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Singing, It's not natural, it takes real work and time..

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Danielformica
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10000 hours or about 8-10 years. This is about the standard for acquiring most skills. There are many books on this and its pretty standard think about your favorite singers, many started listening and singing very young think about MJ he was like singing out of the womb and many of my favorite singers were singing in church at a very young age like 3 or so, of course at 25 they are gonna be pretty hard to beat.

I would like to just bring up a point about singing a lot and i mean a lot. Many people comment on my videos and say “oh your high range comes so natural and easy”. Now i appreciate the compliments, however there was nothing natural about it. I played guitar at about 15 and sang some back ups in my first couple bands. But it wasn’t till I was about 24ish(I’m now 45) when I decided to sing. So I took a couple lessons because I tried to sing one gig and blew my voice out bad. I realized I was doing something(squeezing pressing) to sing my high notes and for about 6 months i sat in a basement doing things to stop this and also singing about 25 songs i hand picked from otis redding to rod stewart and some Black crows, sam cooke,marvin gaye etc.(they were my favorites )Could i sing them? , well not very well, I yelled blew tons of air, anything to hit the notes, but i was in my basement who cares. keep in mind no internet at this time only a handful of basic vocal exercises.

Then I got a gig playing acoustic guitar and singing at a friends bar and then that turned into a few gigs then I got the gig singing in the corporate band i have been singing with forever about 1996.

What I would like to share with all of you who think knowing terms and reading and spitting what other people write on line will do. Is the amount of singing I still do every day and have been doing it like this since I started. Do i want to quit sometimes? Yes I do. I feel I still have problems and wish I could sing things better but reading is not going to get me there, singing more is.

So this week I have 4 gigs now besides each gig i will be warming up and down for about 2 hours a day and singing some songs before i sing the songs on stage.

Here is an example of this week..

Friday drive 4 hours to Long beach on the way warming up and listening to the 2 songs I will sing for a great Jeff beck tribute band.

Friday night sing 3 1 hour sets of different material. after I sing the jeff Beck show i will eat and then warm up for an hour to sing the night gig. After the gig I will go to my hotel and steam up the bathroom and vocalize (cool down ) for about 20min.

saturday off drive home 4 hours warming up for an hour or so and sing the songs I like to sing and making sure its all good just in a case i get a call or want to sing later.

Sunday warm up a little in the am then do a long hard warm up later 90 min and sing through the metalshop set I have this week(90 min). Teach 2 lessons

Monday repeat sunday except sing 3 sets of disco for the set I have tomorrow.

Tuesday drive 4 hours(warm up on the ride for about 90 min) to san jose take a flight to portland oregon(humming on the plane so no one hears me) sing 3 1 hour disco sets. Cool down in hotel room.

wednesday Fly back to san jose and drive 4 hours home warming up for a good 90 minutes, teach 3 students.

thursday warm up in the am for about 45 min then a good hard warm up and sing through metalshop again. for saturadys gig. Teach 2 lessons.

friday drive 4 hours to los angeles warming up and singing hard stuff that i like to sing, hang with old friends, warm down.

Wake up at 8am warm up for about 40 minutes go to an 11am soundcheck . Then warm up for about 60 minutes and do the 90 minute metalshop show(80s hair metal).

Drive 4 hours home cool down ,wake up sunday and do it all over with different gigs songs exercises.

Sounds a bit much but for anyone who thought it came easy guess what? Hell no!!!!!

And I don't even consider myself a good singer but I work hard..

When I first started I didn’t gig as much but I sang for hours in my basement. Doing concerts by myself.

I did not start reading books about singing and online stuff till I decided to start teaching..

I hope this gives some real insight to those that may feel they are not progressing as fast as they would like.

My question is to you, are you even singing enough?…I sometimes think, Im not..

thanks

daniel

heres sample set lists from the week.

Jeff beck:

people get ready

going down

DIG:

learn to fly

plush

shining star

bad mama jama

september

i wanna be your lover

waiting on the world to change

seven nation army

supermassive black hole

small things

american idiot

i want you to want me

everlong

sex on fire

get lucky

timberlake med

kiss

locked out of heaven

santeria

billionaire

kalifornia girls

blister

be my girl

rebel yell

american girl

use somebody

treasure

(*auto edit*) you

dick in a box

free falling

suit and tie

Happy

Tuesday Boogie knights:

