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Vocalizing in the car...

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PalmTreeRocker
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Hi,

I was wondering what everyone's professional opinion is on practicing/vocalizing in the car while driving. It's not always possible to get time in at home and with a lot of alone time in the car it's quite convenient.

I've heard everything from "Anytime & anywhere is better than no time & nowhere" to "It's detrimental singing in the car due to improper acoustics and bad posture."

What do you think?

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Hi PalmTreeRocker! Obviously it;s not ideal as you are dealing with vibration and stress of driving hopefully!! However I tone a lot when I'm in the car, that helps keep the vocals in place if you've been pushed to practice fully and I often learn words whilst I'm in the car. In fact some of my songs have come to me whilst I've been driving a pain when you can't stop and write it down!

Singing for pleasure in the car is ok too in my book, but seriously getting to grips with a song and technique is a NO NO in the car! hope that helps Hilary:)

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I'm not a professional but for me singing in the car is the best way I can learn. I do not have other possibilities. :( I spend more than two hours a day in my car and thanks to that I learned a lot. Of course I am aware of limitation of this kind of learning and I hope that I’m not danger to other drivers… :D

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That's Ok Adarth but you must try to find time to do it out of the car. You cannot control your breath properly if all you do is sing in the car! Make some time in the open air if you can. I often sing when I'm on walks and stop and really breathe and tone and sing it strengthens you. Great singing needs a relaxed body you will be tense in the car subconsciously! love Hilary

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Honestly, I used to do it a LONG time ago.

Practicing my vocal exercises was never effected by the acoustics in the car, etc.

Vocal exercising, for me was, and still is, about improving my voice, strength, power, and general warm-up.

When I really started taking things seriously, I realized this kind of work takes some contemplation, even concentration.

Because of that, I decided it wasn't a good idea to practice while I was driving on auto-pilot.

Today it's more important for me to pay attention to the road -- and all the other crazy drivers.

I guess you could compare this question to the cell phone controversy...

In the end, I think this is a decision that only you can make.

Sincerely,

Dena

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Thanks Hilary I agree with you of course. The tension, not fully controlled breath and the fact that we can’t pay enough attention to driving(or singing) for me are main problems. It should be also pointed out that it is very difficult (if at all this is possible) to resolve technical issues in our voice, when we exercise only in the car.

I would rather have more opportunities but except rehearsals I don’t have. I sing for my pleasure so I use all possible opportunities. My car is one of them. :) Below you can find clip with me singing on my rehearsal. I hope I don’t have problems with my breath? :)

Best regards

Robert

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I think the car's a great place to practice. I do it all the time, and I've made some real big breakthroughs in my vocal technique during those practices. It's great, cause you're in a place where you can feel totally uninhibited, and really let loose, since you know no one is listening or judging. I do think, though, that you should make some time outside the car to do some detailed practices where you can put your full attention into it, and where you're not competing with the noise of the car.

I'm sorry Hillary, but I have to disagree with you about breath control while sitting down. Although it's not optimal for getting the most air into your lungs I don't agree that it interferes with control.

here's a guy who does a pretty good job singing in his car! lol:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1MMW_2PkRQ&feature=related

Cheers-

Tim

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I used to not encourage my students to practice in the car a few years ago... but frankly, just about every student I work with talks about how they "practiced in the car ... because thats all I have time for...". Its one of those things that I just decided to embrace because sometimes its the best people can get to with their busy lives... so my new conclusion is in agreement with Tim... if we cant actually "train" in the car, we can still work on some things that are very useful... such as; establishing resonant track... doing your "buzz" or bubble workouts to the melody of the music your listening too keeping sure to maintain your resonant track through your passagio/break area to build that coordination and sirens... you can do sirens from your chest to your head voice and work on your bridging... you can also grab some head tones and work on calibrating some twang/connectivity in your head voice to work out the Falsetto "kinks"... so there is a lot that can actually get done while sitting in the car in terms of strengthening and building coordination.

I would also like to ad that the shower is an equally important "practice" forum.

