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  #16  
Old 11-06-2009, 03:49 PM
Fliss Fliss is offline
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I say yes it can definitely be learned.

Until about two years ago, I basically couldn't sing. I had no idea of technique, and no confidence, so when I did try I tended to try very quietly so as not to make a noise in case anyone heard!!!! Then I went to a one-day voice workshop, and in that one day the teacher taught me to find my voice, basically, by the end of that day I had a singing voice which I simply hadn't had before. Not the greatest voice, I'm never going to be Joan Baez, but a voice nonetheless. I took lessons with that teacher for about a year following that, which really helped, until unfortunately around this time last year she found that she just couldn't fit me in any more.

I kept practicing, and going to folk clubs, singarounds etc, but have just a few weeks ago found a new teacher to help me, and I can already feel I'm starting to make progress again. I just had a lesson this evening, and it was great, I've come back really inspired and am learning more all the time.

I had tried with a DVD, but I find the feedback and encouragement you get from a teacher to be invaluable. She can tell me where I'm going wrong, what to listen for, what I need to focus on, when I'm getting it right etc.

So, if I can do it, I'm sure you can too

Fliss
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  #17  
Old 11-06-2009, 07:16 PM
JeremyG JeremyG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fliss View Post
I say yes it can definitely be learned.

Until about two years ago, I basically couldn't sing. I had no idea of technique, and no confidence, so when I did try I tended to try very quietly so as not to make a noise in case anyone heard!!!! Then I went to a one-day voice workshop, and in that one day the teacher taught me to find my voice, basically, by the end of that day I had a singing voice which I simply hadn't had before. Not the greatest voice, I'm never going to be Joan Baez, but a voice nonetheless. I took lessons with that teacher for about a year following that, which really helped, until unfortunately around this time last year she found that she just couldn't fit me in any more.

I kept practicing, and going to folk clubs, singarounds etc, but have just a few weeks ago found a new teacher to help me, and I can already feel I'm starting to make progress again. I just had a lesson this evening, and it was great, I've come back really inspired and am learning more all the time.

I had tried with a DVD, but I find the feedback and encouragement you get from a teacher to be invaluable. She can tell me where I'm going wrong, what to listen for, what I need to focus on, when I'm getting it right etc.

So, if I can do it, I'm sure you can too

Fliss

Wow, this has gotten my interest up. I would never have imagined...Thanks Fliss and everyone.

Russ, good luck. I hope this all helps you. And thanks again for this question. I'm curious.

Jeremy.
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  #18  
Old 11-06-2009, 10:05 PM
open strings open strings is offline
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I've experienced two people who just started singing in their teenage years. Just out of the blue, with the only explanation being that God had blessed them.
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  #19  
Old 11-06-2009, 10:31 PM
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cotten cotten is offline
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Originally Posted by RussL30 View Post
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?
There are lots of good materials available, both printed and recorded, and they can help. It's what they CAN'T do that is critical: provide particular feedback and specific instruction on your own unique voice!

The finest of DVD courses cannot tell if your posture is habitually poor, or your breathing is high and shallow, or if your jaw is tight or your tongue too high or any number of common problems. Only a teacher/coach can do that! The best can diagnose basic vocal problems in a singer in less than an hour, giving you specific things to work on to correct the problems.

Even one voice lesson from a qualified teacher a month, then, is far better than trying to go it alone. There are teacher/coaches that are using video technology to do long distance or time-shifted teaching to accommodate students busy schedules or locale.

I've taught many, many people to sing, and I've only met two who I didn't think had a chance at learning to sing at least acceptably - both of them had such hearing difficulties that pitch identification was impossible. I once taught an 86-year old man who had never been able to match pitch at all to sing an easy song that his wife loved well enough that she cried with love and delight when he sang it accurately to her!

Some people are gifted singers, or guitarists, or painters or athletes or whatever. But pleasant singing is a skill that practically everyone can learn.

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  #20  
Old 11-09-2009, 09:46 PM
Bsquared Bsquared is offline
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i have a question about this.
my problem is i have no range whatsoever. i feel like there is no way to increase range. is it possible?
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  #21  
Old 11-10-2009, 07:17 AM
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ELK ELK is offline
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i have a question about this.
my problem is i have no range whatsoever. i feel like there is no way to increase range. is it possible?
Yes, it's one of the (many) things instructors often work on with students. It's a matter of exercise, just as improving other aspects of your body involves exercise. It involves things like learning to breathe from your diaphragm, open your airway, develop better control over your vocal chords, and use both your hard and soft pallettes of the roof of your mouth. In a male, the soft pallette is involved in the higher range that is often called the "falsetto" range, which some guys can use very well. Unfortunately, I've never been able to get a pleasant tone quality from my falsetto range, so I don't use it.

