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Singing lessons for folk style voice

GUEST,Jane of 'ull 03 Sep 14 - 09:06 AM
GUEST,trews 03 Sep 14 - 10:09 AM
GUEST 03 Sep 14 - 10:09 AM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 03 Sep 14 - 10:30 AM
GUEST,Jane of 'ull 03 Sep 14 - 10:51 AM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 03 Sep 14 - 11:00 AM
GUEST 03 Sep 14 - 11:30 AM
GUEST,leeneia 03 Sep 14 - 01:56 PM
GUEST,john routledge 03 Sep 14 - 04:29 PM
Bert 03 Sep 14 - 04:50 PM
GUEST,mg 03 Sep 14 - 05:17 PM
GUEST,LynnT 03 Sep 14 - 05:50 PM
Don Firth 03 Sep 14 - 08:01 PM
LadyJean 04 Sep 14 - 01:27 AM
Don Firth 04 Sep 14 - 01:29 AM
Backwoodsman 04 Sep 14 - 04:05 AM
GUEST 04 Sep 14 - 04:34 AM
GUEST,Jane of 'ull 04 Sep 14 - 04:36 AM
Backwoodsman 04 Sep 14 - 07:29 AM
GUEST,Rahere 04 Sep 14 - 10:25 AM
GUEST,Desi C 04 Sep 14 - 01:36 PM
Ged Fox 04 Sep 14 - 01:56 PM
GUEST,Rahere 04 Sep 14 - 04:56 PM
Musket 04 Sep 14 - 05:03 PM
GUEST,Captainswing 04 Sep 14 - 08:09 PM
MGM·Lion 05 Sep 14 - 03:07 AM
GUEST,Jane of 'ull 05 Sep 14 - 03:42 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Sep 14 - 04:38 AM
Ged Fox 05 Sep 14 - 04:56 AM
JHW 05 Sep 14 - 04:57 AM
GUEST 05 Sep 14 - 12:59 PM
The Sandman 05 Sep 14 - 01:45 PM
GUEST,Punkfolkrocker 05 Sep 14 - 09:24 PM
Mr Red 06 Sep 14 - 03:05 AM
Crowhugger 06 Sep 14 - 03:16 PM
GUEST 06 Sep 14 - 03:23 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Sep 14 - 04:31 PM
GUEST 07 Sep 14 - 05:58 AM
Mary Humphreys 07 Sep 14 - 08:54 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Sep 14 - 09:01 AM
Crowhugger 07 Sep 14 - 01:54 PM
Mr Red 08 Sep 14 - 03:11 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Sep 14 - 03:33 AM
GUEST,john routledge 08 Sep 14 - 06:57 AM
The Sandman 08 Sep 14 - 08:02 AM
The Sandman 08 Sep 14 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,Rahere 08 Sep 14 - 01:32 PM
Marje 08 Sep 14 - 03:29 PM
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Subject: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: GUEST,Jane of 'ull
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 09:06 AM

I am thinking of having some voice / singing tuition but not sure how to go about looking for a teacher. I used to sing in the odd session about 20 years ago. I'd say I can hold a tune and I enjoyed singing, but I never liked my voice (still don't!) but other people liked it.

I've got a quiet, higher range voice which I'd like to improve in both speaking and singing, with louder projection and tone etc. The problem is most teachers I've looked up seem to be offering classical or musical theatre style singing and that's all. Now I'm no opera talent and I certainly don't want to sound like an X Factor wannabe. The thing with folk singing is staying true to your own voice and its idiosyncracies and I'm not sure I'd find a teacher who could fully appreciate that. I wondered if anyone else has had lessons and could advise what to look for in a teacher?


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: GUEST,trews
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 10:09 AM

I had a few very useful lessons and the teacher was very sympathetic to my style. He just helped me do it better by improving breathing and timing and increasing my vocal range and didn't try to change the way I sang at all. Have a go, it's worth it.


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 10:09 AM

Naturalvoice.net is home to teachers/coaches some of whom who are most likely to provide what you need.

In a sentence what you need is a coach to give you the skills to enable you sound like you want to sound. Exactly the opposite of a coach who gives you skills to to sound like they want you to sound.

Good Luck


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 10:30 AM

Daft as it sounds, one of the best ways of learning to sing is to join a choir. For preference of course, that should be a socialist choir, but 'most anything that doesn't stretch to Wagnerian opera or Beethoven's 9th should do the job.

