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To you vocal coaches - what would you suggest me to improve here?

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jonpall
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I'd normally post this in the reviews section, but I've found out that the few actual professional vocal coaches on this forum don't post much there, so this time I'll allow myself to break the rule and post it here.

This is me singing the chorus in Journey's "Open arms", without any backing track:

http://www.box.net/shared/30ocbvrymz

If you were my vocal coach, what would you tell me I need to change in order to improve my clean sound in the tenor range?

Personally, I have the feeling I might be doing a few things incorrectly according to most good vocal coaches who are training top quality singers. There are many A4s in this clip and a few B4s as well. If you're reading this, are NOT a vocal coach, but want to comment, feel free to do so.

Cheers!

jonpall.

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Here's the amazing Arnel Pineda singing the song for comparison (the chorus starts at about 1:00):

I couldn't find the original version of the song but it doesn't really matter because I REALLY like Arnel's version and the sound of his voice. Note that I don't want to COPY his sound. I just want to be able to sing with a clean, beautiful voice, if I can, with very good control, in the tenor range as well as in the baritone range. I don't think I'm THAT far off, but I just have the feeling that I'm doing some technical mistakes there that a professional vocal coach would easily be able to spot. Perhaps it's related to my tongue. Or my larynx. Or twang, support, tension, jaw, etc., etc. Or who knows, maybe I'm actually not doing anything seriously wrong but just need to practise singing like that some more?

I'd really, really appreciate if I got some help with this. I've been practising a raspy style of singing for a long time and getting some results with it but now I also want to be able to sing with a very clean, but full voice, throughout my range.

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I just wanna say that was awesome. I need to learn how to hit those notes. What modes did you use?

(I know it sounds silly to ask).

It sounds so effortless, but I bet your supporting a lot? Something I need to really use. Been using it lately and it's helped more, but seriously I need to hit those high notes.

IMO, I think the can was a little abrupt. I dunno, it seems to have a small break and hammer in. Possibly smooth that out.

EDIT

Your version sounded like Arnel's. I know your not copying but I mean it in a way that it sounded awesome. I'd say your version was studio ready, if that makes sense, but hey what do I know I can't even curb or sing past E4 never mind hit A4s and B4s.

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ok,

Vocal coach of mainly children 6-...upwards, myself am baritone hitting C5 / D5 regulary and have been singing (choral, choir, musical) for 26 yrs.

I put singers into many music festivals, even though they may be new to them, as it is a means to experience singing and to gain experience from those singers age range upwards to 16+. I also enter pupils into Music exams (singing, theory .. and another string ... drumming). I study and apply works of Miller, Reid, Husler and McKinney.

This is written, not within a technical basis (at the mo)- that's for further discussion should you require it. it is not written in the realm of trying to put you down in any way. My views are that you are singing which is great, and are trying - and as well, asking the right questions on a good forum. So well done for that.

Within your second post you refer to;

Perhaps it's related to my tongue. Or my larynx. Or twang, support, tension

you are right in this.

No.1 - slow down ... I would like you to post the same song at 1/2 speed... you are rushing a little and diction, clarity, resonance, understanding and ... passion ... is lost as a result and occasionally diction seems a little slurry. To hear the same lyrics at 1/2 speed would enable a better diagnosis.

example in the vocal - "so Now" ... Listen to the word Now... "Come", listen to the word come. End of "with" End of "Open" arms, the "en" of open.

No.2 - tension ... constrictor tension is there .. be a little free'er in the respect of trying too hard. to me - the vocal was too rushed, tensioned and not free enough. Seems like there are tensions in there which need to be worked out.

No.3 - tongue and resonance - sounds like the tongue is too high thus causing nasal resonace and lack of resonance in the oral pharynx. you sound like you are blocking nasal pharynx. To me sounds more "ng", rather than pure vowel...

ok, from this .. re-post a mp3, slow down .. relax, think about what you are trying to sing ... One thing you could do is sing this in Vowel only. Don't worry about those consonants yet...

"oohhh , ow, I, uu , oo , oo, i, o, e, ahhh"

so now I come too you with open arms.. Sing this 1/2 speed

ok, that said. Well done for posting - excellent move in improving vocally. and i'll be ready to listen to the next version.

Stew

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Just one thing to add.

Was just reading other forum with this link;

http://www.box.net/shared/cl8i2ngb5n

...nice ... there you are lower down in your range, singing what you know and sounding good. One of the other links - I would say falls into my above link and tension, but well done on the above link ..

Keep Singing.

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Thanks guys. I might re-record it in half speed soon and post here. But I already have a clip of me singing the verse, which is in the baritone range. Then you can hear me singing notes which are much easier to me. Stew (or other vocal coaches), would it help you analyze me if you heard that clip?

