Jump to content

what am I doing wrong when practicing sirens?

Rate this topic


Jarom
 Share

Recommended Posts

I cant get my onset sirens to sound right. What may I be doing wrong? My biggest complainant is that the vibrato sounds fake and yodely

link of me singing sirens on g4 and a4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W-8rInouLc&feature=youtu.be

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Open embouchure more, lift up and pull back, do the warm up.

Show us a clip of you warming up. I suppose you have the Pillars or where comes your idea of sirens from?

Also that sounds like a yodel because it is. Take a step back with the volume. I saw you having tension in the throat. Check your breathing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay there are a lot of problems that need to be fixed

First of all stop practicing this same way you doing it, as this isn't an issue of small tweaking, you need to reset your whole approach if you want to progress from here. If you just keep going the way you are I guarantee you will develop awful habits, hit a wall and would likely give up. But you can easily get yourself out of there by backing up few steps and get the fundamentals of your phonation package fixed so that you can clear the way for the path to progress.

I'm going to list a whole bunch of bad habits you are doing and then a whole bunch of good habits you want to replace them with. Focus ONLY on this for the next month of practice, or until you become completely comfortable with the new approach.

The main bad habits that are causing the problems:

1. You are looking down at the onset. This is both a mental and physiological barrier to your progress.

2. You are pulling back your tongue because you are dampening the larynx incorrectly.

3. Your embouchure is not set at the onset, you are only opening it as you ascend.

4. Your arm is tensing up and rising as you approach the high note

5. You are repeating failed attempts without changing anything (this just drills in the wrong muscle memory. Remember this classic quote "insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result" Like I said you'll have to change your approach in order to succeed at this)

6. Your mindset is clearly nervous and quietly frustrated. This is more of a natural result of the failed sirens you're producing, not as much a cause of them, but it is a SIGN that you are practicing things wrong on a physiological level.

7. Your vibrato IS a literal yodel, and doesn't resemble correctly produced vibrato at all.

8. Are you practicing descending sirens too? Only practicing them ascending could be part of the issue.

9. Your mass is too heavy

The good habits you want to enact to replace the bad ones.

1. Keep your head facing straight ahead at all times. Pick a spot in front of you that's at eye level and focus on it all the way from onset to offset.

2. Keep the tip of your tongue gently touching your bottom teeth and completely forget about dampening your larynx for now (until you can get a lesson with a teacher to show you how to do it correctly)

3. Train in front of a mirror and make sure your embouchure is fully wide (horizontal and vertically) and static from onset to offset. This will create consistency in your training by eliminating any lurking variables - differences in jaw and lip position that could make your training inconsistent.

4. Focus on relaxing your arm at your side from onset to offset. I think it is YOUR left arm.

5. When you get a yodelly or distorted or otherwise incorrectly produced siren, go through this process:

-Stop the phonation.

-Think about what you change to make the next attempt better.

-Try it again on the same pitch

-If after three attempts of this, the result isn't getting better, move to an easier pitch (could be up or down depending on a bunch of stuff, as long as it's easier) and repeat.

-Move back up to the original pitch in half step increments and try again.

-If that doesn't fix the problem, try this all again with an easier exercise. (I assume you have four pillars? bridging connecting 2A tends to be one of the easiest)

-If that doesn't fix the problem, take a break and return in 5-15 minutes.

-If that doesn't fix the problem, stop training and throughout the next day, put yourself in the circumstances to be in perfect vocal health, fully warmed up, hydrated, etc. and try this all again.

-If that doesn't fix the problem, immediately book a lesson with a great coach.

If you went through that whole process and the problem is still happening, there's just no way in hell you'll be able to learn this without a coach's individual help. I've been there, done that, I'm just telling you the truth because I want you to improve.

6. If at any time a phonation you produce makes you nervous or frustrated, take it as a reminder to go back to something easier and more suitable for your skill level and work your way up over time. I don't mean practicing stuff so easy that it's effortless and boring, I just mean learning skills one baby step at a time.

7. Forget about vibrato for now (until you can get a lesson with a teacher to show you how to do it correctly). OR, try adding vibrato only on the bottom pitch of the siren, not the top, and again, just leave it at that for now.

8. Be sure to practice descending sirens too.

9. Focus on phonating these sirens with more finesse and control, don't worry so much about power.

I know this was a HUGE wall of text but as former TVS student myself I just want you to get the most out of this. I benefited a lot from skype lessons with Rob and would highly recommend that over just home study with the program, but if home study is your only option, I'm not going to sugarcoat the fact that it takes this amount of self-discipline to really progress on your own. 90% of what I'm mentioning here I learned from training one on one with coaches. They will get you into that disciplined mindset of really fixing errors before you move on, which is something a lot of self-study students fail to put the hard work and patience into, but it is the biggest reason why the students who are getting regular coaching tend to progress faster. It's ironic because it seems like are progressing slower by really kind of nitpicking things under the microscope, but that kind of attention to detail is actually EXACTLY how the fast results come about!

