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Feeling the music

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MariFreakinA
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I'm not sure where to put this, but how does one actually feel the music?

For instance, the music I write, I like it however when I get into the studio I feel that I can't express it enough. So how do you guys get into the zone when you are singing and really put yourself into your music? I don't think there is any one way, but I would just like to hear some ideas of how I could go about really being passionate about what I sing. To be honest, all I think about when I am in the studio is technique and how not to hurt my voice so I can go on recording for hours at a time.

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Mark Baxter said there are two types of singers. Emotional singers and technical singers. The emotional singers are usually short on technique and make up for it in the emotion of their performance. People go to hear that rather than perfect singing.

The technical singer, however, employs proper technique and conveys emotion while personally maintaining some distance from it. Like a painter who can paint a teardrop on a portrait without actually crying, himself.

It sounds like you write from an emotional place and that your performance is good for one shot, winner-take-all. Which is okay for a live performance. Studio recording, however, can require several takes and not always because a musician or singer did anything wrong but because they are trying different mics and mic placements to get the right sound. This is where the emotional singer is in danger. For repeated phrases with the wrong technique will wear you out. Or, more importantly, what works in a live performance doesn't work in a studio setting. Let's say that live, you can do a sound just once and not hurt yourself. And you only do it on one song. And then you take a break while the band goes into a 3 minute bridge where everyone gets to solo while you swig some water and loosen up.

As opposed to being the studio where the recording engineer wants you to do that "sound" ten times.

Geoff Tate runs into this, now and then. He will do a one-off sound and the engineer will say "that's sounds so cool. Can you do that again?"

Tate will say, honestly, "No, I don't think so. I'm not sure how I did it the first time."

My question would be, if the sound was so great the first time, why mess with it? Keep that one and work it in.

Also, in a studio, there are all these mics and equipment. Techs running around. Distractions. It is different than whereever you sit to write. So, you are being distracted by things and people not normally in your visual space when you originally "felt" the song.

Sometimes, I think the modern recording process can hurt the performance in recording. It is too easy to take a cut and repeat and double it to whatever the engineer wants. In the good old days, I think, there was a lot more "live" recording going on. Such as when Quiet Riot recorded their cover of "Come On Feel the Noise." They didn't like the song, were not big fans of Slade. So, they recorded the entire song in one take, the whole band. Then, Randy Rhodes recorded a few solo doubles over it. And that was it. They meant to record it crappy and it came out a bigger hit than it ever was to Slade and it made Quiet Riot's debut album, Metal Health, the first heavy metal album to debut at #1. Go figure.

Also, I'm not sure how you could record for hours at a time in a studio, unless you have a lot of money or own your own studio. They are expensive. Even on the reality show "Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp," they only had time and budget for one or two takes.

I'm one of those types where singing the same thing over would wear me out. Now that I have refined my technique, I can repeat the phrase until I am happy with it.

I think that having proper technique solidly under your belt should release you to feel the passion, just as a painter who learns the basics of holding a brush and capturing mass and light and shadow is then left free to express what they see in an object or scene.

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I agree with ronws. In the studio I find it very difficult to get in the zone, so to speak. I generally go for about 4 takes per part. I'm working on a song now where there are a couple quiet choruses, and the rest is done with distortion. I did maybe one warm-up take just to make sure I was good to go, and then I did eight takes total: 4 with the distorted segments, and 4 for the "clean" segments. My voice was getting really tired after the 4th take with distortion, and it was obvious when listening to that take. But I think this is a good thing, because when recording you have to go big or go home. I always laughed when I saw those guys close their eyes and get all intense about their singing, pumping their fists and really getting into the song. But that's really what you've gotta do in order to lay down a good vocal take. Try imagining you are on stage singing in front of 10,000 cheering fans. You have to somehow find a way to connect and get that live caliber of performance overdubbing in a room wearing headphones.

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NCdan is right. You have to find your own way to feel the song, even in the studio. It is said that method actors base a performance off of something from their own life. As singers, we must also do the same, yet maintain the control of our voice.

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I'm not sure where to put this, but how does one actually feel the music?

For instance, the music I write, I like it however when I get into the studio I feel that I can't express it enough. So how do you guys get into the zone when you are singing and really put yourself into your music? I don't think there is any one way, but I would just like to hear some ideas of how I could go about really being passionate about what I sing. To be honest, all I think about when I am in the studio is technique and how not to hurt my voice so I can go on recording for hours at a time.

if you care to post a line or two and let me hear it, i can perhaps sing a piece and send it back to you?

would that help, to hear me try a line or two of your song? it might be a good experience for the both of us...bob

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Thanks for the responses guys.

Ronws, the reason I will be recording for a few hours is because my friend owns the studio, so he is giving us a fantastic deal.

And Bob, I am not sure how that would work out, seeing is how I would probably try to imitate the way you sing it in the studio and it won't sound as authentic, I think I need to get my own feel for how I should be singing it.

