Also make sure you're not carrying too much vocal weight too high. That can mess up the upper register. My own experience was that until I got my lower register properly lined up, the upper register was hard to access. Lack of power is often a support issue. Lots of stuff has been posted about support, both since the separate subforum and in the old threads.
thanks for the input man! do you know any exercises i should try?
Scales, simple stuff like do mi so do so mi do (1 3 5 1 5 3 1 if you prefer scale degrees to solfege syllables). Simple and gentle is the way to go till your voice is back to normal. Stop at the first sign of fatigue. Don't push your voice. If you were used to bench pressing a certain weight and broke your arm, would you try to do your usual weight the first week you were out of the cast? No. Same principle with your voice. Just like the broken arm will eventually be back up to full strength, your voice will be too as long as you take care of it.
And yeah, the longer you hack, the longer it will take for your voice to get completely back to normal.
Check out the old archived thread and the vocal exercises sticky. Look particularly for posts from SingingSabre, axemanchris and myself. I know there were a couple others who had some good ideas, but it's been long enough that I've forgotten who said what as I've been dealing with the crap that comes with having adult responsibilities.
What I heard in the clip you posted definitely indicates a need to work on support. It sounded and felt flat. There was no energy behind it.
As to not being able to access the upper register, that will come with improved technique. Get the lower register in order, and the rest will follow. I had a hard time being consistent in my upper register until I got the kinks in the lower register ironed out.
Save up for lessons. Find out what the going rate is in your area and find someone willing to work with you on an as you can afford it basis. Online resources can be good, but there's no substitute for a professional being able to see and hear what you are doing in person. Record the lessons so you can refer back to them. This is especially important if lessons will be infrequent.
And yes, grammar is good. This isn't a text. There is an edit function. Clarity is important when dealing with something as subjective and personal as the human voice.
Continue what you were doing with your last teacher. Scales are important. Lip trills are a great exercise.
Can you take a sight singing class? If not, try to get a textbook, preferably one with CDs. Sight singing is all about pitch. Also, watch The Sound of Music, specifically the "Do, a deer" part. Corny, but it's all about solfege.
Sounds like your voice hasn't completely recovered yet. Yeah, you may feel fine, but there's a difference between talking and producing sustained notes at the extremes of your range. Try just gentle vocal exercises for a week, stopping at the first hint of fatigue. No screaming, no pushing in any regard. Just baby your vocal cords for a while longer. I find that the longer I'm sick or the harder the illness hits, the longer it takes for the extremes of my range to feel and sound right. Also, limit talking if you can. If it persists, consult a teacher who can assess you in person.
Some general advice on auditioning regardless of program or instrument- play to your strengths. You want to present yourself as competent and confident in your technique. "Crazy difficult" is not necessarily the best way to go. You want things that will show you off even if your world is falling apart. If you can do the "crazy difficult" while sick as a dog or the day after, say, your grandmother dies or something else equally earthshattering, it's a good audition choice (as long as it fits the audition requirements). If you can't reliably play it sick or when your world has been rocked, it's not.
So I'm not the best musician. Actually I cant really play any instrument, and can barely carry a tune. But I love to write, I write stories, and I write heap of poetry all the time. I thought I'd try my hand at song writing. But came across this...and now really don't want to :/
Don't let this thread discourage you. Every songwriter starts somewhere. When I look back at stuff I wrote in high school, ah, some of it is kinda cringeworthy. Now, after majoring in theater and music, I can write a Kyrie where the vocal part divides into 12 lines. Do you want to hear me to sing one of the soprano parts? Yeah. Do you want to hear a competent pianist play it? Yeah. Do you want to hear me play it? Hell no. Everyone is going to have their strengths and weaknesses. Figure out where your strengths are and play to them. The only way to do that is to try. Will there be some trainwrecks along the way? Sure, but the further along the path you get, the good material will outweigh the less good. Why less good instead of bad? It's like compost. Something good can come from it. Yucky looking compost nurtures new growth in the garden. A good idea can lurk in yucky old writing, waiting for the technical maturity to do it justice.
