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Oversinging???

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Lobster510
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Hi guys!

I've just come back from a festival which lasted 5 days, I saw Alice Cooper (among others) and had a blast but, as you can imagine, I didn't sing at all so as not to mess up my training.

So before I left I made a breakthrough, I normally train for at least 2 hours a day as I have alot of free time at the moment. However the other day I just trained for 45 minutes it was a very effecient session and the next day everything seemed to click, I had a much stronger bridge, it didnt take long to warm up etc....

So of course today my body is probably still getting over the festival a bit, and I know I sang longer than I should have.

To what extent does less = more?

In other words how long are and were your sessions at different stages of your developement (remembering rest periods). What helped and what didn't?

I can't help feeling that if I cut down on the amount of time that I train for every day and make sure that my sessions are effecient I would probably build better habits into my voice and see quicker progress.

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i'm confused...first you say you didn't sing any shows at the festival. then later on you said you sang longer than you should have.

as the years (not months) the years go on, you develop more and more stamina, and you recoup faster.

you voice learns to adapt and accept more stress and lean. session times can vary..from 15 minutes to 2 hours, it all depends on your goals, timeframe, your show schedule.

if you have a really busy show schedule, you may not even be able to do anything more than warmup.

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lool no... I'm not playing any shows at the moment, I was out of town at a festival and so I didn't sing for a week because It would have been a bit rough on my voice. I sang today for the first time in a week and sang for longer than I should have.

:) That part really does'nt matter.

The point is that I felt alot of progress after just doing 45 mins a day than doing 2 hours and I was wondering if that sounds normal and what your personal experiences with how long you train for per day.

P.s

I'm not playing any shows at the moment because as an untrained singer I used to always just belt chest, no bridge at all, I'm trying to get away from that :/

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30 to 45 minutes of the right thing beats the crap out of 2 hours of rehearsed mistakes. The key to effective training is not duration or hours logged. It is concentration, regardless of the time spent. And that is hard work. Any one could "blindly" scale away with however they are used to making sound. But to really pay attention to vowels, resonance, whatever you are working on takes concentration. Forget the lyrics, forget about it being a cover or a tribute. Let all that go and simply concentrate on making the pitch strong and beautiful. And that is work, by golly.

So, you had a couple of training sessions where you forgot all bout the sound you are "supposed to achieve." Or you were inspired by the show. I like Alice, too.

But yes, I get those bouts of ease, too. And it comes from finding the center of my voice. My most awesome voice, unlike any other in the world.

So, if possible, think about what you were doing or feeling when these great sessions happened. And then, here's the hard part, keep doing that.

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Depending on how good your technique is, and what your practice routine is, less can definitely equal more. That is to say that you can definitely over-sing and slow down progress. And taking frequent breaks in your practice session can go a long way.

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Thanks, Bob. And again, it doesn't matter if you practice 1 hour or 3, whatever you feel like doing. What matters is concentration to whatever method you are using. One of the most astounding things I read about Caruso, from both himself and one other author, was that it was not having a specific practice time each day, unless that suits you. But concentrate fully on what you are working on. For him, it might be vocalizing one day while concentrating on breath support. Another day, resonance. Another day, the role he was working on or the list of art songs he was to perform.

I am also not saying that anyone of us will be mistaken for Caruso but we can certainly learn from his viewpoint.

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Great posts!

I think that you guys are right!

For example the other day I was just working on bridging correctly whereas normally it would be 10 minutes on this 10 on that etc...

Bridging correctly is currently my weakest point rather than twang, larynx control or open throat.

As for concentration, thanks for making that point.

I have adult ADHD, and now that I think about it, I tend to start off my practice sessions well and then my mind wonders and I tend to half-arse it. Far better to do 45 mins/1 hour of effective training than do well and then proceed to undo your work.

That said it's not an illness, in fact I find that a bit of hyperactivity goes a long way in music, especially for improv/ jamming ;)

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Great posts!

I think that you guys are right!

