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Beginner singer: How should I practice?

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Hi everyone,

I'm a newcomer to the forums. Two months ago I started practicing my singing seriously (if you can call it that). I did not grow up singing so I am basically starting from a clean slate. However, I know music theory from piano so maybe that will help.

My goal is to be a versatile singer (not professionally, but I find singing gives me a lot of joy). Some of the things I want to focus on are breath support, increasing range and endurance, and adjustable "heaviness." Breath support because as I ascend in frequency, I can feel my breath leaking out and I can't sustain the notes well. And with that would come increased range and endurance. Finally, I'd like to be able to adjust the heaviness of my singing so that I have more options for the art form called singing.

I've put a link below to a sound clip of me singing the beginning of a famous Sam Cooke song. Obviously I can't do it like he does (had to step it down two semitones), so that's why I need to practice right? The clip is 100% acapella, zero editing so you can hear all the imperfections. 

Some quick facts: I can sing F2 to G#4, a pretty average range. I never really cared for voice types but for quick classification purposes, I guess I'm baritone because most guys are. 

Finally, I don't know why my voice sounds so much like falsetto at the top. It definitely does not feel like falsetto when I'm singing. But maybe my chest voice is getting really weak for the higher notes. As a beginner, I don't know what head voice sounds or feels like, and I assume I have not "unlocked" that yet. All I know is that G#4 is the highest I can go haha

https://www.dropbox.com/s/fuhcs12108ahunn/5-7-15_A Change is Gonna Come.m4a?dl=0

Here's my problem: I don't know how to practice. I've just been copying all the stuff you see in the movies, the scales, the arpeggios with the "AH" vowel and so on. So if you have any recommendations on any good exercises or structured programs, that would be great. I'd like something that could help me achieve slow and steady progress, practicing about 5 hours per week. No shortcuts or gimmicks please; in my experience, consistency has always been the key. And if this requires saving up money (hopefully less than $500), I can do that if that's what it's gonna take.

Thanks a bunch for reading all this; I really appreciate your help!

Edit: Here's another link to the sound clip so you don't need to download anything:



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It is great that your asking about how to practice, for a beginner, that shows insight. Good start.

People that don't practice or train are wasting their time if they want to really sing better and get real about this.

How you would practice would have a bit to do with what program or what your content is that you are studying. There are several home study programs that can assist you in your practice routines, along with good private lessons. And I'll say this, if you don't have one of these programs, then here again, you won't know what to practice... let alone learn about how the singing voice works and what really is a very big world of singing that you are about to explore. 

Typically, a practice routine consists of:

  • Warm Ups that balance respiration, vocal fold compression and resonation.

Followed by...

  • Work on scales and/or onsets... when it comes to scales this is a big world of options.
  • After working out, you should always transition to singing songs and working on songs.

Coincidentally, I am the author and producer of a very popular home study vocal training program titled, "The Four Pillars of Singing". More then any other program, I believe it offers the most comprehensive vocal training guidelines and routines on exactly that, HOW TO PRACTICE AND TRAIN THE CONTENT!... something that is strangely missing in many other programs... it is something I have focused a lot on in the last couple years with the TVS program. In fact its important of an issue and means enough to me and my clients that I actually produced a video on this issue...


Needless to say, I would be happy to be your coach and guide you on your journey to learning about the voice, learning how to train and singing... we can train together in private sessions as well over the internet on Skype web cam. This technique of virtual training is very popular and I teach many students around the world ever day in this way. For new students, I offer the "New Student Package" that gets you the complete "4Pillars" training program + three private lessons with me. This package saves you $152 and is really the best value... if you can swing it, I recommend this package. If not, at least pick up the online version of the home study program. CLICK HERE >>> for the New Student Package.

To be fair, there are other great coaches you can work with as well. Many of them are here on this forum as well and Ill let them introduce themselves if they choose to. 

If you have any questions about voice training or training with the TVS program, feel free to send me a private mail and we can discuss a custom program for you. BTW.. click on the links below in my signature. The TVS Program enjoys a 100%, 5-Star Review from everyone that has ever purchased the program in the last 7 years... and you can read the Table of Contents from the book, which is 616 pages... its a serious program.

Lastly, there is a new forum I created that current TVS clients are using to discussion how they practice inside the TVS program, which may be interesting to you.

Hope to hear from you and welcome to the magic of singing and our forum. 


BTW... thats what we call customer service at TVS... ;)

Your in good hands here... lets do it... 

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Thank you Robert for your response! I will follow up with you to find out more about your program.

And for everyone else on this forum, I would love to meet the rest of you, teachers and students. Please review my sound clip if you have 30 seconds to spare--I'm very new to singing so I don't know what are the standards are for different genres (phrasing, diction/clarity, etc.). I can record more clips if that will help you help me out. 

Looking forward to hearing from you all.

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First you should know what your singing goals are and what it is going to take to get there. After you have decided what you want you should consider a vocal program and 1-3 lessons with a good vocal coach. Once you have 3-10 exercises that are suitable for your voice you've gotta start the drilling process.. do not change your exercises because the voice learns from muscle memory NOT muscle confusion. Learn to practise throughout the day instead of for 3 hours straight, 10 minutes of perfect practise 3 times a day will completely beat out a guy who practises for 3 hours tired and sloppy. Finally, if you become a master of the exercises and have a 5 octave vocal range; you will realize that you still can't sing. This is because the only way to handle all variables from singing is to actually practise singing, even singing 2-3 songs a day within your current range will yield some good results. Good luck! Hope this helped you out. You made a great choice joining this forum lot of knowledgable coaches and students are here :)

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Hey Jstack... I got a chance to listen to your file.

You have a lovely, light mass color to your voice, especially when you sing like this... nice.

Your sample file is a bit short to really say too much about it, but this kind of singing is very healthy and is lovely to listen to... 

You would benefit from training and learning how to anchor more musculature to make this good position grow and get bigger for you... to make more then only this sound. That would mean you would have to train and practice, to include learning about vocal twang, larynx dampening, singing vowels and training with specialized onsets. I invite you to go over to the "The Four Pillars of Singing" forum where TVS students are discussing different training routines they feel help them.

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You can open up your voice more with this free voice lesson video course at www.singbetterin3days.com

It will help you to open up, increase your range, and improve your tone. It's a great review or even eye opener to get you started. 

I agree with the others that finding someone or a program to help you will really amp up your progress. It becomes to frustrating to do it yourself, so it will be helpful to have someone reassure you that you are sounding good/ and or doing the techniques correctly. :) 

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