BBeckBBeck 2.0 PRO Posts: 30
Howdy from Texas!

I've linked a recording I made over a decade ago when I was at the height of my musical ability. The story behind the song snip-it is that I was taking classes with Berklee online and in pretty much every class you have to record and submit little song snip-its to demonstrate that you understand the lesson being taught. I don't remember what this lesson was but I recorded this in my closet. I programmed the drum machine and played all the instruments myself (multi-track, or layered, one at a time), and it was just something I wrote off the top of my head for the class assignment. There's a part of me that thinks I should have made it into a full blown song because this has always been one of my favorite snipits.

If it sounds "lost", that's an intentional feel. The music is in a 7/4 time signature. I had been taking drum lessons not long before this which was the inspiration for experimenting with an odd time signature.

I moved to Dallas in my very early 20's to become a "rock star". I studied voice a bit and tried to find a band, but at the time I lacked any real skill. It wasn't until about a decade later that I really became a musician. The voice lessons I took were at first opera and then more jazz rather than what I wanted to do at the time, but I had not yet learned the importance of practice and didn't get very far with it even in a couple of years of lessons. I did learn about breathing though.

Life changed and I got away from music until many years later I decided to study music theory and get more serious about instrumental lessons. I took drum lessons from an amazing drum teacher, fiddle lessons from a world champion, and guitar lessons from several different friends who were very accomplished. I started teaching myself a little piano. And between the drums and the guitar it was just natural to start playing bass. I studied synthesizers, song, and lyric writing with Berklee online. I played bass in a band that was starting out in the Dallas club scene in the last band I was in. When that band fell apart (because the lead singer/song writer lost interest), I decided I wanted to pursue other things and that music was not my real passion in life. I've hardly picked up an instrument since then. Plus, at around age 30 or so, I was starting to feel I was getting too old to be taken seriously as a rock singer. That was quite a long time ago.

However, over about the last month I've had a bit of a yearning to pick up an acoustic guitar and start singing just for myself. Back when I was young I dreamed of being a great rock vocalist, but I never had much range and certainly couldn't sing nearly as high as most rock singers. Maybe worse than that, I never really learned fry. I was starting to "get" fry a little as you can hear in this song snipit, but not even close to as much as I wanted, I wanted to be able to belt it out like AC/DC or Chris Cornell. I started watching Ken's lessons on YouTube a couple of weeks ago and I think Ken's lessons might be able to get me to where I had hoped to be back then or at least more in the ball park; maybe not Chris Cornell, but maybe at least as good as most club singers. Just this last week I found that my falsetto register is something I might actually be able to sing in with some training.

I had decided that anything outside of my chest voice just sounded horrible and largely out of a fear of hurting my voice, I didn't even try. I measured my range at one point as an octave and a half. And that's just in that specific key; so changing the key means I lose notes either off the top or the bottom but I'm lucky if I can get a single octave in a random key. From experimenting with my voice this last week, I think some of this might have been that I just never learned to use my head voice at all even a little.

Back when I started, I was into metal and grunge music. Now I'm all over the place. Some of my favorites are Cab Calloway, Thelonius Monk, Old Crow Medicine Show, John Mayer, Etta James, and the list goes on. And I would love to sing like George Michaels, Eddie Vedder, Freddie Mercury, and so many of the greats. But my point there is that I'm wanting to sing almost the entire gamut of musical genres. While I REALLY want to learn fry and screaming, I want to go from that to George Michael's Careless Whisper and pretty much everything in between. Because that's what I like to listen to: pretty much all of it. At this point though, for me it's just about having some fun and hopefully becoming a far better singer than I've ever been and maybe picking up a guitar and singing some cover tunes for myself and friends.

The attached FLAC file plays automatically for me with VLC media player. I think you may have to have a special plugin to play flac files.

FLAC file of me singing many years ago


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    doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management Posts: 3,978
    Hi @BBeck,

    howdy from Germany.

    Your story reminds me a little bit on mine. :smile:

    My name is Marco, but most of my mates here call me Doc (because I am a MD). I re-started my musical life on my 48th birthday with gifting myself this course. The best thing I could've done. You will love this course and these Forums. Good to see you on "2.0 PRO" - a wise choice.

    I would be happy to meet you here very often. Great to have you here.

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    doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management Posts: 3,978
    edited November 2019
    PS.: Great tune - I love the 7/4 feeling. You should really finish it and make a whole song out of this snippet.
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    DogMeatDogMeat 2.0 PRO Posts: 437
    Such a amazing background story @BBeck. Welcome from Finland. You old clip sounds great, and you'll be nailing those rock songs in no time if keep doing what Ken says.
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    BBeckBBeck 2.0 PRO Posts: 30
    edited November 2019
    Thanks guys!

    Doc, I decided to try and take it easy on the voice this weekend because I have something strange going on with my jaw area which is disappointing because I was really excited about going through exercises this weekend.

    I'm not sure if it's related to the fact that over the past week I've been watching YouTube videos on exercises included falsetto that I'm not used to singing in and fry. (Some of them were Ken's before I signed up and some were from others.) I feel like I've got good diaphragm support, but after singing for a few hours and mostly singing things that I normally have trouble with at the top of my range and ability, I felt like my throat was very lightly injured. I might even say it may have just been more tired than injured. I hit some really bad notes a couple of times where it hurt or I coughed and that certainly can't be good. So, maybe I did a little more damage than I felt like. But even though I felt like it was time to back off I also felt like I could have sang in a comfortable range for another hour or two pretty easily (as long as I didn't continue to strain my voice like I had been). But I decided instead to back off, especially since I was exploring the areas more likely to cause injury and not just singing things I could easily do.

    Anyway, yesterday I woke up and felt almost like I had a bruised rib or something on my right side which went away in a couple of hours and my left nostril was extremely congested. We've had a bit of a weather change here and I've noticed a lot of sinus drainage while I was singing this past week. I heard someone else complain of allergies the other day with the weather change.

    The congestion in my nose went back to being pretty light after I got up and blew my nose.

    But I noticed my lymph node on my left side under my tongue is quite sore and it hurts to open my jaw all the way and chew, although it's more of dull annoyance and stiffness than real pain. I can also lightly feel discomfort in my left ear canal. None of this is severe. Other people might even just take some aspirin and ignore it, but first of all I want to get it healed up so that it doesn't turn into something worse and second I'm trying to balance singing practice with staying in good health and avoiding injury.

    I'm a bit confused because it feels like this is not related to the singing I've been doing and maybe it's just something like a cold virus (although it doesn't seem to be increasing or turning into cold like symptoms). I expect vocal injury to hurt in the throat and this is that lymph node area that's outside of the throat and up into my ear which is certainly not my throat. But I'm thinking it's awfully close to the throat and that maybe it was something I did while singing. And I'm also thinking that even if it's not a singing injury, it might be best to not strain my voice when this sort of thing is going on.

    Any ideas on what it might be and general advice on how to proceed?
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    BBeckBBeck 2.0 PRO Posts: 30
    edited November 2019
    Oh. I might also mention that one of the reasons I decided to sign up for Ken's course instead of some of the other stuff I was looking at was that Ken seems to really show you how to work up to the things that can strain your voice as opposed to some of the other stuff out there where I was just screaming and doing fry directly without working on throat placement and vowel modification and other things in preparation for all that.
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