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I'm not sure if this is the right place for this , but how much of a role does mental image play on learning to sing? I already know that it plays a big role and I'm sure others would agree but I'm sort of thinking in another direction. Or rather an expanded view.

I'll look at the critiques section here in a minute but first let me give an example using myself.

When I first started singing at a karaoke event my wife was my judge. Usually she doesn't say anything unless I asked which in itself for the singer (I would imagine all...I know it is for me) is a little troubling. I have come off stage and had people compliment me only to get to my wife and get nothing. An acquaintance did the same thing to me after he just sang and I said "nice job", to him. That makes me sink right there. Other times, when I ask my wife how it was she will either say good (by nodding her head up and down) or I didn't like it. For a long while there were many "Not good" from her and it was driving me nuts because I thought it was good. Finally, one day I questioned her. "Was it pitchy? Was it too loud? Too low? Timing, key...what? Turns out it was none of these and actually nothing musical. She said that I choose songs that are too long or have long endings and she doesn't care for that. "You sang it good....I just don't like that song." Also she doesn't like scat or oos and ahhs between verses and lines.

Damn it!!! So all the while...a couple of years...I thought my singing was bad but it turns out your "bad" meant you didn't like the song choice?? I wracked my brains and felt self conscious for nothing,

Stuff like that makes me self conscious and when I sing next time I am sidetracked by thoughts of I might not be singing good. And that takes away from the song and focus on techniques. When it wasn't my singing it was poor critique skills. So how does this weigh on the singer?

I see many newbee come to the critique section wondering if they can sing. Obviously, they must think they can at least a little otherwise they wouldn't attempt to record themselves. We all play modest and say "I know I suck, but what do you think?" Nonsense...we just want someone to say we are good! :D

But the point is that many of these new comers say that their friends say they suck or can't sing. That can be bad if mental image plays such an important role. Questions then arise. Who are these people saying you're no good and by that I mean what experience to they have besides being what would be the paying public? Maybe they just don't like it and for that they say you suck. I think the big thing is "how old are they?" Kids/teens and a bit older will say all kinds of insulting crap. In my opinion this could help stifle an otherwise potentially good voice by making them hold back. Timid.

At least when they come to the forum and post a sample, they get good critique along with direction. That becomes important. From there they can improve and hopefully gain confidence. I also think that makes it important for us to be constructive as I think some people are coming here partially damaged by bad critique from those who don't know what they are critiquing. Or, take the example of my wife. Just not a full explanation of "I didn't like it."

But thinking about this, I think the right mental image is sort of a technique also. Persevere! You must take the good with the bad and push forward. Don't measure yourself by the nay sayers, build upon the good points and the instructions for improvement. Ask "why." Why was it bad? And on what authority.

Just a thought.

I know Ron....singing is mental. :D

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Great post, Tommy. I've been saying stuff like this for a long time and many times being misunderstood when I say that "singing is mental." For I should also include that listening is mental. One person panned my version of "The Immigrant Song." Not because I actually sang bad. But he later let it slip that he was never into Led Zep or even that style of music or singing. WTF? Why comment? Just to feel in control and smart?

But, hey, that's what? .... what is it ... what's that word ......

Yeah, my wife is really technical too. "That was good." "Man, that guy doesn't sing well at all. Can we watch something else?"

Like I said, really technical. And a fresh perspective. She's not expecting me to sound like anyone. And only notices who sounds similar to me. Such as driving home and hearing a song on the radio and thinking it was me for a brief moment, only to remember I don't have any albums or radio play of me singing. Because I certainly didn't hear the similarity until she pointed it out to me. And others have confirmed her judgement, so it's not just a matter of spousal bias. Others with the same technical description and who have no reason to placate me, say the same thing. Which is valuable to me, as I cannot hear myself as others hear me. None of us can.

And when I make a bad note, she let's me know. It starts with a wrinkled face, like I just passed some gas that would peel the paint off the walls (something else I am good at.). One time, I was performing in a club and botched a note and she pointed out for everyone else where I fouled up, just in case they didn't know. Can't blame that on equipment or recording technique.

