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Would really appreciate advice regarding Brett Manning's vocal lessons

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Cone2011
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Hello-

My name is James, I'm 17 and am from England. I should add that I am into alternative rock music, and am not looking for quite as strong a rock'n'roll voice as I presume most on here are looking for, and after seeing some of Rob's videos, am not really wanting that total 'vocal athleticism'. Don't get me wrong, his voice sounds amazing, and if my taste was a bit heavier (and had I heard of 4 pillars sooner), Lunte would be my first port-of-call. I'd have to say Thom Yorke is my favourite vocalist, maybe you could say he's a bit whiny, but one minute his voice can sound very delicate, the next it's very full.

Some time last year I was lent from a relative Brett Manning's Singing Success (first one); I'd been playing the guitar for some time and really wanted to get my singing better. Back then, the only thing I seemed to be interested in was range - I must have assumed that if I hit a note it sounded good. Although I didn't like a lot of aspects of it, the wildly inconsistency of exercise difficulties, the repetition of the same cliches of "this exercise will be the making of you", and the problem of not knowing where to stop as the piano went higher and higher, I guess I can say it improved my range.

Then I realised that measuring how good a singer is by his range is like measuring how good a tennis player is by how hard he can hit the ball. I decided to splash out on Mastering Mix ($$$). I have found this a lot better, I've slowly worked through the lessons, it has seemed to improve individually the head and chest areas of my voice nicely.

Then it gets annoying. The pharyngeal (which there's a whole CD on) I have no idea what to do with as it seems to just be a slightly less light variation of the head voice, and the problem is, this seems to be what Brett sees as the core of the 'mix'. Because of the options I seem to be given, when ascending it's a choice between pulling up chest or prematurely making a transition into a weak voice. The program suggests if your voice is too breathy in the pharyngeal exercises, the "Edge" lesson will help.

So I move on to that and it's a strange old lesson. The vocal fry's purpose for the first 75% of the lesson seems to only be to find you a very pure head tone. There's a lesson called "Pianissimo", which I can only compare to Rob's "Passagio - Lift Up/Pull Back" Youtube lesson, in the fact it looks for a very pure head tone to help you bridge, I think. Brett says you really need this to have a good singing technique and mix, but he never seems to reference it again, it seems pretty redundant right now. It ends with "Extreme Closure" where you have to do scales of a gulping sound, and is meant to help breathy and raspy singers get a clearer tone (not sure how it works for both?). I've repeated that one many times in hope it'll help.

Today though I got really disheartened. I've been doing the CD5 "Mix Workout" exercises, and though still a bit too breathy for my liking, I cope okay. Then there's Exercise 8 called "Various Vowels". It is totally impossible. After many low larynx exercises this pops up and the guy on the demonstration suddenly has the full tone in mid-range that I've been hoping to progress somewhere near, and my voice is breathy as anything. The exercise involves going up the scale with a closed vowel to the top where you stay and change to more open ones. I sound heady even in the lower climbs.

Long story short, I googled that specific lesson and turned up here on a thread from a year or so ago where comment was made on how a lot of suckers like me fall into the Singing Success "add an octave!!!" trap and end up with very weak heady voices low in their range that are hardly versatile for contemporary music, unless you're a girl, in which case Brett's goal seems to be to help women find their chest voices.

Mastering Mix though I genuinely feel that Brett is trying to address that mid-range to make it stronger, rather than make me a choir boy. And maybe it will work in due course, maybe I should forget that exercise as the next lesson is called "Bridge System" and could be my saviour. It's just I don't quite know what to focus on with it. If I am meant to have something even minutely comparable to that full tone by CD5 Ex.8, it isn't working.

In that thread from here I earlier mentioned, I only gathered 2 things about Mastering Mix, as it was new at the time. The first that there was a mixed reaction about the "Edge lesson". Some people didn't like how heady that made you go, others liked how it encouraged closure. The second was that someone said Rob approved of Mastering Mix considerably more than Singing Success, but that wasn't elaborated on.

I suppose what I'm asking is two things, firstly, what's everyone's opinion on Mastering Mix?

Most importantly though, does anyone know how I can use Mastering Mix in the best possible way to aid me as a slightly more rock-orientated singer than Brett caters for? Are there any exercises/lessons I should really do over and over and some I should stay away from? Are there any glaringly obvious things I should know?

I'm really sorry for how disorganised this post is, it's just I'm quite demoralised how non-existent the results seem to have been after 3 months of Mastering Mix. I'm not expecting to become some Freddie Mercury, I just want to be able to sing decently in the musical range where most modern alt-rock/pop vocals are.

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I think you should also post this on the Singing Success forum. To add more "rock", try adding more twang and also just a bit more attitude, like you don't give a shit - into your sound, and see where that gets you. It would also be very helpful to actually hear you sing in order to help you. When you said you were breathy, it gave an indication that your breath support could be improved a bit, although that's not necessarily what you should fix first, if you just want to sound more "rock".

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Jonpall- thanks man. What do you mean by 'more twang'? One of the main things that Manning preaches is anti-strain, that is, if you're straining it's not 'right' technique. I can hardly imagine that the majority of famous singers don't strain when they hit the high notes though!

About me saying my singing's breathy, I would rather that be sorted out first rather than jumping straight into a rock style. I just want to be able to sing decently in those mid-ranges, style is something I would worry about way later.

And yeah I'll try posting this on the Singing Success forum too. To be honest I would be a bit apprehensive about posting myself singing! So long as people are supportive I suppose! As I said I'm only at the level where there are actual glaring technical problems in my vocals (like the breathyness), so I'm trying to get to the stage where those are ironed out and maybe I can take that somewhere. I'm guessing there's another subforum for posting your vocals and stuff...

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This is a very supportive forum. I think I've almost never heard anyone say "you suck" to anyone's clips, whether they're good or bad.

About twang: Try singing a long note and "move the sound around in your mouth", back, up, forwards, down, etc. I'm sure you can do something like that (anyone can). Notice that if you "move the sound" to a certain spot, all of a sudden the high frequencies are boosted, kind of like you just turned on the "treble button". That spot is in the top and back of your throat, btw. One easy way to find it would be to quack like a duck. Then at least you are twanging, but unfortunately you're also raising your larynx a LOT, which you usually don't want to do when you're singing. You either want to keep your larynx neutral or, as most people here advocate, raise it slowly as you go up in pitch. If you can keep that twang but lower your larynx a bit, you get both the high and low frequences amplified, which is much more desirable. If you don't twang at all but keep your larynx neutral or low, your sound will be "dull".

Here's an easy starting tip on breath support: Simply try to sing a phrase while holding your breath. Or put a hand in front of your mouth and try to only feel heat and not wind. And in between phrases, completely relax your body, allow your stomach to out a bit and don't raise your shoulders.

Keep in mind that you might get some results by vocal programs and from online help such as mine, but nothing can replace a good vocal coach, so consider getting some private lessons from some vocal coach that you dig.

Cheers.

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Hi,

I'll attack this from a multi facited arena. Firstly - welcome to the forum and I hope we can move you along in your vocal training. You are young and you have the gift of time upon your voice.

No.1 - you are 17 .. You are likely coming from the other side of puberty. Throughout 12 to 18 in male voices, vocal coaches have to take differing approaches to male voices (you "may" have had some time off when the voice had some significant changes.)

fex. female voices 10/11/12 through 14/15 offer some of the most challenging time for most coaches which is likely why I appear to obtain sudents from other coaches to me in that time (there are two of us who get students of this age!!); as well as male voices fex. males giving up voice for a year or two 14/15 (ish) due to changes in voice throughout puberty

... a LOT of coaches have NO idea what happens in voices in 11 y/o to say 14/15 in female and upward in male (and it does hack me off!!).

...If the passion is there - you will sing and get better ... some advice will be offered from older voices (and I ask those who post to consider puberty into the equation).

No 2. One question I would ask initially is .. what training have you had up to your current age of 17 ... have you been classically coached (so ABRSM) or Theatre coached (belting - and possibly LCM). Young "belting" coaching has the effect of working (...well in the school system) for voices 8 to 12 / 13 (ish), but through puberty offers """challenges""". For posters in other countries - in the UK there are several exam systems (ABRSM - LCM - Rock school) and coaches "usually" send students into two of them (ABRSM - classical / choral / theatre ... LCM - theatre / pop / Rock School - rock / pop).

No.3 The one thing about the program mentioned - Manning - (and as per section / track you mentioned) and is common amongst the selection of internet programs ... is ... They tell you what to do - but NOT what to do when something doesn't work. the Mastering Mix program, "indirectly" does tell you what to do - it's the students application to get it right ... and the one thing that differentiates experienced coaches vs. program.

No.4 - yes ... This darn range thing!!! ... what add an octave to my good 2.5 octave already ... yes very much sales gimmic. 1'stly lets get voice on track...!!!

No.5 - "if" you listen to parts of the tracks, you will hear an "experienced" singer fail .. There is "some" track(s) (female) where she "creaks".

...

Right - "Then there's Exercise 8 called "Various Vowels". It is totally impossible." ... as per text, "a lot of internet programs ... tell you what to do - but NOT what to do when something doesn't work. the Mastering Mix program, "indirectly" does tell you what to do - it's the students application to get it right " ... actually is the case.. and i'll explain why ...

Within the program, Brett goes into "N" use, elsewhere into "G" ... he also covers "W" ...

Within the same CD, so CD 5 files- he covers Wee, Go, Bu, Nuh ... etc (you get the idea) .. I find that "G" in some students"G" just doesn't work ... Give then a "G" (i.e. Gee, Gah) and it's breathy (normally the Gah) .. HOWEVER, give them a "W" (Wee, Wah) and it's fine (and EVERY student is different). ...

So Ex 8 is "Noo, noo nah, nah .... etc" ---- Is the issue breathiness on the "N-ah" ? (Personal experience) ... Have you tried the same exercise, "Woo, Woo Wahh, Wahh ... etc" ... Tenner says likely you have not.

JP asks for you to post. This forum works well on listening as there are a wide range of musical experience as weel as "programs". If you have not heard of the terminology used - just ask (and I ask posters to expand the terminology, so Cone can understand).

p.s. where are you in the uk ?

Hope it helps

Stew

p.s. I have just seen JP post too, Follow that advice (twang) ... reason I say (and also feel for feelings) is that is that we feel vowels different .. (one student feels "ah" on the jawbone at hinge, "ee" forehead(above nose), "oo" ears - where another feels "oo" forehead, "ee" upward through nose and out to the ears .. etc)

Also to add as Robert posted afterwards;

"you give me one hour and Ill show you the techniques on how to do it and you will do it... if you do not make a big, boomy sound in your head voice after 1 hour with me, Ill give you your money back"

... That's one of the reason for the use of this forum and one thing Robert does (as many say) is also walk the walk, where as some "other" internet programs don't offer that kind of thing (I would hope personal coaching lessons DO offer it though). Depending on what you wan't out of your voice - take the offer up.

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"Cone", you want my honest opinion and I really want to give it. You will never get your head tones to sound full and "boomy" with this. Im sorry to break the news to you, it just is not going to happen. I suspect, some of the other guys are probably holding off and trying to be more politically correct on the public forum, but I hear a guy that has spent a lot of money and wants real answers... and I want to help you.