Boogie Nights - Heatwave
Super Freak - Rick James
Give It To Me Baby - Rick James
Le Freak - Chick
Funky Music Medley - Wild Cherry
Celebration - Kool And The Gang
Ladies Night - Kool And The Gang
That's The Way - K.C. & The Sunshine Band
Get Down Tonight - K.C. & The Sunshine Band
Shake Your Booty - K.C. & The Sunshine Band
Boogie Shoes - K.C. & The Sunshine Band
You Should Be Dancing - The Bee Gees
Lady Marimalade - La Belle
Brick House - The Commodores
Y.M.C.A. - The Village People
We Are Family - Sister Sledge
Disco Inferno - The Trammps
Don't Leave Me This Way - Thelma Houston
Got To Be Real - Cheryl Lynn
Night Fever - The Bee Gees
Boogie Oogie Oogie - A Taste Of Honey 
I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor
Funkytown - Lipps Inc.
Car Wash - Rose Royce
September - Earth Wind and Fire
Shinning Star - Earth Wind and Fire
Lets Groove - Earth Wind and Fire
Don't Stop Till You Get Enough - Michael Jackson
Fire - Ohio Players
Love Roller Coaster - The Ohio Players
Take Your Time - SOS Band
Do Ya Think Im Sexy - Rod Stewart
The Hustle - Van Mccoy
Last Dance - Donna Summer 
Bad Girls - Donna Summer
Dazz - Brick 
Copacabana - Barry Manilow
Best Of My Love - The Emotions
Sir Duke - Stevie Wonder

Metalshop:

_DOWNBOYS

WERE NOT GONNA TAKE IT

SLIDE IT IN

BAD MEDICINE

ANOTHER THING COMIN

YOUTH GONE WILD

NOTHING BUTT A GOODTIME

SUGAR

SHOUT AT THE DEVIL

HURRICANE 

ROUND AND ROUND

I WANNA ROCK

PHOTOGRAPH

HERE I GO

TALK DIRTY TO ME

SHOOK

DEAD OR ALIVE

STILL OF THE NIGHT

FINAL COUNTDOWN

GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS

JUMP

HIGHWAY TO HELL

BAD NAME

DONT STOP BELEVIN

 LIVIN ON A PRAYER 

SWEET CHILD

CRAZY TRAIN

HOT FOR TEACHER

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Cool set list for the "metalshop" gig. Most of those songs are also quite demanding to sing in a row. I'm surprised you don't throw in a couple of slower 80's ballads for a change of pace for both you and the audience.

How much do I sing?

Regardless of what's going on, every day I spend roughly 2 straight hours singing songs and if possible some more here and there throughout the day.

I don't do traditional training warmups (scales, sirens etc) I warm up by singing songs starting from easy soft songs and building up from there to the heavier stuff. I love it and will say I'm obsessed with singing and everything that has to do with it.

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Daniel - Thats quite a repertoire. I don't think there are many singers who manage that kind of volume. Do you use aids like an iPad or anything for lyrics on-stage or do you have all these songs memorized? I only sing about 1 to 1.5 hours a day and I don't gig anymore - just producing music. I found giging to be the ultimate vocal workout. I remember Steve Lukather talking about "road chops" - his technique would get better and better throughout a tour.

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This is excellent Daniel, thanks for sharing.

Did you start building your repertoire with easy songs you could already sing well and gradually start adding harder songs or did you jump into the hard stuff right away and then try to figure out how to sing those songs better? Or somewhere In between? I've always wondered which is a better way to develop repertoire. And clearly you have built yours very well! Especially since I'm sure this isn't the entirety of it

I also second geno's question about memorization, I would like to know as well.

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Geno it's funny cause I know a lot of guys I could name ten off the cuff that know this many and more. The list keeps on going on to as far as rep I have memorized. I don't use any lyric sheets or iPads only once in a while for a first dance at a wedding if I knew it was going to be a song I never sung again. I find if you don't memorize the lyrics you don't sing the sings as well.

Owen I just had picked songs I liked and went for it some were easier than other like "sitton on the dock of the bay" some were harder like "maggie Mae" but I just sat in my basement and did the best I could and when I started gigging I relied mostly on guts and soul and blew my voice out a lot. Also remember I knew nothing of technique I just knew I couldn't sing the songs in falsetto except for "kiss" by prince. I didn't know about "bridging, mixed voice, pharyngeal voice, tessitura, TA CT etc.. I just stuck my ear to the speaker and tried and as years went by I found I could sing a couple songs a little easier than I used to so I would make it a point to sing with less strain or push if I could cause I figured less strain less chance of blowing my voice out. It didn't always work but sometimes it would.

