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Untrained 25 year smoker.

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Halfajack
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So last year I answered an ad for a vocalist and joined a rock band. That turned into the guitarist and I forming a cover song duo. Our audiences seem to enjoy the tunes and I want to continue and improve but I have no idea what I'm doing vocally. I know smoking is bad and music is what is motivating me to quit. When I say I know nothing, I mean it. Just found out I was a tenor, what ever that means. Any way, was hoping someone could critique my voice and offer some suggestions. Is it too late to improve vocally? I'm 43.

Soundcloud.com/John-reilly-18

Thanks in advance.

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I hope i didnt know anything too and be able to sing like that - well i hardly know the basics but you get the point. Only thing i have to say is dont try to fix wats not broken, dont take lessons dont read articles and stuff, you might get confused and even worse than you are right now. Yes you can improve and know your stuff that way but also start wondering about things that you are already applying and get confused. What you know is enough!

You have a great voice unless i heard a wrong recording, i heard the first song i found, "Rumble on" if its you i dont think you need any correction/improvement to what you have been doing so many years. Quit smoking to improve your health if you want but for thats all you "need" to do. I am a newbie in singing as my nick says so maybe dont take my words so seriously.

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Sounds great to me. Are you singing the lead?

Yes, that's me. The recordings are all one takes with my guitarist and bassist in a home studio. We did add to the harmony, after the take, to "Witchy Woman".

Thanks for the compliment.

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I hope i didnt know anything too and be able to sing like that - well i hardly know the basics but you get the point. Only thing i have to say is dont try to fix wats not broken, dont take lessons dont read articles and stuff, you might get confused and even worse than you are right now. Yes you can improve and know your stuff that way but also start wondering about things that you are already applying and get confused. What you know is enough!

This is actually good advice. I remembered an interview in the Netherlands with Esmée Denters who had no formal training, but got pretty popular with a nice solid pop voice all over the world. And then, girl group Loïs Lane said that she should only get training if she needs it for some troubling parts.

Or Ronan Keating who had this trademark sound with his closed jawlike singing (not that they were always closed, but it's that sound you get a bit when you do that), who completely lost it after taking some formal lessons.

And when I think of my own voice. I created some bad habits because of a teacher who told me how to do it. I was skeptical, but I decided for close to a year trust her. I have learned things from her, but it seems a lot was already there, but I needed a mental training. My very first lessons with another teacher back in 2002, when I was 16, I had cracked my voice already, but I could hit up to D5s with ease (and dynamics) with some exercises, but there were mental obstacles which prohibited me from being that free when I sang.

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Well, I don't know what D5s are, but I get what you are saying about staying with what works for you. Maybe I'll just browse through this site and find some vocal warm-up exercises to do. Currently all I do is just grab the microphone and sing. Lol I'm not convinced that a person can truly learn to sing. I think a lot of it is just natural, like a fast runner. You can't teach speed.

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Yes and no. Some can significantly increase their speed with the correc technique, but indeed some already apply such good technique by nature, and some are pretty fast, even with inefficient technique.

I was such a runner in high school. I was the fastest—even faster than a trained track runner—but apparently my technique wasn’t all that good.

What you seem to talk about are the freaky things singers can do which is not really something one can train. This delusional idea was especially present at the CVT forum, when I was visting it years ago. This singer does this mode on this spot, that mode on that, etc. And a beginner could get the idea that if you sing in that same mode, you'll be able to sing just like your favorite singer, no matter your own voice's qualities.

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You are correct up to a certain point about the natural thing but hard work without talent > lazy talent. If you dont have it naturally you need to train hard to reach high level and the opposite, i will express it with an equation: 1=work*talent the higher the natural ability the lesser work required. I bet you have been singing for many years am i right? That is training actually but your warm up was probably lighter songs to start and the harder ones were your exercises. My point of view is not everyone can run 100m in under 10" but everyone can do it under 11" maybe they need to train more to achieve less but i believe it is possible to get really close.

Vocals also can have blind spots and a talent comes factory equiped with a torch while others need to search their way out.

