Jump to content

How to I improve my singing? Opinions needed.

Rate this topic


imperatormk
 Share

Recommended Posts

I made some short tracks with my singing voice, and I need suggestions on how to improve my singing as well as an opinion on what aspects of my singing need most improvement. Please be specific.

The tracks:

http://picosong.com/FcbY

http://picosong.com/Fcbc

http://picosong.com/FcbJ

PS. The tracks might be kinda low volume. Turn the volume up if you need to.

Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The recording quality is truly dreadful. Because of that it's hard to hear what your singing is really like. I suggest that get hold of audacity or some similar recording software and spend a couple of evenings learning it.

Your 2nd and 3rd links both went to the same song.

I have spent about 5 minutes with Adobe Audition tidying up your first track, to show you what can be done fairly quickly. But, you need to record better initially, not fix it afterwards. There is a lot of advice on this site and elsewhere about how to do that. Here's my adjusted version: https://www.box.com/s/y3zodwaasqn53hjgkw2h

You singing is a bit light, like you are not trying very hard. Maybe if you were to sing without also playing guitar?

George

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I'll try to make better tracks in future using Audacity (not sure if I need to adjust something to make it better, will take a look at the site for advice). My mic isn't optimal as well though, it's one integrated in an USB camera.

Anyway, do you think that singing light is the only problem with my voice?!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Find some backing tracks of songs that you like and are in your current range. Practice singing to those along with singing while playing guitar. When you are a beginner in each, you have to split your concentration between the two. It is better to concentrate on one at a time when you are beginning.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm. I am not sure why I seem to sing light. Do you think that it might result from a weak support or breathing problem? I need an advice on how to resolve it.

And I have a question that might be linked to this. What exactly is 'signing with open throat', and more important, am I doing it properly while singing?

BTW, I am playing guitar for a while already, and it isn't a problem for me to play while I am singing. Not sure if my singing would be different without the guitar though.

Thanks!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is the deal..... To figure out how to sing there is only one method: singing. Don't worry about anything else except singing and sounding good!

The best way to figure out what sounds good is to record yourself and compare to different singers, get feedback, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi imperatormk!

As has already been said you need to work on your 'ear' and singing in key

Do you feel confident in listening to other singers and knowing whether or not they're singing in key?

If so then here's a tip. Record yourself singing along to another song (one of your favourite songs for instance) then listen back to that recording and really listen to whether or not you are singing in unison with the other recording. Are you matching that song note for note? Are you off key at all? The first step in improving your 'ear' is awareness

Good luck!

www.MrBroderick.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is the deal..... To figure out how to sing there is only one method: singing. Don't worry about anything else except singing and sounding good!

The best way to figure out what sounds good is to record yourself and compare to different singers, get feedback, etc.

Thanks for the answer! You have a point, but from the other side, I don't see how would this work out. I mean, I don't think that I can learn to sing good (or as good as I want to) without knowing what am I doing. That is why I posted here in hope to get some specific opinions on how to improve my singing.

Feel free to suggest whatever you think worthy, otherwise, thanks for your answers, I really appreciate them!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Imperatormk, Experiment. Use a voice that you think is classical. use a voice that you think is pop. Use a voice that you perceive as thin. Use a voice that you perceive as thick. Sing loud .Sing soft. Sing with Mickey Mouse voice. Sing with Munchkin...........................

Find out what noises you can make. Which ones sound good and which ones sound bad. Work the bad sounds anyway they may be useful.

Some define open throat as a lack of tension. I also asked that question and never got a strait answer. Ultimately Open throat may feel different to you so there is really no way to describe it.

I have also heard that any pitch you can make with your voice can eventually be turned into a singing note.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your throat is "open" enough. And you have enough breath to make the note at a good volume. What you do not have is pitch accuracy. Funny enough, the guitar sounds well-tuned. Did you tune that guitar? Then you have an ear for tuning. Apply it to your voice.

And Aduacity is free software, by the way. As well as a plug-in for an LAME mp3 encoder.

Follow Shac's advice but start out with a single note on the guitar. Once you have the mental picture of how that note feels when it is done right, a lot of your problem will be solved, I think.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks! I'll practice singing guitar notes and that hopefully will help. I am assuming that other singing aspects, like resonance and projection are okay, and will concentrate most on my pitch accuracy.

I have one question though. When I try to sing higher notes, like open 1st (E) guitar string, I face major struggle and it doesn't feel good at all. I can sing the note okay, but only if I yell. Otherwise, I can't sing it well, but it sound like singing it inside, like bad screaming. I hope you understand what I am saying.

I'd experiment as much as needed to solve the above problem, but trust me, it would be SO MUCH easier for me if I knew why and what exactly happens while I am facing this problem. Thanks!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello, I am brand new here, and this is my first post! I haven't even posted a song yet, but I was checking out how others are doing their songs in this section, and I think that there are a couple of things I can suggest.

1. Get a decent mike and the Audacity software previously mentioned.

2. Pick out a simple song that most people will recognize. I auditioned for my high school swing choir with "Mary Had a Little Lamb". I think I pretty much nailed it! LOL Seriously, make it easy for people to critique you. I suggest a huge hit song from the 60s, 70s, or 80s.