The point is that, if the choir is any good, you will be taught all the basic requirements of singing - breathing, posture, relaxation etc. Also, you will be allowed to sing in your natural voice. That, it goes without saying, is very important for singing folksongs, although you mightn't know it from some of the tortured wails I've had to suffer at one time or another.

Also, learning to sing is rather like learning to drive. Over and above any actual instruction you may receive, the more you can practice, the better.

Personally, I'm a singing junkie. In fact I sing around the house non-stop from morn till night and if that isn't practice I don't know what is. But don't let the fact that nobody's ever heard of me put you off.   I didn't say I was any good. But by God, do I like singing.


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: GUEST,Jane of 'ull
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 10:51 AM

Thanks GUEST I will look up naturalvoice.net. You hit the nail on the head - I meant to add that I did have some singing lessons 20 years back and it wasn't a good experience, the teacher basically wanted everyone to sound like her!!!

Fred yes I agree, I've sang in a choir type situation before (I was in the chorus of an amateur dramatic society) but I feel I do need individual tuition. I also got frustrated in the chorus because i coudn't hear myself fully.


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 11:00 AM

Jane,

Don't worry about not being able to hear yourself. The whole idea of choir singing is that nobody stands out. What's far more important is that you can take away the lessons you've learned and work on them at home.


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 11:30 AM

I'm working with an NV practitioner in London, doing wonders. The Practitioners list is on here. I won't steal their thunder, but they've got it right - far further on than classical technique.

I also sing in 2 choirs, but the practices taught there are maybe 15% of what NV does. For example, as a bass-baritone, exercises aiming at strengthening the high ranges are actually the opposite of what I need. And they wonder why they're short of men singers!


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 01:56 PM

That's good advice about the choir, Fred.

Despite how pop stars and opera stars do it (the same way all the time), people can sing differently at different times. A woman can produce an angry, bluesy bellow or a delicate lullaby. She can sound young, clear and sweet, or she can sound husky and weak.

'Cause a voice isn't something you HAVE. Singing is something you DO.

A competent teacher will know this. The point of voice lessons is to learn how to do these things and to do them without harming your voice.


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: GUEST,john routledge
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 04:29 PM

Just to confirm that Guest of 10.09 was me. Guest of 11.30 wasn't me.


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: Bert
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 04:50 PM

In this day and age a singer must also learn good microphone technique.

Sing quietly, let the microphone do the work, don't get too close, don't get too far away. But learn to vary your distance to get the effect that you desire.


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 05:17 PM

I would say try for a folk singer who is knowledgeable and gives lessons..someone maybe in your own vocal range who likes the same sort of songs as you...might not be possible in smaller areas...mg


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: GUEST,LynnT
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 05:50 PM

Where are you located, Jane? In the Washington DC area I can highly recommend Lisa Null as a teacher; after a year with her I have a set of useful warmup exercises, tricks to correct tone when I am going flat, I can better support my upper range, transition cleanly between head and chest voice, and my voice placement is farther forward, resulting in a cleaner more accurate sound. We are working on song interpretation too, and on building harmonies on the fly.

LynnT


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: Don Firth
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 08:01 PM

Jane, I would think that you should be able to interview the teachers, tell them what you are interested in, and decide whether or not they can meet your wishes and needs.

I took singing lessons from two different teachers. The first one was a retired soprano who had sung with the Metropolitan Opera. She was not one of the biggies, but had sung "comprimario" parts such as Violetta's maid, Anina, in "La Traviata." I was a teen-ager at the time, was interested in opera, and it was before I developed an interest in folk music.

Mrs. Bianchi taught me to breathe correctly and keep my throat relaxed and open. This, she said, is the key to preserving your voice into advanced age (Russian bass Mark Reisin was still singing at the age of ninety. He could barely walk, but wow! could he sing!). Mrs. B. guided me through a bunch of vocal exercises, and started me on a couple of easier art songs. She diagnosed my voice as "bass-baritone." Then I ran out of money….

When I developed an interest in folk songs a few years later. I heard a small, informal concert by Seattle folksinger Walt Robertson and was so enthralled by the songs he sang, I decided I had to do that!

