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I want to sing!

GUEST,Sir Rylas 27 Jun 11 - 04:42 AM
GUEST,livelylass 27 Jun 11 - 04:55 AM
BobKnight 27 Jun 11 - 05:22 AM
Leadfingers 27 Jun 11 - 05:54 AM
Green Man 27 Jun 11 - 05:59 AM
Bert 27 Jun 11 - 06:31 AM
GUEST 27 Jun 11 - 07:49 AM
GUEST,Desi C 27 Jun 11 - 07:54 AM
reynard 27 Jun 11 - 07:55 AM
Jim Dixon 27 Jun 11 - 08:46 AM
The Sandman 27 Jun 11 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,vectis 27 Jun 11 - 10:38 AM
GUEST,Sir Rylas 27 Jun 11 - 12:57 PM
nutty 27 Jun 11 - 01:38 PM
Deckman 27 Jun 11 - 02:28 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Jun 11 - 02:58 PM
Phil Edwards 27 Jun 11 - 06:06 PM
Suegorgeous 27 Jun 11 - 09:28 PM
Phil Edwards 29 Jun 11 - 05:55 PM
skipy 29 Jun 11 - 07:18 PM
GUEST,Guest - Betsy 29 Jun 11 - 07:52 PM
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Subject: I want to sing!
From: GUEST,Sir Rylas
Date: 27 Jun 11 - 04:42 AM

Specifically I want to sing traditional songs in front of people.

So what am I doing wrong?

(Regular Catter here, sans cookie for the sake of frankness. Not just a rant though - genuine question.)

The trouble is I keep learning stuff. At the moment I've got three songs ready to go that I've never sung in public and another three I'm working on. Plus about 30 or 40 that I've only ever sung once in public & could do with revisiting.

I go to a singaround locally: that's great, but it's only fortnightly and you only get two songs, or one if it's busy. Usually I bring along three new songs, get two, do one, then get sparked off by someone else to do something I hadn't planned - which is great, but I'm never going to get back round to The Outlandish Knight that way.

I go to a local folk club occasionally, but it's way too busy these days - it goes on ridiculously late and you only get one song (plus I'm usually the only traddie in the place). There are a few other FCs in travelling distance, but they're either on a bad evening for me or very light on trad - I find it hard to justify an evening out (to the other half or to myself) if I'm going to come in at midnight saying "well, on the plus side, I got two songs". (I'm not quite that arrogant, and the clubs aren't quite that bad. But an evening of songs by Gordon Lightfoot and Ralph McTell can seem like a very long one, particularly if I've got work in the morning.)

I thought festivals were going to be the answer - relaxed get-togethers where people can sing for hours on end, isn't that (part of) the idea? I'm limited by lack of interest from the rest of the household - Whitby or Sidmouth might not actually constitute grounds for divorce, but I wouldn't want to push it. I have been to a few fests locally, though. I've herad some great music, but on the singing front it's been a mixture of

- pub back-rooms where a bunch of people who all know each other swap songs without pausing for breath
- informal jump-in singarounds where... well, you try 'jumping in' when you sing unaccompanied and you've prepared "Blackwaterside"
- formal, inclusive singarounds where everyone gets a go... the problem being that there are about 60 people in the room, so by the time everyone's had one song we're all ready for a break
- serious sessions with Names in the room - which is great, except that your chance of getting called if you're not a Name is nil.

It's like needing work experience to get work - people need to know I can sing before I can get a hearing, but if they haven't heard me they never will know I can sing. Being an old fart doesn't help (does it ever?) - roll up at a singaround as a 20-year-old novice and the older generation will welcome you with open arms, especially if you then build up a repertoire. Do the same at 50 and I think they just assume you weren't really a novice at all.

I know this sounds like I'm moaning at everyone else, largely because I am. But I do want to know what I'm doing wrong, since after all I can change that. Should I just persevere & keep on putting myself about at the local clubs? Be more pushy? Be nicer to people? Convert my wife to trad? Learn an instrument? Learn to like Ralph McTell?


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Subject: RE: I want to sing!
From: GUEST,livelylass
Date: 27 Jun 11 - 04:55 AM

perhaps look outside of the folk circuit (yes trad often tends to be in the minority in folk.) set up a small local social group for fellow novices interested in discovering and singing traditional songs - place ads in the local library/co-op/gum-tree/village newsletter/pubs (you might need to explain what they are if looking outside the folk circuit though)


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Subject: RE: I want to sing!
From: BobKnight
Date: 27 Jun 11 - 05:22 AM

Try for a floor spot where you get to sing 3-4 or more songs. Or as the previous poster has said, start your own trad song group. Good luck.