We all listen from our own psychological perspective and what we find of value. And that's why most critiques are not so much a technical appraisal as they are an aesthetic one. Or, lately, a critique of your recording equipment and/or mixing skills. The last critique I had said nothing about my singing. Evidently, the singing was okay but the mic picked up too much noise air hiss. Then, of course, there is the artifact of a compressor plug-in and it will create a "pump" sound, sometimes. o, then, it's a matter of recording quality. As a singer, I'm glad my singing was okay and only my recording ability stunk, at least that time.

And often, aesthetics are driven by psychology. Many young'uns value the baritonic growl of today's heavy metal. My voice won't do that but just as importantly, I grew up in a different time, when soaring tenors ruled the day. Or, if they weren't a tenor by nature, they at least worked at getting some tenor notes.

Even I am a victim of my own psychology. Men that I grew with as role models had low voices. Most were baritones and my step-grandfather is a basso-baritone. I just assumed that when I became a man, my voice would be that low, as well. And the expectation continued into my adult years. It's only recently, in the past year, that I have realized that I have never been a baritone, will never be one. My speaking voice, when left alone and not driven by me to be "low," is still pitched where my mother's voice was. When I hear my voice in a recording, it's like hearing her voice with a man's timbre. If I had to describe her voice in opera terms, though she was not an opera singer, I would say she would have been mezzo-soprano. I sound like my mother. Which is fine with me, now. The great effect of this, which has cleared up a lot of issues for me is that, by dropping the whole "baritone when I grow up" thing, I am no longer de-tuning my voice downwards. It's made my singing more efficient and thereby, easier. That being said, I can do some notes in the 2nd octave, but those actually require more of my concentration than most anything in the tenor range.

Which doesn't mean that I now sing everything correctly. But at least I have removed what was, for me, an impediment. And it had nothing to do with structure, nothing so much do exactly with a technique. It was all in the perception of myself and what I thought my voice was supposed to do when "I grow up." And that is what? There's that word, again.

However, that being said, psychology aside, there can still be value in someone else's appraisal, discounting their psychology aside. And it can take a while to weed out exactly what you need from a critique. For you are still dealing with psychology. Here's a good example and I am going to highlight you, Tommy, in a good way. So, bear with me.

Your cover of "Life by the Drop." Most people don't know that there are two mixes of that song. They've only heard your mix. You had asked me to mix the result and I did, highlighting what your voice sounds like to me. In the end, you posted your version, which sounds great, by the way. No fault, no harm, no foul, no hurt feelings. It is, however, a different mix. And who's to say? Maybe my mix of your voice would have been panned. Totally possible. Because you cannot hear your voice like I hear it.

Just like when Keith has mixed my voice. Or my brother, Scott, has mixed my voice. They can hear things in my voice that I did not hear. Except, in my case, their mixes are always better than mine. Ay, carumba!

Others may not comment on your recording because the genre is outside their interest and it is kinder to say nothing than to say, I don't like this music. Because that will engender the question of why say anything at all. So, they are exercising grace in social skills. For example, maybe you don't like rap. So, commenting on someone's rap would be problematic. Better to leave it alone.

And a critique is often psychological. I once learned "Leader of the Band" by Dan Fogelberg. My wife's favorite singer. And she asked me to stop in mid-stream. Not because I sang badly. But because I was nailing it, spot on, acoustically, the way that he would. Because he had passed away the year before and she was still sad and hearing it brought back memories. I would have been better off if I tried to sing it like the cookie monster and an octave below the original.

Even when we listen to our own recordings, we don't always hear what others hear. I didn't think my cover of "Full Moon" was all that bad. But two highly critical reviews brought things to my attention. One was a technical review that was spot on. The other said that I should not sing this song unless I could sound like the original singer. And actually I was trying to and not making it because the original is a baritone reaching to tenor. But, that also reinforced that there is a sound ideal at work and that, if I want praise, I should stay from songs that don't fit my voice or style, and that I should stay away from songs that are someone's holy grail, if I can find out that is the case, beforehand. Which is psychology.