Good luck. Don't get discouraged, I think once you really stop jumping the gun and trying to get vibrato and larynx dampening and these big high chesty pitches before you're ready, and focus more on simply doing the basics correctly (embouchure, onset, lower pitches, straight tone, relaxation, mental focus, etc.) you'll be able to sail on to much greater vocal gains from that solid foundation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

heh. I can hear your battling both the laryngeal deepness and your twang. if you want to practice the power part, start fully dampening your larynx a few notes before those high notes and then you'll have the right pressure for the rest, and also better pressure for a deep vibrato. however if you cannot deepen your larynx that early, it means your twang and dampening is higher than you think it is.

if it's the later case, you dampen higher and then twang much higher than you're at.

if it's the first case then dampen at that level but earlier, and twang wherever it naturally occurs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I disagree with some of what Chumels mentioned and would like to reiterate, Jarom, do not think about larynx dampening at the moment.

Also twang has nothing to do with timing, you don't increase it as you ascend, you engage a balanced amount at the onset and maintain it as you ascend, or if anything, allow it to naturally decrease slightly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wasn't addressing twang In anyway. while it's more important to achieve a healthy mix of both twang and larynx,that's a given at the proper stage of learning.

and nothing I said was incorrect. regardless of his pitch, then it most likely needs to have both a higher anchor and also apply pressure earlier, as to prevent both pinching the voice and adding all the strain at once at the passaggio.again, realize that this is pure larynx, and not mixing in twang I'm talking about. I couldn't tell exactly if he was dampening to low or high for his voice due to the sound of his pharyngeal voice being somewhat neutral sounding, but one "might" guess that he's working too low.

maybe my original post wasn't amazingly clear but I thought it would make some sense or provide insight.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not sure what your goal is here. The clip you posted sounds like CVT overdrive as you are using one of the two overdrive vowels which gives an intense yelling sound, although you are not completely centered in the mode. It's not bad if that's what you are going for. There is no real vibrato yet - vibrato needs a less intense balance between the two opposing muscle groups - TA and CT. It sounds like you are trying to force a vibrato and there is way too much tension for it to occur naturally.

If your goal is to develop more of a head voice which you can carry a lot higher you'll need to change things and lighten up a bit. Currently you are staying in what is often referred to as "chest voice" and there will be a limit as to how much higher you can go in this configuration.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pro tip: don't make people trying to help you sit through 15 seconds of ads and 10 seconds of clearing your throat.

Don't have anything to add, except I kind of like that weird tremolo thing. Don't forget how to do it, someday you might want to put it in your own stuff!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, I read all your posts referred back to the 4 pillars of singing and put it into practice. It still docent sound perfect but it feels like i'm carrying allot less weight, my attempted vibrato still sounds yodely but its getting there. below are videos of my improvements so far

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O26lZQ-Wepw&feature=youtu.be

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSdw1qdJqbo&feature=youtu.be

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's WAY better especially for just a day's worth of practice. Great job.

The larynx dampening you're doing now seems to be working okay for you so go ahead and keep it.

But the next thing I would recommend is just focusing on taking out the vibrato and distortion because neither are correct. This is tough to get a nice straight clean tone on high notes but with some experimentation hopefully you'll figure it out.

Taking out the vibrato is mostly a mental thing - just deciding to not let it happen. And then taking out distortion has to do with rebalancing things like weight, air pressure, compression, etc. until the sound is clean. Play around with combinations of adjusting those, especially decreasing them, until you find the distortion stops, and then remember how you did it.

The reason why I'm saying try to take it out is because only after you've mastered a clean tone is when you can start adding vocal effects without them being out of your control or sounding wrong. At least in my experience.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • Administrator

Okay there are a lot of problems that need to be fixed

First of all stop practicing this same way you doing it, as this isn't an issue of small tweaking, you need to reset your whole approach if you want to progress from here. If you just keep going the way you are I guarantee you will develop awful habits, hit a wall and would likely give up. But you can easily get yourself out of there by backing up few steps and get the fundamentals of your phonation package fixed so that you can clear the way for the path to progress.

I'm going to list a whole bunch of bad habits you are doing and then a whole bunch of good habits you want to replace them with. Focus ONLY on this for the next month of practice, or until you become completely comfortable with the new approach.

The main bad habits that are causing the problems:

1. You are looking down at the onset. This is both a mental and physiological barrier to your progress.

2. You are pulling back your tongue because you are dampening the larynx incorrectly.

3. Your embouchure is not set at the onset, you are only opening it as you ascend.

4. Your arm is tensing up and rising as you approach the high note

5. You are repeating failed attempts without changing anything (this just drills in the wrong muscle memory. Remember this classic quote "insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result" Like I said you'll have to change your approach in order to succeed at this)

6. Your mindset is clearly nervous and quietly frustrated. This is more of a natural result of the failed sirens you're producing, not as much a cause of them, but it is a SIGN that you are practicing things wrong on a physiological level.

7. Your vibrato IS a literal yodel, and doesn't resemble correctly produced vibrato at all.

8. Are you practicing descending sirens too? Only practicing them ascending could be part of the issue.

9. Your mass is too heavy

The good habits you want to enact to replace the bad ones.

