Resources for learning to sing as an adult
October 28, 2017 9:30 AM   Subscribe

Calling all mellifluous MeFites! Say I don't have the time to join a community choir nor the means to pay for voice lessons. How do I learn how to sing? Not hoping to become Pavarotti, but I'm looking for some resources (e.g. videos, sites) to make my technique not terrible and my tone better.

I can sing the right notes most of the time (and the times I sing the wrong notes, I can recognize it), but I often fall into a speaking voice, my breathing technique is probably bad, and I notice that I rely on my throat to the point where singing for more than 30 secs starts to hurt.

I (would) enjoy singing folk songs, jazz, and Fleetwood Mac-ish rock.

Thanks for any good resources you can point me to, oh euphonic ones.
posted by cichlid ceilidh to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 57 users marked this as a favorite
My wife, classically trained singer and in a couple choirs, says "its youtube or voice lessons." With the basic problem is that you can't hear yourself (well, without a lot of training) and know exactly how to correct it. She strongly recommends voice lessons, or piggy backing off some of the stronger choir members and maybe a smaller group of between practice practices?
posted by ish__ at 9:34 AM on October 28, 2017

The important thing is to practice. But the other important thing is to practice well. Some ideas:

* The BBC has this guide on learning to sing.
* Depending on your city you might find groups that meet up to sing for fun, maybe even folk music societies, and don't require dues or a serious commitment.
* Some cities have things like "Pop Up Chorus" and "Choir! Choir! Choir!" where you just spend a day rehearsing and then recording.
* You might also look for music workshops that take up a weekend or a day but then you're done. In New York, the Jalopy Theater in Brooklyn has great workshops.
* You could contact voice teachers to say "I can't afford to do long-term voice lessons, but I'd like to do a session to figure out what I need to work on" - you'll almost certainly find someone who will agree to do a single lesson and suggest breathing techniques, give you some vocal exercises, etc.
* While you can't hear yourself, you can record yourself and listen to it. You won't hear what a trained instructor would hear, but it's a start. You could even share a recording here and get some tips and feedback, I'm sure.
* Youtube - do some research to see who the good instructors are (I have no idea).
* Do you have any musical / singer friends? You might be able to barter music lessons for lawn mowing, programming, something like that. Or just ask your friends to hang out and sing.
posted by bunderful at 9:52 AM on October 28, 2017 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for all the good suggestions so far. As an example, here's me (male) singing part of Pink Martini's "Sympathique".
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 10:31 AM on October 28, 2017

Love that song. You have a nice voice and I didn't notice any major issues with pitch. If you were in my city I'd be happy to hang out and sing with you. My suggestion is to work on breath support - the BBC link above has some good info.
posted by bunderful at 10:58 AM on October 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have a scales app and a Ear Trainer app on my iPad/iphone. The creator of Ear Trainer has a couple of other nice music apps too. I try to do scales every morning while getting ready for work or driving to work. The breathing involved with doing scales always makes me feel more awake and actually happy.

What town do you live in? Perhaps if you lived in a town with other MeFites they might want to join you for informal singing once a week. I know I'd like something like that. Hmmmm.. ideas brewing....
posted by mulcahy at 12:46 PM on October 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

I am also a beginning singer and have found professional voice finder, Felicia Ricci's, YouTube channel really helpful. She has a knack for explaining vocal concepts and videos on a variety of different topics. The whole breathing from the diaphram and learning to sing without tension in throat/neck have been tricky for me too, but her videos (like this one) have a lot of techniques which I have employed and now I can do warmups without feeling like I'm straining my vocal cords.
posted by AdagioCantabile at 6:04 PM on October 28, 2017 [6 favorites]

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