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At my wits end with learning to sing. HELP.

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hypnotoadmk
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Hey guys,

I'm a music student at university, been playing the piano pretty much my whole life, started playing guitar a while back. I've been playing guitar and bass in gigging bands for about 3 years now and I'm also in the third year of a music degree.

About 5 years ago I started trying to learn to sing, albeit a total bedroom attempt ie just trying to sing over me playing guitar/keys and listening back to it. About 2 years ago when I started my music degree I really put my back in to it, got a singing teacher who was highly reccomended to me by many of my tutors and classmates. I had lessons with her for about a year before it became a bit too much of a financial strain. I still go back for occasional lessons however, and still work on my singing every day.

Since then many aspects of my singing seem to have improved greatly. I can very comfortably do basic backing vocals (unisons), my diction has improved ten fold, my break point has gone from a B all the way up to an F and breathing from the diaphragm is now feeling natural. I've recently been working on vowel shapes a lot although I still consider this to be a big weakness.

But anyway, that thing thats really driving me up the wall is that I still don't sound good singing solo, down the fact my pitching is still naff. The strangest bit about this being that I have semi-perfect pitch (can instantly recognize 3 or 4 notes, always close with the others). I have absolutely NO problem knowing when I'm flat or sharp and identifying which one, but I still can't seem to get to the notes. Without sounding too cockey, I'd say my ears are one my strongest points as a musician (identifying intervals, transcribing, playing stuff quickly by ear), which just baffles me even more as to why my pitching when singing is soooo inaccurate.

The bit that infuriates me the most is that when I sing, I can tell in a heartbeat wether I'm flat or sharp, but as soon as I try and ammend it, I just end up going too much the other way, I absolutely cannot hit that sweet spot.

Now as a lifelong musician, I know this stuff doesn't come easy, there is absolutely NO shortcut for practice and hard work. I always warm-up before I sing, always record/listen back to what I do and do daily pitching excercises (with odd exceptions, nobodies perfect :P), I can hear improvement in other areas of my singing but just not my pitching. When I listen back to recordings I made about two years ago I can hear things that have improved, but my pitching is STILL OFF.

Somebody please help, cos I'm absolutely at my wits end, somethings obviously still going wrong.

Any ideas?

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Also forgetting the most irritating bit, as we get some vocal tuition on our course and that gets a lot more people into it, I have seen about a dozen people start trying to learn to sing later than I have, and there already sounding way better than me.

HEADBUTTS WALL

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I said it before and I'll say it again:

This is a singing forum, singing is all about making and hearing sounds and yet people come here and use written words to describe sounds. Doesn't make any sense.

How can we help you or understand what you may be doing wrong and why you're off pitch without hearing you?

Kindly post a clip(s) and people will help you out.

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I agree with you, Power. I just don't expect it to happen.

I've grown another gray hair waiting on Jay to post a sound clip no matter how many times someone has asked him to do so.

Then we get other newbies who get it immediately. Their first stop is the review section. At least, you can hear them right away and give them ideas they may not have thought of. Because we cannot hear ourselves as other hear us.

It's psychologically impossible.

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As far as working on pitch problems for individual songs. Play the melody on the piano note for note match your pitch to that. Take it one phrase at a time. I do not know what you are doing for pitch matching exercises but use actual melodies in your exercises Not just random notes.

I am not a teacher just another singer who is working out his own problems.

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It would be good for you to post a clip.

Here's an interesting story: One of our old bass players was really quite excellent. Went to Berkley - fabulous technique. Hal Leanord even published an instructional DVD on bass with him as the instructor. He had a great ear and could transcribe anything. He could play any Jaco licks - he was technically as good or better than Jaco.

This guy had a great tenor voice. Really beautiful. But could not sing on pitch. He could not sing lead because of it. We liked to use him for backup - he could do all those high background vocals. But he would mess up a lot. He knew had this problem and was sorry.

I'm not sure what goes on. There is an Ear->Brain->PitchControl feedback loop that has to work for singing, and this loop wasn't working for him that well. I'm sure there is a cure for such a thing. I just don't know what it is, and our bass player didn't know either.

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As far as working on pitch problems for individual songs. Play the melody on the piano note for note match your pitch to that. Take it one phrase at a time. I do not know what you are doing for pitch matching exercises but use actual melodies in your exercises Not just random notes.

I am not a teacher just another singer who is working out his own problems.

There's an app called "Singer's Mate" for iPhone and iPad.

You can import sheet music in MusicXML. Nearly all modern music notation programs can export

to MusicXML (Finale, Sibelius,Musescore, etc).

I like to use MuseScore because it's free.

Learn how to type up sheet music and important them into Singer's Mate.

Sing into a mic and it'll show your pitch as the song is playing.

The software is only meant for the singer's melody.

Homepage:

http://www.singersmate.com/index.php

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Cheers for the help guys, as with singing through the melodies on a piano, I have been doing this for years, its how I get to grips with a song.

Yeah I'll get you guys a clip up, my housemates in London with my mics atm and my Webcam doesn't have one but I'll get one up soon as.

Little bit unfamiliar with some of your terminology, but we can address all that when I've got a clip/vid up.

Thanks guys :)

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