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Vocal Stamina and Voice Prep for Recording and Recording Prep Tips.

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slstone
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I havent' seen alot of postings for this topic, but I wanted to offer some advice on these subjects.

We are all at various stages of progress. Some of us are just beginning, and some are thinking about

scrounging money for equipment or studio time. Either way, we all want to record ourselves.

I have had recording equipment at home for quite some time now. Of course, the capabilities and

quality has increased over time. But prepping oneself for recording is the same regardless of the

quality of your equipment.

I have been recording myself for many years. Thankfully, I no longer suffer from what I call

'Recording Syndrome'. It is a term to describe the sense of nerves and anxiety that accompany

a recording session. For example: you think to yourself, I am recording now, so I cannot make

any mistakes. So, of course during the first take, you make every mistake known to man. And

then some. I had a drummer friend awhile back who is a huge Metallica fan. We use to jam alot.

We wanted to do a simple cover of 'Enter Sandman'. A song he and I had played many times for fun.

As soon as I put the headphones on him and hit the record button, he couldn't play it correctly if his

life depended on it.

One thing we don't realize is that when we "practice", we make many mistakes that we ignore, we move on

without stopping. Why do we do this? It is part of gigging and playing live. We learn to ignore mistakes and

keep going. After all, it would not make for a good performance to keep stopping in mid song and starting

over.

However, in the studio, all mistakes stick out like sore thumbs. Best think to remember is this. In the old days,

you had a rewind button. Today, right click and delete, or punch in. Another take can always be made.

Now if you don't have your own studio, and have to pay someone else for time to record, there are some things to keep in mind.

1. The studio is not a practice hall. You are paying by the hour. Practice before going to the studio.

2. Do prep work before getting there. New strings on guitars, heads on drums, etc. again, you are paying by the hour.

Vocal Stamina:

I have noticed that in alot of people's singing, there is not much stamina, i.e., holding the note a little longer, the need to breathe

superceding the need to hold the note. In my opinion, sometimes holding the note a bit longer adds more fluidity and texture to the note.

How many times have we listened to someone sing and it seems like you can hear them taking a breath every 2 to 3 words.

Taking deep breaths before beginning a phrase and controlling it will make for much more congruent takes. You want to make it last.

Using the techniques that Robert Lunte uses with proper breathe control can work wonders. And since most recording studios are able

to multi track, you can record different parts separately. Too many times we try to hurry to the next phrase, and don't always realize

we cut the last note short. With deeper breaths, we can hold out longer, maybe sing one or two phrases before breathing.

Much like holding your breath when swimming, except in this case you let it out slowly whilst vocalizing. It takes a bit of work to

master, but you will be amazed at how much more fluid your singing is.

Voice prep for studio: Basically, drinking anything warm helps alot. Coffee, tea, hot cocoa, hot apple cider. All of it helps to loosen and warm

up the vocal chords. Even in breaks between takes. For instance, one of my own original songs, the last chorus is sung twice and it is a very

long chorus. Then of course the harmony track, again twice. Last phrase of the song, I sing a minor third above the highest note in the harmony track.

Impossible for me to hit if I try it right after recording another track. At that point, my voice is fatigued and needs to rest. So I sit back for

1/2 hour, drink more tea then give it another go. And nail it.

And as a side note. There are those who are of the belief that no matter you do: sing, play guitar, piano, etc. that technique does not matter. What

matters is what you feel, express those emotions and people will love you. I disagree with this sentiment. In my opinion, without proper

technique, no amount of emotion will make you sound good. Just like anything else in life, they are building blocks. After all, you cannot write

a bestselling novel if you cannot read or write words. Cannot be a news anchor with out the ability to talk. Cannot play a guitar solo without a

guitar. Technique is what helps you deilver that emotion successfully and flawlessly. After all, does the emotion of a song really make you cry

if the singer is off pitch and tone deaf?

Anyway, I hope there are those who find this helpful in preparations. Having experienced many of these issues in my own experience, I imagine there

are a few who probably need a few pointers in studio prep.

Regards to everyone,

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You're better at recording than I am. I am always a live singer and if start flat or sharp, I float in an instant to the correct pitch. Live, that's okay. Like Kip Winger says, live mistakes just float off into oblivion.

But recording, the slightest transgression is there for all time. To me, it's not a matter of how much you prep. It's about forgetting about the "red light" that means you are recording. Set "record" and then, forget about it. Sing "live," always.

patch the trouble spots later, which goes against my normal grain, as I usually record the vocals in one take, as I always expect to sing the song, live. And rest is important. I have worked through 3 takes and get worse with each one. Then, stop, clean the dishes, go the bathroom, and come back in a different mental space and get it one take.

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I play guitar, drums, piano, bass, and used to sing obviously. I'll tell you what the best practices I've found are:

Record yourself to a metronome regularly and try to get it so you can nail both covers and original compositions/songs from beginning to end. Listen back, no major mistakes, good job. Minor mistakes are actually good for rock and roll! Also, learn to improvise on both your instruments and with your singing (jazz, jam band, blues, whatever), so if something goes off plan, you can improvise your way back and potentially improve the track.

The more you practice these skills, the easier every new song you learn will be. It also helps to have an accomplice. My brother is also a guitar player and composer, so back in the day we got a lot of experience recording together. Now that he never plays music with me anymore, it's gotten harder, so you want someone to play music with as it helps you improve a bunch.

For me, when I got my voice problem, I lost a huge amount of musical motivation, so I'm not doing as good as I should be. I promise myself I'll practice every day and I've been trying to learn to read music, but without my voice and dealing with the pain and isolation it's very hard for me to motivate myself. I need to work on this.

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There's no substitute for good technique to (a) liberate even deeper emotion and expressiveness, (B) develop the strength in whole voice/breath system that one needs for extended recording or gigs, © prevent future injury.

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