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Digital Harmony Australia Pty Ltd
PO Box 789
Katoomba NSW 2780
Australia.

Phone: 0412 252588

Copyright © 2014 Digital Harmony. All rights reserved.

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THE MISSING INGREDIENT?

DON'T WANT TO SOUND LIKE AN INDI BAND ANY MORE?

Do you really want to know what the missing ingredient is that separates indi sounds from professional productions?  Great songs, excellent timing, impressive musicianship, arrangements, clever song structures and most of all in tune, harmonized vocals.  Nothing gives away songs as an amateur production as out of tune vocals that lack harmonies.

This is one of the things a real producer brings to the recording session, he or she gets the vocal happening properly, even if that means using auto-tune, Melodyne, a harmonizer program and session singers for backing vocals.

THE MEETING

I recently signed an act to a management contract.  Before then I spent heaps of time listening to artists on MySpace, ReverbNation and was sent heaps of CD's.  So many acts were consistently vocally deficient. 

Conversations tended to go like this:

Me:  There is only a single singer with one line of vocals there without any harmonies in these songs.

Band:  Yes, he is the singer and the rest of us rarely sing.

Me:  All of the bands you name as your influences have harmonized vocals like Silverchair, Foo Fighers, Van Halen, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Pink Floyd etc.

Band:  Well we don't sing.

Or it was the chick singer saying she did not have a backing singer and it would be cheating to do over dubs.  She could not do the harmonies live anyway.

I want to say to them:  "Get your vocal harmonies sorted out or you will fail."  but you can't say that to musicians.  I would be interested in how you get that message across powerfully enough so they take notice without offending them.  Any ideas?

VOCALS ARE 50% OF WHAT THE AUDIENCE HEARS

When people listen to music 50% of what they hear are the vocals so that should be 50% of your effort.  About 25% of what they hear is the beat.  When you have a guitarist fussing about whether they should play a particular songs on a Les Paul or an acoustic guitar; details like that will make no difference to the average punter.

YOU ARE NOT A BASS PLAYER OR GUITARIST ANY MORE

Starting thinking of yourself as a vocalist who plays guitar or bass.  Your role as a vocalist is just as important as your role as a singer.  The audience will pay more attention to your voice that your guitar playing.

CAN'T SING?

Here is the 3 step plan to make you a good singer:

  • Do aural training every night to improve your ear.  This might mean using software like Auralia or working with another band member.  It will probably give you a reason to do lots of scales on your instrument.
  • Get lessons from a competent teacher and do your homework.  (training and practice again.)  Good vocal teachers are hard to find.
  • Get a book of Campfire Songs or Beatles songs or Football Anthems and sing them together as a band.  Only use basic accompaniment like a single acoustic guitar.  Sing together with your band a couple of times a week, start learning to do harmonies and work together vocally.

Record yourself frequently and listen carefully so you can detect when you go off pitch.  After about 2,000 hours of applied practice you should be seeing excellent results.

I often hear people say they can't sing.  Unless you are deformed to the point you have trouble speaking then you can sing with training and practice.  If it is all too much trouble perhaps you should be looking at other career options?

 

 

I value your feedback.  Please send me your comments to:  info@digitalharmony.com.au

Copyright © 2010  Mark Ellis

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