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Warm up and singing for long periods

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aravindmadis
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Hi Folks, 

I have an interesting experience that I would like to get your views on.  Usually twice a month I go for a long drive(I commute between my work place and home which is nearly 250 miles away). This takes about 5-6 hours in our country(yes our traffic is that bad).  Since I have all the time to myself, I sing a LOT during this commute(sometimes with my Karaoke tracks).. 

Something really interesting happens after the 1.5 - 2 hour mark.  My voice tends to become very very light and my transition from chest to head voice becomes seamless.  At this point onwards(magical as long as it lasts), I feel I can sing almost anything(Iron Maiden/Foreigner/Queen) and sing very demanding songs with a lot of ease.  My voice sounds almost like a "little boy" voice.  Unfortunately, since I am driving, I don't record when I sound like this :)

When I usually record my stuff, I have less than 20-30 min of warm up and I dont' nearly get the ease that I get after singing for a good 1.5 hours(nor is it practical for me to warm up for 2 hours with a full time job and singing as a hobby).. 

I think I must be singing with pretty good technique(mainly with a good deal of support), since I don't feel any sort of pain after singing for this long, even with singing demanding genres.  My question is what will it take for me to get the "little boy" voice with the strength and flexibility more easily?  Is it a question of time in the sense, I will get here after another 6 months, or do I need to change my warm up "routine"(which usually involves only singing soft beatles songs that lie in the passagio.. 

Would love to know your thoughts.. 

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Hi Aravind, I can relate to that because the same happens to me after 1 hour of singing/practicing. The twang and resonance get really intense and I can sing songs easily that go up to D#5/E5/F5, depending on the lyrics and support. Still, I may have a relatively hard time when trying new songs I'm not used to sing.

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Aravind do you wanna sound like a little boy or do you wanna sound like a real man?

​Phew.. that is a scarring image. 

What I meant to convey was my voice becomes much lighter and I can do light co-ordination a lot easier.  And even my belting becomes a lot more consistent.  Obviously it may not be practical for me to warm up for 1.5 hours everytime... 

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Phil.  No.. I will try it out.  Thanks

Cool. Lemme know if it helps. I actually try to take a 5 minute break anytime I feel the first hint of strain or reaching. Usually when I start up again the tension is gone and I resume the warmup. 

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1.5 hours is like a normal warm up time actually (assuming you don't strain during it, and take breaks here and there to not wear yourself out). I know that's controversial but when you get to that little boy's voice place with the seamless transitions how can you deny that!

How to get more of this is to just do it more and more. The more time you spend singing not warmed up the less it becomes habit. The more time you spend getitng fully warmed up and singing that way the more that becomes habit and you can get into it shorter.

I had one week where my band did a practice and then two shows all back to back (all three hours and I do backing vocals which is very easy pacing wise which further supports this) and I warmed up properly for all of it then I booked a vocal lesson the fourth day and I only had to warm up like 15 minutes to get into the right spot that usually takes hours. That's basically what you're after.

Even if getting into the good vocal moments takes longer at first if you stick with it exclusively (and of course avoid overdoing it to fatigue) it will come quicker with time.

Funny thing is after my 4-day streak of warmed up long singing sessions, the next few days I was working on this song that required an irish broque rough kind of sound and I tried not warming up and working on more poor technique for style and all that goodness I had going was immediately wiped out by my experimentation with this imperfect technique. So it's not enough to just nurture good technique you have to avoid the bad too.

But of course life is life and whatever time you're given just use it wisely and that's the best you can do.
 

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I do know what you're talking about, for me it is more likely to happen after extensive time in heady configurations, it's like the entire voice lightens into one. But I dislike when I reach this area, personally. 

 

It makes my low voice suck, so I always try to train for a middle ground. I'd rather have 'oomph' in my low notes than sing really high pitched like a girl or little boy most of the time, unless that was the explicit goal of the song (conveying youthful innocence/helplessness, or transgender characters, or gender defiance art).

 

Most of the time, I'm a dude who wants to sing more from my perspective. So even if some other ways are easier to sing high notes, I think a lot of them just aren't for me.

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When you have access to "little boy voice."

How does the low voice respond? Have you ever tried going back into full voice in the lower range at that point?

Hi. I can get the low voice.  But I dont have the rumbling character of the low voice.  It suits certain songs and not others.  Singing becomes effortless and it is way easier to hit centre of notes

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I do know what you're talking about, for me it is more likely to happen after extensive time in heady configurations, it's like the entire voice lightens into one. But I dislike when I reach this area, personally. 

 

It makes my low voice suck, so I always try to train for a middle ground. I'd rather have 'oomph' in my low notes than sing really high pitched like a girl or little boy most of the time, unless that was the explicit goal of the song (conveying youthful innocence/helplessness, or transgender characters, or gender defiance art).

 

Most of the time, I'm a dude who wants to sing more from my perspective. So even if some other ways are easier to sing high notes, I think a lot of them just aren't for me.

Killer.  I know what you mean.  IT certainly helps certain styles more than others

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I know the feeling described here, and I personally like it. It makes singing tenor tessituras (especially songs with lots of notes in the C4-C5 range) a lot easier. For my purposes, that's when I consider myself fully warmed up. Vowel shaping can help make the sound a little more gruff later on, but it's a lot easier than negotiating those songs when my voice feels placed a lot lower. I'm perfectly fine with losing some power in the lower notes, since most of the songs I sing don't go to the bottom of my range. I read somewhere that it's due to the larynx shifting up a little after a lot of singing (especially high singing).

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Hi. I can get the low voice.  But I dont have the rumbling character of the low voice.  It suits certain songs and not others.  Singing becomes effortless and it is way easier to hit centre of notes

Don't chase a certain heavy or thick tone in the low range. Just let it be what it is. Feeling like the voice is centered through the passagi is key. Im still working on that personally but one thing I know is that if I get hung up on beefing up the low register there's no way the passagio will be happening. It's a similar effect to brute-force yelling the chest up too high, it destroys the balance of the voice 

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It's true, you can't fight what you are. You may be meant to sing in the medium or higher ranges. 

You may also be compressing your falsetto or taking the chest voice too high in the mix. When I was in college I was mixed belting in the practice room for fun, overdid it and then my low voice was raspy, even though head voice was still intact. Ths sounds almos exactly what you are talking about, so it could be overuse. Especially if you are singing for a long period of time. 

Maybe a sound sample of you would help? 

 

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It's true, you can't fight what you are. You may be meant to sing in the medium or higher ranges. 

You may also be compressing your falsetto or taking the chest voice too high in the mix. When I was in college I was mixed belting in the practice room for fun, overdid it and then my low voice was raspy, even though head voice was still intact. Ths sounds almos exactly what you are talking about, so it could be overuse. Especially if you are singing for a long period of time. 

Maybe a sound sample of you would help? 

 

My low voice has no rasp.  After singing long I have very little vocal weight across my entire range.  No I consciously avoid taking my chest voice too high.  Will try to post a sample

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Hi Aravind, I don't think it is a bad thing what you are describing. I go through the same thing when I get to practice for 1-2 hours. In the beginning I am belting more, and I cannot use a light head voice to sing, for instance, Superman (Five for fighting). However, after my voice gets warmed up, if I didn't push too much, I am able to sing so much better and free, just following the resonance, with no crackling or flipping. And then, my head voice becomes available, and belting in mixed also becomes a lot easier, and I can feel and keep  the open throat sensation. I used to have problems to sing in the low range after the head voice (little boy voice) is on, but after experimenting and training I can still sing "wherever you will go" (The Calling) or "Plush" (Stone Temple Pilots) with resonant low notes.

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