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billroy

singing - hitting the ground running right out of the gate

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Folks - one thing I've noticed is my singing is definitely better a verse or two into a song, at least the first song, maybe more. Does anyone have tricks for hitting the ground running right out of the gate? (Maybe a 'lounge' topic, but this is all acoustic music so figured I'd ask here.)

 

Thanks for any input, very much appreciated! b.

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If Im doing a gig or set I always start with a song that I know 100%, wiht my eyes closed, both on the guitar and vocals. This allows me to warm my voice up also and then also give me a better chance to make sure i kick off the following songs on the right pitch.

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Opera singers do all kinds of exercises to loosen their vocal cords as well as stretch their lungs. Not a bad idea to try to do the same before a vocal performance if possible. I always try to minimally clear my throat before a performance as well as stretch my lungs. I suspect what you are experiencing the first verse or two is exactly that occurring, so doing it before starting is always a good idea if possible.

 

Probably an internet search on warming up one’s voice before singing will lead to some tips, I would think.

 

Just my two cents.

 

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

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Yeah Aussies right

While not professing that I have it all sussed , I do know that when you have to think about things that's when it doesnt go smoothly , unless you're gifted with a voice like Sam Cooke

 

You pretty much have to know a song backwards before you can do it justice forwards

 

Having two or three run throughs and expecting it to be great is being greatly delusional

It's just not gonna happen , ever

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Indeed, the voice is muscles controlling the vocal chords and just like any other set of muscles need to be warmed up to perform at their best.........much like baseball players stretching those hamstrings prior to a game. In the car on the way to the stage is the best place to get the chords revved up. I frequently use the "ahhhhh" and "ohhhhh" and "uhhhhh" exercises at various pitches, gradually increasing power and always tightening the abdominals to push air from below the diaphragm. A few minutes of this usually gives way to singing at least part of one or two songs I intend to perform, again at increasing power. Voila.....the chords are ready to go right out of the chute. On some occasions it might be 30 minutes to an hour after arriving before getting up to sing.........in these cases I maintain the chords by humming every now and then, again pushing air from below. As in any physical performance, which singing and playing guitar certainly are, it's best to get the pipes up to speed before making demands of them.

Edited by Buc McMaster

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Thank you all! I appreciate the idea of the internet search, will do my homework, but overall it sounds like picking a no brainer song is req'd, but figuring out how to warm up the vocal chords is what's needed. At least on the open mics you know when your going up so probably a performer or two before me I can go outside and make hemming and hawing noises at the folks smoking butts. Along with warming up the vocal chords, it should help set a tone before my performance :)

 

(Inside thought) Warming up the vocal chords - some things seem so obvious but it takes someone to say it out loud...

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Opera singers do all kinds of exercises to loosen their vocal cords as well as stretch their lungs. Not a bad idea to try to do the same before a vocal performance if possible.

 

After a career in opera (in the tech/design area) that spanned about 30 years, I got used to hearing this. If someone doesn't understand what you're doing, they will probably think you are crazy. [biggrin]

 

But the idea of "hitting the ground running" is tough on opera singers too, and most operas are written in a way that let the singers warm up a bit in the first scene. But there are exceptions - possibly the most famous is the part of Radames - the male lead in Verdi's AIDA. He enters and immediately sings "Celeste Aida", a very difficult aria that scares many tenors. I have seen several performances where the tenor crashed and burned during that aria. I was shooting video during one of these, where the singer wasn't feeling 100% but thought he could pull it off. He couldn't, and it just got worse after that. It is painful to watch that tape.

Edited by Boyd

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There are exercises you can do to get your breathing and your diaphragm working. Should be able to find some on the Tube.

 

They are strange, and people will think you're nuts, but if you do those on the way to the gig, that help you to warm the pipes up.

 

other than that, sing as much as you can every day.

