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Different singing questions

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(@manontheside)
Estimable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 179
Topic starter  

I've been waiting for a chance to ask these questions and actually try any answers out, this forum gives an excellent opportunity!

I'll just list down a bunch of questions here instead of starting a ton of different topics, I'm lazy and tidy at the same time :)

1. Warming up
How do you warm up your voice in a safe and good way? And, just as a sidenote, why was this important again?

2. Breathing techniques
I heard breathing is really important in singing, but I've never given it much thought. What are the tips and tricks? What is this urgent importance of breath?

3. Developing vocal range
What is the simplest/best/cheapest way to increase your vocal range? Any exercises?

4. This is more technical, but if all my p's sound like.. well.. p's with a lot of breath during recording, how would you fix this if I were to sing live with a mic? Please don't tell me I have to change my p's!

Don't be shy now, I'd like to know lots and lots of exercises to improve my singing

man:)

"I wish there was an over the counter test for my loneliness"


   
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 geoo
(@geoo)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2801
 

I'm going to accept your challenge.. LOL even though I have never had any formal training.. So take what I say with LOTS AND LOTS of salt

#1 - I warm up to songs that I like. I start fairly easily with slower, lower country songs, and gradually work up to something that stresses my voice just a bit. Back when we were giggin (read:long time ago) I was the one that set the song list order. Reason being that they could play any song any time, but if it wasnt in just the right order I would lose my voice before the end. Gotta love 80s rock. LOL

2 & 3: Practice. Really I dont think about breathing alot any more, but when i first started I would nearly pass out from lack of oxygen while singing. ok ok. I am exaggerating but it was close.

I always hated my range. In the 80s I couldnt sing girly enough, 90s came and it alternative rock was a blessing to me. But now I seem to be able to hit lots of stuff so I dont worry about it so much. Just from practice to songs I like in different ranges.

#4 I really dont know what you mean on this one. If you mean because recorded vocals sometimes come out a little different than live, I was always told that anything you did live had to be exaggerated greatly. Maybe that would help?

I know. My answer stink.. But they are mine

Geoo

“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)


   
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(@rocketgirl)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 206
 

manontheside,

Great questions!

One thing I was taught about breathing is to breath in your stomach, not your chest. Make your belly and ribs expand and try to feel the control in your back as well (and what I do is also lift my chest just a little) Try to stand up straight, kinda hard for performing though. :lol:

And of course, practice, practice, practice. G. :)


   
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(@chris-c)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3454
 

1. Warming up
How do you warm up your voice in a safe and good way? And, just as a sidenote, why was this important again?

Your vocal chords are just like the strings on the guitar, they have to be tuned up before you perform. Warm ups help get them all wobbling away nicely. Apparently you can also harm them if you belt into it too quickly. Rather like warming up a car engine before you thrash it, to avoid heavy wear and damage.

2. Breathing techniques
I heard breathing is really important in singing, but I've never given it much thought. What are the tips and tricks? What is this urgent importance of breath?

Can't tell you the tricks but breathing is about power and control, among other things. To continue the car analogy, it's to make sure you're in the right gear for each corner, and ensure that you've got the gas and power there to keep accelerating all the way down the straights without running out of puff. I think that certain vocal techniques or sounds also need certain types of breathing to pull off properly.
3. Developing vocal range
What is the simplest/best/cheapest way to increase your vocal range? Any exercises?

Scales, just like guitar, for a start. I'd serious consider having a few singing lessons rather than mucking about with half baked advice from me. You have a terrific voice and it would be a great shame to stuff it up just for the lack of a few lessons from a good teacher.


   
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(@nicktorres)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 5381
 

I don't want to minimize the importance of proper breathing, but at a minimum you have to have air flowing to make sound.

In order to stop yourself going flat, you need to have a good and steady source of air flowing. That's why breathing is important. Just take a good, relaxed deep breath and the rest comes pretty naturally.

Go lie down. Now take a deep breath. See? Your chest doesn't rise. That's how you want to breathe. Don't get too hung up in it.

Plan your song out ahead of time so you know where to breathe.

Warm ups are for wimps. Try what I do, drink some hot road tar, followed by a shot of whiskey, then followed up with 10 cigarettes. Well.......really humming is a great warm up.

The best way to increase your vocal range? Learn to sing softly with support. Go take a lesson or 6.


   
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(@anonymous)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 8184
 

You do need breath, some ways around shortness of breath and I will address that in a sec,
Practice breathing, inhale as deep as you can then try to get a liitle more than that. Just like execising your muscles you can exercise your diaphram and incresae your lung capacity.
If you smoke, QUIT. not only does smoking decrees your lung capacity it also damages your vocal chords.
If you find yourself running low on air and getting flat during a verse find a spot in the verse where you can take a quick breath without losing tempo.(mark these spots on your practice sheet and always take your breaths at the same place, your vocals will be more consistant)
There are mixers that can be used live to soften your Ps but it would be good practice to try to learn to do this naturally.
A good voice coach can help with this.