For example the other day I was just working on bridging correctly whereas normally it would be 10 minutes on this 10 on that etc...

Bridging correctly is currently my weakest point rather than twang, larynx control or open throat.

As for concentration, thanks for making that point.

I have adult ADHD, and now that I think about it, I tend to start off my practice sessions well and then my mind wonders and I tend to half-arse it. Far better to do 45 mins/1 hour of effective training than do well and then proceed to undo your work.

That said it's not an illness, in fact I find that a bit of hyperactivity goes a long way in music, especially for improv/ jamming ;)

Maybe for you, a rigid protocol is distracting and "cross-training" is the thing for you. Pardon my digression to explain my experience with ADHD.

For a while, I was a teacher of electrical trades in an institution funded by the US Dept. of Labor to teach "at-risk youths" trade skills that would lead them to gainful employment rather than poverty or a life of crime. Many had arrived with the diganosis of ADHD. Either from the public schools they had been to or even the program, itself.

Without exception, every one of them, and I am not exaggerating, was exceptionally bright. The problem is the normal education system and "let's hammer every thing in to square holes" was too slow for them. Most of them could advance much faster and did, under my tutelage. Because I disregarded the "label" and instead, listened to them and how they thought.

And the method to adapt, for me, was to keep them interested. And that often revolved around getting an idea in their heads and then getting out of the way and moving on to the next thing as fast as they could do it. Which was faster than average person that I have known. ADHD is not a handicap, other than to say it is a bright person handicapped by the slower thinking of others.

A young student, all of 17, let's call him George, had been called stupid all of his life. So, he though his only way out of the ghetto was fighting. And one day in class, I was talking about 3-phase electric motors. And I noticed his face, among others. At a certain point, he "turned off" and his mind went elsewhere.

After class, I asked him to tell me what he thought about motors. And he had it down, cold. I said, "I know what your problem is. You think faster than most people and they cannot keep up and you get bored quickly."

A light went on his eyes. "How fast do you think I can learn this stuff?"

I replied, "How fast do you want to go? Trust me, I can keep up with you."

It was amazing and I would not believe it if I had not seen it with my own eyes. His whole life, his demeanor, his attitude about himself changed in a moment. And when we got to the math tests, he made straight 100's, no grade curve. I do not grade on a curve. You earn your score the hard way, by getting the right answer. It turns out he is a lightning calculator on two legs.

All this from a young man who was labeled as learning disabled and "stupid." And ironic that it took an old electrican to see that.

So, work with your ever-shifting concentration. What you have is an intense focus that changes faster than most other people. That can be a gift.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey Ron, I'm really sorry it took me so long to reply! Let's just say that I got distracted hahaha ;)

In any case that's a great story!

I'm certain now that it has been affecting my training sessions and that I really just need to get down 45 mins a day of focused work, rather than a few hours of unfocused work.

As for your story, I find that it really can be a blessing or a curse, when you don't have the same basic way of functioning as other people, it can be difficult to be on the same wavelength. I either end up bringing people to my way of thinking at the risk of monopolising the conversation (I seem to get away with it thanks to humour) or just shutting up.

The best way i've found of describing it is having a brain like a pinball machine!

I've found that I know so many things just out of pure curiosity, but that in a class situation it just has never really worked.

Anyway the forum is about vocal technique and not ADHD but let me just say that I would have killed to have a teacher like you as a kid and I relate to everything your saying :)

So thanks for the input and I'll remember to think about it each time I train!

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And bless you, Lobster. Instead of fighting the pinball with meds and frustration and fitting a square peg into a round hole, roll WITH the pinball and try to keep up. The only reason it becomes a "problem" is when compared with others who don't function the same.

Like George and his math test in my class. There is no way he could "steal" a copy of the test because I did not generate the test until moments before he was ready. No curve, 10 questions. You can only afford to miss 3. He finished in about 10 minutes and made 100 percent. All this from a "stupid kid" of hispanic descent who thought his only way out was fighting for a living.

