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The 80/20 Rule of Technique

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While it is true that there are many dynamic roles that play a part when it comes to singing it is also true that some things are much more important than others... The 80/20 Rule means that in anything a few (20 percent) are vital and many(80 percent) are trivial.

Based of my experiences I feel like the 20% that will help your voice absolutely SOAR is good breath support and firm but gentle cord closure. For the more experienced users of this forum; what do you feel is the "20%" that has helped your voice improve and develop drastically? What should I focus on and remind myself before anything comes out of my mouth?

This has been bothering me for a while so please feel free to share your "20%" with the rest of the forum! :D

Thank you!

- JayMC

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Even if we all recommend our "top 20%", 80% of them will suck :P

Yes but trying to make it as simple and easy as 1, 2, 3, often can help a lot more than tedious exercises and theories. For example remembering to breathe, support, project, before singing anything. Although every person has different weaknesses sometimes simple ideas yield the greatest results.

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yes, remembering to breathe is a good thing.....lol!!!!

respectfully, i have to disagree. the voice is developed slowly over time (and trial). this is one thing i can tell you, there is no magic pill...no short cuts.....

not if you are after a pro-caliber voice. there is so much to learn. also remember the voice is made up of human organs...that means inconsistensies abound.

your voice isn't asking you, you're asking your voice to play it...right? it's an instrument..you can play it right or you can play it wrong and damage it.

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your voice isn't asking you, you're asking your voice to play it...right? it's an instrument..you can play it right or you can play it wrong and damage it.

Yes exactly, and certain simplifications can assist in the learning process. For example: The voice should be played like a violin. In such a simple statement one could encompass the hook of the breath (bow lightly touching the string) and the different registers (different strings on the violin), and even singing with less pressure. At the end it is one instrument and I agree you can play it wrong. There are no shortcuts to practice but there are better ways to practice right. The tenor Pavarotti once said "The tongue for me is a thing I would not care to think about." There are some common things that can be excluded and included in good technique and that is what I'm looking for. It's alright if no one wants to share :P

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Breathe low, attack confidently, expand and as you ascend think the notes out of the top of your head or up and back, let the resonance take over on the high range don't push, Think and i said" think" not do, a feeling of inhaling as you are still expanding and singing with the breathe(tricky), follow the path of falsetto on the high notes but dont sing in falsetto, practice falsetto separately from chest from time to time. to get whistle voice back off the volume.

I got lots more um.... narrow your vowels when a certain note is hard to sing on a certain vowel(take your hands on the sides of your face and smush your face slightly to narrow practice that feeling only if its a trouble spot), practice the notes between c3-F4 alot in a nice full sound on every vowel and scale this will help your high notes tremendously..

drop your full voice in where you sing a falsetto phrase with almost the same intensity as falsetto but makes sure its full voiced, try that..:)

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And don't forget Daniel's pink cowboy hat.

As for the mental part of singing, it is not just imagining to sing well in order to sing well. If that, alone, worked, that is all we would need. And many who have seen me write "singing is mental," some assume that I am stating that you only have to think that you sing well in order to sing well and that is not it.

But after all the basics that you have done, and all the little mechanical things that you have learned to create the basics of a singing voice. After all the crafting you have done to learn to express yourself using the basics and techniques as a painter uses brushes. That is, you have gotten past the halting experience of a beginner doing a few strokes awkwardly.

Now you perform, record, or both. And welcome to the other half of the equation, one that I have not stated often, as it is bound to offend.

Not only is singing mental, listening is mental. And not everyone is going to like your performance, no matter how technically perfect you perform. Each person is listening from their own mental vantage point. They may be of the mind that the genre you sing in "requires" a heavy, distorted voice and that your voice is too clean, too light. And then, either you have not done enough with your voice or, you should not sing this song unless you can sound just like the original singer. I have been told both of these things. Here, in this forum.

I have also received some of my highest compliments here. You take the good with the bad. No one is perfect, certainly not me. And the criticisms, no matter how based on the listener's own psyche they are, will have some element of truth.

Maybe I have not done enough with my voice. I tried to do more. I tried to do something my voice was simply not designed to do and I injured myself. So, I have learned to stay within my range and abilities and my voice is actually stronger than when I first came here. How's that for irony. So, I do plenty with it, just not as is expected of me.

Doing a song outside my voice-type. It's possible in performances where that criticism came along, as personal as it was for the reviewer that I can only do the song if I sound like the original, there is some advice in there. Song choice is important. Either do songs for which my voice is matched, or change the song to suit my voice, which may alter the song too far away from audience expectations. For, in that case, I had broken my own rule of don't try and sound like the original by doing just that, trying to sound like the original. And not making it.

In the end, if you have done well and you know it, don't let the critical reviews bring you down. If you have received a negative review, you are now in the same club as the members of Aerosmith.

And Twisted Sister. And by the way, Dee Snider did have lessons and graduated high school as a classically trained countertenor. And still, he was rejected a number of times. Thankfully, that Long Island sense of chutzpah and determination carried him through.

But how much of your own expectations, as well as the expectations of those around you defines how you use a technique? That is mental, in both singing and listening.

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