   
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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5582
 

Don't want to come across like an expert on singing (cause I'm not), but I have been singing for a long time and studied it because I wanted to be a good singer.

1) Warming up- Your vocal chords are muscles just like any other. These muscles need to be flexible and strong. If you do not practice you will not be able to hit the notes. Your throat will get sore too if you sing for any extended time.

It is no different from sports. I used to play softball every year for my company. One year I played the first game without any warmup. When I got to bat I hit the ball and ran as fast as I could to first. I used to be really fast on the bases as a kid.

Well, I didn't get halfway down the line before I pulled a muscle. I could barely walk. It took weeks for my leg to heal.

Singing is no different. You get out there and try to belt it out without a warm-up, the next day you might not even be able to talk.

And your voice gets stronger with practice. Last year I was in a band. We broke up. About 6 months later I joined another band. Man, those first practices I was straining my voice. I would have a sore throat for a few days. Now that we have been practicing for about 10 months I can sing all night and my voice is fine.

On the day of a gig I just kind of sing all day. I don't sing anything in particular. Sometimes I try to make siren type sounds or yodels. I also hum a lot. I do this to loosen my voice up. I also sing very softly so I don't tire my voice out. It is also important to drink lots of water. Your vocal chords need lots of water to be flexible.

2) Breathing- Breathing is everything. You must have breath to sing a long line or hold a sustained note with power. You don't want to have to push. That is how you hurt your voice.

The best comparison I have ever heard is a balloon. Blow up a balloon. Do you have to press on the balloon for the air to come out? No. You just let go of the nozzle and the air comes out of it's own pressure. And this is how you are supposed to sing. You get a good deep breath like rocketgirl said. She is absolutely correct, your stomach should expand outward. This is going to sound terrible, but I heard once that a singing teacher taught her students that singing feels just like when you go #2. :roll: That sounds horrible, but it will give you an idea of how it feels. But you don't push the air out at all. You take a good deep breath and just let the air flow out of you naturally. This is how you can hold those endlessly long notes.

I also saw the Vienna Boys Choir on TV when I was a kid. They had an exercise to teach breathe control. They would set a lit candle about 3 or 4 inches in front of the boy's mouths. They were not allowed to blow out the candles when they sang. And this is a great lesson, because it really does not take much air or breath at all to sing. And even singing very loudly only takes a little breath.

I find the more I sing a song I learn where to breathe. You have to find those natural spots in the song where you can get a nice deep breathe for the next phrase. When you get the breathing for a song down, you are 99% there. All you have to do is listen and hit the notes.

3) Range- Boy, I wish I knew. When I was young I had pretty good range. Now I cannot hit the high notes anymore. All I can say is practice. To hit high notes you need to form a "smile" in the back of your throat. Say the word "tea". This kind of gives you the idea. And the note is supposed to go through the top of your head. Sounds goofy, but this is what teachers tell you.

Believe it or not, a great exercise to help you hit high notes is yawning. You will feel the smile in the back of your throat. So do some big yawns.

Low notes take lots of air. So you really have to conserve your air for these.

4) Popping P's. I actually can relate. I used to do this too. Sounds horrible. For one thing, I get the foam covers for my mics now. This helps a lot. But I also try to be aware of P's and back off the mic some, and at the same time try not to "pop" into the note by being aware of my lips. It's difficult to break bad habits, but I don't pop P's anymore.

Yeah, there's lots of bad sounds. I have to be aware of S's. Sometimes I sound like a snake.

Singing is 90% vowels. Keep your vowels long, and your consonants short.

Hope this helped a little.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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(@anonymous)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 8184
 

Wes you reminded me of an exercise to work the Ps when you mentioned the candle.
Same principal but using a tissue held a few inches in front of your mouth do the "Peter Piper Picked a Peck..." tounge twister thing. your goal is to get through without the tissue moving (if you pop your P the tissue will move)


   
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 Taso
(@taso)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 2811
 

Uhh.How do you not pop the p? I'm sitting here hoping no one walks in the room saying "peter" over and over again trying not to pop the p's.

http://taso.dmusic.com/music/


   
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(@manontheside)
Estimable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 179
Topic starter  

Thanks,

A lot of good advice here. I thought of another question I could throw in here as well. I've never performed or anything and only recorded what you see in my signature. But from what I've seen and experienced, I came to the conclusion that there had to be something called mic-techniques as well as just singing. Would this be very different from mic to mic?

"I wish there was an over the counter test for my loneliness"


   
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(@portia)
Reputable Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 179
 

1. I warm up with scales and various vocal exercises - slow, easy, and controlled - and then I usually start with a song or two that are well within my comfortable range before I go on to more challenging songs.