However, I will stop short by saying that its actually "training". I would reserve that for the controlled environment, amplification, mic in hand, workout scales/book on the system, quiet, private facility with no distractions, etc...

:cool:

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just to tell you some strange story.

Once I tried some buddist overtones while driving and I did it for 15 minutes..I came to reality and discovered I drove those km without any attention on the road so that I didn't remember anything of those minutes.

That's to say that practice is something that must keep your mind clear.

Sometimes when I do studio sessions I warm-up in the car..but that's a warm up...not a challenge bewteen what's good and not.

but I have many students that struggle to get time to study..and they exploit it while driving..or being stuck in a traffic jam.

don't encourage it..but I can say..yes..let's do it ONLY if you don't have any other time.

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I've found that practicing 10 minutes laying on my back with my knees up to supported my back sets me up in ways I never could get in the car or even standing up. I always start and finish my day on my back as long as it takes for me to get natural , focused resonance so I don't have to think about it.

So in a nutshell, I'd rather do that for 10 minutes than have all day to sing in a car.

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WEll another great debate here! I agree with all of you and yes Tubagod this time on your back is great for resonance and humming! I alsao like you guys have to grab time sometimes....all I'm adding is that isn't a substitute for REAL VOCAL TRAINING. As Dena says we have to concentrate on the road and certainly long time toning in the car will alter your reality and is dangerous! Singing is fun anywhere...world class vocals are a different matter! Have fun love Hilary

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Thanks Hilary I agree with you of course. Below you can find clip with me singing on my rehearsal. I hope I don’t have problems with my breath? :)

Best regards

Robert

GREAT REHEARSAL...no not breathy...but maybe needs a little more tension release! love H:cool:

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The car is particularly challenging, because most cars seats are designed to bend the back so that it's concave. Additionally, tall people have to jut out their necks to see traffic lights. This bad body posture makes it extremely difficult to create good tones.

However, the body has all kinds of memory mechanisms; and it will remember all kinds of ways you resonated, produced the vocal sounds with your vocal cords; and the amazing body can implement these skills while you are at a different posture with different body resonating acuostics. Amazing! It can even make adjustments for the car's acoustics.

Of course, it doesn't make these perfectly; and a good posture with good acoustics practice will deliver better results still.

But, I'd say, keep on truckin'

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GREAT REHEARSAL...no not breathy...but maybe needs a little more tension release! love H:cool:

Thx Hilary. Could you please tell me how to do this? I mean release the tension. If you don't mind, of course. :)

Best regards

Robert

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The car can be your best friend. To me I found it very interesting to just practise stuff like my twang, practising a yogi breath [slow inhale through the nose for 60s, hold 5s, then sss], and headvoice.

While other stuff can be harder, but this is easily done in the car with good results.

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Hi,

I was wondering what everyone's professional opinion is on practicing/vocalizing in the car while driving. It's not always possible to get time in at home and with a lot of alone time in the car it's quite convenient.

I've heard everything from "Anytime & anywhere is better than no time & nowhere" to "It's detrimental singing in the car due to improper acoustics and bad posture."

What do you think?

Whatever works, is my motto. I do think it would be better to be standing up / moving about when you can focus on what you're doing. But if that is all you can do, do it.

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just to tell you some strange story.

Once I tried some buddist overtones while driving and I did it for 15 minutes..I came to reality and discovered I drove those km without any attention on the road so that I didn't remember anything of those minutes.

That's to say that practice is something that must keep your mind clear.

Sometimes when I do studio sessions I warm-up in the car..but that's a warm up...not a challenge bewteen what's good and not.

but I have many students that struggle to get time to study..and they exploit it while driving..or being stuck in a traffic jam.

don't encourage it..but I can say..yes..let's do it ONLY if you don't have any other time.

Yes it happened to me too!

It's like when you're on stage, if you are concentrated on your voice, you don't pay attention to the audience, even if there is somebody naked in front of you!! If you see the guy, it means that you're not concentrated anymore.