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Amen, brother Bob. Jonpall, you shouldn't endlessly beat the crap out of yourself. Difference between you and Arnel is that he is not curbing like you are. His is more open and relaxed. And not belted on every note. Your version was fine, by the way. Notice that some of his is softer, if you are trying to pick up influences from him. Not that you need to. As for 1/2 to 1 whole step lower: I sometimes think (and I'm always right :lol:) that the live version that we think is 1/2 step lower is the actual version and the album version is higher because the producer and mixer and mastering engineer wanted it that way to cut through in the medium they record upon.

When you are singing along with the song from a cd or some digital download, you are not singing with the singer. You are singing along with what the mixing engineer, and finally, the mastering engineer produced. It's a tragic fact of life, they auto-tune everything, even a "technically" perfect singer. You are singing along with auto-tune. Except for the Journey clip you posted. And notice that there are dynamics in the performance.

I probably didn't help much. But anyway, good singing, jonpall, whether you accept that, or not.

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Hi,

no problem - post the verse and we'll all have a listen, that's why we're here. I would also agree about the semitone / tone stepdown, although the "come" is only an A with the B on the "pen". Although am looking at a Guitar Tab version!!.

Must say i some of the other postings in the forum have some very good advice,

One from Videohere;

jonpall, if i were doing that song on the "come" i'd sing at as "c-ah-m." yawn, open the throat, emphasizing the "ah" and let it bounce off the palate supported and anchored well.. get off the "c" quickly and on to the "ah" hit the "m" at the very end. all the emphasis would be on the "ah."

for my voice it suits me well. hope i've helped.

..

What comes out here is the old .. Vowel, We 'may' disagree on which vowel, but the concept is the same. We teach Vowels and add in the clicky things called consonants, later. I do say to students - that learning to sing can be really, really, really boring, scales, arpeggio, octave jump, 1st - 3rd - 5th - octave - trill, back down.... etc etc etc. What I would say is keep with those lessons (be it SS, TMV ... other (not endorsing any)), there some ok ones, but I would say find a coach to help you through the sticky bits.

Whilst learning to sing can be boring, the ... end result of all that effort is the phenomenal voice it produces.

I would also add the use of breath here in relation to what Videohere said, the use of breath for resonance in the words.

Looking at the score, you want to use the breath for 4 ((5) if I add "so, now I") bars (if not start with breathing on 2 bars - so, now I ... Come to you (B) with open Arms), but work toward 1 breath smooth line for the 4 (5) bars. 1/4 breath for come, 1/4 for you, 1/4 for the "o" of open (3rd bar), 1/4 for Arms, the breath will be taken before the "So" ...

You see the breath in the video at :41 and :50 -looking if I can see one at :46 (but don't think so).

The use of breath comes up in festivals, the usual example is Morning has broken. "(b)Praise for the springing (B) fresh from the world" vs. "(b)Praise for the springing fresh from the world". We aim for the 2nd. Use the application in other songs, analyse the line and breath points.

Stew

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Thanks Stew. So is the problem mostly in that it's slightly hard to understand the words? Perhaps I should really, really make sure that the listener understands each and every word, especially for a song like that.

Even though that's cool to know, I was mostly interested in critique about my TONE. To be more specific, does it have a balanced amount of both high and low overtones? Is it thick enough? Is it resonant? Is it too nasal? Maybe it doesn't have enough twang.

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hi jonpall

if you want to mimic that arnel's tone, i think you just push too much. It's also a problem i have. It seems i've find a way to solve that (at least for me).

Just try to sing it in neutral with a good cords closure, and always watch for your support. Never push too hard, each time try to put the minimum effort that is required, and days after days try to "reinforce the tone". I think it's working for me at the moment.

And remember that i'm pretty sure those kind of singers are not even tenors but light tenors. so maybe we may never get those notes as light as they sing it ;-)

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Thanks. Good suggestions. Note that I don't really want to sing this song any lighter or heavier than my natural voice allows. I don't care if I can't sing as light or strong as someone else, I just want to be able to sing songs like that well with my own voice.

I also don't see the point in singing this song a half step lower because I have no intention at all in performing this song live! I'm simply using it as a vehicle to improve my high notes.

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Hi,

As per my 1st post there are sections that are throat constricted and sections where there is a consonant slur from one word to another.

example in the vocal - "so Now" ... Listen to the word Now... "Come", listen to the word come. End of "with" End of "Open" arms, the "en" of open.

This creates a "ng" sound that is interfering with the words, as per 3,

No.3 - tongue and resonance - sounds like the tongue is too high thus causing nasal resonace and lack of resonance in the oral pharynx. you sound like you are blocking nasal pharynx. To me sounds more "ng", rather than pure vowel...

Can you feel your tongue within your mouth in relation to tongue weight and position ?. For example - I can feel a weight in my back tongue and can place it in the oropharynx, if I vowel with that "weight" too far back - I get the same constriction "ng" sound, if I move it forward a few mm, then the sounds becomes clearer.

if you look at vowel chart of ipa [o] you can see how far the throat is back, so if you were to sing "come" as c [o] me, then the throat is back and constricting. With the slur from the the previous I (which you maybe singing as an I, rather than a vowel [a]).

