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Stuck for years with that kind of singing - How can I improve?

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Wakawaka
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Hi,

I have been singing for over ten years now but never reached the level I was aiming for. For lack of money I never took singing lessons. I have the feeling that I am doing something fundamentally wrong, because sometimes I sing off pitch and don't notice until I listen to the recording later. Soft songs like the one I want to show to you in the example seem to work better than metal or rock songs. Sadly I enjoy those most. So, maybe time for a sugar break!

If some vocal pros could point out some of the mistakes I am making and how to correct them I'd be a very happy puppy for today!

 

edit: I took the freedom of using the intro to review the melody.

 

 

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Hey Wakawaka, I liked your timbre man. You know you are singing 1 octave below the original, right?! I also liked how you changed the melody just a bit in a few parts. May I ask you how you recorded this song? Because the volume of your voice seems to fluctuate throughout the song. I think that maybe because you sang this song so softly you didn't support accordingly, and that might be one of the reasons of the fluctuations in the volume, and sometimes on the pitch. So, by your description on the top, and the way you chose to sing this song, I assume you struggle to sing the high notes of the songs you like. It that is true, and you are passionate about singing, even with no professional intention, I think you should invest in learning and training vocal techniques. You already have a good voice, you just need to learn the right techniques and practice. Cheers

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Hi Gneetap, thanks for the reply man.

If I ever can sing it in the original octave I will be quite glad, haha ... I got a very low voice naturally. I recorded the singing with a (unfortunately) cheap dynamic microphone connected to a Line6 UX1, which was USB-wired into my PC. I think it (the mic) may have too high impedance for this kind of interface ... Could this be the case? Anyhow, I only get a very soft signal out of it and have to 'software amplify' it afterwards. Any hints (other interface/mic amplifier?) on that?

You are right, I sung so softly because it was even harder to hit the higher notes when singing louder. I am also not sure I really understand support, because when I try it (working those belly muscles to create some pressure from 'below') it sounds more like a annoyed person shouting at a Walmart clerk than singing, haha. How will I know when I do it the 'right way'?

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Hi Gneetap, thanks for the reply man.

If I ever can sing it in the original octave I will be quite glad, haha ... I got a very low voice naturally. I recorded the singing with a (unfortunately) cheap dynamic microphone connected to a Line6 UX1, which was USB-wired into my PC. I think it (the mic) may have too high impedance for this kind of interface ... Could this be the case? Anyhow, I only get a very soft signal out of it and have to 'software amplify' it afterwards. Any hints (other interface/mic amplifier?) on that?

​Hi Wakawaka, does your interface have a gain or trim knob? You may have to adjust that so your signal doesn't have to be amplified too much in the software. But be careful not to overload the signal either, or else you will have the signal clipping. I think that for basic recordings any dynamic mic should be ok. Oh, also, make sure you don't have Phantom power on, in your interface. If your microphone is a dynamic it won't need it. Cheers

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Hi Gneetap, thanks for the reply man.

You are right, I sung so softly because it was even harder to hit the higher notes when singing louder. I am also not sure I really understand support, because when I try it (working those belly muscles to create some pressure from 'below') it sounds more like a annoyed person shouting at a Walmart clerk than singing, haha. How will I know when I do it the 'right way'?

​Yeah, I think I know what you mean. Support can be hard to get going if you didn't learn it properly. I won't try to teach you how to support, as I am no vocal teacher or an advanced vocal student. But if I may offer you a piece of advice, you should try to: 1) get lessons with a good coach, and there are several really good coaches here in the forum. And if you are into Rock and Hard Rock, is even better, because almost all of the coaches here are also fans of this style. 2) get a good singing program/method. Also here, there are a few very good choices, and Robert Lunte, the owner of this forum has written one of the most (if not the most) complete and comprehensive singing methods The Four Pillars of Singing. You should do one or the other, but if you can do both, your progress will be even faster. I'm telling you this as a friendly advice from someone who took a few lessons, but is working really hard by himself to learn and train the correct techniques to improve singing. I tell you this, it takes forever to do it by yourself, and very few people succeed, because you can fall into so many traps that you need someone with experience to guide you through this maze of information in a journey of self discovery (your singing voice). Cheers 

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Waka, just getting to this s now...

Waka, the first thing you need to do is feel the tempo of this song. The rhythmic cues are all over the place, it is not locked in rhythmically. 