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Subject: RE: I want to sing!
From: Leadfingers
Date: 27 Jun 11 - 05:54 AM

I very rarely find a singaround that does not have some kind of 'Man In Charge' - Find him and tell him you are an inexperienced singer looking for a chance to sing , then do your best with what ever you have prepsared .
Failing that , as suggested , start a TRADITIONAL singing session local to yourself .


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Subject: RE: I want to sing!
From: Green Man
Date: 27 Jun 11 - 05:59 AM

Are you a bRIT, If so try Mr Reds website. Lots of information on there about clubs abd the kind of things that they do.

Good luck.

GM


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Subject: RE: I want to sing!
From: Bert
Date: 27 Jun 11 - 06:31 AM

Learn a couple of funny songs or bawdy songs. Very few singers have the courage to sing them and they are always welcome.


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Subject: RE: I want to sing!
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jun 11 - 07:49 AM

Come to Connemara or the Aran Islands. You can sing your heart out.


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Subject: RE: I want to sing!
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 27 Jun 11 - 07:54 AM

a few thoughts, firstly your local club sounds v ery busy which is great for Folk generally but you are missing out. But that does show it's a very good area for a folk club, why not as others have said, start a little singaround club of your own, I would think some of the overspill at your local FC would support it. Secondly are you letting the host/s know that you want to sing i.e are you pushing yourself forward enough? At our club I make a point og greeting all newcomers and asking if they are performers or just wanting to watch, all good host should do that and not just ask the 'names to sing' we'll often give a newcomer an extra song as a welcome. And we recently introduced a fornightly Showcase spot where all regulars get a 5 song spot regardless of ability, a good idea as I've noticed other local clubs copying it ;). Finally are the songs you do too long? What I mean is your local club sounds unusually busy and when we are over full with performers I have to advice performers to try avoid great long dirges, so get a few good short songs for those kind of nights and a host might be more inclined to choose you. Keep singing


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Subject: RE: I want to sing!
From: reynard
Date: 27 Jun 11 - 07:55 AM

I've recently started singing after a long gap and I'm working on getting to be a floor-singer in a few clubs- that's hard enough to achieve although for me it is more about self-confidence, overcoming nerves and memory issues. These days it seems to take months to learn a song and maybe I never sing it in public at all- it's so much easier not to. There's a lot of competition out there and it's tough to get heard. Maybe my voice isn't that great either. But I am motivated- right now it seems like the only thing worth doing.
    So what to do? I think you need to be versatile. If you have a good voice that will carry you, talent will shine through and be appreciated if you persevere; otherwise you might think about developing your performance skills. If you don't play an instrument you can still extend your "act" to entertain the audience (this is all about entertaining people isn't it?) If you only have one song why not add some spiel- a little stand up comedy perhaps? There was a chap on Telly the other day (sorry there goes my memory again) who made a half hour show out of introducing a song. And if you are really serious you might want to think about ditching the wife and kids...


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Subject: RE: I want to sing!
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 27 Jun 11 - 08:46 AM

Find a few people whose tastes are similar to yours and invite them to your home for a singaround.


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Subject: RE: I want to sing!
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Jun 11 - 09:07 AM

It's like needing work experience to get work - people need to know I can sing before I can get a hearing, but if they haven't heard me they never will know I can sing. Being an old fart doesn't help (does it ever?) - roll up at a singaround as a 20-year-old novice and the older generation will welcome you with open arms, especially if you then build up a repertoire. Do the same at 50 and I think they just assume you weren't really a novice at all.
    yes, this young bias can be annoying, start having house singarounds with a few friends, but persist trying to do floor spots as well.


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Subject: RE: I want to sing!
From: GUEST,vectis
Date: 27 Jun 11 - 10:38 AM

There are loads of sessions where people, experienced or not, only get one song. I would prefer to hear one wonderfully done song from everybody than two or three less well performed.

I will always prepare one song but have a couple in reserve in case it is quiet night and there are fewer singers who need to sing two or three during the evening. I know a number of people who go out several times a week to different clubs in order to be able to sing more songs but this can lead to divorce, as you so rightly pointed out.

Just keep singing and over time you will build up a good repetoire of songs you can, not just sing, but perform well. When that happens you will be a name too.


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Subject: RE: I want to sing!
From: GUEST,Sir Rylas
Date: 27 Jun 11 - 12:57 PM

The idea of getting some like-minded traddies together is definitely interesting. The funny thing is, when the ultra-busy folk club started it was a lot less busy, and I was down there most weeks doing four or five songs a night (not traditional songs, but that's another story). I'd give a lot for that kind of exposure now, not to mention that amount of practice!

