The Wild West of You Tube Voice lessons……
I would say that maybe 1% of the voice lessons I see on Youtube have any value at all. And even that 1% are tricky, in that it’s very hard to know if your doing them correctly without the immediate feedback of a trained ear to guide you.
they don’t know…and they don’t know that they don’t
you can’t teach someone something they think they already know
This is what happens every waking second on the inter web.
The following Question appeared on a popular Singer Forum online. The horrible answers from so called “voice coaches” will be in Bold
My Rants will follow unbolded
someone was asking for free advice on fixing flat singing
The Question was: Does anybody have any advise on pitch control? I always seem to sing flat.
most of the advice given sounds more like advice for hiccup cures than helpful vocal wisdom.
in fact most of this “free advice” is just the opposite of good.
and….here it is……
Make your belly tight and lift your chin (yeah sure, completely constrict the motion of your support system (breath) by tightening the voluntary muscles…Exactly wrong advice. You’re not looking for tight here. You’re looking for loose and flexible. The involuntary muscles (that are deeper than the ones you can immediately flex), are the ones that are synced to your nervous system, and the ones you’re coordinating with breath for singing. One of the biggest reasons we care about posture in singing is to free up the inner muscles that work with voice and breath. It’s a moving target!!! Every note you sing requires a slightly different amount of air. Tightening your stomach kills that range of motion.
Yeah sure…. lift you chin ….and tighten the vocal track. WRONG!!!! The appeal to this, is that it makes the space in the vocal tract smaller. This is why so many singers do this when singing higher as well. A smaller space can seem easier to navigate the pressure needed for singing. But you’re now also tightening the range of motion in your vocal tract, which is highly dangerous if you sing full range with a lot of energy. In fact one of the last pieces of advice Woody Guthrie gave to young singers was to not lift their chin when singing, He blames that for ruining his voice. Again, exactly wrong advice. See where I’m going with this? The answer is to learn to manage that pressure that must be present in singing without going for quick fixes. Very learnable stuff with the right “real” vocal” techniques.
gulp air before notes that you’re afraid are going to be flat……..OMG…really?
think sharp with pitches……horrible advice……..that gets you thinking about pitch. Singers that are thinking about their pitch sound like drummers that are counting. (Now I’m gonna get in trouble). One of the most horrible things I hear producers say to singers is “now I need you to think about your pitch for this take.” Virtually never works, and kills the vibe. Again….another moving target. You have all these elements coming together to make a tone on what???? a high note? Now a low note? A quiet note? a loud note? There are so many variables. It comes down to raising your musicianship and practicing in ways that get you deeper and deeper inside the music and exploring all of the variations of your voice and looping trouble areas and guiding your ear towards what you want to hear. And there are some very specific techniques I teach singers to work directly on their pitch, that can mixed in with other exercises and warm-ups. Warm ups should cover the ground of singing and music, including intonation (singing in tune). Most typical “vocal coach style” exercises do not.
raise your mic too high so you have to lift your head to sing….wrong!!!!see above about lifting head
smile (the most overused and misunderstood piece of vocal wisdom used by producers everywhere)……..as always, even with advice that has some validity, there’s a right way and a wrong way to use that advice. The validity of a “smile” technique is that it makes the tone brighter. Brighter tones are easier to hear. Even with singers that have decent intonation, they often sing out of tune in their lower range. So being brighter has some merit. But when a singer understands how resonance works, they can achieve the necessary brightness without contorting their face into a rigged position to get it.
The “smile” advice is also used quite often even when a singer is in tune, because when it comes to voice, bright is a pretty good thing (up to a point…….also fairly abused truth). Again, understanding how “direction in resonance works solves the problem of “dull.”
But back to the question of pitch, if a singer is just oblivious to the center of the pitch, being brighter is only going to make an out of tune note louder. And when you give someone such one dimensional advice they get stuck in a rigid, tight, fixed position, that yields rigid, tight, fixed results. The way to teach the smile is with motion, timing and vowel opportunity. When those elements are included, that technique becomes mighty powerful.
all of this terrible advice is right up there with my favorite youtube butchering of the definition of head voice
(From a highly watched youtube voice person. I hesitate to use the word teacher here)
Everything you sing above the mustache is head voice….and everything below the mustache is chest voice………OMG ugh!!! this has nothing to do with the truth!!!!
This is all,,,,,,,,BAAAAAD Advice…….and bad teaching
this is like asking someone advice about hearing a knocking sound from your car motor and getting advice like:
*Slam your car door 6 times and that should fix the motor
* fill your trunk with garlic, and you won’t notice the motor
That is what that terrible voice advice sounds like to me…….and the world is full of it.
comments I’ve seen on some very popular You Tube free Voice Lessons………
is it normal for my voice to hurt after doing these exercises?
What was I supposed to actually be doing during this exercise?
What does this have to do with singing?
So, my diaphragm is in my belly?
So, I’m supposed to sing through my nose?
Common things I’ve seen being taught incorrectly on You Tube Free Singing Warm Ups……..
This exercise will strengthen your “singing muscles” (Proper singing technique is about coordination, not strength). And doing something improperly over and over, will not make you stronger, it will hurt your voice!
Lip Rolls (Lip and tongue Trills) that are taught exactly wrong…….meaning way too forceful and forward. If you push during these exercises, why wouldn’t you push during singing?
Push your belly out while you sing ……being told in the video that this is “how to sing from the diaphragm. (No, it is not!!!! That is not how the diaphragm works). And pushing in either direction (in or out) with your stomach during singing is only going to conflict with the freedom of the actual diaphragm and the other (involuntary) muscle groups in the torso involved in supporting singing. The diaphragm is not the only thing involved in the breathing process.
Push more air through your throat when you sing higher. (This is a great recipe for really hurting your voice). The voice already requires more air to sing higher. This means you need to learn more……….(wait for it….) …….CONTROL. Not more force. You can certainly learn to have an airy or “not airy” tone through out your range, but that’s called……(wait for it…) ……TECHNIQUE. OMG. Yep some stuff that ya just probably won’t get from from a 5 minute voice lesson on You Tube, by someone that shouldn’t be teaching voice in the first place.
These improper “tips” will cost you a lot more time than they will save you.
I understand the good intentions of giving free advice and lessons. …….But……
Practice doesn’t make perfect……….Perfect Practice Makes Perfect!!!!
No one ever got good at an instrument without locking themselves in a room for awhile and getting obsessed with it. If your going to go to the trouble, then get some valuable instruction to spend all that time with. IT WILL SAVE YOU YEARS!!!!!!!
If you’re going to try and DIY learning such a tricky instrument, then do some research, and at least find qualified teachers to learn from. Then as much as possible, find a great teacher to get some feedback on what you’re learning. Internet sessions have made it possible to work with great teachers from all over the world. More resources are available at this time in history than ever before.
There’s a saying that holds true to just about everything in life, “Pay now or Pay Later”
The money you spend now will be a lot less than paying someone to untangle the mess you made by learning something wrong.