I'm either a baritone or a tenor... I don't really know My lowest note I think is about B2/C3 And I think my highest note is about g4 But I don't have the best pitch... I'm most comfortable around my higher range
And in show choir I am tenor (except one song I was baritone) but there were only 5 guys in my show choir last year,.. And there were only two tenors
But here's me singing *badly*
I really much rather be a tenor... I don't really know why
What I hear is a distinct lack of support. Part of that may be posture. Lack of support affects everything- phrasing, volume, pitch, range. Until you get a handle on support, it's hard to say what your true range actually is. If you have any desire to scream, good support is essential if you are not going to shred your vocal cords. Look through the vocal exercises thread. Talk to whoever runs your show choir. Most choir directors would be thrilled to have a student ask how they can improve, and support is something it's beneficial to work on with a live person. At this point, don't fixate on what you are. Focus on technique. When I was your age (God, how scary is it that I'm old enough to say that?!), I thought I was an alto. Nope. Turns out I'm a soprano who never lost the low notes. There's a fair amount of overlap in range between a baritone and a tenor anyway. Tessitura- where your voice is most comfortable and sounds the best- is a bigger factor in what voice type you ultimately end up than a couple of notes at the extremes of your range.
In regards to technique, make sure the lower register is lined up properly. If something is off there, the rest of the voice won't line up right, either, just like a faulty foundation will affect the whole house.
I'd recommend resting your voice as much as you can for a while longer. Like at least a week, not just a few days. The issue with dynamics sounds like what can happen to me if my voice is overworked. Also be sure you're taking good care of yourself overall. Whatever affects the body affects the voice.
Any issues that linger do need to be addressed by a good teacher and ENT as soon as you can afford it, though. There's only so much those of us on the other end of a keyboard can do, and similar symptoms can have different causes.
Remember to cut yourself the some slack when you're learning to read TAB. Knowing how to read treble & bass clefs and trying to decipher TAB instantaneously is like knowing Spanish and trying to stumble through Portuguese without any lessons.
Also remember to look at your progress relative to the demands in your life. If you are not a teenager with nothing to do but sit in your room practicing, don't expect to progress at the same rate as the teenager with no other pressing demands. That was my hardest lesson to learn- as long as my professor was happy with my progress, I should be too, and I should stop comparing myself to the 18 and 19 year olds without family responsibilities.
Seconding the ENT recommendation. Sudden holes in the voice need to be taken seriously. You don't mention whether or not you are working with a teacher. If you aren't, start. If the issue is technique based rather than something physical. the faster you get it out of your muscle memory, the better, and that's easier to do with help.
The church choir advice is spot on. Just be sure it's a good choir director, not some pianist who got stuck leading a choir. Your friend should also look at her lower register. If she's trying to carry too much weight too high, it will screw up the upper register. If she can get her hands on a copy of The Four Voices of Man by Jerome Hines, I highly recommend it. Hines was a prominent opera singer a couple generations ago, and he has a lot of good things to say in that book.
ETA: Breathy usually indicates a lack of support. Look through the vocal exercises sticky to see if there's anything useful there (I've been gone for quite a while and don't remember what's there). If not, or if you want to discuss this more in depth, PM me. And is she really a mezzo? I had a teacher swear up and down I was because that's how I was built, but nope, I'm a soprano with an extended lower register whose high notes took a long time to come in.
One thing my singing teacher always said was not to think of high notes as being physically higher or further away than lower notes. She could hear - without looking at me - when I was thinking "up" for higher notes, because it created tension in my neck and chest.
Think of the notes all being laid out in front of you, equidistant. You don't have to reach for them.
YES. Don't psych yourself out.
Also, this is where vocal exercises as opposed to songs come in handy. Notice where you start feeling like things aren't lining up as you want them to. Routinely take your vocal exercises to that point. When that point becomes comfortable, take it a half step higher, lather, rinse, repeat.
The other thing to consider is whether or not the lower register is lining up right. If the foundation isn't solid, the upper stories won't be stable.
For now, a bit of general advice that applies to anyone just starting lessons.
If it's only been a few lessons and you're seeing improvement, that's good. Nobody fixes everything overnight.
Sometimes a singer needs to accept that a particular issue is just gonna take a while to fix. It could be unlearning muscle memory. It could be that it takes a while to click mentally. It could be that a different teacher can explain it so it makes sense to you.