With this, you are going to get some coordination, some regular exercise and I really do not know what more beyond that. Look, you have to understand something... many schools and teachers understand or do a fair job of showing people techniques on how to bridge from the chest voice to the head voice and some schools can do an ok job with that for some individuals. On the other hand, learning how to stop sounding like a duck or a little girl in the head voice... learning what we call "connecting" in the head voice... or learning how to develop your head voice into a formant that is big, "chesty" and sounds great... not like a duck or a little girl... you are not going to learn this at some schools. Why? Contrary to what all the expensive marketing would lead you to believe, some schools just flat out, do not know anything about intrinsic anchoring, vocal modes, laryngeal dumping and all the components you will need to get that very advanced kind of singing under your belt.

However, there are some teachers and schools that do understand it, can demonstrate it and are recognized for it. My training system for TVS, "The Four Pillars of Singing" 2.0 , is exactly what that is about. I invite you to take a look at my web site. www.TheVocalistStudio.com . I also recommend CVI, Ken Tamplin, Jaime Vendera or James Lugo.... All teachers that have techniques and an in depth understanding of what it takes to develop your head voice.

You can do it! Trust me, you just need someone that REALLY knows how to do it themselves and has techniques that are developed to teach you how to do exactly that. Ill make you a deal... take 1 internet lesson with me... in 1 hour I will help you to sing a G4 in your head voice that sounds huge and boomy... with no gripping, no ducks, and no little choral girls... it will sound huge and kick ass... you give me one hour and Ill show you the techniques on how to do it and you will do it... if you do not make a big, boomy sound in your head voice after 1 hour with me, Ill give you your money back.

There you have it. I will take a risk to help you and will bet on success. Are you up for the challenge to let me help you?

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Hello-

I'm quite demoralised how non-existent the results seem to have been after 3 months of Mastering Mix.

i just want to jump in here real quick and just hit you with a dose of reality if i may...

while i certainly don't mean in any way to bring you down or discourage you, the reality is it's going to take a lot longer than 3 months to get anywhere near a blended (connected) voice.

there are muscles to condition (i say strenghen) and breath control and support to develop.

there's coordination to learn and even more important, tendencies to unlearn.

all of this takes time, dedication, perserverance, and above all......patience.

yes, it's likely rob's program is going to work better, but you still have to put the time in, and quite frankly a lot more than you may realize.

singing from the lowest part of your range to the top is a connection you will make with yourself as well.

singing is a lifelong journey and a process.

bob

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I have bothe Singing Success and Mastering mix and would say out of the two, Mastering mix is much better.

Though I haven't had much success with the program I just feel it appeals to me more.

The program has also become much easier after purchasing the Four pillars by Robert. I spent a few days going through it and felt I had way more power behind things, rather than in Mastering mix. Your not stuck doing the same old scales etc.

I'm glad you posted because I feel like I'm on the same path as you in regards to Mastering mix, as some areas make sense and others are simply touched upon.

My only qualm with Four pillars is that I feel it moves towards rock, rather than the R&B style I desire.

Maybe if I stuck my neck out on it, could take what I learn and modify it for R&B? I don't know we'll have to see.

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i just want to jump in here real quick and just hit you with a dose of reality if i may...

while i certainly don't mean in any way to bring you down or discourage you, the reality is it's going to take a lot longer than 3 months to get anywhere near a blended (connected) voice.

there are muscles to condition (i say strenghen) and breath control and support to develop.

there's coordination to learn and even more important, tendencies to unlearn.

all of this takes time, dedication, perserverance, and above all......patience.

yes, it's likely rob's program is going to work better, but you still have to put the time in, and quite frankly a lot more than you may realize.

singing from the lowest part of your range to the top is a connection you will make with yourself as well.

singing is a lifelong journey and a process.

bob

Thanks for the reply Bob - I must stress how much I understand that learning to sing at a good level takes TIME. The problem I have is that this exercise I have reached has on the demonstration a vocal showing how to do the exercise that I can't come close to.

To me, this means that with the systematic nature of the training it expects me to have reached a stage of having a voice being able to execute this exercise to about a quarter of the standard as the one on the tape does. For pretty much every other exercise this has been the case. This one though, I do not even sound the slightest bit similar.

I just came here to ask for a slightly more pop/rock orientated style whether there is anything fundamentally wrong in the program and to pick up some tips!

Robert - thankyou for the offer but frankly no. I don't have the money for 4 pillars, let alone $80 (49 pounds sterling) for a solo lesson. As much as INSTANT RESULTS!!! was very tempting to my even younger self (see Singing Success), I understand that if I am learning to sing I am very much playing the long game, and hitting a "boomy G4" in a standalone lesson will not a great singer make. Hell, I haven't even got to the end of Mastering Mix yet, and I'm still fairly confident if I sink enough time into that I can become a half-decent singer - unless I'm missing something glaringly obvious, which is what I came here to ask after all! I fully understand you've got a business to promote.

stew and JP - thankyou, and thankuyou again. Stew, I've never had any prior vocal training to buying Singing Success a year ago so am very much a novice!

D.Starr - I definitely think MM feels better too. I'd say that is the reason four pillars probably isn't for me, a bit too rock orientated. I don't want to be a vocal athlete like all your classic rock frontmen, I just want to sing pretty - but with a little bit of substance in those mid-ranges.

