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Is it normal to have these problems after this long?

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L_Holmes
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I have been trying to train my middle range for over 3 years to eliminate breaks in my range, and I STILL cannot do it. I have gotten better definitely, but I am starting to get pretty frustrated.

I think it may be due to multiple things.

1: After my voice started getting deeper, I wasn't able to sing in my higher range without singing in my falsetto. For some reason I couldn't get the right feeling for singing in a normal modal head voice, it took quite a while before I could figure out what it should feel like. That was around 3 years ago when I figured it out.

2: I haven't had much good formal instruction on how to sing properly. The two vocal coaches I had, while good singers themselves, gave me mostly vague information and unnatural exercises to practice, and to be honest I don't really think much of what they said helped me. Even the good information was given out of context without much explanation, and it was hard for me to apply it as a result.

Regardless, I feel like after 3 years of singing and doing exercises pretty much all the time should get me to a point where I am pretty good, better than I am now anyway. I still have trouble with my middle range, enough that it is pretty difficult to sound decent if I am singing anything that goes into my middle range. It is either too shouty, or too breathy and light. Sometimes I can get a decent sound in my mixed voice, but it seems that I run out of breath pretty quickly in that range when I do.

It is extremely frustrating. Maybe it's just because I am looking, but it seems like even many people who don't see singing as anything more than a fun thing to do sometimes are better than me. I don't know what I'm doing wrong, and I don't have money for a good teacher. It always is discouraging when I see others who are just better, and they don't even seem to try.

Anyway, am I thinking about it too much, or is this really as abnormal as I am thinking? I have received quite a few compliments on my singing, but I've also had people tell me I sound horrible, and it's not like these instances are spaced out. I've received an even amount of each over the years. It is really annoying.

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What you're describing is the struggle of a lot of aspiring singers nowadays. It's not normal or preferred to have the problems last this long, but unfortunately it's typical - the problem is honestly just the industry being flooded with poor coaches teaching at affordable rates, and the most passionate students being too poor to afford the best ones that are charging ridiculously high.

For now, if you can post a clip of your singing (preferably a main vocal exercise you are doing, and a song with some phrases that are giving you trouble) I'll critique you and try to help you from the knowledge I have. I've been lucky to have had years of regular lessons with some great vocal coaches so maybe I could give you a clearer perspective of what you need to work on.

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Heck it's hard. 3 years is not that long to be fair, Ofc it also depends on what level you started at and how much you actualy trained during these three years.

Get a good program do it 5-6 days a week sing five easy songs and two abit more challenging at a total 1,5-2 hours of singing aday.

Make sure you rest so you don't do everything in one go, spread it out during the day.

Many people blame all sorts of things, coaches, voice types and all sorts of excuses doing singing halfassed training 1 time a week ect.

And then they get halfassed results, so get real focus and sing a ton of songs and you'll be better then you've ever imagined.

Cheers

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What you're describing is the struggle of a lot of aspiring singers nowadays. It's not normal or preferred to have the problems last this long, but unfortunately it's typical - the problem is honestly just the industry being flooded with poor coaches teaching at affordable rates, and the most passionate students being too poor to afford the best ones that are charging ridiculously high.

For now, if you can post a clip of your singing (preferably a main vocal exercise you are doing, and a song with some phrases that are giving you trouble) I'll critique you and try to help you from the knowledge I have. I've been lucky to have had years of regular lessons with some great vocal coaches so maybe I could give you a clearer perspective of what you need to work on.

owen, respectfully, that's an overly subjective statement (bold text above).

you also have people who lack drive, will, confidence, patience, and aren't willing to put in the time. today, we have access to more resources than ever before.

from what the singer is describing, it's very possible he undertrained and took the "ending off in falsetto" route, rather than holding on to developing the full voice.

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Singing is not as easy as it should/can be. Just remember that even the professionals have bad days. I have seen videos of live performances of Paul McCartney, Phil Collins and even Pavarotti himself when they go for the jump from F4 to A4 and Crack or flip. It happens. :P

Now you can relax and sing knowing that you are among the greats, pay attention and improve. :cool:

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To be honest, I think my problem might be a lot to do with vowel modification. It would explain why I will sometimes sound very good, but if I'm thinking about it too much (which is a majority of the time) I will not be able to figure out how I hit a certain note so easily before, when I wasn't really thinking about it.

But I can't really figure out how to modify vowels in the correct way that it will give me a better sound. Most of the articles I find just talk about how and why it is important, but they don't say anything else. So I am still pretty lost.

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Hello, I would recommend saving up the 60-100 bucks and get a Skype lesson with one of the teachers here. You'll learn much more in one lesson than in 3 years and you will not regret going down this road.