I did all the wrong things, according to the self-appointed folk music pundits! Walt played guitar with his right-hand fingers, not with a pick, so I went to a classic guitar teacher, knowing that was what they taught. And was persuaded to get a classical guitar. And I resume lessons with Mrs. Bianchi, telling her of my newfound interest. She was sympathetic and kept going with the vocal exercises ("Good for any kind of singing you want to do."). I told her about Richard Dyer-Bennet and how I liked the way he sang as a "minstrel" rather than trying to roughen his voice and sound "folky." Mrs. B. taught at a nearby college and when Dyer-Bennet sang there, she arranged for me to come backstage after the concert and meet him. Dyer-Bennet was very friendly and helpful.

Somewhat later, I took more voice lessons from George Street. After a few lessons, he asked me to bring my guitar to the lessons so that we could work with the songs I actually wanted to sing. I learned many valuable things from Mr. Street, but one of the most valuable—as I was singing a song for him, he would occasionally stop me and ask, "Now, what does that line mean?" Now, he knew perfectly well what it meant. He just wanted to make certain that I knew, and wasn't just singing the song by rote. Know what you are singing and what you are singing about!

With all those lessons I still don't sound "Operatic." I don't have an operatic voice. A pretty good voice, yes, and it has served me well for many years and continues to do so. I never became famous, with the possible exception of around the Pacific Northwest, but people seem to enjoy listening to my singing, and although I have worked at other jobs from time to time, I've managed make a halfway decent living from singing folk songs and ballads.

Good hunting, Jane! I hope you can find the teacher you're looking for.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: LadyJean
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 01:27 AM

We are mourning the passing of Jean Redpath, who had a beautiful, classical voice and sang folk like few others could.


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: Don Firth
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 01:29 AM

By the way, Jane, keep us posted as to how your quest is going.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 04:05 AM

Try Here
Lincoln's not too far from 'Ull. Frances Kelly (Frank to her mates!) is the partner (wife?) of Liam Robinson, excellent Lincs. melodeon and concertina player and singer, she is a singing coach and she organises a great many choral- and folk-based events in Lincolnshire.


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 04:34 AM

Thanks for the info. Don your story is interesting.   Backwoodsman I will look into that Lincoln stuff, thank you. I'm in Hull, East Yorkshire UK.

I have just discovered we have a few natural voice practitioners in my area, they run community choirs so I will probably pop along to some of their classes.

Will be interesting this time around to see how my voice has changed. the other thing is I have a few health issues that affect my voice so I'm hoping a teacher can help with these. I've got an underactive thyroid which can make your voice weak and husky as your thyroid can enlarge. I've also been plagued by ENT problems all my life due to allergies. I've now got a really bad dust mite allergy which causes post nasal drip, inflammation, sinusitis and makes me cough a lot, and coughing is really bad for the voice. I could do with some diet advice maybe to help with this.


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: GUEST,Jane of 'ull
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 04:36 AM

That previous post was me by the way!


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 07:29 AM

Good luck Jane, whichever option you take.


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 10:25 AM

Work with the NV practitioner on a 1:1 basis as well as in the Choir, they tend to have to wind things back to the lowest common denominator to reach a viable level of warmup rather than the warmup you need. I do my own before the Choir Director starts, as that way I know I'll have it done: I use the Choir warmup to get into synch with the Choir as the next step. It's that acapella moment when you have to start perfectly together without a director to lead, trust in yourselves and your breathing.


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 01:36 PM

Thee are some vry good on line vocal lessons on You tube, many of them free. But if you have a locawl folk club why not suggest they start a vocal workshop, one I used to attend held one weekly an hour before the club night, helped a few peopl become performers


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: Ged Fox
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 01:56 PM

Open your mouth
Sing to the back of the room
"Sing as if you don't need the money"


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 04:56 PM

That's the brute force approach, you need to be canny with it, Ged. That's why she's got a rough throat - you may like risking your voice with nodules becoming cancerous, which is what constantly straining the voice can do, but why should you when you can do it cannily, by getting some decent technique under your belt - and that goes far beyond belting it at the back row. Sure, some of the time it works, but you won't get diction and you won't get stamina that way.
Now if it works for you, Ged, grand. But don't pretend that that's all there is, because it isn't, sorry. Me, a while back I led half the Festival Hall bar, a hundred or so untrained singers, without amplification. Can your belting it out do that, unamplified?


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: Musket
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 05:03 PM

I have a friend in a choir in Hull. I'll email her a link to this page. Her choir might be of use?