Lack of progress over a few weeks is not a reason to change teachers. Lack of progress over a few months may indicate an issue with the teacher. That said, if lack of progress over a few months coincides with a major life event and you're not losing vocal ground, take the wait and see approach. I had to drop a voice class once not because of the teacher but because I had too much crap going on in my life, and it wasn't fair to me or the teacher to try to continue. If I were on the same side of the country still, I'd want to study with her again.
If it hurts like you just had a good workout at the gym, that's fatigue. Push up against but don't push past your limits. Go back to it when your voice is rested. If it just plain hurts, don't do it again.
Above all, believe in yourself. I can't tell you enough how much simply believing in yourself affects performance quality. In my old church choir, my section was very sad to lose me to a cross country move, not because they couldn't hit the notes, but because they didn't believe they could.
Don't compare yourself to others. (Hey, that's neat, I want to learn that is OK. Gosh, I wish I could be half as good is not.) Focus on being the best YOU.
If you have to sing while sick, menthol cough drops are bad. If you numb your throat, not only do you not feel being sick, you don't feel when you push too hard, and you could hurt your voice.
If you can tell whether or not two notes are the same, you're not tone deaf. You may have a lot more work to do than somone whose voice is naturally well placed and has a better sense of relative pitch, but you can learn to sing. One of the guys who was a year ahead of me in college swore up and down that he was tone deaf, but after a couple years with a good teacher, he had a passable chorus voice. He wasn't gonna be singing lead roles, but he could definitely carry a tune. Sight singing exercises will be of great value to you, particularly solfege using fixed do. Solfege can be a pain in the @$$, but I think it's easier to move from fixed do (do being middle C) to moveable do (do being the 1st degree of the scale) or scale degrees (like in the exercises I posted) than the other way around.
My school chioirmistress calls the girl's voices Descant, Soprano and Alto. Is there a difference between descant and soprano then?
I suspect what your teacher labels "descant" are sopranos who can sustain a higher tessitura than the rest of the section and are good enough musicians that they can sing ornamental bits that often have different rhythms than the main parts.
Quote by Fearless(Times)
I can sing down to G3 and up to E5. I know in Chamber Singers I'm a Alto 1. But what would but away from choral music would I be a mezzo-soprano or alto.
I can sing most of Street Thing by Aaliyah aside from the extra long notes and singing in tune(esp with the bridge) I need help with breath control.
Where is your comfort zone (tessitura)? That's what one of the early posts in this thread was talking about when the poster said that notes are only part of what determines your voice type. I've sung low mezzo/contralto roles in concert reductions of G&S shows and can sing some high tenor parts, and I'm a soprano. I just happen to have a good lower extention. It's not where my voice likes to live in terms of classical music. For a breath control exercise, look for for where I posted the "what a to do to die today" exercise. Can't remember if it's in the old thread archive or the vocal exercises thread.
What you're talking about is referred to as the passagio. There are two- one transitioning from lower to middle and middle to upper. Issues with the upper passagio tend to be more noticeable. The exact placement of the passagios varies between voice types and between individuals within a given voice type. For example, I'm a soprano. My upper passagio is centered around the F at the top of the staff. A mezzo's passagio will tend to be slightly lower, maybe centered around D or E. A contralto's passagio will be slightly lower than a mezzo's. Same thing for the male voice types.
One big thing that helps in navigating the passagio is making sure you're (generic you) not carrying too much vocal weight too high. Yeah, you may be able to get a big, beefy sound on the lower and middle parts of your range, but if that sound is manufactured rather than natural, it will be at the expense of the upper register. I'm frequently miscast in lower roles. When I sing low mezzo/contralto roles and don't concentrate on singing it with my voice rather than trying to manufacture a darker sound, it makes for a harder tme with notes above the staff (which is different than a proper belt, but that's a whole other thread). When everything in the lower registers is lined up right, it makes it much easier to navigate the upper passagio. If you're artificially darkening the sound (can be a temptation when trying to emulate other singers), it's not lined up right.
Think of it like a car with a standard transmission- a bad register change is like jamming the car into the next gear, and carrying too much weight too high or keeping the tone too light too low is like driving in the wrong gear. And trying to make a teenage voice sound like a 30 or 40 year old voice is like trying to make a 4 cylinder perform like a V8. Not good for the car, not good for the voice.