Singing and listen is ......

I should probably break this post up but you hit something on the nailhead for me, Tommy.

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Some people do have a sound ideal. Which will drive their description and perscription of using a certain technique. For example, if they value what sounds like "chesty" notes in the higher range, or that all rock singing should be raspy, that is the advice that they are going to give. Whether you can do that rasp, or not. Whether you are interested in doing that rasp, or not. Whether your recording would be helped by that, or not.

And again, that is an aesthetic choice, a sound ideal for the genre. And there are plenty of singers who flouted the genres. Ronnie James Dio was doing a sound no one else could make and not part of any particular genre. And in so doing, created a sound ideal that others work hard to get. And then, when all the singers are singing raspy as they can get, along comes Geoff Tate, sounding like an opera singer in heavy metal and hard rock. And getting away with it. My old friend John is a huge QR fan. And can't stand the sound of Axl Rose. And I have known others who are the other way around.

We are not immune to that. And many do not have the ability to describe what it is they find wrong.

I have been pitchy at certain times. But often, someone's review will say that I am pitchy without saying where it was off. Sometimes I can hear it. Where I go into the first chorus a bit flat and tune-up in the middle of it. Second chorus is usually better. But someone else's review won't say. Just "pitchy." And lacking the skill to critique precisely, they can only offer their advice, which is to buy this next singing system and spend years starting over, again. Which is not helping, imo.

There are a few who get precise and they do so without being snotty about it. Steven Fraser, for example. He can tell you exactly where you slipped and what to do about that area. And it's not a matter of starting all over again but a few exercises to pinpoint it. And it's usually not a matter of building new muscle but new coordination and starting from a different perspective. Which is what? What was that? Could you speak up a little bit, I didn't quite hear it.

Listener's perspective. You, Tommy, can sing stuff by Ray Charles quite well. And some of those notes sound high to me. And they don't sound high to you. So, who's right?

Also, there are a number of people who value one singer above all else. And their ultimate goal is to sound like this singer. Whether they ever will, or not. To save some of the beating of the head against the brick wall, it would be better to accept the voice one has, while still being inspired by this other singer. And that is what?

Or, to expect other singers to sound like a particular known singer and to not like their performances unless they can sound just like this other singer. That is a sound ideal. What if someone said that you can only do "Help from Friends" if you can sing it just like Joe Cocker, who's version I prefer over the Beatles' version? And that is what?

So, like you said, take the good with the bad. Judge what someone really means by a post before replying. Even if it takes a day to digest it. I have done that, with good benefits. What seemed like a slap in the first place, is not that after a second day and a fresh read. Or maybe their critique really has nothing to do with you and you just happened to be the recipient of that day's vitriol. In which case, letting it go is the gracious thing to do.

And that takes some inner strength. To know when to walk away from the fight. I, too, have some fighter training but I spent most of my time trying to walk away from it. Not out of fear but out of priorities and a sense of inner strength. For I don't fight for sparring points or pretty form. I fight to be the one who walks away, still breathing. That's a different perspective.

So, to some extent, the same with judging each other's singing. Is this the hill that you will die on, so to speak? And, yet, there can still be some value in a review, even if the person giving the review seems dead wrong. A) they may havea valid technical point. B) Maybe they don't but now you know the psychological landscape you find yourself in, which may help decide which material to sing.

There are some songs I can sing and would like to sing but I would not present them here as they are another person's holy grail and I would rather not hear it. And that makes things more enjoyable. Is that censorship? Only of the self. This or that song will not be the hill I die on.

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I think part of the issue is that there's a common misconception that we're either born with singing ability or not. The idea that everyone can make the same sounds with their voice and anyone can learn to sing is relatively new idea that's only been verified by Jo Estill and other researchers in the past 25 years or so.

