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Progress? And some questions

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Sleeper256
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Hey there, since I lasted posted like a month ago I've found a teacher to help me weekly. I think it's making a big difference. So I wanted to see what you guys thought about any progress now.

http://picosong.com/3CVC/

On the Backs Of Angels (Cut around vocals, track thanks to Keith who recommended easier DT songs and has been a great help)

http://picosong.com/3CVq/

Surrounded (The high part) (That 'WAAAAALL' right after the rest is a doozy. Still can't do it.)

And High F# attempt from Learning To Live, except I think I accidentally went higher, or sharp or something. Possibly because forcing it too much? I just wanted to see if I could even do it. Also, do you think this was falsetto? It didn't feel like it.

http://picosong.com/392n/

All still recorded on a rock band mic, except the F# attempt which was just my phone.

I feel like I haven't progressed enough to post here but I think it'd be good to have records and see what you guys think.

Thanks!

One more thing, my teacher tells me there's no surefire way to not damage your voice over a long time, especially in rock. But the training with proper technique helps to protect it. Is this true and if not, what should I be doing to assure myself I won't destroy my voice before it fully matures (I'm told that's around 30.)

Also, he says that I should feel vibrations or something in my mask area, but no matter what, I don't, near my nose/sinuses. He felt it too and said it was weird there was nothing going on. Is this going to be a problem?

...damn, I told myself this would be a short post for once.

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I hope you don't mind my points of view. I am not a voice professional.

First off, good for you for getting a voice teacher. As if often suggested here, when one can afford or arrange to have a vocal coach, do so, if nothing better than to calibrate your own ears against how others can hear you. And by the way, especially if you are paying your coach with the hard-earned money of yourself or your family, listen to what he or she says first, rather than a bunch of us "experts" who don't get to hear you, in person.

Personally, as an ignorant redneck, I agree with your teacher, that rock singing carries an inherent danger of damage in it, especially with the raspy sound effects. Let me further push my ignorance upon everyone by saying that voices that are not raspy trying to become more raspy are more likely to be damaged. And lest others accuse me, I realize that this can be self-serving. I don't have much natural rasp in my voice. I can get a rattle noise up top and it has nothing to do with my vocal folds.

However, I can de-tune, as well, create more constriction, sing with higher larynx to get a sound effect. A way that I don't normally sing, at all. I did that recently for a cover song. And received at least one critical review. For singing in a way that I don't normally sing and if I did sing that way all the time, I would damage myself. So, I only did one take. But the assumption was there that I sing this way all the time and that I need to start from square one, as if I were an absolute beginner.

The other inherent danger of singing rock music professionally is the work load. Although, having read the memoirs of Renee Fleming, the working life of an opera singer is also fraught with vocal danger. She said, the most important thing a singer can say is "no." No to repertoire that does not fit one's voice. No to roles in different tessituras from which your voice is currently trained. No to a schedule that is past human limitations.

We can translate that to our rock singing. If someone says you need more rasp, say no.

Some people have natural rasp. People are amazed that Brian Johnson can sing the way he does for decades. Well, I've actually watched more than one interview of him. The rasp in his singing voice is the same as the rasp in his speaking voice. Same with Steven Tyler. I know that will cause great wailing and gnashing of teeth. And some will say, well, he's singing 1/2 a step below how he recorded "Back in Black."(which was back in early 1980, by the way.) Well, he's also over 60 and still singing for the loudest band in rock. And for those about to rock, we salute you.

I liked the samples you put up. And I think you have the voice to do prog rock ala DT. What's more important is what you and your voice teacher think. And your teacher is right, think more about longetivity than the highest note or the meanest sound effect. Something else to think about. Singers like Corey Taylor, formerly of Slipknot, are spending more time these days singing legit than with lots of growl, too. I don't know if it's because of longetivity or a change of artistic direction.

And others here have pointed out or read that there can be some limitations brought on by some styles of rock singing. A coach I knew and dealt with thought I should get away from the "rock singer" thing and just be a singer, regardless of genre. And I think he is right, though I cannot give up singing rock music.

I agree about singing in the mask. And it's not so important whether you feel the buzz in the sinuses. The phrase is a mnemonic to help guide the physical processes of resonance.

Stick with the coach or teacher that you have for as long as you can. It sounds like he or she is doing you some good.

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Hey Ron, thanks for your post!

I asked my teacher before about getting a raspier voice for rock, and he said that the rasp is usually the result of years of drinking, smoking, and getting vocal nodes, which I understand are a bad thing.

My main goal is to be able to sing 80s style rock, but also be flexible to sing anything with a rock-based background.

He's basically taught me useful things like how to breathe correctly, but I feel I'm learning more combining his teachings with ones online and my own practice. There are days I honestly feel I'm wasting money because we just do a warmup and then he shows me youtube videos of great singers and how cords work. I mean I wish he would've just told me to look these up as 'homework' or something. But most days I feel we're getting stuff done. He tells me I oddly have a bunch of natural things like resonance and vibrato that others would kill for, but I'm like a kid with no idea what I've got or how to use them. To me, I don't hear that. I don't know if that's true or if he just wants me to give him money every week for years when there's really no way to improve what I have.