You need to just get a bed track recording of this song or your own guitar playing and count "1&2&3&4&...." over and over again so you can feel the groove here... the groove will be found not so much in the quarter notes, but in the syncopated 8th notes the "&s"... 

... although it gets a bit better later in the tune, but it still needs work.

The voice needs more compression... the sound color is probably too windy and under supported. You need to get more vocal fold closure which will do several good things for you; give us real tone of your voice instead of the sound of "hot wind", amplify your voice so you can be heard a bit more and "pop" more in the mix, it will help with your intonation, and more... This means, you need to work on vocal twang, a vocal mode characterized by strong compression of the vocal folds. How do you do that?

That is where training onsets and scales and getting a teacher that can show you what to do comes in... I am one such coach that can do this for you and my product, "The Four Pillars of Singing", most certainly can help you with this. There are other good coaches in this community as well that can help you... but the bigger here is... you need to train. You need to work on your musicianship (rhythm and pitch) and you need to get stronger by training so you can stop blowing hot wind, and start amplifying a strong, compressed energy into your vocal tract and make a real, beautiful song.

I understand this song is a ballad and all that that entails, but you need to compress a lot more still, even for this song. If you think about the original artists that sang this... are they singing it as windy as you? No, they are not... they are using light mass levels of twang compression... 

You don't have to "suck"... that choice is up to you... but it is going to take commitment to train and practice and learn how the voice works. It simply will not come if you don't train. There is too much strengthening and coordination that needs to be done... understand this one important point... the speaking voice is not the singing voice. The way you use the physiology and acoustics for speech, are radically different for singing... in a sense, you are trying to sing in a speech configuration and a windy one at that... it simply is never going to come around. You have to build something else and like working the muscles in the gym, vocal training builds extraordinary vocal strength and coordination for singing. Great singing is an athletic endeavor. We are Vocal Athletes in here... you can be one too, if you commit to doing the work.... and isn't that they way life works... 

:moomin:

I hope this helps and thanks for joining our community!

Try the Quack & Release Onset I demonstrate in this video... I think it will help you.

 

 

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Thanks Robert, I will give the Quack a try ... I am definitely willing to put in the work. Because I have so many crazy song ideas (comedy rock/pop genre) and also made some backing tracks for them on my PC, but it all sounds horrible mostly because of the singing. I feel like I need to put them to life or they will make a plot to take over my brain and kill me at some point. So I sadly have no choice.

I understand this song is a ballad and all that that entails, but you need to compress a lot more still, even for this song. If you think about the original artists that sang this... are they singing it as windy as you?

 Yes. Yes, they are. Just as windy as me ... Just kidding of course, they are true monsters of singing. In a good way. I will definitely compress a lot more and already did today surprisingly while singing some german songs. Just lightly in the belly region. My impression is it already sounds a lot better (not perfect of course, but a bliss compared to the example above). I also notice I need to work on some details as for example putting the volume on the right notes later.

they are using light mass levels of twang compression

Um ... What?

The speaking voice is not the singing voice, I will keep that in mind and maybe get a tatoo which says 'The speaking voice is not the singing voice' on my forehead. So I see it in the mirror every morning. Seem to forget about that a lot.

Any suggestion on relatively easy to sing rock/pop songs for my personal practice? How about 'Halleluja'  by Leonard Cohen or 'The House of the Rising Sun'?

Great video, I feel like my butt is getting professionally kicked in a good direction. Will definitely take a look at some other videos on youtube and very seriously consider buying your course, good sir.

 

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Gneetap, yes the interface has such a knob and I already took it too the max (not sure for this recording though, since I like a little less gain more). I think the problem was in the, as Robert would maybe put it, windbaggy singing.

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What is the forum policy on me posting soundfiles of me doing the Quack exercise later? Of course not right ahead, but in a week or two when I think I got it down in a way making advise reasonable.

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Thats fine Waka, in fact it is encouraged. This video is a free tutorial and I shared it with you. It would be unfair to share it with you, encourage you to try it and then not allow you to share the results go ahead. But understand, I can't guarantee a consultation for every post you make. If you become a client of mine, then I can. Also, please post it in the "TVS & The Four Pillars of Singing" forum so the TVS posts remain in the same place for all TVS students. Lastly remember, this onset it not something you would do in singing. It is a workout to build strength so you can learn how to keep your vocal folds compressed. There are other elements you will need as well to make it all work, such as good respiration and a vowel, but this will do some nice things for your compression. 

