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Singing, BiPolar Bear, and Live Music

 
 
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 09:44 am
Quote:
I also treated myself to a singer's course of exercises, techniques and strategies to further develop my singing voice. Even after all these years it's never too late to improve.

Hi Everyone! I did not want to hijack Bi-Polar Bear's thread, but just had to (finally) start nattering on about my latest endeavor: Singing.

The above quote is from BPB himself, and I hafta ask him: Which voice course?

Seems to me there are tons of them out there, many of them looking suspiciously like rip-offs. If anyone can pick a good, useful one, it's BPB.

And I SO agree, no matter how long we've been at something, there is room for improvement, and it's worth pursuing that improvement.

I really think singing is all about Practice. I'm not a big believer in "natural talent." I think almost anyone who's not actually tone-deaf can, through practice, learn to sing rather well, in one's natural range.

So BPB, have you worked with this course yet? Are you finding it useful?
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BorisKitten
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 09:45 am
About live bands, my husband (R.) has been playing in bands for the past 15 years (mostly bass guitar, also voice & electric guitar).

Over the past few years we've seen the decline of live bands, being replaced by either Karaoke or Single-Person Midi acts, or (for younger folks) DJs.

He's still part of his old live band, but these days they play so infrequently, he's spent the last year preparing his solo act, using a laptop and much-modified Midi files.

He's only played out a few times so far, but frankly it's really, really hard to be on stage all by yourself for 5+ hours, esp. when you're 51 years old. He's just exhausted afterwards.

Enter ME, who sings well enough to give him a break, at least for a set or two. So I've been working on that.

My method so far has been to download the original song, listen to it carefully, then sing along with it until I Really know how it goes, the inflections, the points of emphasis, etc. Then I download a Karaoke version of that song and sing to that.

Stage 3 is, once I know the thing down pat, R. (hubby) modifies the Karaoke version as needed, so he can play bass/guitar along with it, and we perform it as a stage duo.

I have yet to actually step up on a stage and sing, but I don't have a big problem with stage fright. I'm 47 years old, and spent 5 years "on stage" at work, teaching computer classes, sometimes to large groups, so I'm over the "please don't notice my nose hairs" phase.

At any rate, we plan to visit (this coming Friday) local Karaoke bars and sing to them.

Have other musicians here noticed this transition away from live bands?
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 10:33 am
@BorisKitten,
ohhhhh yeahhhh....but we are booked solid(4 piece band) and I think it's because of this little secret....

it's not important how well you play and sing...it's how well you entertain, joke around and most important:look like you're having a blast!
BorisKitten
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 10:40 am
@panzade,
Quote:

it's not important how well you play and sing...it's how well you entertain, joke around and most important:look like you're having a blast!

Gads, I couldn't possibly agree more!

Unfortunately, R. doesn't run the band he's in.
I have so many problems with the way they do things it's hardly worth getting into! OK, we'll I've never heard their band leader make any kind of joke, EVER. Can he even smile? I'm not sure!

I've been working on my Cat imitation for "Stray Cat Strut." Maybe I oughta pop on a set of cat ears for that one, eh?
0 Replies
 
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 10:43 am
@panzade,
how little is the secret?

~bookmarking. singing is something i enjoy, as is the stage. who knows, might dust off guitar and piano when i move back home in 11 days.
BorisKitten
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 10:46 am
And another thing (sorry to natter here... I shoulda posted about this much earlier, since now it's all built up in me)...

R. used to tell me I "Don't have to belt it out all the time" with singing, to "Save my voice."

WTF? I'm 47 years old; what could I possibly be saving my voice FOR?

Actually, he hasn't said this in quite a while.

I DO sing the subtle/quiet bits quietly, as they should be, but when it comes time to let go, I do let go. I can get some serious volume going, and I think people like that kind of enthusiasm.

He pointed out that local singers (2, both female) sing quietly, even the enthusiastic bits, to "save their voices." They may well be "saving" them, but people don't clap, either.
BorisKitten
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 10:47 am
@BorisKitten,
Another thing: This band has volume so freakin' loud, they can literally clear the room in 10 minutes.

I really think their leader has gone deaf over the years. No matter what anybody says, he simply cannot turn his guitar volume below "11."
BorisKitten
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 10:51 am
@panzade,
Panz, do you all take requests? More important, do you try to play a song you don't really know, just because someone's requested it?

This band does. They might even "train wreck" the song, and sing "blah blah blah" because they don't know the words, but by golly, if someone asks for it, they'll try it.

I won't, and R. doesn't. Just curious.
BorisKitten
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 10:53 am
@dagmaraka,
Dag, I never knew that about you!

