Vocal Training

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ajenkz
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Vocal Training

Post by ajenkz » Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:37 pm

Just a question for any of you interested in vocal training.What kinds of things do you need to work on to improve your own voice?As soon as I can, i'm going to be finishing up the first set of recordings for my site. On my site, one of the features will be mp3 exercise downloads. People will be able to buy individual vocal exercises for whatever they want to work on. This is something a lot of people have asked me to do in the past because instead of taking in person or online lessons, they'd rather just get what they need when they need it. Each exercise will come with either an mp3 file with the description and examples or possibly a written description, with only the exercise its self being on the audio file. I could just read from the script, but I think it might be easier for people to go back and read the stuff, and then click on the exercise to hear how it sounds as they read along. Which would you like better?Along with that, you will get a piano scale mp3 to practice along with.So like I said, what kinds of things would you like to learn? A lot of people are asking for screaming stuff for rock/metal so there will be a full line of downloads for that, and also different exercises to use as warm ups. Basically what do you need help with? Intonation? Breathing? Power? Tone? Flexibility?Also, there will be an FAQ section, so if you have any vocal technique questions feel free to post them here or send as a private message.I'm not trying to sell the stuff, just trying to get an idea of what kind of stuff people want to work on in general. When i'm teaching privately, all kinds of different problems come up that the individual needs help with, so its hard to pinpoint exactly what would help the most people.

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Re: Vocal Training

Post by hummingbird » Wed Jan 16, 2008 2:10 pm

Unfortuntely I disagree with this approach. I too could make mp3s of exercises for people to download and sing along with, but true learning in voice can only come by being observed & getting feedback from a someone with a trained ear who can observe & point out your bad habits and work with you to resolve them. Yes, there are books & CDs on voice training, but they are a one-size-fits-all approach that does not allow for the complexity of the individual human being & difficulty of changing their established programming. Even I, after 17 years of voice training, still coach regularly with a teacher more educated than myself for just this reason."When i'm teaching privately, all kinds of different problems come up that the individual needs help with, so it's hard to pinpoint exactly what would help the most people."Exactly.
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Re: Vocal Training

Post by ajenkz » Wed Jan 16, 2008 2:15 pm

I realize this...I also do private teaching in person and online, and will let people email me files of them doing the exercises and give them guidance with it.This is for people who refuse to do the private lessons, or just dont have the time or money to put towards working with someone in that format. There are a lot of people, especially young singers, in that situation, and this is more beneficial then just going out there and screaming until they lose their voice.

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Re: Vocal Training

Post by ajenkz » Wed Jan 16, 2008 2:22 pm

I'm sure my age is making people question how qualified I am too, so let me just say this.I started training through personalized video lessons with one of the most respected coaches in the business when I was 13 back in 2003. From April of 03 to December of 2006, thats ALL my training consisted of. I had his guidance through talking to him, and also using every online, video, CD, whatever resource I could get to train my voice. But, in the end I did it all myself with just the help of hearing the examples from the video lessons. In January I started lessons with another coach, that are just here and there.I was able to take my voice from pretty much nothing, to 5 years later, a pretty wide range, good tone, control, all that. I'm not going to sit here and say im the best singer in the world, nor that im the worst. My strong point is teaching because I was able to really observe every little aspect that goes into singing well through trial and error from my own experiences, and i've been able to translate that to getting good results when working with others.The coach i'm speaking of even high recommends me because of this.So, all im saying is good results CAN come from this. It takes drive and focus, but like I said im always willing to help people out, and i've got a good team of coaches that I work with that if something is out of my expertise, I can get them to help out too.

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Re: Vocal Training

Post by hummingbird » Wed Jan 16, 2008 3:27 pm

It is my personal opinion that it is unethical to promote any form of teaching that does not involve timely feedback, preferably in the moment. I do not agree with any form of teaching that does not include the teacher being able to see & hear the student as they sing, or allow the student to see & hear the teacher as they demonstrate. Otherwise the student continues to sing 'exercises' within the context of their understanding (or misunderstanding) of what singing is, with their established bad habits. Human beings are very complex and singing in a healthy & free manner takes time, personal attention, and passion.H
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Re: Vocal Training

Post by ajenkz » Wed Jan 16, 2008 3:58 pm

All of which im offering... webcam lessons are available as well from many respected teachers around the world, and i'll be doing it very soon. Like I said, I monitor everything closely through the files and coversations, and any bad habits will be caught and fixed pretty much immediately. I don't think its unethical, and there are tons of coaches around the world that has used methods like this for years with extremely good results, but I do understand where your coming from. I'm just speaking from personal experience, and the experience of the world class coaches that I personally know.But, the mp3 lessons are like I said geared towards those who cant afford one on one coaching consistently, even though you still pretty much get it with me this way.Just helping people out, trust me its better to learn this way then just pushing the crap out of your voice to sound cool.