1. Keep your head facing straight ahead at all times. Pick a spot in front of you that's at eye level and focus on it all the way from onset to offset.

2. Keep the tip of your tongue gently touching your bottom teeth and completely forget about dampening your larynx for now (until you can get a lesson with a teacher to show you how to do it correctly)

3. Train in front of a mirror and make sure your embouchure is fully wide (horizontal and vertically) and static from onset to offset. This will create consistency in your training by eliminating any lurking variables - differences in jaw and lip position that could make your training inconsistent.

4. Focus on relaxing your arm at your side from onset to offset. I think it is YOUR left arm.

5. When you get a yodelly or distorted or otherwise incorrectly produced siren, go through this process:

-Stop the phonation.

-Think about what you change to make the next attempt better.

-Try it again on the same pitch

-If after three attempts of this, the result isn't getting better, move to an easier pitch (could be up or down depending on a bunch of stuff, as long as it's easier) and repeat.

-Move back up to the original pitch in half step increments and try again.

-If that doesn't fix the problem, try this all again with an easier exercise. (I assume you have four pillars? bridging connecting 2A tends to be one of the easiest)

-If that doesn't fix the problem, take a break and return in 5-15 minutes.

-If that doesn't fix the problem, stop training and throughout the next day, put yourself in the circumstances to be in perfect vocal health, fully warmed up, hydrated, etc. and try this all again.

-If that doesn't fix the problem, immediately book a lesson with a great coach.

If you went through that whole process and the problem is still happening, there's just no way in hell you'll be able to learn this without a coach's individual help. I've been there, done that, I'm just telling you the truth because I want you to improve.

6. If at any time a phonation you produce makes you nervous or frustrated, take it as a reminder to go back to something easier and more suitable for your skill level and work your way up over time. I don't mean practicing stuff so easy that it's effortless and boring, I just mean learning skills one baby step at a time.

7. Forget about vibrato for now (until you can get a lesson with a teacher to show you how to do it correctly). OR, try adding vibrato only on the bottom pitch of the siren, not the top, and again, just leave it at that for now.

8. Be sure to practice descending sirens too.

9. Focus on phonating these sirens with more finesse and control, don't worry so much about power.

I know this was a HUGE wall of text but as former TVS student myself I just want you to get the most out of this. I benefited a lot from skype lessons with Rob and would highly recommend that over just home study with the program, but if home study is your only option, I'm not going to sugarcoat the fact that it takes this amount of self-discipline to really progress on your own. 90% of what I'm mentioning here I learned from training one on one with coaches. They will get you into that disciplined mindset of really fixing errors before you move on, which is something a lot of self-study students fail to put the hard work and patience into, but it is the biggest reason why the students who are getting regular coaching tend to progress faster. It's ironic because it seems like are progressing slower by really kind of nitpicking things under the microscope, but that kind of attention to detail is actually EXACTLY how the fast results come about!

Good luck. Don't get discouraged, I think once you really stop jumping the gun and trying to get vibrato and larynx dampening and these big high chesty pitches before you're ready, and focus more on simply doing the basics correctly (embouchure, onset, lower pitches, straight tone, relaxation, mental focus, etc.) you'll be able to sail on to much greater vocal gains from that solid foundation.

Great post Owen...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Administrator

Jarom, Hmm.... interesting...

Can you confirm that you are a TVS client? You mention sirens and your talking about "onsets"... thats very TVS talk-track... you also seem to be trying to do a quack & release onset... is this correct?

Listen, first of all, feel free to contact me personally if you have any questions and do consider taking private internet lessons with me if you can, it will make a world of difference.

2nd, Owen is a long time client of mine and knows a lot of details about techniques... his post was very helpful, so Im not going to repeat all that again... I will say this:

1). Clean up your onset... onsets can not be half-assed... you have to do it perfectly... if this is a quack & release onset, then it is totally missing the work flow... study the training work flow and get it cleaned up.

2). Lighten the mass on your siren... you seem to be really adding a lot of weight to the phonation... relax.. let it amplify and "float"... you can't shout at notes, it will NEVER work.

3). Stop the strange vibrato at the top of your siren... for the moment, its getting in your way and adding weight/mass to your phonation.

4). where is the "Pillars" training content? Are you training with the regimentation of the recorded media? if not, get on that... don't just shoot from the hip... thats how you get sloppy and unproductive.

5). Have you studied the vowel modification formulas in your book? If not, your going to have problems... It seems like your dismissing any notion of vowels here.

6). Fix that embouchure!!! Without a good horizontal embouchure, forget it... there is nothing you can do... practice in a mirror until it is fixated and consistent... refer to the book and videos.

Hope this helps and its great to have you as a client.

Learn More About the TVS Vocal Training Program:

"The Four Pillars of Singing”

Click Links Below:

http://tinyurl.com/The4PillarsReviews

http://tinyurl.com/4PillarsTableofContents

http://tinyurl.com/The4PillarsOfSinging

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...