Friday, September 20, 2013

Singing While Playing Bass: It Can Be Done

This week I had my debut as a singer at a gig with my band.  I have always been a bass player, and I have found singing and playing bass simultaneously to be difficult.  So I never bothered developing my singing skills.  I could occasionally sing some back up, but even that was rare.

Our band had a great female singer, but she left after a short time, due to her new marriage and career, and once again we had to rely on our musicians to provide the vocals.  I decided to start singing for practical reasons:  if the musicians in the band also supply the singing, the band is not dependent upon a single lead singer.  Any band that wants to grow and prosper must develop the singing skills of everyone in the band.  Everyone must row the boat, there can be no idle passengers.

I began practicing singing to karaoke songs I found on YouTube, downloading the videos using iSkysoft iTube Studio software, converting them to MP4 self-playing video files, for ease of access.  Then I would sing to the YouTube videos and record the singing with Free Sound Recorder, available on the web.  I could then send my efforts out to other band members for feedback.

Further, I searched the web for websites that teach singing skills, and found great teachers like Roger Burney and TVS Training, both of whom provide a number of free singing lesson videos on the web (and more intensive training for a reasonable price).  I also bought Jaime Vendera's book, "Raise Your Voice," 2nd Edition, and downloaded lesson vids from the web.  With these tools I found some important ways to improve the tone, range and power of my voice, and  I am not working on becoming a credible singer.

Another thing I do to improve my singing voice is to sing along to CDs in the car, practicing the techniques I have learned from the aforementioned resources.  The major lessons are how to sing in the soft palate, how to avoid putting strain on your pharynx, how to breathe, how hit the high notes.  Singing with CDs helps to strengthen your vocal muscles, which must be developed like any other exercise.

Next article:  the method I used to start singing and playing simultaneously.

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