Seconding checking about practice rooms. If your school has anything that resembles adequate practice space, you should be fine. If you're not majoring in music, you might think about minoring in music. As part of the department, no one would dispute your right to use the facilities, and you could boost your skills and GPA at the same time.
Your voice does mellow and slightly deepen with age. You will notice a more timbral change than a change in range, though, for the most part.
Right. The couple highest or lowest notes not being there any more doesn't mean a person is suddenly a different voice part, and it may or may not happen. It's a very individual thing that may well be more tessitura than actual range.
Take Jon Bon Jovi as an example. The voice is a little lighter and more youthful on Slippery When Wet than on Have a Nice Day, but there's no doubt you're listening to him no matter which album. He's not likely to add oomph to the end of a song now by going up the octave like on the fade at the end the recorded version of "Runaway" 20+ years ago, but the essential core sound is still there, and the meat of "Runaway" still sounds like it lies in a good spot.
One other thing- the money note in a song shouldn't be the highest note you can sing. If it is the highest note, tension, illness or a shift in comfortable tessitura may render the song difficult or impossible to sing well.
Part of it may be placement. An overly dark, swallowed tone is not going to be an attractive tone. Something to try- sing something how you normally would. Notice the sensations. Notice where you feel the resonance. Then, to get an idea of what a good, forward sound feels like, whine like a puppy dog. Notice how that resonates in the mask. Compare the sensations. And when I say an overly dark, swallowed tone, I'm not talking about the same thing Anexa is when she mentions color, nor am I talking about intentionally darkening the sound for effect on a word or phrase. Color is the difference between, say, a flute and an oboe. They may be playing the same note, but the oboe has a darker, more velvety feel while the flute has a crisper, brighter feel to it. What I'm talking about is where you feel the resonance.
We are all Frank Sinatra's, Axl Roses's and Bruce Dickenson's until we record ourselves.
Then they don't want us any more. And more than one Axl? Saints and angels preserve us! Down, Editor Demon! Bad Editor Demon! Bad! Back in your box! Bad Editor Demon!
Back on topic- I suggest working on sight singing using solfege syllables and fixed do. As in do is always middle C. This will not only help you get a sense of written music, but it will build muscle memory so you know what a given note feels like. As corny as the do, a deer song from Sound of music is, it's a great tool used in the context Maria uses it with the kids. Do, a deer, a female deer rendered in solfege would be do re mi, do mi do mi. A used sight singing text would be ideal, but an old hymnal would work and might be easier to get hold of. If funds are really tight, you might ask a local Catholic church if they use the seasonal booklets that get changed out every so often and if so, if you could have an outdated one next time they get new ones. They contain, as part of the readings for the current year, Psalms that have a response set to a simple tune and simple Alleluia settings (other text during Lent) right before the Gospel readings that would work well for sight singing practice.
I'm in drama school and the way I memorize scripts has really helped me prepare for last minute gigs. Every song tells a story, right? No word is there by accident. Look at it as a story, link the 'thought processes' and divide the story into two, or three. Then consider what you're actually saying, what you want to get across, and think of the story in parts. Where is it resolved? Where have you made a revelation? Or is it unresolved? Think about emotions too. How do you feel about this woman or whatever at this particular point in the song? Do your feelings evolve?
It'll take under 5 mins to cover a lot of ground, then read it through again and again while thinking and feeling all these things, and when you actually come to do it without the words, you'll feel the song like a real story, rather then a bunch of words you gotta cram in. And you'll probs sing it three times better and believe in it heaps more too.
Precisely. One other thing I do when memorizing a monologue is to write it out. When I can write it out three times in a row without cheating or screwing up, I've got it pretty much memorized.
If it hurts, don't sing. As others have said, tea with honey is soothing. Milk? How does your body respond to dairy? Some people can really feel it when they have dairy products, others aren't noticeably bothered. Unless you're really hurting, don't use numbing cough drops. Not only can you not feel the pain of being sick, you can't feel if you're doing any damage. Stick with something like Ricola. And I'll say it again- until you're not hurting, don't sing. With enough practice, you'll eventually get to the point where you know what you can sing through and what you can't. Till you get there, don't try to tough it out. Half of singing is mental. Work on hearing intervals or different time signatures or something else that doesn't actively involve your voice. The vocal ecxercises willstill be there when you're healthy again.