How many times have you heard someone say that in grade school, the teacher told them that they're "tone-deaf" and to just mouth the words because they couldn't sing on pitch right away. In this day and age that's educational malpractice as far as I'm concerned. If you're going to teach singing, you ought to have some grasp of the latest research in the field and how its been verified that pitching problems don't come from "tone-deafness" they come from constriction in the larynx and can be removed by doing exercises to fix that.

Of course I'm not blaming the teacher necessarily because in this US our education system is drastically underfunded and arts are the first thing to go. I can't fault someone who teaches five sections of history and was asked to teach choir on the side because the school can't afford a full-time music teacher, for not having the most up to date knowledge of vocal pedagogy and science. However there are plenty of people who studied voice in university and just teach voice/choir for a living and have never even heard of Jo Estill. That boggles my mind...

I remember working with my first music teacher learning the clarinet. Never once did he tell me that I was physically incapable of something. If I couldn't do something he always told me "it's because you haven't practiced hard enough, go home and practice more". And so I did and I got better.

That isn't how it works with most singing teachers. If you're a baritone and stumble on a song with a lot of high notes, they're not going to give you some exercises to learn how to sing higher and go home and practice them rigorously. Most likely they're going to tell you to sing something "in your range". I can't tell you how many times that's happened to me. If you're a soprano and stumble belting something, they're going to tell you "you're a soprano use your headvoice", rather than teaching you how to belt.

I think that singers would be much more able to deal with criticism if we lived in a world where it was commonly understood that singing can be improved with hard work and dedication, just like anything else. But instead we've internalized the idea that our deficiencies are caused by our lack of natural ability, and there's absolutely nothing we can do to change that.

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Being in bands where other people are asked to sing when you make it well known that you wish to sing does't help self esteem. Plenty of times I would introduce a song to the band and they ask who are we going to get to sing it? I had come to the conclusion that either I cannot carry a tune at all or the others were afraid that I would sound better than them.

If they would have said to me " If you are going to sing we need to work on your pitch problems"

I would not have been offended. I would have gladly worked with someone. But instead they just got someone else to sing or refused to work on the song. I do have pitch problems and it is usually because of not enough support or trying to bridge too late. With the help of everyone here being honest with me I am getting better.

I don't mind hearing "Man! That was awful" as long as I am told why it was awful.

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I think part of the issue is that there's a common misconception that we're either born with singing ability or not. The idea that everyone can make the same sounds with their voice and anyone can learn to sing is relatively new idea that's only been verified by Jo Estill and other researchers in the past 25 years or so.

And I would agree that we can all make similar sounds or more accurately, do similar things, but that the results will be different. I, however, disagree that one can "make" two different voices sound exactly the same.

And of singers that do sound eerily similar to each other, that is an accident of genetics, resulting in similar structures, though granted, the similar singers may also be using similar techniques. I sound like a particular singer. And I do absolutely nothing special to sound like him. It's just an accident of genetics, even if he and I are singing with the same mechanical things. Or different mental images.

Totally agree about the internalizing, making it too personal. And we have all been guilty of it. M, you have, blaming it on trying to be quiet to not disturb your family, etc, which may have actually been the case. Point being, you caved and put in less than the effort that even you wanted.

No retreat, no surrender. Gird up your loins, hoist your shield, pick up your sword. For today is a good day to die. That is how you must approach life, and that is how you must approach singing.

And so, the important thing, to me, that you highlight, Remy, is don't take the review personally. It is, at best and clearest, about a sound that you made. And really, the only technical problems are pitch and intended volume. You are on pitch or not. And a weak intonation can make a note sound odd. But it still revolves to those two things.The rest are sound effects. Chesty, heady, deep, shallow, bright, dark, chiaro, oscuro, shades of timbre of the actual note.

