All my life I've yearned to sing, but, sounding like a sick cat, never had the courage. About 7 years ago I started vocal lessons. Several vocal coaches later (one of whom actually fired me) I found an angel who is helping me. I've made great strides considering where I started. I can now sing simple folk songs and play the guitar (strictly at home). Not quite ready for the stage yet....
Anyhow, now that you know my life story, here's the question. When I play the guitar and sing at the same time, I often get off track with the vocal tune because the chords of the guitar aren't the melody - more the harmony. Does anyone know of any techniques to block out the sound of the guitar so I can hear my own voice? If I focus on my voice, I can hear it, and make corrections. My favorite artist is Jewel and I understand she wears earpieces on stage. Is there such a thing as an earpiece of some sort for acoustic guitar players (with no microphone) to help "channel" the voice into the ear so I can hear it better and try and stay on tune singing? I can sing a capella OK (hope I spelled that right) but when I have a harmony as background, my voice just goes all over the place. Even though my singing is not for public consumption, I'd still like to improve for my around-the-house singing.
If I've stumbled into the wrong forum, please direct me elsewhere.
Well I'm probably not much help, but I might suggest some earplugs or something??! But not earplugs that completely cut off all sound...just a bit so you can still hear your guitar....I don't know really; but it might be worth a try.
Other than that I would just suggest practising. When I first learn a song on the piano which is different to the vocals a bit like a harmony, as you said, it's hard to sing at the same time - and even my piano/singing teacher gets muddled sometimes for the same reason! But the more practise I do, the better I get, and soon I can sing the harmonies.
I really do think you're issues will be resolved with practise and over time, and a can say that once you get used to singing harmonies, it will get easier.
Good luck, and I apologise for the fact that my advice doesn't really offer any immediate cure!!!!
Thank you Laura, for taking the time to answer. Much appreciated.
I do practice a fair amount, and have been working on this issue for 7 years. I am better than I used to be, for sure - still not good, but better. And if there's ever an award for pure persistance, I should get it!
But say for a simple song - right now I'm learning an older tune called "Help me Make it Through the Night". I believe Kris Kristoferson sang it, but it might go back even further. Not sure.
It's a simple tune, nothing complicated. (All the songs I sing are simple). But it takes me around 30 times singing a song, even a very simple one, before the tune "cements" itself in my little pea brain. Once a tune is "cemented" I can hear the tune in my mind, and then follow it, if that makes sense. But until then, when I hear a harmony (chords on the guitar for example) with no melody to follow, my voice is just all over the road. So I thought if there was some sort of device, like stage singers use, except for home use, that it might help me.
I use the Singing Coach software sometimes, and that's helped me a HUGE amount with confidance (I found out my pitch was a lot closer to the target than I would have ever guessed) and I do currently take vocal lessons from a professional. I guess I'll just keep plugging away. How long does it take a "normal" person to have a tune cemented in their mind, or is it something that some people are just born with?
I'll try ear plugs and see if that helps. I have some of the cheapie foam ones.
Re: Semi tone deaf and trying to sing. Suggestions? (other than to not sing, LOL) 21:31 on Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Account Closed (904 points)
For a song to be "glued" to my mind and for me to memorize it entirely, it will usually be something that I have a fervent passion for. If the song is of mild interest, I can take up to 2 months to learn it (truthfully said). So in my experience it's how much you want to learn the song that counts.
Have you ever tried taking a solfege class? It's a listening class that helps you idenitify pitch and tone by using a piano. Maybe if you can "hear" the note before you sing it, it will help regardless if there is harmony or not.
Sometims when our guitar group is playing chords, I'll pick out the melody line on my own guitar, but I can't always keep up (I've been playing guitar less than 2 years). But it does help, even if I only pick out the first few notes, to get me in the right ballpark. But for some of our songs, we don't have sheet music with notes - just chords.
(and a note: we have "guitar night" once a week. There are 5-6 of us, all pretty much lacking in talent. So it's not a "band" per se).
If I have a melody to follow, I can follow it fairly well. Not great mind you - but passable.
My vocal teacher does some pitch-matching exercises with me, but we don't use a piano. She'll sing notes in varying patterns and I'll follow. I was in a choir once, and we did a bit of solfege, but it was a few years ago.
So the problem isn't so much that I can't follow a pitch - I can do that OK. It's just that when I play my guitar, there's no pitch to follow - not much of one anyway. And with all the ambient noise (there are about 5-6 of us in the group, in my living room) it's hard for me to hear my own voice, to make corrections to pitch on the fly. Plus some of the other people sing even worse than me, and if they sing louder than me and are off-key, I have a hard time over-riding that.
So what I was hoping was to learn of some device that would help me hear my own voice better. I guess such a device doesn't exist.
You sound like someone who really wants to learn. You might try learning to sing the various notes of your chords, and also the scale they are written in. Also, you could take some music theory lessons in learning how to create a basic chord accompaniment with certain notes: I refer to a I and V (or leading tone accompaniment). It is really a very simple thing to learn. Also, try strumming your chord softly just once at the beginning of each measure, and you will still have time to think and sing the right notes.