Discussion in 'Vocals' started by bornintheblues, Jul 23, 2007.
Just like woodwind and brass players, you need to get a different order to your set.
If you are the only one singing, then you might have to reorder the songs to have the really powerful vocal performances at the end of sets.
And...just like a woodwind or brass player, you'll need to:
1 - Know how to pace yourself. I wouldn't do Mahler 2 followed by Beethoven 7 - I would have an assistant help me out!
2 - Lean on the rest of the section/band. Sometimes *loud* isn't really just *LOUD.* Sometimes it's the perception of *loud* that does it. This means that, a _solid_ bass with a strong guitar on top but appropriately balanced with your vocals riding on top of that - again just enough to balance - can give the audience the perception of loudness when in reality, it's well balanced. Good balance does FAR more for the perception of loudness than simply playing loud.
To give an example - I've played in many horn sections where 1 person in the section feels as though they should or need to play louder than everyone else. The rest of the section (usually between 4 and 7 more horns) tries to keep up with the volume (amplitude) but doesn't. The whole section is blasting! But...when you listen to the recordings, the horn section doesn't sound that loud at all! On the other hand- I've played with other horn sections where we aren't "blasting" but instead blending as a section. When this happens and we all get a good *balanced* loudness, it scares little old ladies in the back row of the concert hall!
I guess my point is - good balance with a strong bass foundation, and well-placed supporting midrange (guitar) and tamed high end (in other words - don't let Bo-bo the poo-chucking drummer beat the living piss out of his cymbals!) will let you "ride" the amplitude train nice and easy without having to "belt it out."
Have you ever had any vocal training? If your voice is shot after one set, my guess is that you are tearing up your voice box something fierce. If you are just pushing your voice with no diaphragm support you can really do some permanent damage. Find an experienced vocal coach that has some experience with rock and blues. At the very least check out this book. It will at least give you some fair warnings.
What is your warm-up and rehearsal routine?
Do you have a voice after rehearsals? Do you rehearse?
The voice is a delicate instrument and needs attention - Sorry instrumentalists, but 90% of what a normal audience is listening to is the voice so it's most important - even in grunge.
The best advice I can give you (as a vocal coach myself) is that you should be practicing in performance-like settings. Think of your voice the way an athlete thinks of their body. If you can't rehearse for 3 hours or longer, don't expect to perform with the addition of adrenalin and hype in an atmosphere of smoke and alcohol without problems.
If you can't manage the rehearsal time physically, then seek out a qualified vocal coach, start recording your practice sesssions and solve the problems. If you can manage the rehearsals, then manage the drummer, guitarists, set list, and voice with care so that you are building up the endurance in rehearsals to make it through performances.
Phil is right on the money here. And GET A VOCAL COACH asap, if you're considering staying in the singing biz for a career. If you can't do two sets in one night, you're definitely doing something wrong. Stop this before the damage is permanent.
It's a myth that you have to lose your voice to sing soulfully or powerfully. U-uh. Those who do are just amatuers, like people who come home hoarse from sporting events or rock shows. If you know how to breathe, you can sing/yell/holler all night long. (Apologies to KISS, etc.)
Support down below in the diaphragm is the place to start. The vocal chords merely set the pitch, and the mouth is the delivery system. Get a good vocal coach to show you the difference. Trying to make the vocal chords and the mouth work harder ALONE is where the damage happens. Without continued support and proper projection, you're setting yourself up for continuing damage.
And then there's onstage monitoring and comfortable working levels. Part of your problem may be that things are just too loud, or you can't hear yourself, or the monitors are bad, or all of the above. Do you use floor wedges, or in-ear?
The easiest way to blow out your voice early in the night is to try to be heard over a bad mix. Vocals must always ride over the top of everything else (at least in your monitors, anyway!); then everything else fals into place.
McCartney (well over 65 now) sings all night and still can cut it. Ditto for Sting and many many others. Opera singers do the same thing; full robust singing for 2-3 hrs per performance. There's no mystery here; they know how to breathe and how to project. Good luck finding your voice!
When I found myself in the same situation I quickly realized stamina = strenght(+ control). I rehearsed 1 a week and that wasn't enough to get into shape. I had to sing by myself several times weekly to build strength. Maybe 30 minutes or so nightly...
honey and lemon
but despite the frequency of this type of advise it just ain't so..
We've been down this path before. There are 2 pipes in your throat, one for food; one for air. You sing out of the one for air and there's a flap over it to prevent anything from getting to your vocal bands.
All liquids help your vocal bands (except those with caffeine and alcohol) but it takes several hours after drinking them to eventually make it to your vocal mechanism.
You might hear otherwise from lots of people with lots of singing experience who are hooked on the placebo effect of doing what you describe, but there is no medical basis for your remedy. The honey and lemon will help to give you a moist mouth.
(not Dr. although I'm bald too)
how's that for a Remy tag line?
I find total hydration to have a profound effect on MY vocals. Would expect it to effect stamina as well...
Singing would tend to dry one's throat quickly given the air passing throught pipes. Also the couple of beers I might drink in a live setting further depletes total hydration
(To lift the tagline from REMY)
...spraying saliva in ever widening circles...
Just a few things that helped prolong my voice.
1. Drink Water
2. When you sing do not tilt your head up, you feel like you can go higher but your really just straining your chords.
3. Also don't focus your "loud energy" on your chords instead use your abdomens and diaphragm.
4. If that doesn't help do not strain your voice and just try playing with the mic settings.( my vocal teach says your a magician on stage, you CANT do magic so give the illusion you are.)
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