So, yes, he still needed to exhibit competency but the path to get there was his. Just as famous actors like Tom Cruise who are dyslexic and find a way to be competent and successful in a profession that requires heavy reading at the onset.

And you are going to be awesome, just get out of your own way and follow the path you need to. It might be a few scales and a vocalise, here and there, then work on a song. Finish the song, go to the kitchen, nuke some popcorn, think about breath support. Grab the bag of popcorn that is now too hot and sing out on high A, "Ah, (explicative) th-ah -z h - ah -t!"

Because you have learned other things "on the fly" almost like peripheral vision, where you detect the movement of something other than direct center in front of you.

Others will be different and do best with the A, then B.

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Good point, Bob. I had not really thought about what is oversinging and who defines that. I think Lobster was thinking about pushing too hard to point of strain or detriment, though I don't mean the once in a while "strain" of stretching which, to me, is not a "strain" more than it is a sound.

But overdoing a performance or "over-acting," one might say, that could certainly be a discussion on style. we have had newbies come in with a performance that sounded flippant, which may have been at odds with the melancholy feel of the original and it was usually not as well received. And that would not be over-singing but over-acting or odd-acting, I suppose.

Then, again, I have been flippant with my fractured lyrics, like AIC's "Rooster."

"Ain't found a way to grill peas, yet.

I'll have another cigarette.

Seems every hat leaves me with no hair."

Or Eric Clapton's "Cocaine."

"When your hair falls out

Down to the ground,

Rogaine."

Not exactly the original intent of the song, though I can sound melancholy while doing it, I think. The juxtaposition of silly words against "meaningful" intention.

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In retrospect I probably could have called this post "trouble concentrating" lool.

you know when you really think about it, from a technical standpoint, if are singing correctly, you really cannot oversing.

you can overdo your performance, but you really cannot oversing as in detrimental.

Yes but actual singing takes some time to tire me out. Surely when learning new coordinations at the beggining you shouldn't overdo it in one session.

It really is the hyperactivity, I start out working on my breathing (I've always done that even before I started training) and then start training with good posture/support etc... and then I get distracted and end up doing scales all day while reading or whatever (hence bad posture, little support etc...). It's really become an awfull habit.

Heres where I am, I seemed to have learned everything backwards, I have an alright amount of twang in m2 now, larynx control, a few vowel modifications under my belt and little or no constriction but my bridging seems to raddically change from day to day.

Hence the thread, so I suppose I could ask another question instead.

At this point would it make more sense to work for 2-3 hours a day of proper work with good posture etc... or is it possible that I would benifit more from short sessions of 45mins to an hour.

Ron has pretty much convinced me to go with the latter but I would be very interested to find out what kind of routines worked best for you when you first started (if you can remember of course).

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I think you answered the question, yourself. As you stated, you may often do scales while reading and more specifically than reading, doing so while having incorrect posture. So, the answer is not 45 minutes or 3 hours. It is attention to posture while practicing, for however long. Let's say your attention only holds for 15 to 20 minutes at a whack. So, work with that. Concentrate for the time you have available. When your attention wanders, then, let it wander. You will come back to it, later. That is also what is advantageous about lesser time of better quality.

And you can go the other route, if it suits you. Ron Keel talked about spending just a month on doing nothing but belly breathing. And I don't mean he spent 24/7 to the exclusion of all life. I mean that he would now and then check his breathing and making sure it came from below. Until it became such a habit, as easy a habit as one might form with bad posture during reading, that he no longer had to think about breath management. It was there.

It sounds like you already training regime, of sorts.

And assorted comments aside, people like Geoff Tate liked to vary it up. He warmed up in segments throughout the day. High range in the morning. Mid stuff about middle of the day. Low end about an hour before show time.

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you know when you really think about it, from a technical standpoint, if are singing correctly, you really cannot oversing.

you can overdo your performance, but you really cannot oversing as in detrimental.

Bob this sounds ridiculous to me. prolonged singing is still banging your folds together and sending air through them constantly (even if in lesser more balanced amounts) no matter how great your technique is. Do that for long enough and damage will occur from overuse.