3. Look up relaxation techniques on the net. Get yourself as relaxed as possible, especially your neck and shoulders. Stand up. Warm up your voice with warm-up exercises and scales. Practice the song. Spend an hour a day on the song until you nail it. All of this is done while standing.

4. Put your guitar away. Find a Karaoke version of your song, and record your voice singing along with it.

5. Put the name of the song in the subject line. people are more likely to open your topic if they see the name of a song that they recognize in the subject line.

Now, I will share what I know about relaxed, open-throat singing. It's fairly simple. The next time you yawn, pay attention to exactly what is happening with your lips, tongue, jaw, soft palate, pharynx, larynx, and vocal cords. I suggest you look up anatomical drawings of this area so that you can visualize what you are feeling. While you are yawning, try to keep all of these parts relaxed. An open, relaxed throat yawn is fairly close to the open-throat technique. The mouth is open, but relaxed. The tongue rests, lying flat as possible, with the tip of the tongue touching the bottom front teeth. The soft palate is raised, but not so high that it blocks air from traveling nose-to-throat. The jaw should be relaxed and dropped down as far as it will go, which pulls the tongue's anchor forward, opening the pharynx further.

Once you have checked that out on a few yawns, try to fake a yawn. Once you are able to duplicate the feeling of a yawn, then it's time to apply your knowledge. The trick is to figure out how far to go with this fake yawn. You don't want to do a full yawn. That is not the correct way. You only need to do it about a quarter to halfway. Now that you know what open-throat feels like, try it out while you sing. It will probably be a challenge to keep your throat fully open while singing an "eeee" sound, so start off with "uuuh" and "aaah".

Hope this helps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think everything Will said leads to resonance. Rather than yelling the note, find a shape of throat and mouth that allows the note to ring itself, so to speak. You will find, then, that less effort is needed. Not that there is no effort at all. Just a more efficient use of effort, if that makes sense. Also, by finding good resonance, you may find tuning the voice a bit easier.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just practiced singing higher today. What you said really helps, but I think there is also something else that causes additional problems: when singing lower, everything feels relaxed and right. However, when reaching higher notes at somewhat lower volume, I feel my throat becomes extremely tensed, and also I think my swallowing muscles kick in too. Like, the singing becomes very throaty. After a short period of doing this, my throat begins to hurt.

No idea why this happens and how to solve it, but will take a look at the resonance thing, maybe that will help. Of course, if you have something to add, please do so.

PS. Might this have something to do with singing with head/chest voice?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think everything Will said leads to resonance. Rather than yelling the note, find a shape of throat and mouth that allows the note to ring itself, so to speak. You will find, then, that less effort is needed. Not that there is no effort at all. Just a more efficient use of effort, if that makes sense. Also, by finding good resonance, you may find tuning the voice a bit easier.

Yes, I agree 100%. Resonance, tone, projection, and more is obtained through practice of this basic technique. When done properly, you will feel and hear the difference. Proper singing technique in your natural range will become nearly effortless, with no feeling of strain whatsoever.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just practiced singing higher today. What you said really helps, but I think there is also something else that causes additional problems: when singing lower, everything feels relaxed and right. However, when reaching higher notes at somewhat lower volume, I feel my throat becomes extremely tensed, and also I think my swallowing muscles kick in too. Like, the singing becomes very throaty. After a short period of doing this, my throat begins to hurt.

No idea why this happens and how to solve it, but will take a look at the resonance thing, maybe that will help. Of course, if you have something to add, please do so.

PS. Might this have something to do with singing with head/chest voice?

Please tell us either the actual notes that are causing your throat to hurt. Use your guitar to determine your range. I'm sure there are articles here to explain how to do that. Post your range here, or tell us some familiar songs that you can and can't sing. Start in the middle of your range, which is usually close to the same pitch as your normal speaking voice. Find a well-known song in this range, and see if you can sing it with no strain. For example, if the middle of your vocal range turns out to be baritone, then find a song such as one from Depeche Mode, and practice it until you are ready to record it. Then, put it up for us to hear.

First, do not sing notes that cause your throat to hurt. That higher part of your voice will become available once you have learned and practiced all of the basic techniques.

My first guess is that you don't have proper breath support yet. I haven't looked yet, but I assume that there are articles about this in here somewhere. Like open-throat, it is a very basic skill that everyone must learn. Lack of breath support will make you pitchy, "light", and your notes will sound like you are talking with a weak voice. Right now, that is what I am hearing in your voice.

