One thing I like about the Shiloh Band, with whom I am currently practicing, is that they want a lot. I feel challenged and I like that. They more or less expect everyone in the band to contribute to the singing effort. Up to now, I have only sang backup.
I sang some songs to Karaoke music yesterday and recorded it, and I am definitely not ready for prime time. I can stay on key most of the time, but in the higher registers my voice sounds strained.
Today I started watching the free voice training videos on eHow (see sidebar for links under "Singing, etc").
The voice training instructor there says you can strengthen your voice and extend your range by practicing arpeggios with your voice, i.e. singing the separate notes of chords, ascending at half steps. For example, sing C - E - G -C - G - E - C. (The last C is the octave of the first). You are singing major chords here, the first, third, fifth and the octave of the scale, up and then down again (see the C chord above as an example). Then sing the next chord a half step up, i.e., C# - F - G# - C# - G# - F - C#, and so on. You go as high up the scale as you can without straining your voice, and over time you will be able to go higher as your voice strengthens.
There's more to it than that, of course, and the instructor explains techniques and practice points.
This week I added singing exercises and practice to my regular practice time. Now I not only practice bass, but singing as well. For me, practice includes actually playing and singing, but also studying the theory behind it all. That means reading, and you can find a lot on the web about your instrument and your voice.
I am interested in buying a software program to help me develop my singing. Some of these, the ones that appear highest rated by users, are also the most expensive. You get what you pay for.
If possible, listen to the videos and recordings with head phones, unless you have larger speakers attached to your computer. The small, built-in speakers in most computers cannot reproduce the bass or the warmth of the original recordings.
I play bass guitar and string bass in and around Hollister, California.