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i just want to jump in here real quick and just hit you with a dose of reality if i may...

while i certainly don't mean in any way to bring you down or discourage you, the reality is it's going to take a lot longer than 3 months to get anywhere near a blended (connected) voice.

there are muscles to condition (i say strenghen) and breath control and support to develop.

there's coordination to learn and even more important, tendencies to unlearn.

all of this takes time, dedication, perserverance, and above all......patience.

yes, it's likely rob's program is going to work better, but you still have to put the time in, and quite frankly a lot more than you may realize.

singing from the lowest part of your range to the top is a connection you will make with yourself as well.

singing is a lifelong journey and a process.

bob

Love it Bob, great post. Yes, singing and even voice training is a lifestyle. If you want to truly sing with a seamless voice from chest to head voice, you are asking the body to not only unlearn 4 million years of human evolution inclined to shout at high notes, as Bob pointed out, but then retrain the body to phonate what is really... a HIGHLY complex and specialized physiology. If you have a great coach and the right training system, and I maintain, that you need to investigate a different coach and training system.... you can make rapid gains quickly... it doesn't have to take years , but it will take at least 90 days to 6 months for most people... IF YOU HAVE THE RIGHT COACH AND TRAINING TECHNIQUES AVAILABLE TO YOU. Beyond that, Bob is right,,, you don't just get there and then kick your feet up. It doesn't work that way... its an athletic endeavor, you are always training and staying in shape and learning more and more about it.

Many of the top members of this forum are not just doing this out of a passion to sing, but we are also doing this out of a passion to also be specialists in human phonation. It may seem a bit geeky, but we have a passion for making the voice do things that are super human, independent if it is embedded in music or not.

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I have bothe Singing Success and Mastering mix and would say out of the two, Mastering mix is much better.

Though I haven't had much success with the program I just feel it appeals to me more.

The program has also become much easier after purchasing the Four pillars by Robert. I spent a few days going through it and felt I had way more power behind things, rather than in Mastering mix. Your not stuck doing the same old scales etc.

I'm glad you posted because I feel like I'm on the same path as you in regards to Mastering mix, as some areas make sense and others are simply touched upon.

My only qualm with Four pillars is that I feel it moves towards rock, rather than the R&B style I desire.

Maybe if I stuck my neck out on it, could take what I learn and modify it for R&B? I don't know we'll have to see.

D. Starr... we already discussed this. "Pillars" and TVS is not about "rock style singing", apart from some specialized vocal effects that deal with vocal distortion for the rockers that make up about 5% of the system's content... its a set of voice techniques you learn and can apply to any style of music. I have just as many R&B and jazz students as I do rock students. In fact, the trend is, Im getting more R&B, Soul, alternative and TV competition type clients these days then rock clients. Your ability to utilize vocal technique in your genre and style of choice, has nothing to do with the product you own, when that product is purely presenting a set of vocal techniques for you to use. "The Four Pillars of Singing" makes no claim to be just a "rock style" training system. Don't confuse the artistry of the teacher, with the pedagogy of the teacher. Just because I am a rocker and I like to do screamy things, that doesn't mean that is what "Pillars" is all about. People too often get confused over the difference between technique and coaching style... it is not the same thing.

I maintain, if you would invest in three internet lessons with me, you would rapidly move past the stage you are at today, what ever that is, and progress much faster in your deployment of the techniques and your understanding of how to they apply to your style of singing.

Also, there is an update to the eBook and I have added you to a special client folder to download.

Let me know if you have any questions about your work with "Pillars" so we can remove any obstacles and help you to get even more progress.

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Thanks for the reply Bob - I must stress how much I understand that learning to sing at a good level takes TIME. The problem I have is that this exercise I have reached has on the demonstration a vocal showing how to do the exercise that I can't come close to.

To me, this means that with the systematic nature of the training it expects me to have reached a stage of having a voice being able to execute this exercise to about a quarter of the standard as the one on the tape does. For pretty much every other exercise this has been the case. This one though, I do not even sound the slightest bit similar.

I just came here to ask for a slightly more pop/rock orientated style whether there is anything fundamentally wrong in the program and to pick up some tips!

Robert - thankyou for the offer but frankly no. I don't have the money for 4 pillars, let alone $80 (49 pounds sterling) for a solo lesson. As much as INSTANT RESULTS!!! was very tempting to my even younger self (see Singing Success), I understand that if I am learning to sing I am very much playing the long game, and hitting a "boomy G4" in a standalone lesson will not a great singer make. Hell, I haven't even got to the end of Mastering Mix yet, and I'm still fairly confident if I sink enough time into that I can become a half-decent singer - unless I'm missing something glaringly obvious, which is what I came here to ask after all! I fully understand you've got a business to promote.

stew and JP - thankyou, and thankuyou again. Stew, I've never had any prior vocal training to buying Singing Success a year ago so am very much a novice!

D.Starr - I definitely think MM feels better too. I'd say that is the reason four pillars probably isn't for me, a bit too rock orientated. I don't want to be a vocal athlete like all your classic rock frontmen, I just want to sing pretty - but with a little bit of substance in those mid-ranges.

My generous offer to help you and the time I put into giving you a straight answer, was turned into something that is just about "promoting my business"?

Your conclusion that "Pillars" is just about rock singing style is comprehensively wrong.

Lastly, all singers are vocal athletes. Singing is a sport, its a physical endeavor as Bob was trying to explain to you, and the very muscles you need to train to do the things you say you want to do, and that Bob was trying to point out to you, require a workout on some very specialized techniques that I do believe you are going to need. But I tried my best to make that point to help you.

In the end, the thing the matters the most is, after all the time you spend on this, are you getting where you want to go? That is it. That is the bottom-line!

If you want "substance in your mid-range" , Ill show you how to sing your mid-range in about 30 minutes if your other singing school at least helped you to get a foundation on how to phonate a nice tone with some support. If, however, you can not hear pitch or your voice is grinding from a bottom-up position, it could take up to about 45-90 days to rehabilitate your ears and your voice.... In the meantime, I wish you success with your "mixing" path.

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Robert:

No problems sir, you get me wrong - when I said I understand you have a business to promote, I only meant that I understand that you are obviously a very passionate man about your product and would very much like to aid a new client. It's not an unreasonable assertion. If I met Brett Manning in the street and said I'm having vocal trouble, is he going to say that Robert Lunte is the man to help me? No, just as you wouldn't say that Brett Manning is the person to help me. Neutrality is why I came her, but now it is clear that you own the forum.