And this will probably offend others and I should follow my own advice and not qualify it. But qualifying a statement by trying to be "nice" does not soften the blow. "Not to be mean", "I mean all the best for you". Even I have been guilty of it. "I'm usually the cheerleader but..." Using those qualifiers is, imo, disingenuous, even if you didn't mean it that way. Say what you are going to say, bold and upfront. We all want pinpoint honesty, right? Well, then, let's give it. "You were off pitch going into the first chorus. So, practice tightening your configuration. Run through that chorus a few times, italian vowel style." Just that, nothing else.

And, if you have nothing to say or add, it's okay to not respond in the thread. I have been getting better at that, myself. Maybe someone else has already given the right advice. So, you, the one seeking advice, don't need to get your feelings hurt if not everyone in the forum membership responds.

But getting back to one of Tommy's original points. Clarity in the ability to review. For that is also a skill. Not only in describing, but what to describe. If you are reviewing, is your review based on a technical item such as pitch or volume. Or is it based on your sound ideal? If you think that Michael Bolton is the absolute model of singing, and he is a good singer, and a lot of us just don't sound like him, then a lot of us will never "measure up." And that may be asking a lot of some people. Something they are not yet capable of. And it doesn't necessarily come with chronological maturity (the passing of years.) And I am not exempt. I have been and can be guilty of all these foibles and mis-steps. Most likely, more than once. To borrow a bible verse, before I even attempt to remove the splinter from your eye, I must first remove the log from my own eye.

So, even I work at clarifying my review of something. Down to little, pointy, brass tacks. Change only what is necessary. There' only a few that had to start almost all over again. Like Snax, after his tonsilectomy. For that changes the structure. But, he had the right tools by then to rebuild and basically went freaking super-awesome within a year. A testament to his intelligence, hard work, and dedication. For he spends his time singing, rather than talking about it. :D

Barring someone's ability to specifically point out what we should change in a song, we must then figure out from their words what is applicable. And accept it in grace. And, with grace, let go of the smaller struggles.

Recently, someone was describing some of the notes at the top of my range as screams. In truth, they were not screams but sung notes. But the aural effect was that of an empassioned scream. Which means I was successful in giving emotion in the note. Piercing clarity, a little rattle, tons of volume. Rather than "debate" that is sung rather than screamed, let it go. Be happy with the success of a performance that gave what was intended.

Most of us are singers. Not all of us are technicians or are able to correctly diagnose and advise on a problem. But I think we still have value because sometimes a different perspective gives you a different angle on the same thing. It's like watching a chess game instead of playing one. Playing chess, you are locked into your side and see everything from there. Watching from the side, you can change your vantage point and see it from different angles.

Same difference.

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Another point about clarity from Tommy's original post.

Many is the person who comes in new saying that their singing stinks and they post something and it's just fine. And vice versa, someone comes in talking a big game and it turns out they have one octave of range and none of it matches any pitch in the song they are trying to sing. And shades in between.

One person thought it would better to think he stinks and be surpised that he doesn't. Well, that is a perspective. And certainly, the actual underlying emotion is a desire for applause. Yes, we all sing because we like singing, it's an artistic expression, yada, yada. But we also want applause.

However, one should expect, going into a section that has the word "critique" in it, that you will receive criticism. I learned that the hard way, too. For there are songs I have submitted and I know I did well, by any estimation, no arrogance on my part. Sometimes, a job well done is simply a job well done. It happens, now and then. And still receive criticism. For others may think that you think there is a problem for them to find. And, by golly, they will work at finding a problem to fix for you.

It's like an audition. Never go into an audition making apologies and excuses. For you have already set the thing up for failure. They will assume, by your own words, that this is not your best effort. Nor are they psychic enough to imagine what your actual best effort sounds like.

Then, again, for many of us, the forum is our only place to review. Maybe we need what we think are objective ears. Someone who is not family but values the music we are doing. Someone who may have the technical ability to describe what they hear in us.

But we are a special breed. You may be a rock star hit with us and never make it in the music biz. What makes you a rock star hit in the biz? Simple. Lot's of people buying your music. And that is something we don't really concentrate on here and that is not a deficiency of this site. This site is for singers concentrating on the technical, mechanical, and yes, mental aspects of singing.