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owen said "and the most passionate students being too poor to afford the best ones that are charging ridiculously high."

just not true you are looking at "perceived value" vs actual value. I know some great teachers that help others all the time free of charge ;)

they exist but they are far and few between. a little less hard to find on this forum though :)

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Hello, I would recommend saving up the 60-100 bucks and get a Skype lesson with one of the teachers here. You'll learn much more in one lesson than in 3 years and you will not regret going down this road.

agreed.

researching to pick the teacher you like most (ask yourself 1. can they sing the way i like? 2. can they teach the way i like? yes to both is a winner) researching any free instruction they've provided and treating your lesson seriously - prepare for it by learning as much as you can on your own, then go for it, record the lesson in good quality, practice along with it every day - do all of that in the next month and it will be the fastest progress your singing has ever made

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  • Administrator

Good advise here... when it comes to singing and technique, it is very possible to make the same mistakes over and over again... it can go on for years even... until someone or something points it out to you and then you can turn your voice around in a matter of minutes to days... Most likely, its going to probably deal with one or a combination of the following technical issues in your phonation package:

- respiration too week at the sub-glottal position

- glottal compression too week and under developed musculature.

- embouchure is basically none existent and hampering anything good that you do otherwise in this "package"

- No larynx manipulation to tune your formant and anchor your musculature, resulting in sounding too windy or like a choking duck... consistently chunkiness through the passaggio.

- Not understanding vowels, failure to tune your formant to the right singing vowels relative to the frequency your on, and thus... never feeling the resonant positions you need to feel.

- Failure to engage enough TA or modal voice musculature... which requires assertive resistance training at an intermediate or advanced level.

- Negative self talk, staring at your shoe strings, terrified of "high notes", and all kinds of debilitating auditory imagery that is neither the objective reality of the situation or healthy.

How do you fix it?

Get a good coach and a good training program that you can train... with content, routines and explanations of what the hell it is your suppose to be doing and how the singing voice works.

You have to make an investment in yourself... Especially if your feeling really bad about it and its been three years. One has to ask, why have you not spent $200 yet to get a program to get some help? Is your voice worth $200 to you? Ill assume the answer is yes... so don't be cheap about voice programs or lessons... its not bullshit, some of us really know what we are doing and you will get results... hanging out on YouTube, trying to get the "secret tip" to singing is not going to get you anywhere...

I would be one such coach that would be glad to help you. Check out my product The Four Pillars of Singing at www.TheVocalistStudioStore.com and I seriously recommend that you take at least 3 internet lessons. Daniel is also a great coach, as is Phil and others...

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To be honest, I think my problem might be a lot to do with vowel modification. It would explain why I will sometimes sound very good, but if I'm thinking about it too much (which is a majority of the time) I will not be able to figure out how I hit a certain note so easily before, when I wasn't really thinking about it.

But I can't really figure out how to modify vowels in the correct way that it will give me a better sound. Most of the articles I find just talk about how and why it is important, but they don't say anything else. So I am still pretty lost.

You're right - it is vowel modification that is holding you back. It's tricky because you have to manipulate the first formant...in a way that doesn't feel natural. And once you find it, it will take A LOT of practice before it becomes 2nd nature. During this time it is not unusual to be inconsistent from day to day. But you need to be practicing and re-inforcing the "right" way not the "wrong" way. This is where a teacher is incredibly important.

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If I were you I’d get in a band. Keep in mind most of the greatest singers of our time did not develop their voice with scales alone, they sang in bands. After years of coaching in Hollywood and years in and around American Idol I will tell you some of the best singers know little to nothing about singing. Get out there and stand behind a 58 and get busy mate. You’d be surprised what you are made of when it’s go time. Singing in a band and training is the one two punch.

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To really get better at singing you really need to well.... Sing. Learn a new song a day in different styles. Don't just print the lyrics and sing along but memorize the lyrics the melody the vibe and crank up your stereo and be a rockstar. That's a lesson in itself. Learn 10 songs as a goal and give a concert in your room just for yourself. Do this for a while and I promise you will get better

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^ that kind of reminds me of my routine. Not only will I learn a new song that I want to cover but I usually keep at least 5 songs ready so that, at a party, I can grab a guitar and serenade until someone begs me to stop.

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i believe when you continuously challenge yourself, like picking songs that ride the break, for example, or doing songs with wide intervals, you will grow.

when you sit up where the two voices (chest and head) are tugging for dominance it seems you get stronger. it's almost like you have to...

but maybe that's just me...

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I'm lucky I can afford (sort of :lol:) go to a contemporary music school (Berklee) and in my vocal ensemble class I have the opportunity to perform a new song in front of a small audience (including a voice teacher), with a live band backing me, every week. They are very encouraging and it really encourages me to go in and try to keep pushing my comfort zone a little bit. Also writing charts for the band or being able to communicate ideas verbally is a hell of a skill to develop. And the choice of self-accompanying on an instrument or just standing out in front and going for it...a lot of bands you'll be in in your life, don't offer the opportunity to try both.

