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  #1  
Old 11-05-2009, 08:20 PM
RussL30 RussL30 is offline
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Default Singing- can it be learned?

I've really been wanting to sing to accompany my playing for quite a while. My voice is not good at all, and I can't sing in key for very long. I'm not looking to be great, just want to be not miserable and stay in key. I can match keys and stay there for a short time after playing a chord for a while, but when I open my mouth I don't know what note is going to come out. Is that something that you have to be born with, or can it be learned? Any techniques, tips or anything would be greatly appreciated. This is more than likely hopeless, but I'd like to atleast give it a shot.

Thanks
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Old 11-05-2009, 08:36 PM
Billy Memphis Billy Memphis is offline
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You do need to have some innate musical ability but the foundations of singing can definitely be learned. Some people are tone deaf and have no ear at all so not everyone can be taught however.
Depending on your resources you could start in a local community college course on singing. It does not cost much and it is with a group of people so you do not feel so embarrassed.
There are also learn-at-your-computer courses available which are suprisingly good but lack the one-on-one attention with a teacher. Eventually you will learn the basics of tone production, breathing etc and you will be amazed at how much better you sound after learning how it all works. Good luck.
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Old 11-05-2009, 08:43 PM
rwrrwr rwrrwr is offline
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Do you remember what your guitar playing sounded like when you tried your first c chord? Compare that to how you sound now. Singing is the same way. The more you practice the better you'll be. Some have more natural ability but any voice will improve with work. Start slow and use simple songs. Sit up straight and take full breaths to support the air and push from the diaphragm. Start with long notes and concentrate on maintaining pitch and tone. Open the mouth somewhat wide but without stress or over stretching. Also work on scales and arpeggios starting slow to maintain accuracy. Record yourself to help with hearing and fixing errors. Find a teacher and take lessons. You'll sound a lot better in a short period of time.
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Old 11-05-2009, 09:01 PM
raregroove raregroove is offline
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I have coached many singers, some of whom are considered professionals, and in my opinion talent is vastly over rated. Most people can learn to sing.

On the other hand if you have lousy pitch-physical coordination you have to simply be a LOT MORE committed to do a ear training, working with a visual tuner, doing your long tones, scales, interval leaps, etc and make sure you're supporting with your diaphragm (belly).

Practice the corner of a room so you can hear yourself, record your progress regularly, organize your practice time so its effective.

Once you develop your chops and ears a little you will start to get confidence which will go a long way towards taking you to the next level.

I have worked with people that could make paint curl off the park bench with their heinous croaking but after enough committed work became solid.

One woman in particular was told by EVERYONE (except me) to please GIVE UP and years later became accomplished with a number of well received albums. (In the early years I used to run out of her gigs as soon as she saw that I was there and the lights dimmed)

If you want it bad enough you can do it. Good luck.
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Old 11-05-2009, 09:01 PM
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I've been trying to sing for well over 40 years. Still can't stand the sound of my voice.
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Old 11-05-2009, 09:33 PM
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Hi Russ...
Yes, people can be taught to sing. I majored in music in college and many of the instrumentalists who were forced to go through classes on interval training, and music appreciation learned to sing quite well (much to their surprise).

Hope you find some local encouragement and help to push you to the next level with your vocalization. Vocal coordination between the brain and vocal chords is a learned thing...even though some find it without help. If you can stay in tune for a bit, you can stay in tune longer with practice and training.


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Old 11-05-2009, 10:37 PM
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Just my opinion...
People who have a good voice to begin with and have an innate ability to sing on pitch can be taught to reach greater potential. People who have to start from scratch, meaning they do not have have a natural talent to sing, will always sound mechanical and show less flexibility in their voice' expression. That said, though, being drawn to someone's voice is still up to subjectivity...I think.
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Old 11-05-2009, 10:55 PM
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"Singing- can it be learned?"

yes.

absolutely.

so start!
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Old 11-06-2009, 12:39 AM
JoeCharter JoeCharter is offline
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I'm a very lousy singer and my voice is terrible -- but I can sing in tune thanks to years of classical training.

