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Can anybody learn how to sing? Ribbon Microphones
Old 20th September 2008
  #91
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I wanted to add that peoples voices can change drastically over the years.
Some times for the better and often for the worse.
I used to consider myself a singer because I was the front man for a rock band from about 1999 to 2003. I was really just a bad Eddie Vedder impersonation but it took me years to realize that fact.
Once it hit me that I really did suck I stopped singing and focused more on my guitar playing, piano playing and song writing.
I did not sing at all not even for fun for about 4 years and then this past year I discovered that when I do sing now it is a compleatly different sound.
It sounds natural, relaxed, not strained at all.
I still dont sound like a "PRO" but I am light years ahead of what I used to sing like.
The point is if you have to try really hard to sing well then you are doing something wrong!
If it hurts you are doing something wrong!
We can all get better by unlearning the bad habits we pick up along the way.
Like someone else said already you have to sing to your own voice and stop trying to sound like that voice on the radio!
Old 25th July 2010
  #92
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themainbitch's Avatar
 

Born with it

I think the amazing natural phenominal singers are blessed with a gift and if they train on top of that wow! I think natural singers are more aware of thier vocal cords or maybe even have genetically superior vocal cords?

However I have meet a few people in my day that just one day decided hmmm singing might be cool. Some of them with time and training became decent/borderline good. But they lacked the love and emotion someone born to sing or born singing has.

Now don't go crazy on me here please their are exceptions to every rule! But more often then not, the best singers I know personally have loved singing and have been singing their whole lives.

like me for example, ok and i am not saying I am amazing or blah blah. But i have always sang my whole life never wanted to be anything other than a singer. My mom still has a finger painting I did in kindergarten that read " when i grow up I want to be a singer" with me & a mic and a pretty dress.
Old 25th July 2010
  #93
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I always tell singers if you have to think about it really hard you're heading into dangerous territory. As brutal as it sounds, I feel some people are born with it and some aren't. Look at Bob Dylan and Lou Reed. They convey exactly what they need to with their limited vocal technique but the delivery is amazing. Nina Simone... so much emotion plus great pitch and technique. Totally different but both wonderful. At some point either you can create magic or you can't. The experienced ones don't even complain about the headphone mix. They take off one phone a bit and do what comes naturally. Expressing themselves in a compelling way.
Singing lessons are useful for improving your control, breathing and such things. Thinking they will produce the skills that make a singer truly compelling is silly.
Old 25th July 2010
  #94
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Empty Planet's Avatar
 

Barring physical limitations, yes, anyone can learn to sing.

Robert Fripp was, by his own statement, tone deaf when he started.

The talk of having to have "innate talent" is all romantic nonsense. It's pernicious accepted wisdom, but it's all myth-making. Any story of geniuses, from Mozart to Beatles (and I'm not saying they didn't have some innate talent), should appreciate the enormous amount of time which each spent working on their craft in a real way before doing the first work that got them noticed.

The catch is that you actually have to put in the time. Innate talent pales in comparison to time spent working the craft. That's what separates the wannabes from the actuals. It's been proposed that 10,000 hours is a good figure to shoot for. At the very least, that will put you in the ballpark.


Cheers.

Old 25th July 2010
  #95
I've recently spent some time 'checking' myself with my DAW's vocal retuner software, trying to smooth out my pitch ballistics and tighten up my aim a little by looking at the results on the screen. (Way too much Dylan/Jagger damage to my sensibilities over the years. heh )

One thing I've noticed is that the more I'm consciously thinking about singing when I'm trying to do it, the worse the performance is, overall.

But I do think that the vocal wood shedding can be helpful at improving control and pitch aim (and by that I mean the ability to hit the note without sliding up or sliding down to it, or at least with minimal sliding into the note).

That said, I have found that some efforts, such as working to retrain myself to hold long notes at pitch instead of letting them drift down as I always have in the past (and as many of my conscious or unconscious outsider singer role models have tended to do) sometimes leads me into what I consider the dangerous territory of "cornball singing" -- that over-trained, trying-too-hard thing where you become overly conscious of the singer's attempts at technique -- too much vibrato (or perhaps conversely, in today's milieu we're seeing people who obsessively eliminate vibrato), over-long notes, or various other distracting mannerisms.
Old 25th July 2010
  #96
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by themainbitch View Post
I think the amazing natural phenominal singers are blessed with a gift and if they train on top of that wow! I think natural singers are more aware of thier vocal cords or maybe even have genetically superior vocal cords?

However I have meet a few people in my day that just one day decided hmmm singing might be cool. Some of them with time and training became decent/borderline good. But they lacked the love and emotion someone born to sing or born singing has.