However as much as you profess it is a genuine 'arm around the shoulder' heartfelt advice, then why the $80 price point? It's selling indulgences. Sure a man's got to live, but if it is genuinely his passion, surely a person who needs help more than I do should not be restricted by that kind of $$$?

My guitar teacher only charges £20 an hour, normally spills over by another 30 mins, and is the best around. He is the most passionate (yet humble) man I have ever met. He has a successful guitar training DVD program selling in the UK and has broken world records with his guitar for charity events. Love of the job rather than chasing the yankee dollar. I don't mean to offend when I write you could learn a thing or two. As could Manning!!

You also say that "singing is a sport". Say that to Bob Dylan and he would laugh you out of town - he is no athlete. What does that make him, a geek? I'm getting the impression that we have differing philosophies; what you see singing as is the lust of hearing something nice popping out of your mouth. To me, it is a vehicle for expression. As Pavarotti said, "to the man you have to give the spirit, and when you give him the spirit, you have done everything". This is why I only want to be able to sing half-decent, as through evidence of the last 50 years of popular music that isn't manufactured, sentiment far overrides technique. I repeat, you claim, singing is a sport, and so the value of someone's singing is absolute in its core aesthetics. I see this as apologetically bogus, though I doubt this matters to you.

Let us not be childish anyway... agree to disagree...

I'm unsatisfied Robert because you've left my actual question from the first post unanswered. Is Mastering Mix any good or not? The others have given me some relevant response on the subject of Mastering Mix, you're an expert sir, can you shed some light? As I said, I read in that thread from a while back that Singing Success isn't quite your bag because it doesn't give you a lot of vocal strength. Does Mastering Mix improve on this though?

Mate, I'm asking you this in a totally non-hostile manner but you also have to undertake that I'm not interested in doing business with you (I don't think you are either now!) and I don't mean to offend you on that particular front! But if you are truly passionate about vocals, hopefully you can help me out anyway even though I've got no cash to splash; you are the expert after all. I just ask can you elaborate on the pros and cons of Mastering Mix, what I can do to maximize its usage for helping with contemporary music singing (not choirboy crap, but not virtuoso either!), no matter how much better or worse it is than "Pillars"!

Sincere thanks for reading this essay of a post, and ten times more sincere thanks if you can give the time to write a post and lend a hand. Email me if you like! :)

James x

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I know... my response was too "snarky", I apologize Cone. I am teaching right now and will give you a better response later this afternoon. Your doing fine, no fouls and I still want to help you. Ill respond in a few hours more productively... it was late last night and been working on some articles and getting a bit fatigued lately.

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Hi,

I'll cover portions of various mails ... as there is good advice in quite a few.

Will MM get you singing - YES ... "may" it be in tune - maybe NOT as there isn't really a pitch reference unless you use an external one .. However, you say you play guitar, so you understand theory and pitch - therefore putting the two together - will you sing and in tune ... yes

Will you have correct posture / support / use of phrasing and breath management techniques that allow for good singing ... possibly not (hence the, are you breathy ? comment). May you have learnt some bad habits in the process ... possibly. Will it give you the understanding of singing "words" through problem areas (passaggio) ... possibly not. I believe that people on the forum are here to help you (and seeing Roberts last post so is he).

Going back to problem areas ...

You wrote, "Then there's Exercise 8 called "Various Vowels". It is totally impossible" to which I responded;

"Within the same CD, so CD 5 files- he covers Wee (ex-2), Go (ex-4), Bu (ex-5), Nuh (ex-7)... etc (you get the idea) .. ... etc etc etc.

...

I’ll explain why, Ex 8 goes ... "Noo, noo, noo, nooah, nah ...., nah, nah, nah .... nee, nee, nee, neigh, nah ... nah, nah, nah" (or what I can make out from a simple listen) ....

No(o) was covered in Exercise 6 – CD5, Nuh in exercise 7-CD5, "Nay" was covered CD3 exercise 6, "Nee" in CD3 - ex 7, "Neh" CD3 - ex8, ... so in theory ... the exercise is a cycle of sounds & exercises previously learnt.

Thus ... the exercise was to cycle through vowels, which is common teachings "oo, ee, ah ... etc".

MM covers use of "N" in CD3, "W" in CD5, "M" in CD5, "G" in CD5, "B" in CD5 .. (I’m not going to go into the theory now - but I did say that different students use different consonants to get closure .. we "may" then remove the consonant to hear the vowel how we want it)

.

You replied to Bob, "Thanks for the reply Bob - I must stress how much I understand that learning to sing at a good level takes TIME….etc etc …".

This phrase, "To me, this means that with the systematic nature of the training it expects me to have reached a stage .." - Yes - the majority of training was CD 3 .. Hence;

So is the problem the exercise itself - or does using a different consonant work ? Have you tried using "n, w, m, g or b" (some of CD 3 and CD5 stuff) ? ... And then ask the question of ... Did you really learn CD3 lessons or do you need to go back to CD 3 (Which is what Bob was saying with the dose of reality). This takes us into the arena of time and personal "goals" ... What do you want ?

..

Robert said, "IF YOU HAVE THE RIGHT COACH AND TRAINING TECHNIQUES AVAILABLE TO YOU, and I maintain, that you need to investigate a different coach and training system.... you can make rapid gains quickly...". This takes us into the arena of a coach – hence Roberts suggestion of a skype.

And you understand that possibly MM wasn't the best buy ... you are not alone .. Hence the use of forums where discussion takes place.

As for pricing ... I was thinking about putting in a post about asking Robert for a £30 ($49 ish) lesson .. Reason was ... excluding the "apprenticeship" vocal coaches (£20) .. £30 upwards is the usual, and you "may" come to a mutual agreement for a lesson :-)

Wishing you all the best for the future and keep singing.