Of course, even though you can expand your range, it will always have its limits, and it is important to make the most of what you do have by singing in keys that work for your range. Don't be afraid to change the keys of songs to match your voice. This is very common in Jazz- Jazz singers are expected to have their own "charts" of the standard songs that are in the keys in which they sing. There's no reason why pop, rock, and country singers can't do the same. I change the keys of nearly everything I play.
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  #22  
Old 11-10-2009, 09:06 AM
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Anyone have recommendations for vocal teachers in the bay area? I could use a lot of help.
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  #23  
Old 11-19-2009, 09:51 AM
solidhadriel solidhadriel is offline
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Russ, what Allman said is good advice and may be intimidating for someone new to the singing scene. If that's the case and you don't have enough confidence to do so, I would strongly suggest doing some online courses.

Check out YouTube, there is a TON of useful free singing advice and lessons to be had and learned.

The most important thing in singing is dedication - practice as much as you can when you can. You say your a full-time college student and you work part-time? I know how that feels, I'm a full-time undergraduate college student and I work full-time (40+ hour weeks on top of school.) Yikes! However, I can still make time - be it on the weekend, or between work and school to practice my guitar playing, vocal practicing, and going to the gym. Unfortunately, that consumes all of my "free" time. But those are the things I enjoy most.

Get started with some lip rolls and piano scales which can be found on YouTube. They are an excellent way - before any singing or practice - to warm up your vocal chords. From there, you can practice glissando slides, singing in your key, and expanding your vocal range by repetition of practice. You MUST practice as frequently as you can; Practicing is like working out: You don't just train to get big and then you quit - you keep working out to maintain your shape. Your vocal chords are muscles and you must first get them in shape, and then continue to keep them in shape.

You'll also want to check out breathing techniques (which again, YouTube is your friend here!). Proper breathing is important in maintaing a healthy vocal structure and technique. An important tip: never breathe from your chest when singing - when you inhale, if your shoulders move vertically up - then your breathing wrong. You want your diaphragm to expand properly in all directions, this provides the necessary flow of air to your vocal chords to help maintain a stable coordination when singing notes... Now I feel like I'm writing too much, so I'll stop here.

Just practice, get some advice, and do one-on-one lessons if you can afford it. Just like anyone can get in shape by dedication of working out - anyone can sing just as well.
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  #24  
Old 11-19-2009, 01:38 PM
Allman_Fan Allman_Fan is offline
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If you don't have a place to sing (either because you don't want to bother anyone or because you are shy) you may check out the music department (if your school has one).

The schools I went to had these small practice rooms barely big enough the piano contained within and were somewhat soundproofed. I don't recall having to pay rent; at most, I had to put my name on a sign-up sheet. But I seemed to recall that a lot of time, people didn't show up, so I just went in.

Check it out!
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  #25  
Old 11-19-2009, 06:57 PM
Patriot24 Patriot24 is offline
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By no means am I the greatest singer ever, but I pretty much taught myself to sing. After I had learned a couple of songs, I really wanted to sing along. My voice was utterly terrible at the time. A few years later of daily practice, I think I have come a very long way.

One of the most important things for me was recording myself and then playing it back. Also, I really learned how to pick my spots. Now I can pretty much tell if I'm going to be able to sing a song when I hear it. I only have a certain range, so I don't really attempt things that I know are outside of it.
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  #26  
Old 11-19-2009, 08:32 PM
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IMO, you can be taught singing technique, breath control, projection from the diaphragm, how to "open" your throat to hit higher notes, expression, etc. I had 6 years total of vocal lessons/voice, both in high school (through the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY) and in college (from the Music Department), and sang in a 67+ voice A'Capella Choir that toured on college breaks around the country, and Europe. Did solo work, and recorded solo work (if I "Google" myself, I'm listed as a soloist on two of my college choir albums). I'm not posting this to brag; just as a bit of background.