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: GUEST,Captainswing
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 08:09 PM

Here is your answer Jane.

http://zgvocaldevelopment.co.uk

Cheers


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 05 Sep 14 - 03:07 AM

Singing to the back of the room shouldn't strain the throat. It's a matter of projection, not volume. When directing plays for school pupils, I would tell them, "Talk to a person in the back row - imagine it's where your parents are sitting. But don't shout or strain your voice, just bring your voice from just below your ribcage, not from your throat - that will make your words carry." Applies to singing to the back of the room also.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: GUEST,Jane of 'ull
Date: 05 Sep 14 - 03:42 AM

Musket - would that be the Hull community voices choir? I've just sent a PM to them asking if they offer individual tuition or have any extra workshops on as I can't make their regular classes at the moment. I like the idea of a vocal workshop but we don't have a folk 'club' as such in Hull at the moment, we have various sessions in pubs.


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Sep 14 - 04:38 AM

Producing the 'folk' voice (no such animal really) falls into two parts.
First, you analyse the song to decide which emotion response it evokes in you and what emotion you wish to communicate to the listener - anger, fear despair, warmth, love..... a whole bunch of emotional responses.
In this respect, there is no such thing as a 'folk voice' - just as with the speaking voice, different emotions produce different sounds.
In many ways, this is the most interesting and rewarding part of work on singing - making the songs a part of you.
Most of the older singers of folk songs tended to sing the way they spoke - similar tonal range, same speech patterns.
The technical work is the plodding bit - being able to handle musically all the different sounds, tones, efforts, articulation... plus relaxation... all the things that go into the recreation of as wide a range of songs you choose to perform in front of an audience - sharpening keeping in good condition, all the tools in your vocal tool-box.
There are specific exercises for all of these; listening to as wide a range of singers as you can get hold of, working out how they produce the sounds that they do and trying to imitate those sounds AS AN EXCERCISE - NOT FOR PERFORMANCE), and applying it to your own singing, is as good a way of any of doing this - it certainly expands your outlook, if not your ability.
Personally, I have never been convinced of the need, or even the wisdom of singing tuition - I much prefer the sympathetic ear of someone who likes and knows something about the type of songs you want to perform.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: Ged Fox
Date: 05 Sep 14 - 04:56 AM

Thanks MGM-Lion, that's exactly what I meant. It applies equally well to gentle lullabies as to lusty sea shanties.

Opening the mouth allows more volume without effort and relaxes at least some of the throat muscles.

I've no idea what "sing as if you don't need the money" means. It just feels right to me. I think there is an implication of singing without having anything to gain or to prove. "Singing to the back" implies being aware of the needs of the whole audience. "Singing without needing the money" signifies, to me, releasing the song, for its own sake. Diction and breathing and expression are what the singer owes to the song.

All pretty much the opposite of what Rahere thought I was saying.


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: JHW
Date: 05 Sep 14 - 04:57 AM

My singing teacher sang opera but if you can sing well you can sing anything. She has wide knowledge of training methods and very importantly is skilled and highly attentive at listening to me and adjusting what I'm getting right and wrong. I tried choirs but my sight reading isn't good enough and in amateur choirs if you are not confident of your line you may be put off by a neighbour who's getting it wrong.


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Sep 14 - 12:59 PM

Ah, thanks for the clarification, Ged, I did read you wrong, sorry. Still, we cleared up one approach!

There's more than juts singing from the diaphragm, though, you have to learn how to use the sinuses efficiently as amplifiers.

If there's someone in a Choir who can't carry the tune in a barrel (and there mostly is) the easiest thing is to stand away from them. Then you can slowly work on them to get it right.


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Sep 14 - 01:45 PM

I would advise for all styles of singing, good posture, breathing exercises, recording oneself to check clarity of diction and to get some one else to see if they can undertsand your words.


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: GUEST,Punkfolkrocker
Date: 05 Sep 14 - 09:24 PM

Me and the mrs just watched "Pitch Perfect"

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1981677/


definitely a late night 2 bottles of wine kinda adult comedy movie...

Is competative team acapella really that big a deal in American Colleges..???


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: Mr Red
Date: 06 Sep 14 - 03:05 AM

Well - a Folk singer from "Kingston upon" should try hauling on a halyard rope while singing "Blood Red Roses".

Training for the arms as well as singing shanties. And the shanty would be sung like it should!