Stewart

p.s. we do this because we love it, otherwise I wouldn't have spent about an hour putting this together and other people wouldn't post.

Joking for next comment btw ... 42 hours Robert ... Part timer ... lol ... Also I must ask for a trade price for Pillars 2 so I can go over it. Obviously coaches come into contact with various systems ... usually because of students purchasing internet ones (sounds ironic doesn't it).

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Hi,

I'll cover portions of various mails ... as there is good advice in quite a few.

Will MM get you singing - YES ... "may" it be in tune - maybe NOT as there isn't really a pitch reference unless you use an external one .. However, you say you play guitar, so you understand theory and pitch - therefore putting the two together - will you sing and in tune ... yes

Will you have correct posture / support / use of phrasing and breath management techniques that allow for good singing ... possibly not (hence the, are you breathy ? comment). May you have learnt some bad habits in the process ... possibly. Will it give you the understanding of singing "words" through problem areas (passaggio) ... possibly not. I believe that people on the forum are here to help you (and seeing Roberts last post so is he).

Going back to problem areas ...

You wrote, "Then there's Exercise 8 called "Various Vowels". It is totally impossible" to which I responded;

"Within the same CD, so CD 5 files- he covers Wee (ex-2), Go (ex-4), Bu (ex-5), Nuh (ex-7)... etc (you get the idea) .. ... etc etc etc.

...

I’ll explain why, Ex 8 goes ... "Noo, noo, noo, nooah, nah ...., nah, nah, nah .... nee, nee, nee, neigh, nah ... nah, nah, nah" (or what I can make out from a simple listen) ....

No(o) was covered in Exercise 6 – CD5, Nuh in exercise 7-CD5, "Nay" was covered CD3 exercise 6, "Nee" in CD3 - ex 7, "Neh" CD3 - ex8, ... so in theory ... the exercise is a cycle of sounds & exercises previously learnt.

Thus ... the exercise was to cycle through vowels, which is common teachings "oo, ee, ah ... etc".

MM covers use of "N" in CD3, "W" in CD5, "M" in CD5, "G" in CD5, "B" in CD5 .. (I’m not going to go into the theory now - but I did say that different students use different consonants to get closure .. we "may" then remove the consonant to hear the vowel how we want it)

.

You replied to Bob, "Thanks for the reply Bob - I must stress how much I understand that learning to sing at a good level takes TIME….etc etc …".

This phrase, "To me, this means that with the systematic nature of the training it expects me to have reached a stage .." - Yes - the majority of training was CD 3 .. Hence;

So is the problem the exercise itself - or does using a different consonant work ? Have you tried using "n, w, m, g or b" (some of CD 3 and CD5 stuff) ? ... And then ask the question of ... Did you really learn CD3 lessons or do you need to go back to CD 3 (Which is what Bob was saying with the dose of reality). This takes us into the arena of time and personal "goals" ... What do you want ?

..

Robert said, "IF YOU HAVE THE RIGHT COACH AND TRAINING TECHNIQUES AVAILABLE TO YOU, and I maintain, that you need to investigate a different coach and training system.... you can make rapid gains quickly...". This takes us into the arena of a coach – hence Roberts suggestion of a skype.

And you understand that possibly MM wasn't the best buy ... you are not alone .. Hence the use of forums where discussion takes place.

As for pricing ... I was thinking about putting in a post about asking Robert for a £30 ($49 ish) lesson .. Reason was ... excluding the "apprenticeship" vocal coaches (£20) .. £30 upwards is the usual, and you "may" come to a mutual agreement for a lesson :-)

Wishing you all the best for the future and keep singing.

Stewart

p.s. we do this because we love it, otherwise I wouldn't have spent about an hour putting this together and other people wouldn't post.

Joking for next comment btw ... 42 hours Robert ... Part timer ... lol ... Also I must ask for a trade price for Pillars 2 so I can go over it. Obviously coaches come into contact with various systems ... usually because of students purchasing internet ones (sounds ironic doesn't it).

Hi Stew... I withdraw any criticism of lesson pricing, I've looked around my area for coaches and with the exchange rate you're looking at around about the same price as Robert. But I am quite literally spent out at the moment and wouldn't be able to do singing lessons with someone even at a very very low rate. I don't even have a webcam for internet learning!

Yeah about the problem area - that might be a good idea to do some further revisiting of the vowels. But I still think when I did it in CD3 (CD3 and CD4 I have done quite a lot by the way), it sounded close to what was on the tape. Furthermore, they encourage you to make a more whiny sound when you're doing these nays nees and nehs on CD3, which they don't specify on CD5 Ex.8. I did the full CD5 lesson again today, and again, everything seemed fine apart from that Ex.8. Practice, practice, practice I suppose.

Though I am starting to wonder whether to just start CD6 (Bridge System) is a wise bet. I can seem to remember the pitches of the first two bridges (I think I'm baritone/tenor?) E,F,F# and A,Bb,B. I think it'd be useful to do so as to get familiar to the boundaries of my voice. I think a problem of mine is bridging to early which that CD could address to an extent.

Plus, what's the benefit of practising those different consonants "n, w, g, m, b" lots like you say? Do they just help you latch on to the vowels better?

Also as you say, I play guitar, I have an okay grasp of pitch (always have, hardly perfect pitch though) so that should be alright. Posture, I may have to find a book. A girl I'm friends with says about singing: "there's nothing to it, it's just about your posture". Not sure I fully believe that statement, but I'm aware its important.

The help is brilliant mate.

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Hi,

I'll cover portions of various mails ... as there is good advice in quite a few.

Will MM get you singing - YES ... "may" it be in tune - maybe NOT as there isn't really a pitch reference unless you use an external one .. However, you say you play guitar, so you understand theory and pitch - therefore putting the two together - will you sing and in tune ... yes

Will you have correct posture / support / use of phrasing and breath management techniques that allow for good singing ... possibly not (hence the, are you breathy ? comment). May you have learnt some bad habits in the process ... possibly. Will it give you the understanding of singing "words" through problem areas (passaggio) ... possibly not. I believe that people on the forum are here to help you (and seeing Roberts last post so is he).