Now don't go crazy on me here please their are exceptions to every rule! But more often then not, the best singers I know personally have loved singing and have been singing their whole lives.

like me for example, ok and i am not saying I am amazing or blah blah. But i have always sang my whole life never wanted to be anything other than a singer. My mom still has a finger painting I did in kindergarten that read " when i grow up I want to be a singer" with me & a mic and a pretty dress.
Agree totally. Part of what makes great singer's great is the attitude that comes with a lifetime of being that into it.

Please post something you have done, would love to hear it. thumbsup
Old 25th July 2010
  #97
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henryrobinett's Avatar
Can anybody learn how to sing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by henryrobinett
I didn't say one could be GREAT. I said one could learn to do it.

A 5' 3" 125 lb. man may never be in the NFL but he can learn to play football, and learn to play it well.

Obviously physical limitations like being blind aside, I really believe this.

I think a lot of people get confused by what talent is. Passion, desire and having the technology of the art/craft and the know-how of how to master it, called practice, -- anyone can be accomplished. Being talented or great is another matter.

Anyone can learn to sing. Anyone can learn to hear pitches and copy them vocally. Anyone, with effort can learn to hear rhythms and play or sing in time. Whether one has a timbre or quality of voice that sounds pleasing is another matter. Whether one will ever be able to sing great is certainly also another matter.
What I said.
Old 25th July 2010
  #98
I have a three note range in D maj. Does that count?
Old 25th July 2010
  #99
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by henryrobinett View Post
What I said.
Ah, years don't change a thing.

I still say it depends on how you define singing.

I suppose you could say every creature on Earth can sing in its own unique way.
Old 25th July 2010
  #100
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
I have a three note range in D maj. Does that count?
Hey, don't be modest--that means you have a three note range in every key!
Old 25th July 2010
  #101
Gear Maniac
 

I think you are thinking about it toooooooo much. Just sing and let your feelings come through. Look at how many really successful artist can't technically sing (Bob Dylan). People like Bob not for his perfect singing but for the message. You are just over thinking the whole thing.
Old 25th July 2010
  #102
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ScumBum's Avatar
 

Anybody can become a great singer , just take Lessons from Mark Baxter , VOICELESSON.COM - MARK BAXTER VOCAL STUDIOS
Old 25th July 2010
  #103
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henryrobinett's Avatar
In my experience as a musician and a teacher, both at the private level and the college music conservatory level, I believe anyone can be taught music. Most people have no idea. It's a language that requires understanding of the symbols. Pitch can be taught. I don't know about perfect pitch but someone considered tone deaf can be taught to discern pitch differences and can learn to sing them. Rhythms can be taught to people who "have no rhythm." It takes work and it takes dedication.

As I said earlier, whether your voice will be pleasing on any level is another matter. Whether you'll ever be able to sing the blues convincingly or opera or MOR or Nirvana covers, who knows? But you CAN learn to sing.
Old 26th July 2010
  #104
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scoring4films's Avatar
 

I agree with the above. From my experience as a voice teacher and as a former struggling student, I firmly believe that anyone can learn how to sing. Some people pick it up quicker than others, but beyond that I believe it's a skill/talent available to all. I wouldn't say that every teacher has the ability to believe in and develop the talent in every student though. IMHO, a vocal student is better off if they're willing to try different teachers until they find one that's a good match for their learning style.
Old 26th July 2010
  #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by husky band View Post
Look at how many really successful artist can't technically sing (Bob Dylan). People like Bob not for his perfect singing but for the message. You are just over thinking the whole thing.
I think people like Bob Dylan very much for the singing...I do...his voice (especially in the early early days) is very very good and quite strong, good texture and tone and generally on pitch (or if it's off it doesn't sound off)...same for people like Mick Jagger...

I don't think singing voices like those are any easier to come by than any other...rarer really...
Old 26th July 2010
  #106
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lagavulin16's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by timothy View Post
After years of singing, and taking vocal lessons, I'm getting quite frustrated. I made huge improvements over the years, but I dont sound even close to something which I'd describe as a "great vocal sound". Maybe my expectations are just too high, since all modern vocal sounds are usually pure studio creations anyways (autotune, etc), or maybe I am just too irritated hearing myself sing something, and I'm one of those people who just cant stand their own voice, even though it may be good. But I'm starting to believe that you're either born with a great voice, or you arent... nothing you can do about it!

One may also describe it as "tone". If you dont have a pleasing or distinct tone, you're screwed. No matter how often you practice or how many voice lessons you take.