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Re: Vocal Training

Post by hummingbird » Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:55 pm

I also do webcam lessons on a limited basis. I don't feel they are as functional as in-person lessons, but I think they are okay for beginners to establish a foundation. However good the teacher, at some point the technology is just not going to allow them to hear the subtle nuances between almost-there & right-on-target. As in studio engineering, a lot depends on the quality of the mics and speakers as well. In addition, there is an intuitive connection between myself & the student that is extremely important to me in teaching and I feel the technology does not support the use of this intuition. It simply can't. It's dry. I can't see the whole instrument at work, and my 'picture' of the student is not as clear as it would be were they in the room. The sound levels vary as well. In short, I need to be with the student, in the room, to 'feel' what they are thinking when they sing. Only then can I give them the full benefit of my experience.I don't know everyone on this forum, but I've listened to a lot of the music posted here in the last 4.5 years, and I do have to say that I haven't heard anyone pushing the crap out of their voice. If I did, I would point it out. By & large the problems I hear are more about a lack of effective support and/or straining to reach higher notes... and also issues with songwriting, in terms of writing phrases that are difficult to sing - too wordy, too clunky, or awkward vowels on upper notes. I often recommend that songwriters who are not performers think of singing in a choir for awhile. It helps your ear, it helps you get a feel for harmony, and it helps you understanding phrasing... and it's fun.H
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Re: Vocal Training

Post by ajenkz » Wed Jan 16, 2008 6:15 pm

Well this thread hasn't turned out as I had hoped For the contemporary music styles that I teach, what i'm doing is very helpful to singers of this nature. I specialize in rock/metal singing techniques, which is probably a little foreign for you, but I can assure you for all non classical vocalists, this is a good way to learn and safe. Now for classical obviously, I would never do this type of training; only the in person. However, I am not trained in bel canto so I wouldn't ever train anyone to become a classical singer. Judging from your own voice which is very impressive by the way, you've had some classical training and probably teach along the lines of classical technique. I incorporate some things like variations of messa di voce into my techniques, but I stick mainly with contemporary singers. In that kind of music, most everyone pushes their voice and develops damage without training. This is my solution geared towards them, not the people on this forum necessairly. Thats why i'm asking for everyones opinion on here as well, because it is a different group of singers style wise, so i'd very much like to know if theres any interest in this community for this type of training.

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Re: Vocal Training

Post by squids » Wed Jan 16, 2008 6:44 pm

Quote:This is my solution geared towards them, not the people on this forum necessairly. Thats why i'm asking for everyones opinion on here as well, because it is a different group of singers style wise, so i'd very much like to know if theres any interest in this community for this type of training.I guess I'm confused. You say you're not gearing your videos, et al, toward this forum but you're asking if there's any insterest in this forum for your type of training?It's been my experience that contempo singers usually have at least some basic classical music coaching in order to harness appropriate muscle control and to learn proper support while breathing. I've certainly met many who've attempted to learn the "scream technique" which someone I know is selling online and, while it works, even she supports classical singing as a means to help your voice retain its youth and vitality (not to mention flexibility, strength, etc), all hopefully without developing nodes.I think the most successful singers will have a one-on-one coach. As Vikki said, it's important, if you're going to have a teacher, to have one who's physically present, who gets to know you. Often, singers have collateral (emotional) issues involved that prevent them from singing properly. A good teacher would be able to intuit this via body language, things said, etc......the way they approach a particular song or phrase, things like that. It's invaluable to have someone right there with you while you're learning. I was trained like Vikki and am only the last week beginning to recover from a longterm lung ailment and getting my voice back after 10 years of slowly diminishing returns. I'm so grateful it's back, along with the full power, that I'm about to come out my skin over it. That said, and feeling the way I do about it, you can bet if I need help, I'm gonna need it from someone who's studied for much longer than you have. This is in no way meant to offend you and I hope you don't feel that way. I can see you truly believe in what you're proposing. I'm simply pointing out that after 40 some years of singing, it's unlikely this service would be of use to me. I've used one other online program for scales and diaphramatic strengthening. For intimate, detailed work, it's more likely I'd ask Vikki to work me out via webcam and even more likely that I'd hire someone locally. Classical music is easily integrated to contemporary.This is jes my two cents, though, and only one singer's opinion on this forum. There're plenty of singers out there and probably lots who are more laid back than I am about singing.

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Re: Vocal Training

Post by ajenkz » Thu Jan 17, 2008 10:47 am

Thanks for the reply and sorry for the confusion. What I mean is on other forums and people I personally know, pretty much 99% of them are into extreme metal of some sort. So, I noticed there is a wide variety of singers on this forum, which is why I decided to get peoples opinion on what they need to work on. Even if they aren't interested whatsoever in what im offering, im still curious. I have pleanty of things in the works for the site, but at the same time im sure im missing some stuff that might be in demand I take no offense to the training thing, and im sure Vikki is a very good teacher. That said, I know of many vocal coaches who started young; Roger Love began teaching when he was 16 I believe, possibly even younger, and he was teaching some of the biggest names in pop music at that age. Its not so much the experience to everyone; sometimes younger helps because I know of pleanty classical teachers who teach incorrectly by the book bel canto and damage voices all the time, because they refuse to wake up and study what modern science has proven about vocal technique. But, I do understand and personally I also like to work with only the best and most experienced. But, there are pleanty of people interested in learning what I have to teach and I wont take them to unsafe places with their voice.Your also right about rock singers doing classical training; Geoff Tate of Queensryche is one of my favorites, and he studied with Maestro David Kyle, learning a classical technique. A thing with classical technique is that its NOT always easily integrated into contemporary. A classical singer singing R&B is going to sound just like that; an opera singer singing R&B. On the flip side, an R&B singer singing opera is going to sound like an R&B singer impersonating an opera singer...get what i'm saying? I teach a basic technique that focuses on things like placement, breath control, adduction, etc. that will work for any style. However, when you start to apply certain things/exercises, your going to wind up starting to sound like a singer of a certain style. Certain parts of techniques and methods WILL cause you to sound phoney in other styles. When i'm teaching screamers, we'll work on the pharyngeal voice, which is a nasal type tone, like Robert Plant for example. If you were to hit a note with that kind of resonance in Nessun Dorma, you would absolutely be torn apart because classical is all about lower larynx/rich tones.

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