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Starting out with singing
December 17, 2016
4:19 pm
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JochemVer
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Hey there!,

I am verry new on singing and just had a few questions about starting out and would love to get some tips &tricks! 🙂
First a little bit about myself: I am a 17 year old guy with a pretty low/deep voice but would love to sing a bit higher, and can't afford any singing lessons.

Here are some questions:
- What is the best way to start singing?
-How can i get a bigger vocal range?
-Where can i learn about the basics of singing?
- What is your personal experience with starting out?

December 17, 2016
8:51 pm
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TommyTheHat
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JochemVer said

Here are some questions:
- What is the best way to start singing?
-How can i get a bigger vocal range?
-Where can i learn about the basics of singing?
- What is your personal experience with starting out?  

You mention "Tips and Tricks" in your post. My first tip is "forget about tips and tricks...there are none. If you want to climb a mountain you start with one foot in front of the other...one step at a time....rinse and repeat. Hard work and practice. No shortcuts!

Your questions are common questions although they are asked in many different forms. They tend to suggest that potential trainees are looking for shortcuts or tricks to get to the top. The only answer to any of these questions is “hard work and training.” The easy answer is get a teacher. But sometimes that isn’t possible and not everyone requires one. We are all different and some more gifted than others either vocally or in learning ability.

The best way to start is….well…just start…anywhere; sing! If you can’t afford a teacher then find beginner YouTube videos and beginner books. But again, how much you understand is on you. I can’t say any of this will work because some people just never understand it with out a teacher while others turn out great on their own.
The best way to start is start small and strengthen all the working parts. Just like weight training. Add weight slowly.

Getting a bigger vocal range? What will that do if you can’t sing? Everyone wants range or higher notes. There is a difference between “hitting” a note and “singing” one. Based on what I typically sing I might surprise some by what notes I can hit or my actual range. But I reserve this for exercise and not song and there’s a reason for that. Singing is about more than just making sounds with your mouth. Example: You need to learn all there is to know about boxing, then actually box for a bit before you ask how to develop a knockout punch. When trainees used to ask me how to get faster or stronger punches when they were hitting the heavy bag, I used to say just keep hitting the bag and don’t worry about it. Understand and absorb technique and then just keep practicing. Speed and power will come. Then after that forget the technique. When your fighting I don’t want to "SEE" the technique..

Learning the basics goes back to your first question. Without a teacher…books and Youtube are your choices. Breath support, vowels, progressive scales for strengthening, pitch control, voice placement, resonance, vocal postures, relaxation, etc. I think the very basic things would be support and singing on pitch. Then go from there. Every new height brings a new view and a new height so don’t look for a “finish.”

As far as my experience starting out. It’s complicated and has nothing to do with anyone else’s ease or difficulty. I found it fairly easy at times while other times more difficult to grasp at first. The bottom line was I practiced a lot….and I mean a lot. Hours per day ( not all at once…separate times). But I practiced with a purpose. However I believe it isn't quantity it's quality of practice that matters. I just happen to have had a lot of driving time to and from work (3 hours) so I practiced in the car with recorded files. But practice doesn't have to be long. In fact the more tired you get the more you begin to ingrain mistakes into muscle memory. I would suggest shorter sessions but more often.

I really sang a whole lot also. I could easily repeat a song countless times. 25, 30, 40 times….more? All the while working on and practicing specific techniques and exercise. Not singing just to hear myself. I believe in specificity and rather than just doing “exercises” for the sake of exercise; I practice them in the task at hand…the song. You know what I found equally important? Rest. But you have to work hard first. Today my practice is different and shorter. But it has a lot of meaning and purpose. It's personalized. I don't follow the popular fads and internet rules or latest crazes. Find your sound (s) and learn how to make them.

Good luck and keep us posted. Practice, and then check in for help. record something and ask for advice. Baby steps.

Tommy

"It's not how many notes you know. It's what you do with them."

December 19, 2016
8:18 am
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Felipe Carvalho
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Great post Tommy 🙂

Build a habit of singing, record yourself whenever you can, and insist on it.

Felipe Carvalho
Singer and Voice Teacher in Brasil - SĂŁo Paulo

December 19, 2016
1:03 pm
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JochemVer
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TommyTheHat said

You mention "Tips and Tricks" in your post. My first tip is "forget about tips and tricks...there are none. If you want to climb a mountain you start with one foot in front of the other...one step at a time....rinse and repeat. Hard work and practice. No shortcuts!

Your questions are common questions although they are asked in many different forms. They tend to suggest that potential trainees are looking for shortcuts or tricks to get to the top. The only answer to any of these questions is “hard work and training.” The easy answer is get a teacher. But sometimes that isn’t possible and not everyone requires one. We are all different and some more gifted than others either vocally or in learning ability.

The best way to start is….well…just start…anywhere; sing! If you can’t afford a teacher then find beginner YouTube videos and beginner books. But again, how much you understand is on you. I can’t say any of this will work because some people just never understand it with out a teacher while others turn out great on their own.
The best way to start is start small and strengthen all the working parts. Just like weight training. Add weight slowly.