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Any suggestion on relatively easy to sing rock/pop songs for my personal practice? How about 'Halleluja'  by Leonard Cohen

I beg your pardon?... LOL... what makes you think this song is easy? This song is NOT easy!  That doesn't mean you shouldn't try it, but don't be so quit to assume certain songs are easy ... when you try singing them, you'll get your ass handed back to you often... all of us, not just you. But give it a try, its a good challenge. If you become a client of mine, I have a library of karaoke songs you can choose from... or click on the "Bed Tracks" link on the forum and purchase a few tracks of songs you want to do. Anything you do that isn't windy and has vocal fold compression would be good.

 Will definitely take a look at some other videos on youtube and very seriously consider buying your course, good sir.

Be sure to subscribe and I would be happy to become your coach. The Training program, "The Four Pillars of Singing" is the most comprehensive training program in the world today. It has everything you need, and Ill give you a special "TMV Member" discount.  Click the link above.

Ah, you were talking about compression of the vocal chords, not the 'support' in the belly I suppose. I will also look deeper into that.

No, I wasn't. There is no such thing as compression of the vocal chords, because there is no such thing as vocal chords. That is a common mistake... they are called vocal folds, not vocal chords... they are not a stringed instrument that plays chords... they are tissue that sits inside your larynx and are folded membranes that vibrate.  

The "belly" is nothing. I don't believe there is anything that is actually a "belly". I think "belly" is a slang term for the fat part of your lower torso that sticks out? In any case that part of your body has nothing to do with singing. But what you are referring to is respiratory support which is driven by the diaphragm and the obliques. 

Just giving you the tough love this morning... get it right. Understand how the voice really works and you can sing better. This is the kind of stuff my book covers.

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Thanks, I will study my singing anatomy and practice ... You are right, I was foolish of thinking I could get around that.

Here is a clip of me trying to sing less windy, with more muscular support. Sorry for the buzz, will try to get rid of that in the future.

Edit: I wonder where that Mickey Mousish touch in my voice come from.

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Hey Wakawaka,
OK listened to your version and here's what I come away with.

1. You don't know the song well enough to record it yet. Your phrasing seemed haphazard and unsure where the lyrics fit inside the tempo of the song.

2. In this example your voice is badly under supported OR you were afraid of overloading the mic and held back your delivery. Either way, the vocal sounded weak and unsure of itself. Not enough"oomph" to the vocal. Not sure if a specialized onset is the answer. I think your answer is more in consistent respiratory compression (breath support).

3. Articulation. Makes sure your consonants are clean so the words are decipherable. Vowels can be a little sloppy in the natural range but your consonants need to be clean but harsh or hard; this cuts down "popping" all over the mic.

I've given this advice before bit it applies here too; practice this song until you're sick of it. Then leave it alone for a few days; go back and try it again. More than likely, your confidence will have improved and you'll sound better on the song. Now you're ready to record it again.

Confidence is key. Repetition and not fearing mistakes builds confidence. Sing it 100 times if you have to. But sing it like you mean it.

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Hey Wakawaka,
OK listened to your version and here's what I come away with.

1. You don't know the song well enough to record it yet. Your phrasing seemed haphazard and unsure where the lyrics fit inside the tempo of the song.

2. In this example your voice is badly under supported OR you were afraid of overloading the mic and held back your delivery. Either way, the vocal sounded weak and unsure of itself. Not enough"oomph" to the vocal. Not sure if a specialized onset is the answer. I think your answer is more in consistent respiratory compression (breath support).

3. Articulation. Makes sure your consonants are clean so the words are decipherable. Vowels can be a little sloppy in the natural range but your consonants need to be clean but harsh or hard; this cuts down "popping" all over the mic.

I've given this advice before bit it applies here too; practice this song until you're sick of it. Then leave it alone for a few days; go back and try it again. More than likely, your confidence will have improved and you'll sound better on the song. Now you're ready to record it again.

Confidence is key. Repetition and not fearing mistakes builds confidence. Sing it 100 times if you have to. But sing it like you mean it.

​Great. It is really awesome to see you in here helping out... on behalf of myself and the community, we appreciate it.

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