With the hypothetical perfect technique and no other physical issues, one should be able to sing until one drops dead. Timbre may change. Comfortable tessitura may change. Hormonal changes may take a few notes from the extremes of the range, but the essential core of the voice will still be there. In fact, Jerome Hines talks about this in The Four Voices of Man. When he started to notice issues that are commonly chalked up to age, he decided to treat them as technique issues, and guess what? They were.
One exercise I use is the 1-3-5-1-5-3-1 major scale pattern. Say you're starting on middle C. Let's say middle C is C and the octave higher is C'. That would go C-E-G-C'-G-E-C. Solfege would be do mi so do so mi do. Also using these scale degrees is a staccato exercise that goes 1-3-5-1-1-1-1-5-3-1.
Also useful is an exercise from one of the bel canto books I have that goes up and down the scale on whole notes, doing a gentle crescendo and decrescendo on each note.
For breath control and diction, I like this spoken exercise: What a to-do to die today at a minute or two to two, a thing distinctly hard to say and harder still to to, for they'll beat a tattoo at twenty to two, a rat-a-tat-tat-a-tat-tat-a-tat-too, and a dragon will come when he hears the drum at a minute or two to two today, a minute or two to two. The goal is to eventually be able to say it clearly and distinctly in one breath.
How long have the cats been doing this? Did your folks switch their litter recently? Some cats will go outside the box to protest new litter they don't like. Has there been anything way out of the ordinary in your house lately? Did the family take an extended trip recently? Some cats express displeasure at their people being gone for an extended period by refusing to use the litterbox for a while. It's also a good idea to take them to the vet to get checked out, particularly if they go outside or are older cats. You may want to do a search on the Off Topic forum on the New Forum for Classical Singers (www.nfcs.net). There have been a number of threads about kitty behavior there.
Can you come to some sort of compromise with your mother? Maybe if you set aside a specific time to spend with your grandmother every week, your mom would be willing to go out and do a regularly scheduled thing with your grandmother so you could have some practice time when you can use your amp.
Nope. Just fans. We'll likely get a window AC unit for our room, though. I can't imagine my husband being happy without one. My kid brother has one that does a nice job in his room. The rest of the house would still be just fans.
Thanks. I knew it would be mostly common sense. I just wanted to be sure I wasn't overlooking anything in the chaos. Upstate NY is a little more humid than Austin, but not enough to make me uncomfortable when I'm there (lack of air conditioning aside).
I'm moving cross country soon, and I'd appreciate any tips on safely hauling guitars and amps in a moving van. We're moving two electrics, an acoustic and two amps. Also, we're moving them from an air conditioned house to a house without air conditioning. Does that present any issues I should be aware of? Thanks. Apologies if I put this in the wrong place.
For those who don't get why Americans are so upset about our gas prices finally starting to approach what you've been paying, it's not so much the price as how quickly it has risen. The tank of gas that cost me $50 last summer will be over $80 before the end of June if prices continue to rise daily. Everything else is more expensive because of increased shipping costs. Yet we're supposed to make do with the same wages as last year when gas was cheaper by roughly $1/gallon. Compounding the problem is the lack of decent public transportation. In many areas of the country, public transportation- if it exists at all- ranges from bad joke to nightmare. When I was working the temp job last month, I could have taken the bus... if I wanted to spend five hours a day on the road for a round trip that was at most an hour and a half by car. And that assumes the first bus and the connecting bus are both on time. I've had to pass on applying for jobs that would have been good matches because they wouldn't pay enough to cover childcare and transportation.
What I don't understand is when some some Christians only by Christian music solely on the basis that it is Christian, when there is plenty of secular music out there that is the same yet better. Same goes for the opposite though, I know plenty of people who would never buy Christian music just because the band is Christian (I'm not talking about bands like Chris Tomlin either, I'm talking bands like Family Force Five where the members are Christian, but their lyrics are neutral/Not specifically Christian).
There's so much musical pablum out there in the Christian market that a lot of us don't want to waste our time unless a Christian band has been recommended by someone whose musical taste we respect. I wouldn't reject music on the basis of the personal faith of one or more members of a band, though. Their spiritual life is their business.