How do my fellow Gearslutz think about this?


EDIT - 08/17
After listening to my demos and spending the entire day working on my voice, I finally know what my problem is..........

I hold each note for way too long, which gives it a sound that isnt really what I'm looking for. Also, it's fairly hard to hold notes for a long time and still be 100% on key. I just listened to a bunch of popular pop/rock songs, and the vocals are usually just the singer doing melodic "rap" on pitch. I gotta incorporate that more into my singing and arranging of the vocals. Once I've done that I think I'll be fine...
I could have written this post... aside from the years of lessons and practicing. And probably the "huge improvement".

What makes a great singer? Pitch is only part of the equation.

1) Pitch
2) Tone
3) Emotion/Expressiveness
4) Approach

I'm not sure Bob Dylan is going to sound better than Whitney Houston on "I will Always Love You"... and I doubt Whitney is going to sound better than Dylan on "Sooner or Later".

You know what you want, which helps. It sounds like you know about the notes being held for too long.

While I'm a miserable singer, sometimes I want to sound southern, sometimes I want to sound like Jarvis Cocker after 40 cigarettes, sometimes I want to sound like Kevin Shields. It can help to keep that in mind when recording and try different positions. If you want to sound really quiet and beaten down, maybe try slouching, lying down, etc.

But if I had all the answers my vocals would sound quite a bit better.
Old 26th July 2010
  #107
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Suda Badri's Avatar
 

Anyone can learn to sing and do a good job... some can learn to sing, suck ****, get nowhere and then buy auto tune...
Old 26th July 2010
  #108
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FFTT's Avatar
 

The best analogy I can think of is that a voice is much like a violin or a cello.

There are no frets to help you stay on pitch. It takes ear training and pitch
recognition and lots of dedicated practice.

Many people who would like to sing, give up before they even get started, much like that beginner violin student screeching out their first unskilled notes. Even if you give that student a Stradivarius, chances are without
many many hours of practice, it may sound like a student fiddle at best.

Recording your vocals can be brutally honest, but also the best way to teach yourself how to deliver a vocal by listening and learning from your mistakes.

The more you record, the more you may find that your strongest voice
is the one closest to your natural speaking voice.

Those of you who have heard some of my earlier vocals, know that
it can take quite a while to find your voice.

Over time, I've learned that it's not all about hitting the highest notes, but
the impact of the vocal as it relates to the music.
Old 26th July 2010
  #109
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Like several people here have already stated... anyone who wants to try hard enough to learn to sing can be taught.

How good will they be?
That is up to their cultural background, personality, desire, drive and many other factors

It is not any different than a kid being taught to play guitar.
Lot's of people have learned to play guitar, but how many are above average?
How many are great?

BTW... as anyone who has learned voice in the classic way (at a university or from a legit teacher) will tell you, the voice is and the vocal apparatus is studied just like a violin player or any other instrumentalist studies his instrument.

The human singing voice is a musical instrument that just happens to be part of the human body.
It creates sounds by many of the same mechanical processes used to create sound with musical instruments.
The attachment to the body and mind of the vocalist is maybe a bit more "intimate" than an instrument, but the approach and thought process is the same.

These concepts surprised me when I learned them from my wife as she studied voice at a major music university.
People often think of singing and vocals in a very wrong way.

There is some luck also involved because some people have a naturally better instrument in how their vocal apparatus is constructed.
Some people are born with a Stradivarius and some are born with a $75.00 student violin.
Still, you can make music on the $75.00 violin, too.
Old 26th July 2010
  #110
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FFTT's Avatar
 

Bad singing technique can be greatly compounded by low budget gear and
lack of experience in capturing your vocal.

Too much reverb, totally wrong EQ and weak placement in the mix.

Sometimes it's just a combination of errors and sometimes it's lack of confidence in your abilities.

The instrument that carries the melody of the song, the voice,
should not be buried way back in the mix.
Old 26th July 2010
  #111
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iankaravas's Avatar
 

anyone who believes in natural talent is an idiot. end of story.

all skills are acquired. practice.
Old 26th July 2010
  #112
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henryrobinett's Avatar
Can anybody learn how to sing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by iankaravas
anyone who believes in natural talent is an idiot. end of story.

all skills are acquired. practice.
Yep. Pretty much!
Old 26th July 2010
  #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iankaravas View Post
anyone who believes in natural talent is an idiot. end of story.

all skills are acquired. practice.

Indeed. I listened to a lecture that equated the ears ability to distinguish pitch to the same ability as the eyes to determine colour. The only difference being, how much do you learn about tone and pitch at a young age?