Singing is like playing an instrument -- it takes a lot of hard work.
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Old 11-06-2009, 08:24 AM
Allman_Fan Allman_Fan is offline
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Well, here I go . . .

The term or notion "I can't sing" can have a variety of meanings.

Sometimes it means "I don't have a wide range" meaning that one's ability to go high and low is relatively limited.
Sometimes it means "my vocal timbre is unpleasant." This could be a nasal quality or Bob Dylanish.
Sometimes it means "I get so nervous singing in front of others, my voice quavers on the notes I hold."
Sometimes it means "I hit the wrong note, but I can tell it."
And THAT is what's important. If you can tell you're hitting wrong note, then you CAN sing.

The most important asset in making music is your hearing. Some people got the short end of the stick in this area. If you can't hum a melody, how can you (for example) tell if the bass riff on the E string is correct? You can read music, get someone to show you how to move your fingers, etc. but (to me, obviously) that is not making music. IF you are one of these people, I would say don't waste your time being frustrated, pick up a new hobby. Someone in that situation may have some very good artistic ideas, but God did not bless you with the tools necessary for making music.

We all have our limitations.

Last edited by Allman_Fan; 11-06-2009 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 11-06-2009, 01:32 PM
JeremyG JeremyG is offline
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Wow, timing...I was considering posting this very topic this morning and didn't. Thanks Russ!

I'm just plain dead-damm-flat! FLAT!! I sound terrible to everyone. I can tell from the looks/grins/grimmaces and I can hear it in myself. But I'd love to be able to sing w/o sounding so strained and flat.

Some current songs I've tried singing along to and it's....aweful! I had to laugh at myself last night.

It's a talent I've always admired in many. I even watched Oprah's "Karaoke" show last night and marvelled and pined some.

I tend to agree with Allman_Fan. I sincerley doubt it's possible for many but the posts from you who teach voice have me hoping ever so slightly.

I'm trying to learn this guitar and have another hobby so I don't think I have enuff days left to come close to "acceptable" standards.

My wife and kids would agree. I can make pigs run off!

Thanks Russ. Given your young age and interest I'd give some training a try if it means you'll do the work.

Jeremy.
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Old 11-06-2009, 01:59 PM
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I didn't know how to match the pitch of my voice with the pitch of other sources until I was about 15 and started seriously playing guitar. I think the listening that the guitar playing required made the difference. I still didn't have a nice open tone for years after that, but started playing guitar in churches and gradually got coerced into backup singing, then lead vocals, and over about a ten year period became a fairly good singer. Now I do solo acoustic and singing gigs and people actually pay me for it. I never would have thought that was possible all those years ago.

Another thing woth mentioning is you don't have to try to force your voice to sing in the key in which someone else sings the song. I a have baritone range and cannot sing many songs in their original keys, so I change the keys of nearly everything I play. No one has ever told me they even noticed.

For me, the first note is still the hardest - hitting the right first note at the beginning of the song. Sometimes I will step away from the mic and hum the first note as I strum chord, then start when I know I have the note "in my head."

Practice singing and practice listening. You will improve.
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Last edited by ELK; 11-06-2009 at 02:06 PM.
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  #13  
Old 11-06-2009, 02:00 PM
Alexrkstr Alexrkstr is offline
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Yes, you can learn it. I am still learning it. Just LISTEN to yourself and BREATHE...

Practice practice practice practice practice practice....
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Old 11-06-2009, 03:18 PM
RussL30 RussL30 is offline
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Thanks for all the replies so far. They've been very encouraging. I think maybe a vocal teacher would be the most help, but between college and working part time, I don't know if I could find one right now due to when my free hours usually are. Has anyone had any success using a CD or listening based system for learning?
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Old 11-06-2009, 03:42 PM
Allman_Fan Allman_Fan is offline
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Like any problem, you need to identify it precisely with your course of action dependent upon the particular issue.

Your description of the problem does not help me to help you.

Before you spend a bunch of money, why don't you try this: Get with a vocal teacher and do an "audition." Show him/her what the problem is and then see what he/she has to offer. Don't explain with words - give a singing example! Then, don't make a commitment, just see what he/she has to offer.

Think about it or come back here and get some more advice.
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