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After a career in opera (in the tech/design area) that spanned about 30 years, I got used to hearing this. If someone doesn't understand what you're doing, they will probably think you are crazy. [biggrin]

 

The female lead singer in the group I worked with back in 1970-'71 had a degree in voice (opera)and keyboard performance from Eastman. She would vocalize (scales, etc.) for at least 5-10 minutes before every show. In a folk/rock group, you didn't have the luxury of building up and exercising with the first number or two. You have to hit the ground running to get the audience on your side.

 

If you've found it pays to loosen up your guitar playing with scales or run-throughs before performing. You'll find the same thing applies to your singing.

Edited by j45nick

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A well known trick is to have ONE glass of a smooth Port wine before going on stage.

 

Anymore than one glass and the Port turns into its other name...Lunatic Soup. [woot] [woot] [woot]

 

 

BluesKing777.

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I admire y'all - as a "mature" veteran shitkicker (musically) this is a realm into which I have not yet strayed👍

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I am known much more as a singer than a guitar player, but I totally agree with the above poster about the "no brainer song" for the first song. I make sure that the first song is in a key that I know is working right now. By the time I finish that one, I am ready for anything. Do not drink anything cold before you go on stage, so your vocal cords don't contract. Also try to avoid dairy products, as they can coat the vocal cords, causing a "gurgle" effect. Warming up in the car is an excellent thing. If you are a singer, sing EVERY day!

Edited by Tekboy

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Doing warm ups before singing or a gig is definitely a good idea. In particular Lip rolls or tongue trills. I used to do tongue trills to the Australian anthem about 10 mins before a gig. It runs through 2 octaves and gives me a good warm up. But honestly, these days I just choose 3 songs at beginning that I know really well and I can dig into and that works as warm up. Its like a car, just need do a couple miles, warm up the engine and shes right to go.

 

Of course if youre doing Thom Yorke 3-4 Octave range songs you might wanna run through a few more scales before ...

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Lots and lots of good and correct advice in this thread from folks who have 'been there and done that.".........and definitely listen to Buc. He knows what he's talking about. I am barely an amateur when it comes to vocals (and most other things musically), but I have followed earlier suggestions from Buc and they work......For myself, my amateurish advice is to make sure you are singing in a key that allows you to project your voice. Don't make yourself sing in a key that the original recording was done in if you can[t carry the proverbial tune in that key. Sing in a key that is comfortable for you and in which you can project your voice.

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Lots and lots of good and correct advice in this thread from folks who have 'been there and done that.".........and definitely listen to Buc. He knows what he's talking about. I am barely an amateur when it comes to vocals (and most other things musically), but I have followed earlier suggestions from Buc and they work......For myself, my amateurish advice is to make sure you are singing in a key that allows you to project your voice. Don't make yourself sing in a key that the original recording was done in if you can[t carry the proverbial tune in that key. Sing in a key that is comfortable for you and in which you can project your voice.

 

Excellent point Larry. If you can change the key to suit your vocal sweet spot it will make a real difference. Sometimes its just a matter of capoing one fret lower or higher or so and it makes a huge difference. A strained voice is not something that sounds good to the listening ear.

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Whisky!

 

Pace yourself!

 

 

Another suggestion is to get something like my Boss VE8 (an effects box where you plug your guitar in one input and a mic in the other, then add reverb, delay, other stuff). I practice with it using headphones, sometimes feels like you are playing at the local pub with the different reverbs on your voice and guitar, but just good ‘stage practice’ because going from strumming in your back room to jumping up on stage can be a real surprise with the sounds. This box really helps......your vocals and guitar are electrified and processed. If you can practice with this every time, get all your sounds and levels sorted, practice saying ‘Thank you very much!’, then take it with you to the gig and plug it in...home and hosed!

 

 

BluesKing777.

Edited by BluesKing777

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Thanks all, gig #4 tonight. Will warm up in the car then head outside to hemm and haww a bit just before it's my time. It's at a brewery, so no hard liquor, but maybe I'll have to sneak a flask in there with a bit of whiskey

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