I do find it very difficult though to really get in the zone and maintain my own voice, maybe it's all in my head but sometimes I feel like if I let go then my voice will do something it's not supposed to and then my technique will be off.

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You might hate ronnie dio, but I think he's very good at bringing vocals to life. Having had him as my idol most of my life, I think he simply brought life to the vocals by reading the lyrics with the dynamics of a storyteller reading a story to kids: angry words get spoken in an angry tone, soft words in a soft tone, etc. All he seems to do is be dynamic in that fashion to bring the vocals to life.

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Thanks for the responses guys.

Ronws, the reason I will be recording for a few hours is because my friend owns the studio, so he is giving us a fantastic deal.

And Bob, I am not sure how that would work out, seeing is how I would probably try to imitate the way you sing it in the studio and it won't sound as authentic, I think I need to get my own feel for how I should be singing it.

I do find it very difficult though to really get in the zone and maintain my own voice, maybe it's all in my head but sometimes I feel like if I let go then my voice will do something it's not supposed to and then my technique will be off.

another suggestion would be to close your eyes, remove yourself from any distractions, and say the words to yourself rather than sing them focus on the feelings that kick in when you say those words.

just trying to help.

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Lol, that's actually kind of a good idea raphaels.

And actually, Bob, if that offer still stands with you singing some of my songs I would like to take you up on it, there are two songs I would really like to hear someone sing with passion so I can maybe get a feel of how someone else would do it. So how do I do it? Just record them and send them to you via email?

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Lol, that's actually kind of a good idea raphaels.

And actually, Bob, if that offer still stands with you singing some of my songs I would like to take you up on it, there are two songs I would really like to hear someone sing with passion so I can maybe get a feel of how someone else would do it. So how do I do it? Just record them and send them to you via email?

sure, or just a small segment is fine......videohere@earthlink.net

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My response might have been similar to Raphael's. I suffer somewhat from "red light" syndrome. Live, not a problem, I relax and do what I've got to do. But when the recording light is on, and I know this is "permanent," I get excited and so, like you, lose some control because I am so into the song that I am forgetting control and technique. Case-in-point. Just about the only vocal track I comp'd from a few takes was "Rainbow in the Dark." I had just received the mic that I now used and was excited to see what it would do. Plus, that song is one of my favorite Dio songs. And so, I was wearing myself out. I would record some and then crap out. Go back and do the next phrase and refrain. That vocal track, that Mike (Snax) mixed for me was 3 actual takes. I had exported them to one track before I sent it to him, along with the karaoke track. Then, he performed his magic and was able to punch up parts of the karoake. He made the bass and drums a lot more crisp and present than the karaoke and it really worked well for the recording.

Anyway, I think, to keep the emotion going means to relax and not let the "pressure" get to you.

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I think the problem is that I am hoping that it will be the last take so I really belt it out (maybe a little too loud). I think my problem is that I try too hard to feel what I am singing because I have never been an emotional person when it came to singing. Like you, live is no problem for me because I really try and connect with the audience and I know that I am only going to be singing the song once. I think it's just frustrating because I know I am going to hear the words "Do it again" by the engineer even if I think I did it great.

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It is critically important that you are singing with emotion during recording. However this can be a challenge. Studios cost money, and you feel like you are on a time line. The reverb and monitor levels in your headphones (cans) has to be right for you. It is a different environment and all little things can be distracting. It is the engineer's responsibility to make you feel comfortable. It's his goal to capture the emotion of you singing. Familiarity with the studio and engineer will help. I've done a lot of recording in studios as well as helped others in the studio.

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I think the problem is that I am hoping that it will be the last take so I really belt it out (maybe a little too loud). I think my problem is that I try too hard to feel what I am singing because I have never been an emotional person when it came to singing. Like you, live is no problem for me because I really try and connect with the audience and I know that I am only going to be singing the song once. I think it's just frustrating because I know I am going to hear the words "Do it again" by the engineer even if I think I did it great.

I do the same thing. During recording I'm really "going for it". For the most part it does help to get the emotions going. But sometimes I'll pull a little too much chest in the high notes. And then I'm straining and getting tight. I have to step back and analyze on a technical level and try to find just the right balance. Unfortunately my technique isn't good enough yet to where is it second nature - in the high range. I strive for better technique so it becomes automatic and I don't have to think about it.

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Agreed, i cant strive enough for better technique. Its frustrating to always worry about breath control and open throat, and consonents as well. How loud should i be singing while belting though, because i feel like after a while my cords favor my chest voice and its hard to sing with head.

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Mari, I totally understand. So, take a lesson from Ronnie James Dio. Tell the recording tech to adjust levels to where you need them so that you don't stress yourself. Hence, the beginning of this video, where he has no problems telling them to back off the volume in general, and then the volume of the guitar, so that he is not tempted to shout. Also, watch out for what I call the "Lilli Lift." He claimed to have no singing instruction but I see a Lilli Lehmann technique in motion, here.

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