As opposed to writing hit songs. Though there is something to be said of a singer so emotive they can make the phone book sound like a love story. And I digress.

Can we expect others to actually give technical reviews, leaving their own aesthetic out of it? I don't know. Many is the time that we use a karaoke track that is actually shortened from the original version because the original may have had extended instrumental solos. And we are "voice" heavy. In a guitar forum, the instrumentals would take center stage.

Or, someone, such as Tommy's wife, is not into scat singing during bridges and pre-choruses. Fair enough, as far as musical tastes go. But, can most people separate their aesthetic from the technical issues? Likely chance, Tommy's singing was just fine.

And, is a "good job," enough? We may need to adjust our expectations and accept that. A case of where no bad news is good news. Good job may be as best as they can get, meaning that they heard nothing wrong with it and didn't feel the need to find something wrong with it. Not everyone is into the hero worship that we sometimes engage in for a particular singer, here.

And that is something we'll face in public performance, as well. Not everyone in the audience will be into you, or your music. That's just the way it is. When I would practice guitar soloing, my mother didn't care for that "tangential crap." (an exact quote.) But she liked my version of "Dust in the Wind."

Funnily enough, though she might not have liked my guitar playing at times, no one in my family ever said I could not sing. Did that have an influence? Maybe so, and certainly a mental aspect.

And I seem to be hogging this thread.

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All I can say is: open up the defences AND study.

There is nothing to understand or argue about someonelse's opinion on your singing. By giving it to you with honesty means that:

1- this person respects and credit you enough to handle it;

2- they actually wanted to enjoy it.

If it was due to style tastes or not, its only a factor after you are sure that technique AND musicianship are not problems also.

The one thing you guys will never see me doing is giving praises out of pity or for kindness. Its the worst thing you can do to somebody that is serious about their efforts, in whatever area it may be. On singing is the easiest way to create monsters.

Now I ask everyone here.:Is technique and musicianship still an issue? Im still working on a lot of things that need to improve. And while I dont, I cant cast away an opinion using taste or style as a reason.

It usually makes us open our eyes for things that we are overlooking.

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man, you folks can really write up a storm!!!

first, a book recommendation:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0195112245/ref=oh_details_o04_s00_i00

singing is a performance fueled so much by the mind and your intent.

do you intend to let yourself out to the audience?

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I think that is what is important and in part (indirectly) related to my post. Many times potential singers aren't exposing themselves or giving their all. This is often due to insecurities or poor mental image which is born out of critique by peers (often ignorant in the area of the voice) rather than someone who can offer advice. This probably happens mostly in younger years where your buddies are quick to say "you suck bro." Gaining mental strength to ignore such empty critique is critical imo.

Mental image and perseverance, putting yourself out there "exposing yourself" despite these naysayers is important. A strong mental image should be cultivated.

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Something I've been thinking about recently is that critique of the tonal character of a voice is mostly subjective. So it's not something we should have to be worrying like crazy about. Whereas things like pitch and rhythm generally must follow a predefined system, and if you're off, you're off and it's not up for debate.

I've been recently working with Rob Lunte on the vocals for my original songs and one surprising bit of critique kept coming up; "you need to work on your pitch". I had always thought I was gifted with good pitch. And I am, in comparison to the average human. I thought my vocal technique was what needed the most work. But what I think Rob was getting at is that it's more important for the pitch to be absolutely solid than to be endlessly fiddling with the tone of your own voice, because at the end of the day, regardless of whether your technique and resonant tuning is just okay or absolutely fantastic, some people are still going to hate your voice, and some people are still going to love it. But everybody will sense the lack of professionalism when there are problems with pitch and rhythm. Assuming that your voice is decent sounding, pitch and rhythm take a higher priority. The other reason I think he told me to work on my pitch is because, since I can't hear myself as others hear me, I was not aware of how off it was at times. And it can be fixed so simply just by focusing on it, listening to it, and preparing mentally to make the next note perfectly in tune.