Breath support starts with taking a proper breath. When you go to bed tonight, just lay there and allow your entire body to get relaxed as possible. Clear your mind, then focus on your breathing. Almost everyone breathes properly when they sleep, but many people don't breathe properly when they are awake. You can do this while lying on your back or your side. Once you are completely relaxed, your breathing will naturally slow down. At this point, most people are breathing properly. As you begin to inhale, you should feel the sensation of movement very low in your belly, and it should feel like "something" is descending toward your crotch. That "something" is your diaphragm, a muscle that is attached to the bottom of your lungs. Your lungs are just bags that fill up with air when the diaphragm pulls them down. When you are relaxed, the diaphragm's job is made easier. That's why people are always saying, "Just relax, and take a deep breath." Now, begin to take deeper breaths by "pulling" those sacks of air (your lungs) even lower. If you can do this, then remember to celebrate when you get up in the morning, because you have made a breakthrough.! Congratulations! This technique is called diaphragmatic breathing, or belly-breathing. But, we aren't done just yet. You must be able to hold this position while you vocalize a phrase, release it to exhale during your rests in the song, and inhale and hold again for the next phrase. As you vocalize, allow just enough air to make your vocal cord flaps move well enough to fill your open throat and mouth with a vowel sound. Again, use "aaah"s and "uuuh"s until you understand and learn through practice how this feels and sounds. Don't be discouraged if it initially sounds crappy. Just practice, practice, practice. Stay in your mid-range, and do an "aaah". Sustain it for a few seconds. If it feels good, then work on sustaining it a little longer. Stand up straight while keeping your neck and shoulders relaxed. Keep your head level, your chin in a neutral position. Watch yourself in the mirror when you are learning and practicing to make sure that your head and body are actually doing what you think you are telling them to...Now is also the time to start working on how to end each and every phrase you vocalize. This is one of those techniques from which beginners can benefit. Also, remind me to bring in vowel shaping and modification (you used it improperly and probably accidentally) later...

Basically, the key to ending a phrase is breath support. Most beginners have plenty of breath, they just don't realize the importance of ending each phrase as strongly as the beginning/middle of that phrase. Pretend that you are singing in a small but loud, crowded nightclub. Your mike is just strong enough to reach the guys playing pool in the back. One of the guys is a local record producer for an independent label with major connections in the biz. You don't know that, which is actually my exact point. When you sing in public anywhere, you need projection that reaches everyone in hearing range. I am not talking just about power, but projection of your voice to your listener. What I am talking about is actually kinda border-line ventriloquism in the sense that you are placing your voice in the surrounding area. When some people start learning to sing by singing along with their favorite songs, they rarely, if ever, have sang outside of their shower (best reverb in the world, and the water fills your ears and drowns out how bad you are)...

So, project your voice powerfully and steadily all the way through the phrase to the end of the last note. Your trying to sing, not talk. Listen to REO Speedwagon to hear how to end phrases. Not all singers do it this well, but the best pros do. Some beginners tend to be soft on the first and last note, and they sometimes don't even recognize that. You hear it on the attack of the first note of the phrase and again at the end.

I seem to be drifting into deeper waters here, so I will quit right here! LOL I probably lost you already, huh?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very informative post! First of all, you mentioned using guitar to find out my singing range. I have done that already - I can sing comfortably every note between 3rd fret 6th string (that is G note) and 1st fret B string (a C note). Hopefully that nails it. BTW, it was an open 1st (E) string note I was trying to sing when my throat begun to hurt.

I'll try to work on breathing support. I didn't understand one thing though:

You must be able to hold this position while you vocalize a phrase, release it to exhale during your rests in the song, and inhale and hold again for the next phrase.

Does this mean that my diaphragm should not move upwards while I sing the phrase? I don't want to get this the wrong way.

About learning a song in my range and then recording it for you, would you suggest the one linked in the bottom of the post?

Also, remind me to bring in vowel shaping and modification (you used it improperly and probably accidentally) later...

This is what I am looking forward to read.

Everything else you said pretty much makes sense, at least I think so. ;)

PS. There is something else that boggles my mind. Open the video below and go to 1:26. Note that 'vibration' in his voice when he sings the word 'are'. That sounds good and I have no idea what that is and how to do it, yet seems important to learn.

Thanks!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just practiced singing higher today. What you said really helps, but I think there is also something else that causes additional problems: when singing lower, everything feels relaxed and right. However, when reaching higher notes at somewhat lower volume, I feel my throat becomes extremely tensed, and also I think my swallowing muscles kick in too. Like, the singing becomes very throaty. After a short period of doing this, my throat begins to hurt.

No idea why this happens and how to solve it, but will take a look at the resonance thing, maybe that will help. Of course, if you have something to add, please do so.

PS. Might this have something to do with singing with head/chest voice?

Anthony Frisell points out that going up in the range will also carry an increase in volume. While in training, go ahead and let this volume get louder. You are unduly straining yourself trying to hold back just to have a soft, quiet tone. I am not saying holler or yell. Just let the note ring where it wants to. Worry about lowering the volume later.

When I first started getting volume in my upper range, I had no control over volume. My first wife would get headaches, just from the volume. She told me I could sing at the Cotton Bowl. Without a pa.

(The Cotton Bowl is a concrete open-air stadium at the Dallas Fair Park in Dallas, Texas. I saw the Who play there on their first final tour in 1982. Level 42 and Billy Squier were opening for them. It was one of the few cities where Pete Townshend broke a guitar on that tour. Good times ....)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...