I think a lot of the younger guys on the forum are always searching for new problems for why they can't sing something and believe me if you are searching you will find a symptom just like hypochondriacs looking on the internet for the new sickness they have(my sister).;)

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Also to add one more thing. I went through many different ways of using my voice throughout the years. Meaning a squeezed and pressed for a time then I just blew lots of air and sound raspy and breathy then I sounded really clean and soft for a time and then back to shouts and yelly.. I tried a lot of different ways to use it but never stopped singing the gigs or by myself. I would sing shouty and be like "I got it then " then blow my self out then for a couple weeks I would be more quiet and speech like and then blow it out like that then I would get breathy and pushed and be fine for a couple and think like I got it but then I would blow it out again. Never ending cycle of trial and error

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I agree with you on memorization Dan I find the same, chances are if I don't have the lyrics memorized yet I haven't practiced the song enough for it to be also together on a technical and artistic level.

Yet I see a lot of other singers read off lyrics and do fine so maybe it depends on the individual

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I agree with you on memorization Dan I find the same, chances are if I don't have the lyrics memorized yet I haven't practiced the song enough for it to be also together on a technical and artistic level.

Yet I see a lot of other singers read off lyrics and do fine so maybe it depends on the individual

When singing any song i have never and still don't worry about the "technical level".I do now for students but not myself. I just memorize the words and melody and sometimes the first time I sing it out loud will be on the gig. because i found if i practice it at home and i miss some notes or fail then when I get to the gig thats all i'm thinking about is the missed notes or where I cracked etc.. Where as if I'm on the gig i just have to sing it once, make it through the song. And i just say well this song is no higher than the other song with the high notes in it so I must have it in me and I just have to get it out once and then it goes right by the audience and we are on to the next song.

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it makes me think, is there really people that are "naturals". for example professional singers who have had no singing lessons and dont even now what correct support is but still sound decent and sounded that good the moment they started singing. i know if so it would be rare, but just questioning based on the amount of times ive heard, "that person is a natural" and describe as i wrote above. but im thinking more likely a true "natural" still needed quite a bit of practice, just was able to do it on their own and at a quicker pace than average... but what you guys think?

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"dont even know what correct support is "

isn't correct support just good singing.

this is what i mean by looking into a term because it seems like the right thing to do. Don't worry about "support", just worry about sound and you will be ahead of the pack.

read this

http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/the-ideal-apprentice-part-iv/

the part on bill bradley everyone thought he was a natural not true..

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well ive read instances of professional singers learning to support after they got record deals and touring because of consistently losing their voice, but i suppose they were supporting on some level and had decent technique idk.

as for the link, yea ive read the work outs of other pros like michael jordan or larry bird who practiced hours hundreds of shots each day. makes me think people what call naturals see all the talent but none of the work that goes into it, which of course is what your initial post basically says.

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Daniel, you left out the most important secret, the actual "magic pill" - of course, I mean, the pink cowboy hat. It's like the "pick of destiny." With that hat, nothing is impossible.

Seriously, though, I agree with you. And warming up and down doesn't have to be strenuous or pre-stress a guy. It's just a matter of warming up, just like it says. Some people go from a cold start, others warm a little. My favorite is one my step-grandfather taught me (true story.)

In a comfortable note and tone, "me, me, me. You, you, you. Us, us, us."

:)

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"dont even know what correct support is "

isn't correct support just good singing.

this is what i mean by looking into a term because it seems like the right thing to do. Don't worry about "support", just worry about sound and you will be ahead of the pack.

read this

http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/the-ideal-apprentice-part-iv/

the part on bill bradley everyone thought he was a natural not true..

I just read the whole series of that blog article... that is some very good stuff. It really makes myself question if what I do is enough for singing sometimes (compared to professionals).

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it makes me think, is there really people that are "naturals". for example professional singers who have had no singing lessons and dont even now what correct support is but still sound decent and sounded that good the moment they started singing. i know if so it would be rare, but just questioning based on the amount of times ive heard, "that person is a natural" and describe as i wrote above. but im thinking more likely a true "natural" still needed quite a bit of practice, just was able to do it on their own and at a quicker pace than average... but what you guys think?

I don't know. Some of us are born doing certain things the right way. I have always breathed with my diaphragm as low as possible. My lungs and stomach barely move when I breath. I talked in falsetto when I started speaking and by the time I was in school my mom would yell at me about it. The technique I used and still use to talk is some weird thing where I keep the vocal folds really separated and use the lowest frequency and slowest air movement possible to fill up the larynx keeping the folds as far away from each other and stiff as I can and letting out little wisps of air to get the words out with the false folds keeping the air from escaping. My vocal folds basically are only used fully when I sing and most of the time, I'm using some sort of technique to practice with that would be impossible to get hurt doing anything.