But the big technical point I want to bring back to you from what I've learned being in that class and striving to do my best every week, is the idea of warm up and performing having separate goals. This has really worked well for me: I'll warm up way above I need to sing so that I've smoothed out all the resonant shifts without flipping and I have this headroom, notes I can sing pretty well above the range I actually need for the song. Even practicing the tough phrases of the song a half step higher. My mindset is totally technical there and I'm also not afraid to screw up and go WAY out of my comfort zone, doing exercises up to notes I'd never be comfortable performing yet. All my training works on that part, improving the toughest challenges of my singing. This is applied to song phrases too and I practice it periodically throughout the week leading up to when I sing the song. But when it's time to perform I've pick songs that aren't so challenging that I'll fall flat on my face, or that I'll be paralyzed in technical thought, I like to embrace keeping the difficulty just at the edge of my comfort zone, not outside or inside. It gets me nervous enough to care but by the time I've warmed up my voice for the day, the song is easy enough that I can nail it fine and leave mental room to have fun and connect with the audience and band. Warming up and applying technical training during practice helps me get into a kind of auto-technique zone where I don't have to think about technique, I can focus on having fun and the notes will all be there every time.

Also singing backups in a gigging cover band every weekend is a great experience - I do a lot of belting out the middle harmonies and being able to just hit those notes out of thin air or sing phrases over and over without tiring is something that sheer experience helps you learn, and being backups it's a helpful stepping stone up to leads. And I'll evolve how I sing them over time, adding parts I come up after the boredom of singing songs over and over, or deciding to go for full voice instead of falsetto because my voice is ready, etc. But this only happens when you combine it with training - that is the real killer because over time you keep this goal of making those notes more and more comfortable and they will become that over time if you keep performing consistently too. Performing (recording too) and showing your singing to the public (this is key) gives you the incentive to improve while training gives you the tools to improve.

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good post owen.

some famous singer, i think it was the late jimi jamison said something about no matter how much he sang a certain song, he would dread a section or sections regardless of being able to sing them. so much had to be right to make it work.

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good post owen.

some famous singer, i think it was the late jimi jamison said something about no matter how much he sang a certain song, he would dread a section or sections regardless of being able to sing them. so much had to be right to make it work.

In a radio interview some years ago, Jamison was talking specifically about "Eye of the Tiger," written for the original singer. Jamison described himself as a baritone. And dreaded the C5 in that song, what he called a "soprano note."

After some years and, no doubt, a few lessons, he figured out how to do it with volume and not wreck himself. Because it is a standard that must be performed at every show. If not, there will be riots.

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yeah that was it my brotha...thank you.

i know lou also mentioned in an interview how challenging the songs were for him.

Yeah, plus I read how Lou found some song so challenging in his memoirs. That taking lessons with an opera singer and teacher really helped him.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Good advise here... when it comes to singing and technique, it is very possible to make the same mistakes over and over again... it can go on for years even... until someone or something points it out to you and then you can turn your voice around in a matter of minutes to days... Most likely, its going to probably deal with one or a combination of the following technical issues in your phonation package:

- respiration too week at the sub-glottal position

- glottal compression too week and under developed musculature.

- embouchure is basically none existent and hampering anything good that you do otherwise in this "package"

- No larynx manipulation to tune your formant and anchor your musculature, resulting in sounding too windy or like a choking duck... consistently chunkiness through the passaggio.

- Not understanding vowels, failure to tune your formant to the right singing vowels relative to the frequency your on, and thus... never feeling the resonant positions you need to feel.

- Failure to engage enough TA or modal voice musculature... which requires assertive resistance training at an intermediate or advanced level.

- Negative self talk, staring at your shoe strings, terrified of "high notes", and all kinds of debilitating auditory imagery that is neither the objective reality of the situation or healthy.

How do you fix it?

Get a good coach and a good training program that you can train... with content, routines and explanations of what the hell it is your suppose to be doing and how the singing voice works.

You have to make an investment in yourself... Especially if your feeling really bad about it and its been three years. One has to ask, why have you not spent $200 yet to get a program to get some help? Is your voice worth $200 to you? Ill assume the answer is yes... so don't be cheap about voice programs or lessons... its not bullshit, some of us really know what we are doing and you will get results... hanging out on YouTube, trying to get the "secret tip" to singing is not going to get you anywhere...

I would be one such coach that would be glad to help you. Check out my product The Four Pillars of Singing at www.TheVocalistStudioStore.com and I seriously recommend that you take at least 3 internet lessons. Daniel is also a great coach, as is Phil and others...

I'd definitely be willing to use $200 for that, and extra for 1-on-1 lessons, I just don't have that much right at the moment :( I've had a lot of unexpected expenses lately. I've looked at your product before, and I did want to get it, but I didn't have enough at that time either. This is also why I haven't gotten lessons in a while (I did take lessons for 6 months when I was 17, 2 years ago).

I should have enough by some time next month though, at least for The Four Pillars of Singing product.

But thank you for the information. I think I probably have all of those problems to some extent at least. I have been working on making sure my breathing support is good at least, as I figured that is the most basic thing and I can't fix any of the other stuff without having that down. But especially the one about engaging more TA muscles, I think that is probably one of the main problems I'm having, along with understanding vowels. It's difficult. I can tell when I'm not doing it right just by the way it feels; there have been a few isolated times where I did do it right and it felt and sounded way better, but I couldn't figure out what I even did :/

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