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Old 02-18-2014, 04:00 PM   #1
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Question re: Improving Singing Technique by Playing Guitar

So, I've been playing guitar for about 2 1/2 years. In that time, my ear has gotten much better, of course. I have gradually felt like my voice has also improved. I never thought I could carry a tune. However, I have lately tried learning tunes by ear, and part of my method is to hum or sing the notes I'm trying to learn, then try to recreate when I'm singing with my guitar. It works. Apparently, vocalizing the notes helps my brain picture what intervals I am looking for. I'm not taking credit for this -- lots of people recommend singing / humming as a means to help learning tunes by ear.

But it occurred to me that the only reason this works is because when I'm vocalizing the notes, I'm actually hitting them, and hitting the intervals I want, if not spot-on then pretty close to it. At that point, I went back and started singing some songs while playing guitar, something I never really did, and listening to my voice, and I felt like I was doing a really good job. I mean, not perfect, but not too far off, either.

For comparison, my wife has taken years of vocal lessons and still cannot carry a tune, but she plays no instrument. (I also never thought much of her tutor, though, so maybe that's part of the problem.)

So, I'm starting to think that the ear training I've gotten from playing guitar just automatically translates to a certain degree of vocal proficiency, or the potential for vocal proficiency of you turn your ear-training into some honest self-scrutiny of how your voice is sounding, and then it may not take long to teach your voice to lock onto the right notes.

I guess my question is (1) is this a common experience for guitarists out there, or musicians in general, and (2) is there a limit to how good you can get this way? To elaborate on my second question, I have seen some YouTube videos on singing, and they talk about stuff like singing from diaphragm, figuring out use of head versus chest voice, and other stuff that I never pay attention to. I'm thinking that my ear-training may have gotten me to the point that I can tell my vocal chords to find the right notes, but maybe that other stuff is important for range, for volume, or other tonal aspects beyond just hitting the right notes. Like, maybe my approach will leave me singing the right notes, but in a weak, breathy, or nasally voice (Bob Dylan?)

Or, on the other hand, if I'm just listening to my voice and trying to make it sound better, and trying to sing with more projection -- but without knowing any of the details about correct breathing or what-not -- will I just naturally "find" how to get my voice better. I mean, there are plenty of stories of people who just picked up a guitar, noodled around with it for a few years, and taught themselves to play brilliantly. Is the voice like that, or I do need to buckle down with some regimented lessons / practice in breathing, in doing those "A-E-I-O-U" exercises I hear my wife do, etc.

At this point, I have the "bug" to learn to sing good, because it would really add dimension to my playing of songs, to be able to accompany myself vocally and feel confident I'm doing a good job if I play for others, maybe do an open mic night. I'm wondering whether to just play & sing over and over, or whether to find some more regimented lessons, maybe even find my own vocal coach.

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Old 02-23-2014, 11:46 AM   #2
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This is not the place to post this. Our forum is solely to post lyrics, poetry, or any other writing form.

Moved this to Singing & Vocals.
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Old 02-23-2014, 03:28 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by krm27
For comparison, my wife has taken years of vocal lessons and still cannot carry a tune, but she plays no instrument. (I also never thought much of her tutor, though, so maybe that's part of the problem.)

Man......I'm so sorry...
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