I can't see myself ever being anyone's idea of a 'name', though - I've been plugging away at this for a few years now, and I never seem to get asked to do anything. This is why I asked if I may need to be more pushy - or to be nicer to people! (It's also possible that my singing isn't as good as I like to think it is. I can't sing harmony, which is a limitation.)

Anyway, thanks to all for the encouraging words - it's appreciated.


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Subject: RE: I want to sing!
From: nutty
Date: 27 Jun 11 - 01:38 PM

Getting together with like-minded people is a great idea and can often lead to the formation of groups or informal sessions. You really have to broaden your horizons and spread your wings even if you are not supported by your family.

In my case , it was a harmony group which I sang with for many years, This gave me the experience and confidence to branch out on my own and this year, at the age of 67, for the first time ever, I have my first solo booking at my local festival, Singing songs that I love singing and many of which I have written.

I have now been singing for 40 years and have never yet had a family member come to see me.


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Subject: RE: I want to sing!
From: Deckman
Date: 27 Jun 11 - 02:28 PM

I think I'll weigh in on this discussion ... it's a good one. To explain where I'm coming from: I'm a very experienced singer of mostly traditional folksongs. I live in the Seattle area. And I'm REALLY OLD ... 174 (maybe just 74, I forget).

I've been perfoming since I was 14. Early on I studied voice formally and built a huge repertoire. For most of my working life, I kept up my performance sheduale while raising a family and running my construction business.

Since I retired about 5 years ago, I have increased my concerts, done more tours than I prefer, and I feel I'm in better voice now than ever. I also have recently been doing some serious "performance coaching" for beginners.

I recently spent a week of intense work with a young lady (19) who really wants to get into the music scene nationally. She has talent, and with hard work on her part, she has a chance to make it big.

Part of our work together was to establish a one year plan: voice and guitar lessons, involvement in an acting group, build her repertoire, on and on. Another part of her plan is to get involved in every singing situation she can find. This means attending song circles, practice sessions, busking. Do ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING to get herself noticed. I suggested that she find someone to emulate, and make a nusiance of herself. Let that person know that she's very serious about her chosen field.

And, notice this, start to build her personal FAN CLUB. When I suggested this, she smiled and said: "I've already got one and I didn't know it."

So ... my point is ... go for it in every way possible. Best wishes, bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: I want to sing!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Jun 11 - 02:58 PM

"Find a few people whose tastes are similar to yours and invite them to your home for a singaround."
This has always worked in my experience - in many ways the informal setting without the lack of pressure from having an audience can be a tremendous advantage, giving you time to discuss the songs with sympathetic fellow enthusiasts (as long as you don't overdo the chat).
At several periods of my life we used these 'kitchen sessions' as fully fledged workshops to enable singers to bring in problem songs.
I still occasionally meet up with ex members of our Manchester workshop - good days!
In Ireland, the natural environment for singing was seldom public places like the pub, but in farmhouse kitchens when neighbours would visit each other after work to sing, dance, play music, tell stories or just to exchange news - they even had a name for it - the cuirt (pr. coor) or visit.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: I want to sing!
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 27 Jun 11 - 06:06 PM

Interesting stuff, Deckman. I particularly liked this idea:

I suggested that she find someone to emulate, and make a nusiance of herself. Let that person know that she's very serious about her chosen field.

Probably good advice for a lot of us. All I need to do now is identify the nearest contemporary equivalent to Tony Rose and/or Peter Bellamy...


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Subject: RE: I want to sing!
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 27 Jun 11 - 09:28 PM

Guest - whereabouts in Connemara? didn't find much when I was there!


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Subject: RE: I want to sing!
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 29 Jun 11 - 05:55 PM

Just wanted to thank our pseudonymous friend for being so frank (not to say bold) about this one - my experiences are similar in several respects, & I suspect there are a few of us out here living lives of quiet disgruntlement.


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Subject: RE: I want to sing!
From: skipy
Date: 29 Jun 11 - 07:18 PM

Just sing mate, just sing! & yes, that is coming from me! those who know me will know what I mean, time is short for me now & I have spent decades saying "I want to sing" & been too scared to do so, so now I HAVE to get out there & give it a go.
Skipy.


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Subject: RE: I want to sing!
From: GUEST,Guest - Betsy
Date: 29 Jun 11 - 07:52 PM

Start talking to other singers/musicians - and a bit like Jinm Dixon said, ask them are they interested in meeting somewhere for a Jam.
The idea being a lot of places would welcome extra custom (especially in the UK )and to make it different ,have it in mind that anyone singing can be joined by any musician(s) who knows the song(s) . I go to a seesion like this - sometimes I don't fancy singing and just accompanying and sometimes I sing 6,7,8 songs over the course of the evening. Hunt down a friendly pub !!!!


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