:lol:

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Singing and vocalizing in the car was how I developed my Isolation Method. I had to drive 2 hours to work one way. If it weren't for utilizing this time in the car, I would never have gotten vocally stronger or discovered whistle notes above Soprano C. So use this time in the car to your advantage;)

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Personally, I say sing in every position possible. You need both formal work out and practical application. In Godspell there are pares where you are singing hanging off of a fence and even upside down. Those awkward positions will become easier to sing in if you learn not to be afraid of being in them and are prepared for anything. Espeacially if your going to do theatre or more of a show in your performance as opposed to just stading in opne place and singing, however you should be able to do both. A more formal situation might require you to stand striaght and still in a lineup while performing. As for seated if your back is striaght and upper body expanded it should very close to a standing position and provide the same breath support, just redistribute the weight to your backside and don't hunch over.

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Thx Hilary. Could you please tell me how to do this? I mean release the tension. If you don't mind, of course. :)

Best regards

Robert

Great input on this subject......Darrison also very correct, Robert in the shower & Jaime. However for real stability and power in the breath...in vocal training..you need to be stood. Anything else going on is distracting. I think all of us sing in the car......our lives are such that we can't spend all day or several hours every day practising. However you will have tension in your breath and voice and body if you are in a position or environment other than a normal standing position. Great singing needs a relaxed body!

To release tension..use the breath, a relaxed body posture, and low sighs & groans.

Get your body into a relaxed stance ( you can do this for a few minutes in between car journeys, appointments, shopping, etc etc) i.e just stop, stand like you are on a hobby horse, knees slightly bent feet slightly apart with arms loose at your side. Then take a deep breath in and pull the breath up to your chest with belly out and slowly release the breath. Do it several times before singing and also do it several times letting out a soft low sigh/groan. You will feel the tension lift away! Shake your body loose between each time.

Let me know how you get on?

It's all in my course! love H :)

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To the original question, I vocalize in the car all the time, and do long sustained tone practice on highway trips that do not require much attention. I recommend it to 'occasional' singers who are looking for some otherwise unused private time to get in a little vocalization.

All this - with a recommendation about posture :-) The typical car seat scrunches the occupant just a little, and this can put more breath energy on the voice that (over time) will lead to breathiness (if not resisted additionally at the level of the larynx) or too-heavy registration (if resisted additionally at the level of the larynx). To bring this breath energy back into balance, I recommend that the novice that they lift the sternum just a little, and let their lower back come away from the seat a bit while vocalizing.

One of the downsides of singing in the car is the difficulty of hearing clearly with all the road noise. Do what you can to reduce that.

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All this - with a recommendation about posture :-) The typical car seat scrunches the occupant just a little, and this can put more breath energy on the voice that (over time) will lead to breathiness (if not resisted additionally at the level of the larynx) or too-heavy registration (if resisted additionally at the level of the larynx). To bring this breath energy back into balance, I recommend that the novice that they lift the sternum just a little, and let their lower back come away from the seat a bit while vocalizing.

I differ in degree. The typical car seat is designed for comfort, and their awful lower lumbar support together with the driver's forward movement of the arms on the steering wheel, with also the forward positioning of the neck cause a major scrunching of the upper chest. This interferes with all resonance issues of the body.

It takes a lot, lot of discipline to raise the sternum and stiffen the lower back in a major way, and even when done, the exertion one does slightly interferes with singing. I'll explain this issue further in ZenSinging.org, whenever it launches. My general assessment is that one cannot sing nearly as well as a result.

This is not to say one shouldn't sing in the car. The mind and body are very powerful in reinterpretation the efforts made, and the effort and practice is better than no effort.

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I did not say it would always sound as good. I said one should sing in all positons. Proper technique should be maitained even when the sound is obstructed. You are training a mechinism. People with speech impediments used to be made to put marbles in there mouth, which further impedes, however when you practice with and through the obstruction it is greatly improved when you remove the obstruction. You want to train the habits, placements, responses and approaches. You don't want to change them to avoid obstacles, you want to advance them so that they are so well trained they are above obstruction. There are those singers who go to an audition and stop mid song because of mucous or other little nuances. You need to learn to function above those things. Sometimes it will feel wrong, that doesn't mean it is and you need to follow through.

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