Going back to problem areas ...

You wrote, "Then there's Exercise 8 called "Various Vowels". It is totally impossible" to which I responded;

"Within the same CD, so CD 5 files- he covers Wee (ex-2), Go (ex-4), Bu (ex-5), Nuh (ex-7)... etc (you get the idea) .. ... etc etc etc.

...

I’ll explain why, Ex 8 goes ... "Noo, noo, noo, nooah, nah ...., nah, nah, nah .... nee, nee, nee, neigh, nah ... nah, nah, nah" (or what I can make out from a simple listen) ....

No(o) was covered in Exercise 6 – CD5, Nuh in exercise 7-CD5, "Nay" was covered CD3 exercise 6, "Nee" in CD3 - ex 7, "Neh" CD3 - ex8, ... so in theory ... the exercise is a cycle of sounds & exercises previously learnt.

Thus ... the exercise was to cycle through vowels, which is common teachings "oo, ee, ah ... etc".

MM covers use of "N" in CD3, "W" in CD5, "M" in CD5, "G" in CD5, "B" in CD5 .. (I’m not going to go into the theory now - but I did say that different students use different consonants to get closure .. we "may" then remove the consonant to hear the vowel how we want it)

.

You replied to Bob, "Thanks for the reply Bob - I must stress how much I understand that learning to sing at a good level takes TIME….etc etc …".

This phrase, "To me, this means that with the systematic nature of the training it expects me to have reached a stage .." - Yes - the majority of training was CD 3 .. Hence;

So is the problem the exercise itself - or does using a different consonant work ? Have you tried using "n, w, m, g or b" (some of CD 3 and CD5 stuff) ? ... And then ask the question of ... Did you really learn CD3 lessons or do you need to go back to CD 3 (Which is what Bob was saying with the dose of reality). This takes us into the arena of time and personal "goals" ... What do you want ?

..

Robert said, "IF YOU HAVE THE RIGHT COACH AND TRAINING TECHNIQUES AVAILABLE TO YOU, and I maintain, that you need to investigate a different coach and training system.... you can make rapid gains quickly...". This takes us into the arena of a coach – hence Roberts suggestion of a skype.

And you understand that possibly MM wasn't the best buy ... you are not alone .. Hence the use of forums where discussion takes place.

As for pricing ... I was thinking about putting in a post about asking Robert for a £30 ($49 ish) lesson .. Reason was ... excluding the "apprenticeship" vocal coaches (£20) .. £30 upwards is the usual, and you "may" come to a mutual agreement for a lesson :-)

Wishing you all the best for the future and keep singing.

Stewart

p.s. we do this because we love it, otherwise I wouldn't have spent about an hour putting this together and other people wouldn't post.

Joking for next comment btw ... 42 hours Robert ... Part timer ... lol ... Also I must ask for a trade price for Pillars 2 so I can go over it. Obviously coaches come into contact with various systems ... usually because of students purchasing internet ones (sounds ironic doesn't it).

Stew, Im not clear what your asking? Trade price for Pillars? If you are new client you can purchase a hard copy or a digital copy here www.thevocaliststudiostore.com and if you are an existing client who invested in the previous version, I have a special link for you. What exactly is your question?

Cone, the basic jist is, you need to learn intrinsic anchoring to make your low head tones and bridging not sound quaky or like a little girl. The intrinsic anchoring, vocal mode and formant work is what I believe you are not getting from other singing schools. Also my effort to help you was not about promoting my business primarily, its about helping you from an Insiders perspective on the business and what these products can and can't do for people.

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Oh lordy, I can't stop myself.

So, Cone, you are spending 20 pounds for a guitar lesson but spending almost the same or a little more for a voice lesson, instead, is too much? Let me ask the hard question. Are you a singer or a guitar player? I am both but, in my honest opinion, I am a better singer than guitar player. Which may not be saying much, granted,.

Now, you have said you are more of a pop or even a folk singer, if I get your meaning right, than a hard rock singer. In which case, you'd probably do okay with SS or even SLS. But the deep dark secret of Lunte's program is that it is not just about hard rock singing. He helps people in hard rock, heavy metal, jazz, show-tune stuff ala Barbara Streisand. Technique is technique.

And truly, after having studied some classical technique and picking up ideas from other systems, I find that Lunte's 4 Pillars will take you where you want to go. And no, the system doesn't make you sound like Robert Lunte. It makes you sound like you, with conviction, strength, and range.

Perhaps, first, you should sort out what sound that you want. Then go for the teacher that represents that style. If you want a clean, pop sound that is good for ballads, show tunish stuff, and not so hard rock, you might check out Michael Goodrich, who has coached people such as actor/singer David Hasselhoff.

But so far, as I have read in 4 Pillars 2.0, there is nothing in it to stop you from singing whatever style you wish to sing.

Being broke (without adequate funds)? I totally understand that more than I care to understand it, and more than once. If I had just had a president that cared about jobs. Oops, sorrry ...

Do what you can do as best as you can do. But, with limited funds, and we all live on a budget, even coaches trying to "sell a system," you have to make choices. Which do want more, right now? Singing lessons or guitar lessons? Maybe you are not in a financial situation where you can manage both. Yeah, life's tough. And I've had more years finding that out than you have.

I don't have any experience with SS. If it's not working for you, ask yourself the question, "why?" Either you are missing something or it's not helping you like you thought it would.