If you were to change the vowel to say or as videohere says [a], the tonge is in a different position and you may get a "clearer" tone.

Listening to the rest of the song, on the E of "Hide" and D of "Arms" (last word), sounds good.

So, examine what you are doing when mouthing the above two words, then mouth the problem words and move the tongue ... either through the vowel, or by the "weight" analogy I refer to.

Hope it helps - post the verse as it sits within the F4 to F5 range.

Stewart

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I was trying to sing "come" with the Oh vowel (as in "so"). Maybe it sounds better to use Ah (as in "father") or Uh (as in "hungry"), so I'll try to record that today.

But isn't Arnel using the Oh vowel?

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Go to Wiki

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardinal_vowel

there are plenty of the charts and tongue positions available.

Look at tongue positions based on vowel, then adjust the vowel accordingly based on either changing the vowel, or using the "weight" and slider millimeter analogy (i.e. where the tongue is in the mouth).

Then do a few exercises based on a few simple vowels and just experiment with moving that tongue forward a few mm, then back a few mm and listen to what changes in the sound. you will hear vowel clarity, then it will be masked by a "ng" as it gets constricted.

Then add in amount of breath used for each vowel and tongue position ... then change the mouth posture (some use the "yawn" analogy - I use the "imagine you are smelling a beautiful scented flower" analogy)

Then .. do a few more exercises based on a word (so a vowel adding consonants), such as "come", experiment with the vowel for the "o" of come. Use [a] as in father, then use [e] as in chaos, then use as in nook.

Then see what starts to work for you and adjust words of your song based on open, clear and resonant sounds.

Experiment like this on the song and ... enjoy.

Stewart

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Ok, I just recorded another version of this song, a capella like before, but much slower, using the Ah vowel this time for the word "come" and other similar words (well, I think I used Ah), and I included the verse at the end and then finally another chorus (at normal speed):

http://www.box.net/shared/71o97q50k6

Is this any better in your opinion? Or anyone elses.

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Seriously, that one sounded perfect. Perfect for your voice but also for the intonation and feeling of the song. You lighten up at the right points, poured on the power at the right points. To me, your voice sounded relaxed. As if jonpall wrote "Open Arms." I'm not a coach or voice professional in anyway. Just someone who appreciates good singing.

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Nice one, and mostly agree with ronws points.

To have put your first mp3 on and ask us to critique is brave and then to put on this version and ask the same will get QUITE a few people on this forum congratulating you.... Well done.

Can you hear the difference acoustically ? can you hear more resonant tone ?. I would say there was one place you pushed, but not otherwise.

ok.

From a verse perspective - I would change ... NOTHING - i would not interfere with your voice, tone, resonance, placement, tuning or other, within F4-F5 you are very comfortable and to be tweaking would be interfering.

From a Chorus perspective - I want you to listen to 0:10, 0:15, 0:21, 0:30 and 0:35 and if I was to be picky 1:38.

I could class it under two points 1) diction or 2) a change from a consonant to vowel or vice versa.

I would discount diction as the verse is clear and word to word is fine. So .. I discuss the next point.

Chorus ... "So, Now I" ... Because of the "N" (of now), the "n" fills the word Now, so you have a N sound (nasal consonant) movement to the next word "I".

..if I was to poke you - you would say "ow". To move off the N quickly and finish the word "ow" before the I would give a clearer sounding (rather than an "I" ("now I") with a "n" in front of it.

At the point 0:10 and 0:30, transition from the word "With" to "o - Pen". the "th" of "with" appends it-self to the "o".

So rather than having "with O-pen Arms", we have "with tho-pen arms".

I ... could ... say start coming off the consonants a little quicker and use the vowel for phrasing for say sections 0:15 and 0:35 ....OR.... Accenuate the Consonant and DON'T slur the consonant to the vowel. ..

I would say on that above point - that's the kind of stuff I would need to work with you personally, rather than a forum as it's much easier to explain and have you doing exercises appropriately.

But seriously - well done.

Stewart

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While the first one was excellent but kinda hard on the comprehension on some places, the second one was just awesome. Though you sound a bit afraid of the word " come ", you pronounce it a bit like " khome " or " home " (but with an oh).

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Awesome Stewart, just awesome! :) Thanks so much for your input and ideas. I have to run but I'll try to record another version in a few hours with your suggestions hopefully taken care of and post it here. Perhaps after that version or a couple of others I'll try to record the whole thing with a backing track :)

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In the meantime, are you sure my sound isn't too twangy, weak and/or nasal or something like that? Just wondering about my "sound", i.e. if it's good or not in your opinion. Well, perhaps a part of that will be automatically taken care of if I try to sing the consonants quicker?

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