The first time I figured out how to sing I just thought of it as singing a low note, a regular note and a high note at the same time and coordinating three different ways of "singing" at the same time so they work together and it worked remarkably well until I started listening to guys who sang really high and the tone didn't translate at all. I eventually learned as much as I could so I could pretend to sing when my own unique style of singing (that's something else entirely) was too elusive and required too much coordination, attention and relaxation than I could do.

My technique for the traditional methods of singing are fine, but I find it harder to do, less rewarding, prone to injury and fatigue and there's just too many damn ways to do it sounding good with proper technique. About two or three days ago I wondered if I could sing in multiple voices at once in different "octaves" based on a thread here and found that sure, it was easy to mix and match the different ways to generate airflow and vibrate the vocal folds and resonators to create new voices. This was an old trick that now I knew each part of it and could incorporate them how I wanted became a sure and easy way to sing again.

My superhuman voice is starting to rear it's head again, seeing if I'm worthy of using it this time, but if not, I can start mixing different registers together to create better tons than I ever could on their own.

To me, these two approaches came from a very early intuitive desire to sing without limitations and quickly figuring it out. Once I hit puberty, of course everything stopped working and when I wanted to sing could not find a damn thing about what I was doing, instead I was reading books who's info was contrary to everything I knew. It took forever to learn how other were doing it and of course I resented learning a vastly inferior technique that would take years of practice and that I found that physically so many of it's teachings or rules were irrelevant because for me they would produce negative effects and hinder aspects of singing. I have found many many singers who naturally used various aspects of my own system themselves for whatever reasons and find these to be the best singers. Fabio Lione probably does a lot of what I naturally did through self discovery because it was natural and they could use common technique to correct singing technique that wasn't obvious or produced results that were undesirable. Using the lungs as a natural ULF tone generator is one such technique not taught but many have figured out that they can pulse out air pressure at an exact frequency and if amplified by the rest of the vocal tract produce incredibly low tones that aren't throat singing or vocal fry. A lot of us learned this trick trying to sound like Darth Vader as kids.

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^And, Bob, one of the best a capella choral songs I have ever heard.

"Take you back. do, do, do, do, take you back." On the street corner.

"Adrienne. Yo, Adrienne! It's me, Rocky! I did it. I did it, Adrienne!"

"Cut me, Mick. I can't see."

"Flying high, now ..."

Okay, that was my own flash-back, not to be confused with those of others.

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^And, Bob, one of the best a capella choral songs I have ever heard.

"Take you back. do, do, do, do, take you back." On the street corner.

"Adrienne. Yo, Adrienne! It's me, Rocky! I did it. I did it, Adrienne!"

"Cut me, Mick. I can't see."

"Flying high, now ..."

Okay, that was my own flash-back, not to be confused with those of others.

yeah baby....he pounded that butcher meat....no weight machines....raw eggs....a lot of running.

intestinal fortitude!!!

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Nothing to add dan! Perfect post!!!

In some way I could have wrote this post.

I play guitar and sing (I don't sing as much as you (yet ^^)) professionally about 70 gigs a year, 60% of the gigs are done in three months. The shows are 4 or 5 hours shows with, of course, a lot of driving.

And it remember me my guitar students or the fans after a show. Everybody says, "you're gifted, everything seems so natural and easy!". Generally I just say thanks, but nobody seems to realize the amount, the hours spent on the instrument or singing trying do get something good. The frustration that comes with it. The billions trials and errors....

For my voice, and I m not considering myself as a good singer at all, I had the hypochondriac symptom.... And guess what, since I just realize that I have to left that kind of thoughts away, that my voice is exactly like my guitar I have to work, experiment, work again and again. To get what? Some minutes of happiness where I can say, I'm proud to have done all those efforts...

Dan, thank you so much for your post!!!

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Nothing to add dan! Perfect post!!!

In some way I could have wrote this post.

I play guitar and sing (I don't sing as much as you (yet ^^)) professionally about 70 gigs a year, 60% of the gigs are done in three months. The shows are 4 or 5 hours shows with, of course, a lot of driving.

And it remember me my guitar students or the fans after a show. Everybody says, "you're gifted, everything seems so natural and easy!". Generally I just say thanks, but nobody seems to realize the amount, the hours spent on the instrument or singing trying do get something good. The frustration that comes with it. The billions trials and errors....

For my voice, and I m not considering myself as a good singer at all, I had the hypochondriac symptom.... And guess what, since I just realize that I have to left that kind of thoughts away, that my voice is exactly like my guitar I have to work, experiment, work again and again. To get what? Some minutes of happiness where I can say, I'm proud to have done all those efforts...

Dan, thank you so much for your post!!!

you are so welcome!!

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