(other shanties are available, conditions apply)


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: Crowhugger
Date: 06 Sep 14 - 03:16 PM

Jane I've had a brilliant experience finding my own voice singing with women't barbershop chorus. The nearest one to 'ull I that I can see rehearse Wednesday evenings in Leeds:
http://www.whiterosettes.org.uk/aboutus.html

The costuming is usually over the top for contest (bling city) but reasonable for community performances. The teaching skill of directors and section leaders in this genre of choral singing is very high as a rule, all the more so in this chorus, given their high achievements in LABBS (google it).

The number one goal of sound production in the barbershop world is to help singer find their freely produced resonance. Choruses typically offer personal vocal instruction by qualified people (director, section leader(s), assistants or others in the chorus may be qualified). Rehearsals typically include work on what is called "craft", i.e. components of how to sing, how to perform. The lessons I've learned in this genre are totally transferable to my folk singing because they focus on one's own resonance and on effective story-telling that communicates well to the audience.

Worth a visit...even if that kind of music is not for you (but do go hear it before you jump to stereotype conclusions!) they can still steer you towards a teacher who won't try to shoe-horn you into a false voice, to teachers who help people sing without tension and with resonance.


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Sep 14 - 03:23 PM

You should try the London Acapella Festival - Kings Place London, late Jan/early Feb.

And yes, they are rather serious.


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Sep 14 - 04:31 PM

Hi Jane,
The first thing you need is other singers you know to listen to your voice and tell you honestly what they think. It may well be that all you lack is confidence. There may not be a folk club in Hull but there are 2 close by in Beverley/Cottingham. There are some excellent local female folk singers who would be happy to give you pointers, Sam Martin, Linda Kelly, Hazel Richings to name but a few.


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Sep 14 - 05:58 AM

My daughter had two totally contrasting experiences.

She has ambitions to try singing as a career with opera as her main target. Her first singing teacher was absolutely rigid in her approach. She insisted that she must sing opera and nothing else. If you sing in any other way it will ruin your voice. Eventually we got tired of her approach often feeling like she was employing us and not the other way round.
We then found another teacher who was quite the opposite explaining that if you want a professional career you need to offer a range of styles. The lessons were much more stimulating And he rate of progress remarkably better. She teaches effectively for classical styles, musical theatre styles etc. We wish we had found her initially.


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: Mary Humphreys
Date: 07 Sep 14 - 08:54 AM

"Classical" style singing or "Choral" style singing sound very wrong in a folk setting.
Jim Carroll's advice is worth taking on board. He knows a thing or two. The most important thing is - sing in the voice you use for talking. Don't put on an accent you do not use in day-to-day communication.


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Sep 14 - 09:01 AM

Hi Mary hope you are well
Thanks for that - the cheque's in the post
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: Crowhugger
Date: 07 Sep 14 - 01:54 PM

Mary Humphreys makes rather a sweeping statement about classical and choral singing. Mary, what do you mean when you say that?

(soapbox alert...)
In my experience choral singing is about the massed effect of disparate voices, not about a particular style. Some choirs choose/use a lot of vibrato, many don't; many prioritize blend while others don't. The sound production needed for good blend is basic--match the vowel (any vowel works though some are easier to match than others) and sing with similar resonance. At a minimum these choral skills are valuable singing folk music whenever there is more than one voice.

Vowel conventions common in baroque through to early 20th C art music depend on the director's choice and the language sung--some use the basic Latin vowels for everything (I think there are 6, or is it 5?), not my favourite approach because it makes some words rather hard to understand. Many directors use more than those few vowels. Folk and barbershop are both at the other end of the vowel spectrum, using all the vowels found in everyday speech, which makes lyrics easy to understand.

Baroque conventions (including application of ornaments) sound great with some songs. Lyrical styles suit some songs. Some dramatic styles go well with some songs, or for effect in this or that line of some songs.

As a matter of personal taste, I strongly dislike vocal tremolo--it is a constant tuning error to my ear--and I'm none too fond of vibrato except in slight, light dashes for tone colour. But those are just a couple of characteristics one need not apply to any or all singing, and there is value in learning how they work and experimenting with them.

The more important aspects of classical singing (art songs, oratorio, opera, liturgy, etc.) IMO are about projection of sound without straining the throat, resonance, use and control of tone colours throughout one's range, and articulation. Sound projection without voice strain is fundamental to all acoustic singing. Resonance permits full sound without pushing, and is varied to help convey emotion. Articulation of non-voiced consonants needs to be applied according to whether or not one is using a mic, if one wants to be understood without also annoying the listener.

