A question of singing...


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Thread: A question of singing...

  1. #1
    Member TJ1985's Avatar
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    A question of singing...

    I'm trying to write song lyrics. I've got a weird philosophy on it that I really don't want to get into right now, but I'm struggling a bit.

    As some might recall, I've been able to play guitar again, and this has helped considerably. The problem? The last time I sang a song... it was pitifully pitiful. I have NO control over my voice unless it's a song I've sung before. I can sing certain hymns, but only because I have heard and sung them my entire life. A song I haven't sung before? It hurts my ears, and I'm the one singing it. On a scale of one to ten, ten being grammy worthy, one being the most painful noise you've ever heard, my singing is -433.2. Hand an amateur musician a fiddle and tell him to play as quickly as he can. I sound worse than that.

    Is a skilled singing voice a prerequisite for songwriting? I'm not a quitter, and while I do get discouraged from time to time and storm away, 99.9% of the time, I come back and keep trying no matter how hard it is. However, that .01% represents situations where I'm wasting my time for no gain at all. In singing, I am so self-conscious about how horrid I sound that it helps me sing worse.

    If I can't sing, am I wasting my time trying to write songs? Secondarily, any tips at improving my singing? If I sing really really quietly I'm not so bad, but only I can hear it. That makes it somewhat difficult to share. I feel like most of my problem is shyness because it's tough to improve when I can't summon the courage to sing to give somebody a reference point of how bad I sing.

  2. #2
    gonna go out on a limb here as I am no singer, but I can't imagine that being able to sing is all that important to writing song lyrics. In fact, I can't carry a tune to save my life and never could but I still sing along to song I enjoy and I can imagine how it would sound if it were perfect. That seems like all you need. Not the actual ability to perform the song as much as the ability to imagine it. After that it just like writing poetry you come up with the words that get the meaning across while still carrying the tune and rhythm you want.

    All that said, I am going to guess you aren't as bad as you think. It sounds like you have sang in the past so that already gives you a leg up on 90% of the world. Practice makes perfect and your are your own biggest critic and all that jazz, but seriously its sounds like you have passion and is probably the most important part.

    /raises lighter into the air.
    Everyone's life is like a story. The problem is few people take the time to really understand their own story, much less bother to even read anyone else's.

  3. #3
    Hand someone who has never played a guitar one and you know you're gonna get the same thing. Point being, it takes practice - just like that guitar did/does. I had a friend I sang and played guitars with when I was in my late teens/early twenties (Red) who sang better than I did. However, he taught me how to soften and modulate my voice, making me a better singer, but I had difficulty at first when trying to sing in front of others.

    Practicing alone helps, but singing with even a very small audience can make your voice weak and wavery. The trick is to muster up confidence which you might not really feel. It is all about attitude. Tell yourself that if you sing badly, you'll at least do it with gusto. People may laugh, but most people will admire your courage and confidence. Almost no one admires a weak-voiced, timid singer who can't be heard. Most people will not laugh at such a one, they pity them so much.

    So I'd sing, and very badly at first, to groups of friends, family and acquaintances with great enthusiasm. Sure, they laughed; so did I. We had great times. Thing is... I got better. I didn't have Red's range, or control, but improved enough that I'd get requests at get-togethers. So my advice: Just do it. You'll improve. We're all just people, and we all have a song in our hearts. Let it out.

    Oh, and a lot of hits were written by not-so-good singers.

    How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
    Here will we sit, and let the sounds of music
    Creep into our ears: soft stillness and the night
    Become the touches of sweet harmony.

    - Shakespeare,
    Merchant...Act 5


  4. #4
    Tj... My nephew plays fabulous music, writes gorgeous music... He hates to even talk... forget about singing.. not gonna happen! You can write poetry, lyrics are just another way to write poems really... maybe a little different.. but still... If you love something enough... you can do it.
    She lost herself in the trees,
    among the ever-changing leaves.
    She wept beneath the wild sky
    as stars told stories of ancient times.
    The flowers grew toward her light,
    the river called her name at night.
    She could not live an ordinary life,
    with the mysteries of the universe
    hidden in her eyes....
    Author: Christy Ann Martine

    Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,
    love leaves a memory no one can steal....
    Author unknown.

  5. #5
    Member TJ1985's Avatar
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    Thanks Hal and Julia. I'm glad there's hope for me, lol. It is fun for me to meld two primary interests into one. Picking a melody in my mind, then finding it on the fingerboard, and then finding just the right words for the mood I want, it's a new challenge, and I like challenges.

  6. #6
    Here's a funny thought: I sing well enough to be asked on to different projects, but my lyrics are terrible. Yes, there are singer/songwriters out there, but not everyone can be them. I learned a long time ago not to let failings in one category stop me from shining in the other. :3

    Also, I'm always available to help out. *shameless*

  7. #7
    I was the same way, regarding singing my lyrics, but I find that after singing them a few dozen times, it's really just like singing any song you know. Repetition is important!

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