I mean, yes, now that I know how to support I think I'm doing better, but I don't know what else can change...I just can't imagine my voice on like a studio track matching a professional or something ya know? I just think, will there ever be a time that I can sing a cover, then listen to the cover later and believe the singer was actually singing it? I just gotta put doubts out.

Ok, I rambled.

Anyway, in the future I think I'll try less high, easier songs for practice.

What exactly is rasp and rattle? When I think rasp, I think ummm...buckcherry, or louis armstrong for two strong examples. But I'm seeing people say Bryan Adams is raspy, I wouldn't have recognized that until I started listening for it.

It's weird how imagining things (breathe into lower back, aim sounds at back of throat, 2nd mouth) actually have an effect in reality.

Thanks again for your post!

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Hey Ron, thanks for your post!

I asked my teacher before about getting a raspier voice for rock, and he said that the rasp is usually the result of years of drinking, smoking, and getting vocal nodes, which I understand are a bad thing.

My main goal is to be able to sing 80s style rock, but also be flexible to sing anything with a rock-based background.

Yes, those things can cause problems, as well as hollering and shouting at football games, mostly because most people don't know how to project the voice with resonance.

Brian Johnson still smokes cigarettes, though he's likely to drink more tea these days than lager or whiskey.

Lemmy Kilmister is never seen without his Marlobo red's and a bottle of Black Label Jack Daniels, which he mixes with Coca-Cola.

He's basically taught me useful things like how to breathe correctly, but I feel I'm learning more combining his teachings with ones online and my own practice.

Now, you are in the same dreamboat as Anne Wilson. In the memoirs of the Wilson sisters (Heart), Anne explains how she learned about singing from her choir director in high school, Allen Lund. And the main thing he taught her was breath support, most importantly, to breathe from the belly, in so many words. She does not mention taking training with anyone else for the duration of her career.

There are days I honestly feel I'm wasting money because we just do a warmup and then he shows me youtube videos of great singers and how cords work. I mean I wish he would've just told me to look these up as 'homework' or something. But most days I feel we're getting stuff done. He tells me I oddly have a bunch of natural things like resonance and vibrato that others would kill for, but I'm like a kid with no idea what I've got or how to use them. To me, I don't hear that. I don't know if that's true or if he just wants me to give him money every week for years when there's really no way to improve what I have.

So, you don't trust him to hear you objectively? Sounds like a trust problem.

You want him to assign you homework to do what you already know how to do? Although, maybe you already have skills past his ability to teach. I've been reading the memoirs, recently, of Patricia Andzrejewski, aka, Pat Benetar. She always sang, being a bit of a ham around the house. And her mother was an opera singer, who never forced the whole "opera singer" legacy on her. She decides to take choir in junior high, and had to audition for that. And blew everyone away. Still, yet, a voice teacher was found, grants and scholarships were found by her choir teacher, to see to it that she had opera singer training. And yes, even with the great natural talent she has, which you may have, there was plenty of things to be done in cultivating voice to be totally under one's control.

As for the other stuff, some people remind me to do basics. The whole "wax on, wax off" thing. Can't hurt to do that, too.

I just can't imagine my voice on like a studio track matching a professional or something ya know? I just think, will there ever be a time that I can sing a cover, then listen to the cover later and believe the singer was actually singing it?

Are you saying that you hope you will sound like another singer? That's not going to happen. Are you saying you can't imagine being the professional singer on a recording? That's mental, you are blocking yourself and you need to stop it, right now.

Anyway, in the future I think I'll try less high, easier songs for practice.

Yes, it is wise to choose song material wisely. Don't choose because of the range of the song, which you can always change. Choose because the song matches your voice and it sounds believable when you sing it. I break that rule all the time, but still, it is the ideal of song choice to which we should all strive.

What exactly is rasp and rattle? When I think rasp, I think ummm...buckcherry, or louis armstrong for two strong examples. But I'm seeing people say Bryan Adams is raspy, I wouldn't have recognized that until I started listening for it.

Bryan Adams - raspy

Louis Armstrong - rattle

It's weird how imagining things (breathe into lower back, aim sounds at back of throat, 2nd mouth) actually have an effect in reality.

That's because singing is mental.

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I haven't spent years drinking, or smoking, and I have a natural raspiness. I find it hard to sing clean.

Then, maybe you should start smoking and drinking, so you will have an excuse. :lol:

I know, I know, God forbid that it has anything to do with genetics. Please, for the love of rock, love your voice as it is. Both you, George, and others.

(sorry, it's easy to talk about not being a cheerleader, it's another thing to actually stop it.)

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Sorry, it's been near a week and I been busy and just noticed this now. Thanks for such a great response Ron, you sound like you know exactly what you're talking about.

Now one more thing, and we're going to work on this tomorrow, but I find that I can't perceive when my throat is 'open' or 'closed'. It just happens, but I don't feel anything at all.

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