So...I think it's fair to say that singing lessons for folk style start with a good teacher of basics, one who doesn't try to shoehorn a voice into doing something unnatural, one who can not only do but who can teach. Once the learner is proficient in the basics, further study sensibly would be with a teacher who understands the style in which one wants to sing. That doesn't mean that one should always refuse to explore the "unwanted" styles. The better we understand our own voice, the better we can select and apply characteristics that open up the emotional story within the music and lyrics.

Now jumping off my soapbox before it collapses under the weight...


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: Mr Red
Date: 08 Sep 14 - 03:11 AM

Hmmm I remember a guy who tried singing solo - shanties - and the nerves (aka adrenaline) always got to him. But in a "going home, ensemble by the door" mode (a feature of the Battle of Worcester FC) he was in tune and strong.
Confidence was all. The problem with adrenaline (always there when singing to an audience) is that it makes muscles twitch, and the larynx is a muscle and tendons/flaps. It tightens and thus harder to control.
I try to have a chair behind me facing the other way and perch my bum on the back (or a stool). It takes the weight off my feet and the knees don't twitch as much. There is usually a a pint of cider involved which relaxes me, (too much is detrimental).
So as stated above, find teachers that inspire confidence. They may not be professional or even see themselves as such, but for Folk Clubs - prescription is not the way.
The other thing is to find your metier, concentrate on that first. I am a joker and that is the kind of song I fall back on in emergency.


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Sep 14 - 03:33 AM

"I try to have a chair behind me facing the other way and perch my bum on the back"
It used to be a standing joke with audiences at MacColl performances, how he used to turn his chair the other way around and sit on it with his legs at either side of the back.
In fact, he said he found this to be the most comfortable position to sing in; it helped him relax and allowed a free passage of air into the mouth, enabling him to sing long-line songs without effort - I regularly saw him sing the piece of mouth-music, 'Tail Toddle' - one verse and a refrain sung twice, in one breath - this became the test-piece for Critics Group members.
Bert Lloyd used it on occasion, but unfortunately, the back-to-front chair came to be regarded as 'a MacCollism' and very few other singers took it up   
In my misspent youth I always hoped Peggy would adopt it, especially in the days she wore mini-skirts - alas, she never did.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: GUEST,john routledge
Date: 08 Sep 14 - 06:57 AM

Try it at home in private. It does work as Jim describes.Might even try it again on my next outing!!


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Sep 14 - 08:02 AM

have a listen to phil tanner


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Sep 14 - 01:23 PM

never mind sitting on a chair back wards, why not get a chair that is designed well with a supporting back that slopes very slightly backwards and then be conscious of posture.
next try opening and closing the hands this will make the performer yawn, which helps singing. take advice from classical singers who know how to use their voice and look after their voice, but whilst singing correctly, avoid a classical opera style that involves using excessive vibrato.
this kind of chair
http://www.skibbereenmarket.com/images/charleyschairs2.jpghttp://www.skibbereenmarket.com/images/charleyschairs2.jpg


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 08 Sep 14 - 01:32 PM

Only a tenor can sing from a seated position, anything below, never.


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Subject: RE: Singing lessons for folk style voice
From: Marje
Date: 08 Sep 14 - 03:29 PM

I agree that many choirs, especially the folkier, community-type choirs, offer valuable vocal exercises and can help you make the best of your voice. Such choirs usually require steady, true singing with a minumum of vibrato, which fits well with folk singing.

But singing on your own is, for many people, quite different and often rather scary. If, as you say, you "don't like" your own voice, this will make you uneasy singing solo, which will come across to your audience and get in the way of communication.

A good singing teacher (such as the NV type of teacher) will help you with breathing and confidence, and overcoming nerves, as well as finding your best vocal range and extending it when necessary. Many of the technical skills that Jim Carroll lists as important can be taught or enhanced by a skilled tutor - not everyone can work it all out for themselves just by listening and imitating singers they admire.

The rest of the stuff that Jim alludes to (choice of song, finding a way of inhabiting and expressing the song, and conveying to others why it matters to you, etc) is hugely important too, and this part is mainly up to you. But you'll be better able to tackle all this once you have more vocal control, power and confidence. But it's not about putting on a different voice. You need someone to help you believe that own, natural voice is special and worth hearing.

Marje


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