#83657  by javalina
 Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:06 pm
We all know people who have been singing since they were kids, harmonizing etc. Do you guys know any people that didn't start singing till they were old? (like 47) I just started singing chord tones and my own real slow version of I Know You Rider. I figure it's good for my ears, if not anybody else's.

My question is: can you learn to really sing at an advanced age, or is it one of those things you had better start as a kid like violin and trumpet?
 #83658  by Rusty the Scoob
 Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:32 pm
I was getting to be acceptable at harmonies last summer when I worked on them a lot... couldn't sing a note when I was younger. It's definitely a developable skill. Not sure if you can become a great frontman but I think you can learn to hit pitches and phrasing.
 #83663  by ronster
 Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:48 pm
While I've been playing the guitar for 35 years, I didn't start singing until 2 years ago when I turned 50. I figured at this point of my life I don't care much what people think I just want to sing along while I play. From what I can hear, yes you do get much better and it does help your ear and playing a lot. Wish I started a long time ago.
 #83666  by JonnyBoy
 Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:03 pm
Check out the local churches, they sometimes have voice training for VERY little money (nightly church donations $10-20) and you can learn a lot. The down side for the less religious people, they will try day and night to get you to come to church 3 times a week and donate 10% of your income, but you can say you attend another church you're happy at. These are classes to help choir singers better their skills or try to brush up new comers into the choir. Around her it is open to anyone that wants to try. The lady at a church up the street from me is a killer Aretha Franklin, she also sings in a Jazz ensemble on the side. Then again, I live in the bible belt, churches are on every street corner. If you're single, there are some quality women to meet also.
 #83669  by FretfulDave
 Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:06 pm
Been playing since 13. Didn't sing with or play with anyone till I was 46. Albeit some once and done jams in college and the one guy I played with, but no groups or jams.

Sing away. I got whatever my chops are by singing in the living room playing acoustic renditions of Dead tunes mostly and others that I liked. I just worked on it and worked on it. When I fell in with the guys I mainly play with, we were instrumental but wanted something to keep the context of the song... so I started singing. 9 years later, I am not great, but I hit the notes and as a couple of the guys on the board can (hopefully) say, keep a jam rolling along.

Sing out. Practice by yourself. Keep at it. You will get there.


 #83678  by tcsned
 Tue Jul 20, 2010 5:13 am
When my band first started we had two really strong lead singers (1 male, 1 female) - it was something I had never done and was frankly terrified of. In my mid 20s I started singing a couple of tunes that were pretty easy (West LA Fadeaway and the NRPS tune Henry) and that was about it. Then our male vocalist finally finished his PhD and took a job at teaching Penn St so I was left with lead singing duties. It was pretty rough for a few months. Thankfully we're doing Dead music and the GD vocals were always a little hit or miss so our fans tolerated my learning curve (I was in my early-mid 30s then). I am now in my mid 40s and singing a good 60-70% of the tunes. I ain't great but tolerable. You can learn to do anything at any age - it's easier when you are young but not impossible as you get older. Singing scales is important - a little sight reading is a good idea too. Get a jazz fake book and practice the melodies. It's not just singing scales, it's intervals and melody too. Also keep an eye out to style. Do you want to sing like Jerry or Bobby? Do you want to sing like Freddie Mercury? Listen to their inflections and their idiosyncrasies - try to copy them. Keep at it. One key is have no fear. Don't be afraid to belt it out. If you do you may still bomb but you have a chance of hitting it out of the park. If you are tentative and hold back you will bomb.
 #83688  by strumminsix
 Tue Jul 20, 2010 6:48 am
Is there really anything you don't get better at with practice?
 #83713  by jefkahn
 Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:17 am
tcsned wrote:If you are tentative and hold back you will bomb.
I agree. Tentative singers just about always sound bad no matter how much talent they have. For people who are vocally challenged (a group I could be president of) I think it's better to sing with confidence than to try to hide the poor voice by holding back.
 #83715  by tcsned
 Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:33 am
jefkahn wrote:
tcsned wrote:If you are tentative and hold back you will bomb.
I agree. Tentative singers just about always sound bad no matter how much talent they have. For people who are vocally challenged (a group I could be president of) I think it's better to sing with confidence than to try to hide the poor voice by holding back.
jefkahn - I think I could be VP of the group :lol:

It's all about setting yourself up for success too. Know your vocal range - when a song goes out of where you can sing rearrange the line. It's better to change a melody than to butcher it. I have to sing Sugar Mag for a wedding gig and had to drop those high notes down (so does Bobby these days) to where I can hit them. Also, if your not a great singer find a cool style - Bob Dylan was not a great singer by any stretch of the imagination but he had a recognizable style and it worked . . . more or less. Even Jerry was not the strongest singer but had a thing that really worked when he was on and he had style.
 #83718  by tcsned
 Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:18 am
DenverEd wrote:Learning to sing (late in life) is just as hard as learning to play an instrument. Doing both at the same time....in front of other humans....is terrifying.
NO FEAR! :cool:
Keep in mind - you're going to be better than 95% of the people in the audience :lol:
 #83728  by tigerstrat
 Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:26 pm
practice singing and familiarizing your voice with the different intervals, using handy phrases from popular songs as guides, like Happy Birthday, Hey Jude, Over the Rainbow, etc.

http://www.alchemyacappella.com/Musical ... sGuide.pdf
 #83739  by javalina
 Tue Jul 20, 2010 4:02 pm
That's cool; I printed that one up. I am also going to get one of the Grateful Dead songbooks and try and sight read and sing the melodies. Which one is the best one to get overall?
 #83745  by Harvestwind
 Tue Jul 20, 2010 5:04 pm
I've been playing bass for about 30 years and singing as well for about 15. For a long time I was the guy in the band who could do a number when the lead singer wanted a rest, and usually sang one or two songs a night. Over time I built up repertoire of songs I could sing and play and eventually started taking gigs as a front man. I know I'll never be hailed as a great vocalist but I sing in tune and enunciate well enough to be understood. In other words, my vocals are acceptable.

I believe that anyone can sing if they approach it with the same type of discipline as learning an instrument. Someone once said to me "In a band situation, every voice is an instrument and every instrument is a voice". I think there's a lot to be said for that.
 #83777  by hotasaPistol
 Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:36 am
When my buddies and I started our little group about 4 years ago I was 52.............nobody sang and I was encouraged to try...........I emulated Bobby because I play the rythmn guitar and I am familiar with his style.......I have a deep voice and also spent a lot of time doing blues songs and sound like Howlin Wolf............after a lots of nights practicing by myself I have become a lot more confident and am acceptable to me and my band mates...........I even got to get up and play and sing a song( Hey Joe) with Gary Hoey a couple of months ago when he played my place......I was scared so bad he had to plug in my guitar....however when we started I just let it rip and pulled it off quite well..... a couple of chicks asked me for my number.......so if an old dog like me can do it any one can...........
just takes a lot practice and being willing to fall of the cliff of failure in order to fly.....also had to learn what I couldn't do.......I am having more fun singing now and feel like I am also learning to be a better player with my bandmates

:smile: :smile: :smile: