the note your coming off of and the note your setting up to go into... the note your struggling with in the moment has your body set up in an unfavorable posture.

Have the maturity to walk away from it. Dont become attached to one high note or one phrase... the sum total of your artistry is not defined on whether or not you hit "that" note... be able to laugh at yourself and walk away. Do something easier and move on.

Hope this helps...

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I would determine whether the notes are on or near your break first. It could be a passagio bridge issue where you're caught in between singing it with power crescendo(without belting it of course) and singing it with a power spurt of H consonant using Mix Voice if the note(s) are near your break or Passaggio bridge.

Lowering the key might help, but a half step down might still be near your break. Remember Passaggio Bridge can be on numerous notes depending on the key you're in. If you're considering changing the key, consider the guitar open keys or drop down Eb or Drop Down D if you're playing rock if it's appropriate.

Rob Lunte's comments are spot on as well.

Use some common sense about knowing your own range and breaks. Some people have no business singing certain songs. Some tenors think that because they're tenors that they can pull off Steve Perry cover tunes and maybe their range and vocal tract shape don't come close to Steve Perry's.

You can seriously hurt your voice by trying to imitate cover songs tones. You find this a lot in Cover Bands and Tribute Bands. I know because I spent two years with Draw the Line, an Aerosmith Tribute band in Boston. If your vocal tract is not shaped like Steve Perry's and you try to reshape it by imitating his tone, vocal pedagogy experts and colleagues of mine have advised me that you can hurt your voice. The shape of your voice is what it is and you should use caution when imitating tone. Articulation and phrasing can be executed along with your own natural tone and you'll do just fine.

One other point: If you are covering a song, it's always better to do it in the original key. Each key has its own distinct sound. The Spinal Tap reference about D Minor having its own sound is VERY true. While I laugh hysterically about that Lick my Love Pump scene in the movie, I find it to be very true. Especially when you really take the song out of its original element where the key can and will define the song's unique and individual sound.

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hahaha the "lick my love pump" is one of my favorite bits too.

i totally agree about the vocal tract aspect. trying to imitate some one elses tone as you said is not such a great thing as each individual has a specific anatomy. it makes the process of singing easier, possible healthier and nicer to listen too when using your own natural tone however range is a different aspect. whilst i agree that it might be wrong to try to reach stratospheric heights with an individuals voice, to sing notes like in the Journey song mentioned is possible if you learn to connect through the bridges of the voice. the majority of the highest notes in that journey song are tenor high B touching on a C# at one point. many, many guys can achieve that range though of course each individuals tone may be different on those high notes but that just leads back to what was said before.

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