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Keeping you throat open

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Hi there,

I have been using one of the online singing programs for the past few weeks to try and get my voice to the point where I can do some backup and maybe some lead vocals eventually.

What I am noticing is when I try to sing higher, I look in the mirror and I can see my neck squeezing together. So, by extension, I am assuming my throat is closing, causing me to not hit the higher notes. I've done lip rolls, tongue trills, breathing etc. Is it just possible that I will not be able to hit those notes?

This is me singing the song we are trying to do


This is the actual artist singing the song:


When the original singer hits the notes for the word "together", it sounds like I am waaay off. I'd like to try and rectify that. I've tried to download Eric Arceneaux's AAproach 2.1, but the site is having issues right now. Is that a good program to use? I currently have Per Bristow's Sing with Freedom and I found that fairly helpful.

Thanks a million

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you have to get with a voice teacher or if you're going to d.i.y., a vocal program.

you have the potential to be a fine singer!

in addtion to owen's advice, here's the main issue i hear with your voice from a foundational perspective:

you are a little on the breathy side and not in control of your exhalation with can affect pitch.

try this exercise: take a nice low breath, and sing a sustained "la" on one comfortable note in the middle of your range held out for 10 seconds.

if you find yourself emptying out of air or the tone wavering before you finish... the first step i would do is learn to improve your breathing.

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If you're actually taking lessons with Eric (either in-person or via Skype), then you're good to go.

If you're only following pre-made videos, I'd suggest getting a voice teacher and doing Eric's program

on the side. With a teacher, you can get instant feedback while singing. Feedback is very valuable since

you're not likely to be able to pick out your own mistakes in the beginning.

Anyway, a neat trick to do is to massage your own throat while singing.

It'll immediately relieve your tension and help you to relax.

Either massage the bottom of your neck below the Adam's apple


The left or right bone in your neck that goes from the back of your jaw down to your neck...

You'll feel all your tension release and it'll feel much easier.

For pitch, I'd just do a vocal workout 6 days a week (1 day for rest).

I use Anne Peckham's "The Contemporary Singer: Elements of Vocal Technique".

You can also use "Vocal Warm-Ups" by Hal Leonard.

Do them everyday and you'll build coordination and open up airways in places

you didn't know existed. Your pitch will get better and better as your voice gets


Also, if you have an iPhone, there are lots of tuner apps. I use "eTuner".

With the iPad USB adapter, you can plug in a USB, sing a note, and it'll

tell you what note you're singing (and how off you are).

What I do is play a note, sing it and then alternate between that note and a note above or below it.

It gets you used to hearing the difference between hitting a note and being off.

Eric Arceneaux also has a warmup routine on Youtube. Looks good to me.

I prefer using a vocal workout CD, since you waste no time between exercises

and do everything one after another. If Eric has a workout on his CD, then just

do it 5-6 days a week without fail. Do it without thinking and let your

voice improve over time.



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That is all fantastic advice - thanks so much!!

I was afraid that I would get told the singing was fairly bad and needed a lot of work, just to be passable.

Has anyone had any issues with purchasing the AAProach 2.1 from Eric's site? IT will not let me do it, probably because I am outside the US. I've sent emails and such, but no response.

Thanks again - I'll post an updated file after a few weeks.

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So after many tries through email and voice mail, twitter and Facebook, I have given up on Eric Arceneaux's website. Every time I change the country to something other than the US, it flags an error. Too bad, because I really wanted to try his product.

So now I'm on the hunt for a new one. Any good home study recommendations? My goal is not to become a famous singer, just to sing backup and a few songs in our band with decent pitch, range, and tone.

I've looked at Four Pillars and it gets very good reviews. I'm thinking of going with that one. Would it be a good choice for my objective of improving my singing in the clip above?

Thanks a million!!!

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Willise - I don't think you could go wrong with Four Pillars. From your clip I think your voice fine - good tone and balance. You definitely will be able to sing high notes more relaxed. What I did hear was some some significant pitch issues in some spots where you missed the pitch totally. Can you hear that? The tone wasn't bad, it was really just the pitch. If I were you, I would slow those sections way down and figure out the vocal line on guitar, and then play the notes and sing them at the same time - very slowly until you get the pitch in your voice. If you want to sing backup, you need to be able to sing on pitch, otherwise your bandmembers won't let you sing.

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You know, that is probably my biggest issue- pitch. I could live with the rest if I couldn't improve.

Will a home course like Four Pillars help with that? I think the course is very well priced for the fantastic reviews it gets and I don't mind spending the money if I can get even a 50% improvement.

Thanks for you advice, I really appreciate it

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Thanks Owen,

I've been in contact with Robert and will be purchasing his program today.


I know what you mean about the breath, but the funny thing is that I don't feel out of breath. Could it be that I am and just don't know it?

Either way, I'm looking forward to starting Robert's program. I'm under no illusions that I will be a "great" singer, but I would like to be a "good" singer. I am really hoping this program will help and from all indications I've read, it seems like it will.

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it's so hard to explain things on the forum sometimes and i could be hearing something that isn't really there.

but a lot of pitch issues can be traced back to breathing issues. for example, if you underpower a note, it can go flat if you overpower a note it can go sharp.

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I believe I understand what you are saying.

I am fairly sure I will be signing up for the Pillars program with the 3 hours of private lessons. That seems to be a reasonable amount for my goals. I am a very persistent person and have self taught myself several instruments, several programming languages, etc. But for whatever reason, I can't grasp this alone.

I think Robert Lunte will be the person to help me grasp the concepts. Then it's up to me.

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it's so hard to explain things on the forum sometimes and i could be hearing something that isn't really there.

but a lot of pitch issues can be traced back to breathing issues. for example, if you underpower a note, it can go flat if you overpower a note it can go sharp.

Just about the best post in the thread.

When you go for higher notes, you need to commit to them. Commit the engagement of controlled air. I used to call this the gut punch. But, esssentially, you need to breathe with your lower body and that drives the note, not your throat.

As for note accuracy, you need someone or something, such as a tuner, to listen to you and when you are at the right pitch, you need to feel physically what that is like. Once you have it in your physical memory, you won't get lost. I used to recycle the advice of picturing each note as a color or object. But I like to think more basically than that. The feeling in each individual will be, oddly enough, individual. So, for example, once you know how a B4 feels to you, you will know when you are there, again, by feel, especially handy in a live performance situation.

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As for tension, to me, there is a difference between tension and strain. I use tension to pick up an object. I strain to pick up an object heavier than I can manage. There's nothing wrong with the right tension. If you have the right tension in the right places, the singing feels effortless.

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thanks ron,

after all folks, when you think about it......we a playing a fickle human, with organs and muscles, not a les paul....lol!!!!

That should be a sticky (permanent post or permanent thread, just for that post, always positioned at the header.)

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