Unless you're talking about if a human were capable of robotically perfect technique 100% of the time, but, none of us are even close to that. The human with the most perfect technique would still fluctuate and squeeze or blow air a little too much every so often and that would add up if they kept singing for like 20 hours nonstop and I have trouble believing one could be able to sing all day every day without eventually destroying their voice simply from extreme overuse.

In the real world, rest is as important as technique.

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The human with the most perfect technique would still fluctuate and squeeze or blow air a little too much every so often and that would add up if they kept singing for like 20 hours nonstop and I have trouble believing one could be able to sing all day every day without eventually destroying their voice simply from extreme overuse.

this made me want to look up the record for longest singing out of curiosity

The longest singing marathon by an individual lasted 105 hours and was achieved by Sunil Waghmare (India) in Nagpur, India, from 3 to 7 March 2012.

The record attempt started at 11.06am on 3 March, with a variety of popular Indian songs being sung. No song was repeated within a 4 hour period. The attempt ended on the evening of 7 March after which Mr Waghmare joined in with a sing song with his supporters.

http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records-2000/longest-singing-marathon/

:o

im sure what your saying applies to most people though

on a different note, world record for highest note i came across. it was 2008 so may have been broken but its c8 by a guy.

http://joetheflow.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/lowest-and-highest-sung-notes-guinness-world-record/

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owen,

why do you say that?

if a singer is well hydrated, thoroughly (key word thoroughly) warmed up, uses support, (ribs out during the singing) and doesn't sing breathy and has built their stamina and resiliency you should be able to sing contemporary repertoire for hours.

what people don't always realize is the body gets tired before the voice does when you're really doing it right. once you're fully warmed the fold's get relieved from the support.

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Bob, singing for hours, I totally believe that's possible to do healthily, I've done it here and there. But you made it sound like there is no risk of oversinging if your technique is good. I think that's a bad message, especially since no ones technique is perfect, (were all human) and overuse is one of the biggest causes of vocal damage - its not something anyone should ignore even if their technique is great. If one can sing for 7 hours straight, awesome...their technique must be great. but 7 hours is not 17 hours. That same person if they try to sing for 17 hours straight, their voice could be beyond blown out by then.

Support is not a magic pill that eradicates overuse of the voice - the folds are still colliding at high rates and there are many other technique issues that can cause inefficient collisions and human error will guarantee those do happen - too many of those imbalanced collisions in a period of time = vocal damage, period. At least thats how I understand it.

It's like I feel when I play guitar I could continue for hours yes or maybe even a full day straight. But I bet if I kept playing for multiple days straight (pretend sleep isn't a factor) id likely wind up with some tendonitis or something just from leaving no time for muscles to recuperate from microscopic damages along the way. Overdo anything too much and injury will occur its just a matter of when and that depends on the individual. This should just be common sense about all things in life...

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no owen,

you don't have the development yet to experience how support significantly lessens those collisions. when you sing with support (yes, it's that beneficial) the body takes the brunt of it. the vocal tract, the folds (i keep saying this) gets relieved of these smacks and hits..and they turn more into regulated and controlled squeeze.

unless you experience this firsthand, you cannot understand what i'm saying, nor believe it.

blisters (nodes, etc.) vocal damage comes from friction.

friction is the absence of lubrication.

why do you think they teach messa di voce? it teaches or trains the voice to manage varying degrees of pressure.

contained controlled pressure will not damage the voice, uncontrolled will.

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I understand what Owen says, and yeah. It is common sense.

Even if you make it perfect, like a machine, there is something called "material deterioration" and unless you are The Wolverine, you ARE going to micro-damage tissues in very extended activities.

I know of a kid with autism who was rolling a match when his parents went out, and when they came back he was still doing it and his fingers where just torn apart. Have you heard about that Chinese torture of the drop of water? Give that enough time and it will drill into your brain.

Machines, even if ingeneered perfectly, still have some degree of deterioration after years of usage.

That is what Owen is talking about. Am I correct, man?

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