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Is singing like playing - the more you do it the better you get?

gmann

Member
Messages
8,834
Well some people are just not singers. Not all good players are good singers. Some of the best players I know can't carry a tune in a Bekin's truck. OTOH, if you can carry a tune, then practice makes perfect. A little story in the FWIW dept. I played 20 yrs ago with a guy who was a good/not great singer. We were a cover band doin' a huge variety. I recently got up with the guy and now he's a fantastic singer even tho he doesn't have the range he once had, time and all that. I commented on vocals and paid a compliment. He said it tooks yrs to figure out the secret. Well tell me I says. He says he used to sing anything and everything to include alot of stuff that he really couldn't/shouldn't have been singing, stuff that just wasn't right for his voice. Now he only sings things that he can sing, stuff that showcases his voice, songs that are right for him. I guess my point is don't try and sing stuff you can't, this won't help you and no one wants to hear it. It's good to take some chances and give your voice a workout but you need to realize what works for you and what doesn't. I also play in bands with guys that are not really singers but they do one or two a night. They've picked songs that they sound good on and it's effective. No way they could carry the night or even a set but they shine on those one or two. Something to consider. Hope this helps.
 
Messages
299
You know, we guitarists will invest all sorts of time practicing scales, stealing licks from YouTube, watching other players, etc. in our attempts to improve. Yet, I've often fallen into the trap of assuming that my voice must remain at whatever level it occupies. I've lately come to the conclusion, after many discussions with other performers, that if one works at the craft of singing there will be improvement.

There is a great deal of wisdom in gmann's discussion about choosing material suitable for one's voice, but I think one has to expend time and effort in practicing singing before that decision can be made.

Sing. Sing loud. Sing often. And think about improving volume, pitch, workng the mic, etc. It's worth it - just as practicing one's guitar is.
 
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mcdonaldkd

Member
Messages
1,943
Take lessons from a good instructor. I cannot stress this enough. There is a process and method to singing well and an instructor will really help. Most people can learn to sing competently, but it takes time, practice and direction.
 

rob2001

Member
Messages
16,927
Sure, the more I sing the better I get, but I'm still me and I can't change the qualities of my voice. I can improve pitch, range, stamina etc...but I'll sound like me until the day I die.
 

starvingartist

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
722
Your voice is like a guitar. Some guys have Squiers, some guys have '59 Bursts.

However, I'd rather hear a world class player on a Squier than a talentless hack on a Burst.

Make the most of what you've got.
 

StompBoxBlues

Member
Messages
20,157
These are just my on experiences and ideas around this but...

A qualified "yes", but on the condition that you learn...Just singing with no correction or feedback I don't think will tend to improve most. There can be exceptions but I m speaking in general.

Feedback would be recording yourself singing (either with your band or solo) and objectively listening...which can be brutal and unpleasant when you first do it.
I heard tht I was straining, trying for notes I couldn't reach well, sounding like I was out of breath. I worked on it, and after about a year...improvement strtd happening. Bout six month later I was hearing rel improvement and not straining so much, sounding much better.

In the meantime too, I learned that I had to spend whatever time it took at the beginning of band practice to get the PA levels loud enough, and work to get the band levels correct. No chance for me until we did that.

Then I bought a few vocal training book/w CD. I worked on those, and am now convinced I could have improved more quickly if I had done that long before, but still would have had to learn how to set th PA....levels.

You need to not have to scream/overdo it to be heard. That is huge!

Practicing scales with the Cd, learning about chest, middle, head voice helped a lot as well as how to not have one of these be so much louder...etc.

Other folks have claimed to like my voice when I just sang, along with acoustic, but though ok I never felt it was very good, and definitely not in the band, but with work it has improved a lot. Also we do a number of songs where I have a different riff on the guitar than the vocals while I'm singing....here again, practice locks that in.

The other HUGE thing...learning the lyrics by heart. Start with that immidiately...as it makes a world of difference.
 

Jon Silberman

10Q Jerry & Dickey
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
42,744
I say yes. It certainly matches my personal experience (I co-sing lead in my present band and harmonies). Especially with a few lessons. It's the same as tennis and golf. Are there some people who can never improve? Perhaps, but they're few and far between. Almost everyone can get better, often much better, with practice and experience. How high you can reach is a function of things beyond your control but virtually everyone can elevate his game.
 
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12,079
I spent 2 or 3 years practicing with a Panasonic cassette tape recorder in my 20's. It made a huge diff. It did NOT turn me into Paul Rodgers/Lou Gramm/Freddie Mercury, but I was way more fluent with the material I was singing, and I developed something a of vocal style. I probably should have taken lessons, but it was singing out of a musical necessity, and it never occurred to me.
 

lhallam

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
17,435
The human organism requires repetition to strengthen the muscles and imprint the brain. It doesn't matter whether it's mental (like math), physical (like catching a baseball) or both like marching band.

So yes you can improve.
 

StompBoxBlues

Member
Messages
20,157
The human organism requires repetition to strengthen the muscles and imprint the brain. It doesn't matter whether it's mental (like math), physical (like catching a baseball) or both like marching band.

So yes you can improve.
But it does matter that you don't practice "wrong", in singing it can actually be bad for you.
 

Ephi82

Member
Messages
2,575
yes, sometimes substantial improvements: suggestions

-you must be able to hear yourself, especially when learning a song. In the band setting, you have to have adequate monitors and players that can play with dynamics. If you are in a band where your bandmates wont turn down enough to let the vocals be heard, find another band.

-I have found that tracking vocals in my home studio is a great way to practice singing. you can work on so many things, including phrasing/timing (dont underestimate how important this is to great vocals) and pitch. Listen back critically and hear where you may have been pitchy. Track it again till you get it right
 

Jack Gilvey

Member
Messages
4,063
I think most can learn to sing competently, especially folks (like guitarists) who've already shown a musical bent. Doesn't mean you'll have a good voice though, I think.
 

toddlee

Member
Messages
121
MOST people can improve the singing voices. Some people will Never , ever be Good Singers no matter how much effort they put in.

The other Thing is you have to sing things that are in your Range and fit your ability.

Ive heard singers do really well with Pop stuff who couldnt sing The Standards to save their lives.
 

Floyd Eye

Senior Member
Messages
13,838
In short, yes. Unless you just suck at it or are tone deaf. Particularly when you are doing it in front of people, the more you do it the more confidence you sing with, which makes a world of difference. I also agree with finding a vocal instructor if you are serious about it.
 

Zuper

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,520
Great post, Jon. I believe you're right on the mark.

I sang in a choir in high school. I got pretty into it, so my mom setup private lessons with the choir instructor; once a week after school. (The instructor also sang in a touring A cappella group, fwiw). I was a pretty decent singer going into this process, but I improved immensely during these few years. By my senior year in high school, my instructor would ask me to sit in with the pro choir she also managed and directed, so I could help the various groups and members out with their parts.

Just like practicing anything else, you can put a lot of un-oriented time in and get nowhere fast. With some good direction, and dedicated, true, "practice", you have no choice but to improve; at least somewhat.
 






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