Getting a bigger vocal range? What will that do if you can’t sing? Everyone wants range or higher notes. There is a difference between “hitting” a note and “singing” one. Based on what I typically sing I might surprise some by what notes I can hit or my actual range. But I reserve this for exercise and not song and there’s a reason for that. Singing is about more than just making sounds with your mouth. Example: You need to learn all there is to know about boxing, then actually box for a bit before you ask how to develop a knockout punch. When trainees used to ask me how to get faster or stronger punches when they were hitting the heavy bag, I used to say just keep hitting the bag and don’t worry about it. Understand and absorb technique and then just keep practicing. Speed and power will come. Then after that forget the technique. When your fighting I don’t want to "SEE" the technique..

Learning the basics goes back to your first question. Without a teacher…books and Youtube are your choices. Breath support, vowels, progressive scales for strengthening, pitch control, voice placement, resonance, vocal postures, relaxation, etc. I think the very basic things would be support and singing on pitch. Then go from there. Every new height brings a new view and a new height so don’t look for a “finish.”

As far as my experience starting out. It’s complicated and has nothing to do with anyone else’s ease or difficulty. I found it fairly easy at times while other times more difficult to grasp at first. The bottom line was I practiced a lot….and I mean a lot. Hours per day ( not all at once…separate times). But I practiced with a purpose. However I believe it isn't quantity it's quality of practice that matters. I just happen to have had a lot of driving time to and from work (3 hours) so I practiced in the car with recorded files. But practice doesn't have to be long. In fact the more tired you get the more you begin to ingrain mistakes into muscle memory. I would suggest shorter sessions but more often.

I really sang a whole lot also. I could easily repeat a song countless times. 25, 30, 40 times….more? All the while working on and practicing specific techniques and exercise. Not singing just to hear myself. I believe in specificity and rather than just doing “exercises” for the sake of exercise; I practice them in the task at hand…the song. You know what I found equally important? Rest. But you have to work hard first. Today my practice is different and shorter. But it has a lot of meaning and purpose. It's personalized. I don't follow the popular fads and internet rules or latest crazes. Find your sound (s) and learn how to make them.

Good luck and keep us posted. Practice, and then check in for help. record something and ask for advice. Baby steps.

Tommy  

Hey tommy,

First of all, thank you so much for your reply!,Smile

I will start looking on youtube, i think that there are certainly great video's to learn from!,
Do you have any suggestions for good vocal tutorials to start with?
I will see how far i get with it Wink

You have a good point with the vocal range!,
I have one more question about that, were is the start of the mountain that i need to climb?

I certainly will sacrifice a lot of time for my singing, because i want to do it very seriously.

I will keep you posted!

- Jochem

December 19, 2016
2:20 pm
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TommyTheHat
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Hey Jochem,

As far as where to start well as I mentioned in my post above. I would start by singing fairly easy tunes. Songs that don't push your voice too much. Then find out where the point is that it begins to break or not be so easy. Just try to find out what feels comfortable at this point and at the same time try to stay on pitch. Learn some scales within that range and practice them slowly going higher to strengthen those areas using vowels. What goes hand in hand with this is breathing which in vocal terms is called "support" or breath support. If you google that or type it in youtube you'll find plenty of info. It can get a bit overwhelming though. .Basically it's having enough air to project and sustain the notes.

So where you start depends on what you have now which for each of us will be different. Look up breath support and chest voice (which is pretty much our speaking voice if you were to add a melody to it). Nothing loud. Just as if you were meeting someone at a gathering and saw them walk in from across the room. Then you don't scream or yell, you just raise your voice enough to reach the other side of the room. "Hey Tommy." Chest voice.

That's the bottom. From there (after much practice and getting the hang of that and breathing) you begin to transition into moving from chest voice into your head or pharyngal area of the head...voice placement, resonance etc. That's where the work comes in. That's where you start expanding your range more and learning how not to strain. The internet searches can help you more than I can. I sort of have my own free flowing methods that I used based on my training and how I personalized it (tailored it) to fit me.

I don't keep up much with online courses or youtube instruction and especially not the beginner stuff so it's hard to advise in this area. I do subscribe to a few but that's because they are friends and they occasionally post music as well as advanced training info and I like to peek. But you can check them out.

From this forum there is Felipe Carvalho who posted above in this thread. Actually I trained with him for about two years or more a couple of years back. I'm not sure how much beginner stuff he has on his Youtube channel.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGs9n_nL5sP2QzSITCM0VmA

Then there's this guy, Phil Moufarrege who started this forum. He has a lot of stuff on his channel.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCc0IfmOTRYLb_pJx-O-FZiw

Then there's Daniel Formica a great guy and singer who likes things simple (like me).

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnUFdYqGEo-_H_T69cKQ2mw

If you just google or look on YouTube for beginner vocals or singing you'll find loads of stuff.
Sing a lot and slowly go higher finding out where it starts to strain and your voice breaks. Go easy...don't hurt yourself. Just get a feel. Then you'll need to get the training to strengthen the muscles and the coordination to pass that sticking point. There are exercises. Like lifting weights. Little by little.

EDIT:

Just a note. There are many books out there and unfortunately I couldn't tell you what's best. I was recommended a book by Anthony Frisell years ago, that is supposed to be fantastic and I couldn't understand a word of it. However, I personally did get a lot from "The Contemporary Singer" (elements of vocal technique) by Anne Peckham. It comes with a CD. For others maybe it's no good, But I liked it. To each his own. Believe it or not I actually heard good things about "Singing For Dummies." Seriously!

Good luck

Tommy

"It's not how many notes you know. It's what you do with them."

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