Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Vocal Training: Pitch Issues and Target Practice

If you have pitch problems, it can usually be chalked up to:
  1. The acoustic instruments (piano, ac. guitar) aren't loud enough
  2. You aren't really listening to the music
  3. The bass is too loud (overtones can fool you)
  4. The electric guitar is too loud, or you're swimming in violin, steel, harmonica or organ
  5. You don't want to listen to the music!
  6. Your earphones are all the way flush against your ears instead of one side partially off (ok, so some people do well this way... go figure!)
  7. You can't hear yourself acoustically and get aurally disoriented
  8. You aren't connecting to your voice to the music
  9. There is too little or too much reverb on your voice
  10. You aren't really listening to the music
  11. Your shoulder/back/neck/spine/big toe or some other part hurts and you aren't supporting your voice well enough for accuracy
  12. You aren't really listening to the music

There are a lot of suggestions in the list above, but did you notice a certain redundancy? YOU AREN'T REALLY LISTENING TO THE MUSIC... You think you are, but you're not aiming at the center of the pitch in the music. And it's hard to hit something when you aren't aiming. Many times this is what is going on.

Here is a great way to fix it. Target practice!! Every day, make time to practice your aim. Hit a piano key or a note on guitar. Sing a short syllable like "la" or ya" and try to hit the pitch dead on. IMPORTANT: make sure you know when you're right- if you're not sure, enlist the help of a friend who CAN hear whether you're on pitch or not. Check yourself one note at time, then picking more random notes ( a short phrase) and see if you can hit them. Keep making the notes harder to hit.

You'll be amazed. Even people who have had damage to their ears from childhood infections, etc. can learn to be on pitch. If you want to bad enough, you can do it. Just make time for target practice!

1 comment:

insideprimer said...

Help! I've had years of training and yet now I am in a group, 2 out of 5 of the tracks we recorded, I'm as flat as a pancake. Its really troubling me. I'm doing everthing right and we've stripped it back to accoustic to help but something isn't right. I was told it may be the production? Any ideas?