Actually, your entire post was great but this section is perfect, imo.

And part of what I was saying about not everyone being that into you or your voice. Better to be on pitch. And, as you so eloquently stated, being off pitch is pretty much exempt from aesthetic concerns. Off-pitch is off-pitch. Fix it. Focus.

Boy howdy, focus. Think about what you are doing. I was singing with the radio yesterday. Journey's "Lights." During the endless "na, na, na" refrain that runs for the second half of the song, I was starting to tire and go a smidge flat and wonky. And I wondered why. The first half of the song was a breeze. Then, I realized, I needed to modify the vowel. The form of a (close to the a in cat) that I was using was detuning me. I shaded toward oh and it tuned up. I was fine, after that.

You are so right, and so is Lunte. Pay attention, spot the problem with a laser beam of focus.

Something I have focused on for myself is to not try and match the tone of other singers. Simply sing the song in my voice. I say "simply" but it is not always simple. Because we tend to emulate. We are inspired by the sound of the singer.

That being said, I also realize that some songs that I would like to sing and could sing quite well would not be received by some because I do not sound like the original singer and am just not interested in detuning my voice to sound like theirs.

On the other hand, I have done some songs from singers with whom my voice shares similarities. And I receive compliments. And that's not necessarily censorship (you can't sing this song because you don't sound like singer X.) It could be proof of the adage that you should choose wisely which material to sing.

For example, I can't or don't want to do the growly baritone that Corey Taylor did in Slipknot. But I can still admire the music, even if my voice is not going to do what he did in those songs. Nor do I need to do some Slipknot covers just to prove that I will sing whatever I want to sing and no one can stop me. There's nothing wrong with choosing material that matches your voice. The pros do it all the time.

One of the important things in my understanding of singing is learning to like the sound of my own voice. That is harder than it sounds. That doesn't mean I like it when I go off pitch. Pitch is a mechanical thing we must master.

Anyway, rockin' post, Owen.

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There comes a time when you have to reconcile yourself to the fact that you can't please everyone all the time, and it doesn't necessarily say anything about your abilities. Tastes vary.

I remember when I first made the decision to pursue music, I could have a hundred non-family members tell me a particular performance was great, but having ONE family member not like it stuck with me the most. It pushed me to the point over over-analyzing everything, looking for problems that didn't necessarily exist.

Finally, it dawned on me I simply wasn't covering the genres they liked. Rather than trying to force "my" music on them, I began ''expanding my horizons'', and covering more genres, some of which they liked.

I think the best one can do when encountering those who state they don't like your voice is to simply say "that's fine, but can you please elaborate?"

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Finally, it dawned on me I simply wasn't covering the genres they liked. Rather than trying to force "my" music on them, I began ''expanding my horizons'', and covering more genres, some of which they liked.

That's another good point and something I've also considered to a degree. I was always a rock guy and so I sang rock music. But I wasn't in a band, just singing to myself. When I first sang in public at a karaoke event I was already older, in my 50's. If I had been in a band then it would just be a matter of me continuing what I was doing.

Now, I had older people looking at me like what the hell is he singing and younger people saying either "hey check out the old guy, he's cool or check out the old guy trying to be young. . Either comment was just kind of a jab at me as if I was a sideshow rather than a talent.

I had been into blues for many years born out of liking blues rock, (Clapton, Led Zep, Cream, Stones etc) so I started singing more Blues, soul and R&B. This crossed the lines of generations a bit better and fit my age as it is kind of ageless. But the bottom line is that I think it is correct that you can't please everyone so you have to please yourself. If you are feeling it and happy then your audience feels it too and that makes the difference in your music. Find what you like and excel in it but most important "let it out."

There will be an audience for it. If you are trying to play for the wrong audience then you have a problem. Choosing right is part of it. You can't have a party with pizza lovers and serve hamburgers. :)

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If you are true to yourself in song choices and style you have a better chance of your audience finding you.

Because the audience will know what to expect.

You will find more and more people in the audience who came to see Tommy and not just to hear any kind of music.