Nadda. Zilch. Zip. Particularly compared to colour. I remember trading the most obscure colours of pencil with my classmates back in the days of milk and cookies. I have to wonder what would have resulted if we spent those afternoons in front of a piano identifying different pitches instead of colours.
Old 26th July 2010
  #114
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FFTT's Avatar
 

You may never become a strong lead vocalist, but that still should not stop
you from getting comfortable with your voice.

Back up vocals with a good ear for harmony can be critical in your career
as a musician.

I've seen so many bands with just one vocalist and their sound suffers for it.

I was fortunate to work in a band where everyone sang at least a little
and we had weekly vocal rehearsals along with learning any new material.

Its amazing how much impact you can achieve with a few simple ooohs and ahhhs backing up your lead vocalist.
Old 26th July 2010
  #115
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iankaravas's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DISCERN View Post
Indeed. I listened to a lecture that equated the ears ability to distinguish pitch to the same ability as the eyes to determine colour. The only difference being, how much do you learn about tone and pitch at a young age?

Nadda. Zilch. Zip. Particularly compared to colour. I remember trading the most obscure colours of pencil with my classmates back in the days of milk and cookies. I have to wonder what would have resulted if we spent those afternoons in front of a piano identifying different pitches instead of colours.
each kid gets a portable pocket synth and sees who can make the weirdest pitch / sound
Old 26th July 2010
  #116
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FFTT's Avatar
 

I took an ear training course at the community college mostly learning
intervals with the school's in house electric keyboards.

Quite helpful.

I never thought I would be able to sing while playing an instrument live
until I sat down and challenged myself.

You have to know the instrumental part and the lyrics on auto pilot
or you'll lose concentration on the delivery of your vocal.

You don't want to be going for that amazing climax in your vocal performance guessing the lyrics or losing track of where your hands should be on your instrument.

You just have to keep at it over and over again.
Old 26th July 2010
  #117
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FFTT's Avatar
 

This demo piece has always puzzled me.

SoundClick artist: Robb Michael Inglis - Solo Artist

At full volume the vocal is reasonably full and present, but the lower
you turn down the playback volume, the more the voice goes into
Munchkin Land.

Recorded with a AKG C-1000 through my Digitech guitar pre amp, clean tube
patch, ART FXR Elite Reverb, and compressed with an Alesis 3130.
Tascam 488, Mackie 1604.

When I performed solo through a large PA, the sound man said
my voice sounds like Greg Lake, but here it's more like Davey Jones meets
the Chipmunks.

The breakthrough for me in this piece was making sure I could play the
bass while performing the vocal, so I designed the bass part accordingly.
It was much harder to learn than singing with a strummed guitar.
Old 26th July 2010
  #118
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chessparov's Avatar
 

But...
I LOVE "too much reverb"heh.

FWIW it's been a strange experience that only over the last 3 months,
my voice has morphed into a deep baritone timbre.

This was predicted 20 years ago(!), by my vocal instructor,
who believed somewhere between the late 40's to early 50's (am 51) the voice would start developing dramatic high baritone characteristics.

BTW he is a retired opera singer, with an awesome dramatic baritone voice,
and great teaching skills. Studied with him for about a year back then.
His name is Dr. Hernan Pelayo and AFAIK still teaching in North Hollywood, but haven't checked that out for a long time.

One point is that it's so important to keep an open mind on your natural tonality for healthier singing. On youtube, particularly like Franco Tenelli's
vocal lessons. He has a good exercise where you yawn, take a breath, then listen to what kind of tone (on AH vowel IIRC) is made afterward. For example, mine sure ain't high tenor. Not enough resonance to be a true bass either.

The other point is that those with a "big mouth" like me, tend not to have the swiftest vocal agility without tons of work, and can take a loooong time to warm up.

So understanding your vocal identity is key IMHO.

Chris

P.S. Robb I think you have a fine voice. The singing style reminded me much more of Midnight Oil's lead vocalist rather than the Chipmunks!
Old 26th July 2010
  #119
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FFTT's Avatar
 

All I can say is record record record by any means possible.

It doesn't take a lot of money either.

I did this straight up into my camera reading the lyrics off my computer,
no monitoring.

It sounds pretty good even though I could have been smoother on
"Love is knowing we can be" I slipped into old bad habits a bit there
reaching too hard for the higher notes.

Old 26th July 2010
  #120
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by iankaravas View Post
anyone who believes in natural talent is an idiot. end of story.

all skills are acquired. practice.
Well I may be an idiot (naturally), but are you saying that if any 2 people practice the exact same amount, they will be equally skilled?
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