Please DO dust them things off; music is a balm for the soul (wait, you already knew that, didn't you?)
0 Replies
 
panzade
 
  2  
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 10:54 am
@BorisKitten,
i would agree, if you were singing 30 songs a night ...2 nights a week
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 10:55 am
@BorisKitten,
deaf musicians play loud
0 Replies
 
panzade
 
  2  
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 11:03 am
@BorisKitten,
we announce frequently:
"This band plays requests, just send it up on the back of a $50 bill and you'll receive immediate attention"

train-wrecks don't hurt as much when somebody has paid for it...lol

it gets more problematical when people want to sit in
Our policy is: The band leader decides.Sometimes the yayhoo becomes a big fan of the band...sometimes we have to flat out refuse.Overall, we're pretty sit-in friendly
panzade
 
  2  
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 11:04 am
@dagmaraka,
that is so cool....go for it
0 Replies
 
BorisKitten
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 01:17 pm
@panzade,
Quote:
i would agree [saving voice], if you were singing 30 songs a night ...2 nights a week

I doubt anyone could PAY me enough to sing that much! (After all, I'm "really" a Librarian.)

Still, Janis Joplin does spring to mind here.
0 Replies
 
BorisKitten
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 01:19 pm
@panzade,
Cripes, I am so lucky, to be able to just post here and get responses from professionals!

THANK YOU, Panz.

I don't suppose your band has any videos floating around on the Internet, somewhere? I think I could learn a lot just from seeing/hearing you all perform.
BorisKitten
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 01:21 pm
@BorisKitten,
Quote:
I think I could learn a lot just from seeing/hearing you all perform.

Same goes for Dagmarka, BPB, and any other professional musical entertainers I don't know about. Thanks everyone!
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  2  
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 03:08 pm
I did this for a couple of years. Saving one's voice is necessary, it's a muscle and you can definitely over use it. Not every song has to be sung like a rock god, but if you are going to take lessons don't take 'em from an opera singer.
Mind you, at 47 you probably have your own style anywho... Don't try and sound like the original, own the song, sing your way. We've all heard the originals and music isn't static. Karoke singers copy all the time, it drives me crazy.
Do you sing harmony? If so, you and your husband could do some interesting musical things together and it's not as tiring when you sing as a pair, it's more fun, more jokes etc.
BorisKitten
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 04:15 pm
@Ceili,
See, Ceili, Janis Joplin comes to mind again (voice broken at a very young age).

I agree, not every song needs volume. Some of them, in fact, require... restraint.

I took voice lessons many (25?) years ago, and unfortunately I was taught to sing loudly, to contract stomach muscles, to do a "vibrato," all that stuff. I havena' really been able to break those habits... YET. Although, I can still learn.

I've had to go with songs that are already in my natural range: that is, very low for a female.

I'm quite fond of "House of the Rising Sun" (The Animals), and can easily sing it in its original key. I can do Grace Slick (Jefferson Airplane) with no problem, and (doh, what's her name? The female lead for Fleetwood Mac... ah, Christine McVie). Although Christine often sounds, to me, like she has a head cold. We don't wanna go imitatin' that, now do we?

(Why yes, these ARE old singers and old songs... because I AM old, and my audience is old, too!)

Give me a Soprano singer, however, and my voice will definitely break. I just don't go there. I could hit high notes in my youth, but now, well, it just sucks.

I've been wanting to do Jethro Tull's "Aqualung," since I think I can sing it well, but hubby doesna' like it.

Hubby sings in the background to the songs he can; he is very, very low. And frankly, I think we sound good together.

He is much better at harmonizing than I am, with many more years of practice. Still, I love to learn!

We are working on (yes, this really is ambitious) Carly Simon/James Taylor's "Mockingbird."

Let me restate that I'm not looking to be a famous vocalist, or anything of the sort. I'm a freakin' Librarian, wanting to help out her husband on the long, difficult task of being on stage by oneself for hours on end!

So Ceili, did you, in fact, take lessons from an opera singer? That was my first mistake with singing!
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 10:13 pm
Nope, never took a lesson, but I've been singing since before I could talk. I've been around musicians my entire life, picked up a lot of good advice from them.
Have you ever heard an opera singer sing happy birthday. They always over sing it and just about any other non opera song.
If your husband is a pretty good guitarist he should be able to play most songs you like in any key. Again, it never pays to try and sing songs in the original key, some just aren't written for your range, so fool around with it. Have fun. You'll do fine.
Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 10:16 pm
I've done a high-tech solo act for years.............I prefer speech level singing.
 

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