If you try to please everyone no one will know what to expect. Not even you.

I am not saying "Stick to Blues" because you are a Blues Man. As long as you choose a song that resonates with you, weather it be country, pop, rock.....You will be fine.

If you are a hambuger at a pizza lovers party. The hamburger lovers will tell their hamburger friends and the next thing you know it is now a hamburger lovers party. You may even find that some of the Pizza lovers are closet Hamburger freeks.

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Just a note, because I get the feeling from a couple of posts that their may be a feeling this thread is about "me." :D

It's not, I have no issues. It is only something I noticed over time with observing many new singers wandering in for critique. I began to notice a common denominator and it was other people telling them they can't sing. That leads to poor mental image imo. So I posted about it to see others' thoughts. It's about them. The new and unsure wannabe vocalist.

My post concerning genre and such above wasn't about me so much either although I did use me as an example. But it was an example put out not as a problem, but as a solution. How I settled into a comfort zone. I'm comfortable where I am. I often change what I plan to sing based on the audience I'm in front of. I think I cover a wide range. Blues, classic rock, soul, R&B, Blues rock. As you said MDEW. It's "Tommy" I want them to see. Me and my music is the "product." :)

I was only trying to make a point :)

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I realized that also. I was also using you as an example. Many people think that they have to please everyone and get discouraged because they cannot please everyone.

My point is If you as a singer or band are true to your own tastes and genre you will have a better chance of finding and keeping an audience. You will be more connected to the songs that you are singing and the audience will be also.

And you will get better comments because you have a better connection to your audience. The audience will come back because they know you have similer tastes in music. Stay true to yourself.(general statement refering to all singers )

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Bob, what do you mean?

Letting how you sing be dictated by the audience or exposing more?

Exposing more is what I think is important. I just dont think

that to expose yourself you have to sound bad or frail. I think its the opposite.

i mean if you are going to sing well, really well, you have to really get into the song and deliver the core message with unbridled passion and heart.

this is not the time to be concerned about the passagio, or whether you'll bridge and connect..it's story telling time, the time to deliver...to connect and capture the hearts of the audience.....

maybe without them even knowing you did.

truth is, a good singer as i've said before is a dime a dozen...a truly great singer is something else.

and here's another sad reality, a mediocre singer can be perceived by the audience as a great singer as much as an accomplished singer.

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I would like to add my two cents to what Bob said.

Even if you are a hard core Metal fan and you are in a position where you have to sing country songs or whatever genre, choose songs that you can relate to. You have a connection to the song. You understand the message and it is a message that you feel strongly about. The message is the important thing. If the message is conveyed and the audience connects to the message you have done what you set out to do.

Bob Dylan wasn't great on pitch and technique but man he sure got the message across.

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To bring this thread back to self image effecting the way a person sings or trains. If you are staying true to yourself or the messages that you wish to relate through song, the message becomes the focus not someones impression of you. You will train more and improve for the sake of getting the message across. The stronger you feel about relating the message the stronger your perfomance will be. Even if you are singing a silly song that makes no scence. Sing with the intent of being silly for that is the message of the song.

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Well, let's take it completely full circle then and address the beginner with a poor mental image. When they come here already fostering a poor self image of themselves due to poor uneducated critique by their supposed "friends" what course of action do the members here take? Is it technique driven or should they be coaxed to first sing without any inhibitions. Let go. Forget about passed critique and get ready to show us what you've got and then receive support and advice. A combination of both? Strengthen the self image and nurture it? Can mental image be the first technique to singing then?

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That is pretty much the advice that I received. Good advice too. "Shut up and sing." Stop letting myself hold me back. Get out of my own way.

There was other advice also as far as technique. But the get out of my own way and stop worrying about what others feel about my training was the first that I needed to pay attention to.

Many of the first responces from people on this forum to beginners have given encouragement that with training there is improvement.

Not necessarily strengthen self image but perhaps take that out of the equation. Once techniques are improved upon the self image should also improve.

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