#1
Hey guys, first post on these boards =]

I've read over the stickies, and they've answered a lot of other questions I've had, but I have one specific I'd like to get some feedback on.

I've just graduated from high school and am applying for Universities to do a Bachelor of Music/Master of Teaching course. As part of the audition for any musical course, a short singing exam is compulsory, in which we're required to sing a short tune to test our sense of pitch and ears. The problem is, I've never sung before - well, at least not with very good pitch or professionally - and it'll be a a few more days before I see my guitar tutor (who's also a vocal coach, and I'll be asking him for tips on technique and what-not).

So my question is, before learning absolute correct vocal technique such as breathing, posture, using different muscles and so on from my tutor, would it be beneficial for me to try to match up notes on the guitar with my voice as best I can - with the best technique I can for the next couple of days - before seeing my coach?
The auditions are 2 or 3 months away, so I think I have enough time to get decent control over my voice - tone's not part of criteria to my knowledge - and any invoice is very much appreciated. =]

tl;dr: Applying for music courses at Uni, and a singing test compulsory to test pitch, and I've never sung before. Would trying to match up notes on guitar for a few days benefit me before I can see my guitar tutor (who is also a vocal coach) and refine correct technique?

Many thanks in advance,

Last edited by juckfush at Sep 27, 2010,
#2
You should call up the music department of the university in question and ask them exactly what the singing part of the audition involves. With mine, I just had to sing intervals they named (do to so, do to la, do to whatever). So I used my piano and just practiced them all, playing them, singing them, playing them, singing them.

If they want you to sing a tune, do you get to choose it? Take something simple and just concentrate on hitting the notes. If you don't want to do first-study voice then I'm pretty sure they're not looking for advanced technique, just awareness of pitch.
#3
So, given that it is currently September, I'm guessing you have at least six months before you actually have to do this. You're auditioning in the spring for next fall?

If so, that's good news.

One guy I went to university with wasn't a good singer, but could whistle really well. They let him whistle, as it achieved what they wanted to know - could he, entirely independently, re-create intervals entirely by ear? Yes, he could. But not if you asked him to sing them. Whistling... dead accurate somehow. The end justified the means, so it was fine.

My problem was like yours. Ultimately, I never did do very well at that part because I had absolutely no control over my voice.

A few years after finishing university, I took voice lessons. Through that, I learned that my difficulties were not (which I knew) with my ear, but my inability to control my voice. But I learned WHY I could not control my voice... my technique was non-existent!

If you have an open throat, are placing your voice correctly, and have good air support, with a bit of practice, you can control your voice. Even with a good ear, though, if you're squeaking notes out of your throat at a volume lower than what you speak.... good luck.

Analogy:

"I've been practicing for months trying to develop my speed and accuracy of trying to separate pencils from pens within a mixed pile, but have not been having much success." Solution: Take off the boxing gloves! As soon as you remove your biggest barrier, you're better set for success!

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#4
Thanks a bunch for the replies!

To Icarus_Lives: Sorry for not specifying earlier! The guidelines set by the faculty is for an unaccompanied performance of a short excerpt of music, noting that a folk piece or something similar is preferable. Going off that, I'm guessing they're not looking for too much technical proficiency, but more an awareness of pitch, like you said. Cheers! =]

axemanchris: I'm situated in Australia, so auditions should be within the next 3 to 4 months (either at the end of this year, or the start of the next).
Thanks very much for the personal experiences, too! It's always good to get that sort of perspective. =]
When humming, I can generally get close to the target pitch very quickly if I'm starting from around middle C and working up the octave, but I can't hold a note for long without it getting wobbly. When singing, I can hit a few notes and volume if I'm lucky, but my technique as of now is also very much non-existent
I'll definitely have a chat with my guitar tutor for tips on correct technique though, because from what's been said that seems the best option for nailing it all quickly and in time for this audition.

Thanks again for the great replies and for dropping in so quickly - very much appreciated!

Last edited by juckfush at Sep 27, 2010,
#5
Quote by juckfush
axemanchris: I'm situated in Australia, so auditions should be within the next 3 to 4 months (either at the end of this year, or the start of the next).
Thanks very much for the personal experiences, too! It's always good to get that sort of perspective. =]
When humming, I can generally get close to the target pitch very quickly if I'm starting from around middle C and working up the octave, but I can't hold a note for long without it getting wobbly. When singing, I can hit a few notes and volume if I'm lucky, but my technique as of now is also very much non-existent
I'll definitely have a chat with my guitar tutor for tips on correct technique though, because from what's been said that seems the best option for nailing it all quickly and in time for this audition.
It seems to me like the audition isn't looking for vocal proficiency as much as pitch matching and the ability to communicate melodies or intervals through your voice.

Technique-wise, I wouldn't worry too much about not being able to hold a pitch out for very long. From what I understand, they're not going to count that against you. They basically want to see if you can sing a short tune while staying in key. The most important thing I would worry about if I were you would be to have strong posture, diaphragm support, vowel/consonant shaping, and resonance.

So basically a summary of that last sentence is you want to take the pressure off your throat and let the sound sort of "float" rather than forcing it. I'm sure your guitar instructor should be able to help you with these things.

Some things I think you can work out on your own are as follows:

Make sure you don't "pinch off" vowels. Taking the long "e" sound, for example, make sure you direct the sound forward with your lips, rather than pulling your cheeks back and forcing the sound through with your throat. As for consonants, make sure syllables don't drag out certain sound such as the "r." You might want to roll the "r" or just "flip" it really quick and get to the next sound (vowel or consonant) quickly.

If you want anything explained more specifically or something, let me know.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea