googled06bb313055e587a.html Rock N Roll Rehab for the Control Of Rock and Roll Starring Greg Piper and The Tooners: The Fifth of Several Blogs on Having a Successful Band – Lead Vocals

The Fifth of Several Blogs on Having a Successful Band – Lead Vocals

 The greatest challenge to a lead vocalist is endurance. Every show has to be over-the-top and it’s a burn-out. Many many vocalists have blown out their voices. You can come back, but it takes time, a lot of time. You can expect to be off the road for 6  months to a year and even then, you may never sound the same again.  Ask Elton John, if you meet him. Yes, you’re iron-throated and it will never happen to you. Meanwhile while you’re having throat surgery because all you can do is croak softly, you’ll figure that maybe your rock career is over.

The answer is learning how to be powerful without breaking anything. The best book that I’ve seen on this subject is Seth Riggs' Singing with the Stars. His list of serious vocalists, rock and otherwise is huge. A lot of people don’t want to go to a vocal coach because they’re afraid that they’ll get opera stuff rammed down their throats (no pun). I personally have gone through a couple of coaches and some of them suck as teachers and they’re arrogant and greedy. You have to shop around and try a few different ones. I generally rule out anyone who works out of their basement or their back room.

The tendency for most new vocalists is to tighten up their throat to get more control. It’s hard to learn the difference between a tightening that fights the vibration of the vocal cords and the feel of the vocal muscles that happens when you’re just changing pitch or adding vibrato or holding the pitch steady to the end of the phrase. The correct feeling is like you’re pushing outward on your throat, as if you were expanding your neck. It should be done gently until becomes a habit. The next part feels counter-intuitive. It’s not anatomically correct, but this is how it feels: When you go for a higher note, it feels like you’re pressing  your throat downward. The opposite is for low notes. Eventually it makes your range sound even and you can cross the break into falsetto cleanly. It takes practice. Sing along to an album that’s right in the comfortable middle of your range. Initially you can still get power, but not much more than before. Once I got good at this, my power increased and my endurance probably tripled or more.

On another subject, I am amazed at how many singers have never sat with an electronic tuner as they sang. Of course, you are always in tune because you’re a genius, so you think, until you get fired or stop getting calls for gigs. No one will tell you when you suck because you may be the source of their next gig. People will tell you when you sing dead-nuts on. If you’re not getting compliments, take some time with a tuner before you’re out of work. Forget auto-tune. If you need that, you’ll sound like who you really are when you sing at the Grammys. I won’t mention any names here. I’m not talking perfect pitch. This the ability to match or anticipate accurately, any pitch in the key that you’re given. Lots of singers get burned on this and never understand why.

Let’s look at microphones. Working with a cardioid microphone takes some practice. Male vocals become fuller as you get closer to the mic. Use it as an instrument. For the intimate parts of the song, you work close. When it comes to the Robert Plant scream, you pull away and wail. And while newer mics are not as likely to overload as most older mics, “work the mic” and learn when you are at the edge of its abilities and when you have some leeway left. Make sure that you always have somewhere left to go. If you don’t control your sound, your sound mixer will. Trust me.

Randall Peede


Directors Clip, Inc.

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