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If you listen to the recording of Wicked Game, I was having trouble earlier that night switching to the falsetto voice that Chris Isaac uses. I could sing it right by itself but couldn't transition during the song....so I just sang it my way to improvise. Turns out I prefer the way that turned out. I sang the night before with the rock band and really pushed it so maybe that had something to do with it. I can sing it correctly right now, but that night had me concerned. If you search "sympathy4jack" on soundcloud.com you can get an idea of the way I sing with my full band. Listen to Shades of Gray Live Sample. I use 3 different voice styles in that song. Could the performance from the night before be the reason I was struggling to sing something I never had trouble with before?

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I didnt mean to say that you lazy or something it was just to expres my point of view!

I suggest you read basic music theory, i dont have anything specific to suggest but check wiki for a general picture and then focus on the material you need. I guess you dont have guitar or piano so you will need a virtual one to see and hear where is what. Then you can check what your vocal range is at youtube and find plenty exercises from warm up to advanced stuff, for now i would suggest you a video series for a warm up and breathing exercises. For me breathing exercises, a good warm up and compression can lead to a healthy vocalisation.

Breathing exercises 4 parts: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-SeSL9WdVBoare

Warm up 4 parts: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EPFnWss1rww

Compression : http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=w1kjffaEdX8

In both channels you will find very valuable material to watch until you get bored. Thats what i found most helpful for me, there are dozens good vocal coaches but it just happened for me to stick with these, you should check others and find what suits you.

Also if you can afford i would suggest thinking about taking lessons for someone to "guide" you... or you guide him :P heh joking. I cant help anymore, good luck!

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...

Could the performance from the night before be the reason I was struggling to sing something I never had trouble with before?

Was it the first time you did that sequence? I mean the performance you said and next day that specific song?

Sorry for double post but when i tried to delete and make the two posts one it says something like "The whole topic will be deleted, warning!" So i shat my pants and let it as it is... :|

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If you listen to the recording of Wicked Game, I was having trouble earlier that night switching to the falsetto voice that Chris Isaac uses. I could sing it right by itself but couldn't transition during the song....so I just sang it my way to improvise. Turns out I prefer the way that turned out. I sang the night before with the rock band and really pushed it so maybe that had something to do with it. I can sing it correctly right now, but that night had me concerned. If you search "sympathy4jack" on soundcloud.com you can get an idea of the way I sing with my full band. Listen to Shades of Gray Live Sample. I use 3 different voice styles in that song. Could the performance from the night before be the reason I was struggling to sing something I never had trouble with before?

It could have been from Rockin' the night before. One thing that singers forget to do is warm down the voice after a gig or big practice. You can kind of get stuck in Soft mode or Hard mode (Not technical terms :P Hillbilly classification) If you stick to one or the other for awhile.

Warming up the voice is about streaching the cords and getting blood to flow. Just like athletes warm up before the game. You do not want to shock the cords by screaming for a few hours without having them get ready for it.

Warm down also.... After doing stressful singing you want to do some softer singing and humming to gradually bring them back to normal talking mode.

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Was it the first time you did that sequence? I mean the performance you said and next day that specific song?

Sorry for double post but when i tried to delete and make the two posts one it says something like "The whole topic will be deleted, warning!" So i shat my pants and let it as it is... :|

Lol...did the same thing to me. Haven't figured this forum out yet. Yes, it was the first time.

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Your singing sounded fine to me. Congrats on quitting smoking, whether you were a trained smoker or an untrained (well done, Manny.) That's like the joke about the man with one leg named Henry. What was the name of the other leg?

:/

D5 is a note. Singer training marks the notes in reference to standard piano tuning. The D5 mentioned here is american notation. C4 is middle C on the piano. The same as the C note on the guitar (ask your guitar playing friend) on the second string, first fret (in standard stringing pattern and standard tuning.) C5 is one octave above that, 1st string, 8th fret. It is also called tenor C and a tessitura like Helden Tenor, which is what your voice sounds like to me, is pretty much top of the needed range. D5 is one whole step or note above that. Although, in pop and rock, it might be easier to describe by one's absolute range.

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