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Thanks Ron... I don't know why exactly people get "stylistic coaching" confused with "voice technique" coaching? I suppose its because people know a lot about what they want to sound like and know nothing about voice technique, so there is no referenece what so ever as to what voice technique is or entails. Also the scream technique stuff that we do teach at TVS happens to be what rockers need to use quite often, but is it really just rockers that want to sing high C5s? Of course not... Is it rockers that only want to be able to phonate distortion? No... all singers want to be able to do this and they should train to learn how.

In any case, Im not teaching a style... TVS techniques are vetted by the leading experts on the planet from all backgrounds and are used by artists in many different genres. Most of my clients these days are power ballad females.

TVS is not about "rock style singing".... when you get involved and actually begin training, you'll begin to "get it".

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And Bob does have a good point. Cone, you are, by your own admission, 17. I have a scar on my chest that is way older than you are. Meaning, give yourself some time. Think about what you want. Discard attitudes and preconceptions. Find your goal, pursue it.

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Hi - i'll keep it short.

..." Plus, what's the benefit of practising those different consonants "n, w, g, m, b" lots like you say? Do they just help you latch on to the vowels better?"

in MM (and i'll keep to that) CD2 - Ex 1 explains the use of "G" over "W" .. in front of "ee". Doesn't work that way for everyone though!!

.. be sure to listen to the theory in CD2 - Ex2 ... You saw me type about cycling vowels - listen to 1:10 in Ex 2...

This "theory" lesson behind the exercises is what you also need to be listening to on the CD's and understanding it - it IS explained (I must say - at HIGH level though - not the in depth theory .. That what coaches (or those commited to voice - inc. many on this forum now) understand (and have worked towards and studied for) and we pay many hundreds of pounds for BOOKS (even as far back as 1894 - or reprints)), as well as many thousands on voice ... and you are paying for that knowledge.

I HIGHLY recommend a pad and pencil and listen to the snippets of theory and get it written down. When you come to a troublesome phrase (say Ex-8 / CD 5), use a different consonant (as per theory in CD 2 - EX -1). But remember - "...this is your voice..." and "G" in front of "ee" may not work .. but "W" might.

SO where Robert is coming from - is that a coach would spot that within seconds. Then it can be worked on.

So - in short - the explanation is there, Bob has covered cart before horse and I would recommend re-visiting CD 2, CD3 and CD 5 as also other consonants are covered.

- Dont skip to CD 6 as Exercise 3 appends on CD5 ex-8 (using one vowel), and some of the rest (simple listen) is staccato and extended scale / arpeggio. So you'll only get more frustrated moving forward at this stage.

That's why I said that "indirectly" it teaches you .. You have to understand the theory and adapt it/exercises to your voice. Hence the coaching additional to a program.

Hope it helps,

Stewart

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Hello-

My name is James, I'm 17 and am from England. I should add that I am into alternative rock music, and am not looking for quite as strong a rock'n'roll voice as I presume most on here are looking for, and after seeing some of Rob's videos, am not really wanting that total 'vocal athleticism'. Don't get me wrong, his voice sounds amazing, and if my taste was a bit heavier (and had I heard of 4 pillars sooner), Lunte would be my first port-of-call. I'd have to say Thom Yorke is my favourite vocalist, maybe you could say he's a bit whiny, but one minute his voice can sound very delicate, the next it's very full.

I'm really sorry for how disorganised this post is, it's just I'm quite dmoralised how non-existent the results seem to have been after 3 months of Mastering Mix. I'm not expecting to become some Freddie Mercury, I just want to be able to sing decently in the musical range where most modern alt-rock/pop vocals are.

Thom Yorke is also one of my favorite singers. As subjective as music is, I would argue he is by far the best combination of "technical"-sounding singing and great songwriting/composition. I post a video of one of their best songs below. Check it out everyone!

I think we have similar goals Cone... initially I was put off by the "vocal athleticism" concept, because I come from an aesthetic background whereby my favorite singers strain to sing a middle C and I wouldn't have it any other way. Once you realize how much work and time and musculature is involved in making noticeable improvements, you may end up sympathizing with the term.

In much the same way how you will not sound like an opera singer after training with a classical teacher for a few months, you may not sound like someone as idiosyncratic as Yorke no matter what program/teacher you train with. It's depressing, but the quicker you learn this the better off you are, trust me - the best you can aim to sound like is a much better version of yourself. So, you may as well eschew Mastering Mix in favor of something more intense like Pillars 2.0 and lessons. Lunte's lessons are very affordable in packs of 3, especially in comparison to many other teachers or organizations that may not even offer his kind of free email correspondence when you need help. You can guess what one of those organizations is!

It's a bit perplexing, however, that Brett Manning is influenced by Matthew Bellamy in some of his own songs. Bellamy is obviously reminiscent and influenced by Yorke. Having extensively trained with SS an a bit of Mastering Mix (and the vibrato one, which is good), I just don't think Brett has ever made a program that gives so much as a tool set to sound like the aforementioned singers, which Lunte's does (see intrinsic anchoring.)

But if you do want to sound like Yorke... I'm not sure if Pillars has got every aspect down. I think TVS is opposed to falsetto as an artistic tool, which is one of Yorke's trademarks. Falsetto is the artistic choice of diverse popular artists such as U2, Radiohead, Coldplay, Kent, Muse, Bee Gees, Jimmy Somerville, Queen, some Smiths songs, Justin Timberlake, TV on the Radio... the list never ends, so I would love to see Robert implement falsetto-strengthening thoroughly if he decides to update Pillars at some point. That's my only criticism.

The best song I can think of that extensively uses falsetto is this

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In much the same way how you will not sound like an opera singer after training with a classical teacher for a few months, you may not sound like someone as idiosyncratic as Yorke no matter what program/teacher you train with. It's depressing, but the quicker you learn this the better off you are, trust me - the best you can aim to sound like is a much better version of yourself.

And the heavens open, the clouds part, and the angels sing "Aaaaah - meeeeeehn."

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