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Is it just me?

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Matt
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or does anyone else find that, mostly, they've learned lots of little tricks and trills, but missed the very basics? Is your basic timbre good? How can you ever be a good singer if you havent got a basic, good tone down, yet? Im finding that when I try to do, what one might think of as, very simple stuff like say a simple vowel evenly and well for 10 seconds without it cracking or flipping at all is that this is often harder than doing clever little trills - much how I remember keeping a simple, straight, steady accompaniment on the guitar was actually harder than frilling up with lots of solo ventures all through the song. I think the old school style of just practicing a handful of vowels for the first year makes a lot of sense, and may even save time for singers who, sometimes, spend a decade or more never getting it right. Anyone agree?

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Relaxed open throat, breath support (a little or a lot where it applies), some twang, love and ears for music - will improve your tone. Just practicing a handful of vowels for the first year would be a bit too much and not necessary, I think.

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I think I get your point, Matt. And I think you are right. The real work is in the basics.

First off, learning to breath.

Second, learning to phonate properly. Singing is not like speaking, even if both functions use the same equipment. I can sing an E5 but I don't speak there and it requires a different approach than when I speak, which is usually, probably (if I had to shoot myself in the foot with a statement) around G3 or A3.

As far as tricks, such as trilling a note, yes, that might come later, especially if it is applicable to a style.

Then, again, what is one's basic tone? Is it the "basic" tone one has learned the his/her culture and language? Some of the exercises should help get away from one accent or the other. What about someone that might have a really nasal sound to begin with and some trick helps them to lose some of the nasal quality and have a darker sound that is more pleasing and even moreso, appropos to a style of music they wish to sing?

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Well, I think the Carusos etc were basically about perfecting those vowels with decades and decades of practice until they were all round and shiny and beautiful as polished stones. If you have beautiful vowels you have a beautiful voice.

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How many decades? It is realized by some that the voice is not settled until the early 20's, or so. Then, how many decades of practicing just the vowels? 2? Would that mean one is not ready until one is in his 40's or 50's?

I understand it can take quite some time. In Frisell's system, one first learns to detach from chest, entirely. Then, start bringing back in the volume. And working on each vowel at a note. And going through each note in one's range.

Bob had once settled on the number of 3 to 4 years, which is consequently the amount of time for some undergraduate degrees in voice though it must be said that part of that degree program is non-singing stuff such as is required in the degree program for any 4 year degree. Classes like math, language, literature, history, science, etc.

But that's a fair number, even for a non-college student who is working and may only have an hour or so to spend on exercises. Maybe a little more on his/her days off from work, though life has other things to take your time.

Caruso started singing as a teenager. And he was gifted.

But I think the practice lasts one's whole life. And the voice changes, and the emotional viewpoint of the singer changes.

So, when would a singer be ready?

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or does anyone else find that, mostly, they've learned lots of little tricks and trills, but missed the very basics? Is your basic timbre good? How can you ever be a good singer if you havent got a basic, good tone down, yet? Im finding that when I try to do, what one might think of as, very simple stuff like say a simple vowel evenly and well for 10 seconds without it cracking or flipping at all is that this is often harder than doing clever little trills - much how I remember keeping a simple, straight, steady accompaniment on the guitar was actually harder than frilling up with lots of solo ventures all through the song. I think the old school style of just practicing a handful of vowels for the first year makes a lot of sense, and may even save time for singers who, sometimes, spend a decade or more never getting it right. Anyone agree?

matt, i agree with you.

seems like all the young singers are more interested in runs and trills than understanding and learning the core elements.

and they want it yesterday...

singers who have no range, a nasal tone, and do runs and trills ad nauseum is the big thing these days....sad.

the young kids today are getting a limited view of music.

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Matt - I know exactly what you mean, and it applies to everything - not just voice. A good example was when I was teaching myself jazz fusion piano in high school - I could do fast licks and complex stuff, but I didn't have great control. I took lessons from a guy, and he told me to slow it way down. But I still didn't have very good control doing it slow. He said "if you can't do it slow, how do you expect to do it fast?" This was kind of a life changing "wake up call" for me. It reinforced how important the basics are. This helped me learn not only piano, but guitar and drums too. I apply the same principles with vocals.

If I'm learning a new song or exercise and I can't execute all the pitches freely, without tension, I slow it way down. I make sure that if I stop on a note, it will be free of tension. I judge if it is free of tension when nothing hurts or feels tight and I can do a normal vibrato. I don't get hung up on not being able to do it up to speed, because speed will come easily when the tension is gone.

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