mholland wrote: ↑
Wed Dec 02, 2020 5:59 pm
That’s why practice outside of the context of songs is important. Those of us who started our musical journeys in school or with lessons have spent a ton of time playing or singing exercises out of method books, which helps to develop technique and an ear for pitch.
I disagree with this.
Exercises have their place, of course. But all of our learning is context-based, and if you spend most of your time doing exercises removed from the actual song, it can be extremely hard actually tying that back into real performances. This is why I very much preferred exercises based on
songs. Take a phrase you struggle with. Try it a few times without the lyrics on a few different vowels. Try it with the original vowels but remove some of the consonants. Notice which places are harder without the consonants and which are easier, that gives you better ideas of what specifically is causing you trouble. Gradually morph from a simplified version of the phrase to the real thing. Go back and forth. Whatever helps!
To get an ear for pitch, I think the most effective (but also potentially the most frustrating) way is to rapidly switch between recording yourself doing a phrase, and listening to the recording. This way you separate the actual doing from the spotting the mistakes - doing both at the same time is more challenging. On the flip side it lays bare all of your singing flaws, so you need to be able to cope with that. That said, a lot of pitchiness in singing is not due to not having the ear (most people who can't hit notes have no trouble telling when someone else's music is out of tune, even if they may not be able to tell what exactly
is wrong) but due to flaws in technique that make it hard to control your vocal pitch - and to get that control, you'll likely end up compensating for your mistakes with workarounds, making it even harder overall. This is how you end up adopting a vocal technique that is technically (mostly) on pitch but either your voice wears out quickly, or it sounds weak, or both. Can't be helped unfortunately, unless you are willing to invest a lot of time (and probably money).
Finally, none of these exercises on their own will magically let you develop technique if you don't already have good technique. For developing technique, there is just no substitute to direct feedback from someone who knows all of the mistakes, knows how to detect them, and can advise you on what to work on and how. I've been taking lessons for a rather long time now and there seems to be no end to things I'm doing wrong that I'm having a hard time even detecting on my own. Some minor mistakes can have a huge impact, and some things (even major ones) you'll just never notice because it's simply always been that way for you.
Side note - based on that I strongly recommend against spending money on books or pre-packaged training courses (except to satisfy your curiosity). They're not going to help as much as the advertising suggests. In fact, they probably won't help very much at all.