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Where do I start?

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iggs

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I hope this is an appropriate place for this.

My grandfather was a concert violist, who had always pressured me to train an instrument, because he said I had perfect pitch and that to not do anything with it was a waste.

I enjoy singing, but I want to learn how to actually sing.

Aside from singing in a church choir for a year, I am a complete beginner. I haven't improved at all in that year and frankly I don't think I'll ever learn/stretch ability in that environment, which really is the whole reason I joined.

So my question is where should someone start to really learn how to sing? I'm fine with self-directed study, but what steps or systems would you recommend?

Thanks for the advice.

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Self-directed study is not optimal, unless you want to allow the results to take much much longer, at the one advantage of saving money. It would be be better to get at least a little bit of actual private training along the way.

Through this forum you'll find many great vocal teachers who teach online lessons, meaning you can study with them no matter where you live. This is a very good option as it can be hard to find vocal teachers locally that really know what they are doing. You will also find that some of those teachers also offer home-study vocal programs or vocal books, another good option.

However this forum alone is by far one of the worst ways to learn singing. In conjunction with the other stuff it is an effective assisting resource, but alone, it can make you extremely confused.

In my personal opinion, after learning from all of these approaches, I think regular skype lessons are most effective, books & programs second, this forum third. And of course those also happen to be in order from most to least expensive. You get what you pay for. The more you invest in and apply yourself to, the better results you get in a shorter amount of time, it's basically that simple.

That being said this forum is of absolutely tremendous value considering it's free. Welcome.

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I'm not averse to vocal coaching, but at the prices I saw, that seems to be more for those that want to be in the business of singing. I have a feeling that a hundred bucks or more for an hour of coaching would only make sense for me if I was truly stuck.

I do appreciate that it's better to learn good techniques/habits up front than to try to correct bad habits you've learned. Are there any coaches or systems you'd recommend I look into? A private message would be fine if you prefer not to publicly name names.

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Learning how to sing can be extremley annoying, confusing, strange and fun. You will learn how to use your voice in a way you never knew you could, having sensations you never had before - for this reason it''s crucial to have a good vocal coach to teach you.

For vocal lessons you will probably need to take regular lessons at first but after a while you can space them out so it's not going to be that expensive.

Alternative is to just start singing on your own, record and try to improve. Just make sure to sing with any pain or discomfort cos if you do later you'll have to spend 10x as long to unlearn bad habits.

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I get you iggs, I'm more of a serious singer so it makes more sense to me. In your situation it is a lot to invest in. So in that case I think a home study program and the occasional lesson with a good teacher when you are stuck would be the best bet.

Complete Vocal Technique and The Four Pillars of Singing are good affordable and valuable options. I have both and they are both great.

If you want me to tell you what programs/books to avoid, send me a PM. Not a good idea to bash programs on here.

Most importantly, research wisely and you won't have to get 5 programs, only one or two.

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For a step by step approach, I recommend Mastering Mix by the Singing Succes series. Contrasting to Owen’s recommendations, the course does shape you to what they consider to be the standard. Just listen to all the teachers on YouTube to get an impression of how that sounds. So, you have to be okay with that.

You won’t learn rock effects for instance, but it’s the best step-by-step method that I know of (better than their Singing Succes course, where they started with). And it’s pricey (but worth it).

Also, it doesn’t mean you can’t reshape your sound. I studied a lot of material and books (all the ones Owen mentioned), and still feel that the basics of what I’m doing is what is being taught in Mastering Mix / Singing Success (MM/SS), but I sing progressive metal.

MM/SS is more about how your voice should sound, while Complete Vocal Technique (CVT) tells you what it can do, without judgment of whether it’s good or not—as long as it’s healthy.

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Thanks for the tip on the systems you've liked, from the reviews I've read four pillars seems like a good option for a beginner whereas cvt may require I become more advanced.

Do you think I should start with a coach first, before transitioning to a dvd course like four pillars and if so what goals should I be looking to set within that context?

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Thanks for the tip on the systems you've liked, from the reviews I've read four pillars seems like a good option for a beginner whereas cvt may require I become more advanced.

Do you think I should start with a coach first, before transitioning to a dvd course like four pillars and if so what goals should I be looking to set within that context?

Most people go program first, then later on take a lesson with a coach that is connected with that program if they are hitting a wall and need some extra help.

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@ Owen - Is that what you'd recommend or is that just generally how it goes with how people do things? And again thanks for the advice.

@ Manolito - Do you recommend both SS and MM, or just MM? I wasn't quite sure. Also if I'm understanding you correctly, given that they guide you to produce a specific sound what genres of music do you feel the program is most and least suited? Again understanding that it's just your opinion, with no warranties expressed or implied ;)

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I recommend MM. SS was already pretty structured and all, but MM is so much better (SS might have been updated, though).

Most Suited: Pop, R&B, and Musical Theater.

Least Suited: Metal (for sound, because as I said, I sing metal, but have learned a lot from MM).

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Thanks Manolito I appreciate that.

I guess the last question, which I guess I'd figure out just by using them, is do any of these programs help you expand your vocal range? Is that even possible, can I learn to go lower or higher than I can right now?

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Thanks Manolito I appreciate that.

I guess the last question, which I guess I'd figure out just by using them, is do any of these programs help you expand your vocal range? Is that even possible, can I learn to go lower or higher than I can right now?

Yes any program will teach that

And regarding your earlier question, I think it also makes more sense. It allows you to focus more on specific issues with your teacher rather than learning from scratch what the program will already show you

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Both CVT and 4 pillars have techniques for all styles. Or more specifically, they basically take style out of the equation and let you pick what you want to sound like.

If you are going to go with MM I have noticed that the people who have got the most out of it went on to do the exercises with more weight/energy/power/volume than what the method might have suggested, after being able to do everything lightly like they do suggest. So if you choose to go that route that's the one thing I'd recommend. Once you can do it light gradually start adding more weight and don't be afraid to approach the volume of shouting, as you will likely have to or want to sing that loud sometimes.

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If you do decide to pick up one of these programs, I'd recommend taking at least one or two lessons at some point, after working with the technique yourself for a little while. They can then help clear up any misconceptions and make sure you're on the right track. With TVS and CVT they aren't the kind of teachers that will insist you come back every week for years. The odd lesson here or there for diagnostic/clarifying purposes can work really well and helps the budget. :)

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