2. also included in my warm up are usually some breathing exercises - one involves taking a deep breath and then making various consanant sounds (t, p, s, etc) over and over until you run out of breath (the goal is to work up to doing more and more time - this may also help with your p problem in #4. another one I got from one of my choral teachers is picking a simple, short song (like my country tis of thee or something) and singing nice and easy through it over and over without taking a breath (you are once again, trying to get through more and more time without breathing) These both help with breath control.

3. scales, vocal exercises, practice - one thing to note when doing these (especially to increase your range): keep them controlled and soft - if you can't hit the note softly and controlled, you can't hit it loud without hurting or straining your voice. it's a painfully slow practice, but does eventually yield results.


   
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(@dennett340)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 44
 

Don't want to come across like an expert on singing (cause I'm not), but I have been singing for a long time and studied it because I wanted to be a good singer.

1) Warming up- Your vocal chords are muscles just like any other. These muscles need to be flexible and strong. If you do not practice you will not be able to hit the notes. Your throat will get sore too if you sing for any extended time.

It is no different from sports. I used to play softball every year for my company. One year I played the first game without any warmup. When I got to bat I hit the ball and ran as fast as I could to first. I used to be really fast on the bases as a kid.

Well, I didn't get halfway down the line before I pulled a muscle. I could barely walk. It took weeks for my leg to heal.

Singing is no different. You get out there and try to belt it out without a warm-up, the next day you might not even be able to talk.

And your voice gets stronger with practice. Last year I was in a band. We broke up. About 6 months later I joined another band. Man, those first practices I was straining my voice. I would have a sore throat for a few days. Now that we have been practicing for about 10 months I can sing all night and my voice is fine.

On the day of a gig I just kind of sing all day. I don't sing anything in particular. Sometimes I try to make siren type sounds or yodels. I also hum a lot. I do this to loosen my voice up. I also sing very softly so I don't tire my voice out. It is also important to drink lots of water. Your vocal chords need lots of water to be flexible.

2) Breathing- Breathing is everything. You must have breath to sing a long line or hold a sustained note with power. You don't want to have to push. That is how you hurt your voice.

The best comparison I have ever heard is a balloon. Blow up a balloon. Do you have to press on the balloon for the air to come out? No. You just let go of the nozzle and the air comes out of it's own pressure. And this is how you are supposed to sing. You get a good deep breath like rocketgirl said. She is absolutely correct, your stomach should expand outward. This is going to sound terrible, but I heard once that a singing teacher taught her students that singing feels just like when you go #2. :roll: That sounds horrible, but it will give you an idea of how it feels. But you don't push the air out at all. You take a good deep breath and just let the air flow out of you naturally. This is how you can hold those endlessly long notes.

I also saw the Vienna Boys Choir on TV when I was a kid. They had an exercise to teach breathe control. They would set a lit candle about 3 or 4 inches in front of the boy's mouths. They were not allowed to blow out the candles when they sang. And this is a great lesson, because it really does not take much air or breath at all to sing. And even singing very loudly only takes a little breath.

I find the more I sing a song I learn where to breathe. You have to find those natural spots in the song where you can get a nice deep breathe for the next phrase. When you get the breathing for a song down, you are 99% there. All you have to do is listen and hit the notes.

3) Range- Boy, I wish I knew. When I was young I had pretty good range. Now I cannot hit the high notes anymore. All I can say is practice. To hit high notes you need to form a "smile" in the back of your throat. Say the word "tea". This kind of gives you the idea. And the note is supposed to go through the top of your head. Sounds goofy, but this is what teachers tell you.

Believe it or not, a great exercise to help you hit high notes is yawning. You will feel the smile in the back of your throat. So do some big yawns.

Low notes take lots of air. So you really have to conserve your air for these.

4) Popping P's. I actually can relate. I used to do this too. Sounds horrible. For one thing, I get the foam covers for my mics now. This helps a lot. But I also try to be aware of P's and back off the mic some, and at the same time try not to "pop" into the note by being aware of my lips. It's difficult to break bad habits, but I don't pop P's anymore.

Yeah, there's lots of bad sounds. I have to be aware of S's. Sometimes I sound like a snake.

Singing is 90% vowels. Keep your vowels long, and your consonants short.

Hope this helped a little.

fantastic advice. right on the money


   
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(@tim_madsen)
Prominent Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 724
 

1. Solfege
2. When you breath you should feel your whole torso expand. You should not raise your shoulders to breath.
3. Solfege
4. Pop filter

I find that when doing solfege a piano comes in real handy, you get ear training and voice training at the same time. Or just play the scale on your guitar.

Tim Madsen
Nobody cares how much you know,
until they know how much you care.

"What you keep to yourself you lose, what you give away you keep forever." -Axel Munthe


   
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(@anonymous)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 8184
 

popping p's
either change the way you sing your p's so they sound closer to b's, or don't sing directly into the mic. sing across the top or the mic, if that makes sense... direct your voice perpendicular to the mic surface.


   
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