However, if you are tone-deaf, cannot "carry a tune in a bucket" as they say, then I think attempting to learn would be nigh on difficult, or impossible. I do believe there is an innate ability for singing. There are plenty of talents to go around, and there are plenty of things others do musically (w/instruments) that I don't have the dexterity for, and even with practice, could not master. There are academic disciplines people have an "innate" talent for (like Calculus, or technical things), or being able to paint or draw well, or scads more I cannot do. I could take "Art Lessons," but I think you need to have a mind that "sees" things in different ways, proportion, shadow, etc. and I've seen plenty of artsy things from people who were NEVER beneficiaries of "lessons" or formal training.

Me? Well, I "heard" things--things I could sit down at a piano and simply play by ear; the same in my high-school and college days being able to chord and transpose to multiple key sigs guitar parts; I am also "cursed/blessed" with perfect pitch--meaning I can sing a 440 "A" on command, or tell when any stringed instrument--well practically any instrument-is even just a teeny bit out of tune. Again--not bragging. It's just something I could "do," long before I had any formal musical training. That doesn't make me better than someone or superior. I can't "sight read" worth a hoot, cannot make my brain wrap around "tabbed" guitar parts, or draw a horse, or build even a decent bird house. In fact, there's a heluva lot more I CAN'T do than I can. But I've come to pretty much know my limits, and accept things the way they are. Formal training helped tremendously to sharpen musical skills, singing in harmony made up as I went along, blah blah. But I'm of the opinion that you cannot "teach" singing to someone who cannot relate to pitch, melody, or singing without accompaniment.

One audition I had to do was sing the following by ear: "Way down upon the Swanee River..." and then immediately go to "All the world is sad and dreary" and be in accurate, relative pitch. Try it--it's either easy as falling off a log, or not.
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  #27  
Old 11-19-2009, 08:46 PM
Billy Memphis Billy Memphis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allman_Fan View Post
The schools I went to had these small practice rooms barely big enough the piano contained within and were somewhat soundproofed.
Check it out!
I agree completely. I went to college for music and I spent many hours in these rooms. Great idea.
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  #28  
Old 11-20-2009, 10:04 AM
luckycanine luckycanine is offline
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You need a little bit of ear to develop, but not much. Try to look at it this way, if you enjoy it, it will come out better. Confidence is a big factor. It does not sound like you are going pro, so if folks are not paying to hear you, they are getting what they pay for .

I found it cheap and well worth the $50 or so to try www.singorama.com . They have the theory aspect but concentrate at least at first on voice mechanics, techniques, strenthening, intervals, and a host of other helpful material. Lessons appear to be well organized and professionally done. Lots of downloadable material so you do not necessarily have to log on each music session. Regards, WC
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  #29  
Old 01-11-2010, 12:44 PM
scotchtape scotchtape is offline
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Not sure if anyone's heard of Brett Manning's singing success.

It's actually something I want to check out, this program seems "cutting-edge" in terms of learning how to sing and new singing techniques, with really good reviews.

The most important thing that is selling me on it is that it is different from "traditional" techniques that make you strain your voice and push harder. His technique apparently helps you relax your voice and really sing.

http://www.singingsuccess.com/

Also really good reviews on Amazon.

Try buying it used though, like half the price

Does anyone have any reviews on this? I've been doing the exercises but I must confess not kept up with it (it's now like once a month, no time! ), so I don't expect a big improvement, but he does go over a lot of good stuff in it.
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  #30  
Old 01-11-2010, 06:20 PM
Bevelman Bevelman is offline
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What I have found really useful over the last month is to sing a scale along with the guitar and work out where your range lies. Start with the open sixth string, try to sing the note and just keep going up. See where you can comfortably sing the notes and that's your range.

For me it's the third fret of the sixth string to the third fret of the second string which gives me a range of slightly more than an octave and a half which is firmly in the baritone register like the majority of males. I would also guess that this is a smaller range than most singers. From what I have read, 2 octaves would be a good useable range and I'm aiming to work on extending it over the coming year. A lot of the pop stuff these days tends to be in the tenor register so I need to transpose for my voice, eg. I can't sing Superstition in Stevie Wonder's key but I *can* do it like this guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9OGXJg6UQ8

This has really really helped me to work out my key for any song. I also quickly find out if a song is not feasible, ie. I match the lowest note in the song to my lowest note and the highest note in the song is still too high for me. It's really given me a greater level of comfort when I sing and play.
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Last edited by Bevelman; 01-11-2010 at 06:32 PM.
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