"You don't get harmony
when everybody sings the same note."
Singing and Songwriting
Two of my hobbies are singing and songwriting, as you probably already know. On this page, I'll cover some of the stuff I believe is important for both, some of my personal experiences, and links and other resources to help you out with your own singing and songwriting.
I put this first because, unless you are singing someone else's song, you'll need to write your own songs. For me, this is probably my favorite part of the process. Songwriting is probably one of my biggest hobbies and I spend more time writing and arranging and rewriting and rearranging my lyrics than any other part of the music process it seems. I started writing songs when I was 15. They were usually very raw and unpoetic, but their power was rooted in the fact that they said very well what was on the mind of a 15 year old. It helped me express what I was thinking and feeling. Now, after writing for almost 5 years I can say that I have grown a lot and learned a lot from where I started.
The best thing about writing your own songs if you are the one singing them is that you can connect with them on a much deeper level than anyone else can, or that you could on someone else's song. When you write a song, you write down an emotion. When you sing a song, you sing an emotion. But if you are singing something that you just don't connect with, there will be a huge void in your music and you will sound sterile. You can say anything you want. It takes a lot of work to write a song, and it takes a lot of balls to say what you want to say and back it up by singing it. Most often, people will respect that and even agree with you. Many of the best songs in the world are not the best because of how they are performed or recorded, or that killer guitar solo, or the body shaking rhythms- they are the best because people can identify with the song ad believe in the lyrics. That is how couples choose "their song" that is special to them- by the lyrics and what they mean.
If you have never written a song before, you probably have absolutely no idea how to do it. Even if you have tried it, you might not think that you are doing it "right". There is no "right" or "wrong" way to write a song, no matter what you might think or have heard somewhere. However, there are a few general rules that you should follow if you want to have it conform to certain standards, such as those in pop music. But often times, pop music sucks and the same song is written again and again- just with different words and music. That is one aspect that attracts me heavily to industrial music, the song structures and forms are virtually nonexistent you write a song the way YOU want. You can do this with any style of music, but beware of criticisms and if you are working with other musicians it may be hard for your lyrics to go with their music if you are being creative and they are still "thinking inside the box". Soon, I will be writing my own tutorial on learning to write your own songs. But for now, I have searched the net and found some files you may want to read and fine out more information. I have also listed some books and popular songwriters you you may want to look further into and learn something from.
I am far from a vocal authority. In fact, I am not that great of a singer at all. I have only been vocalizing for a few months. Of course, I've followed songs on the radio and stuff before that, but up until I took voice lessons for a few months I had no idea what I was doing at all. Now, I have at least a general idea. Unfortunately, I had to quit vocal lessons because of the time and money that they required, but while I was taking them I learned a lot more than I thought I would ever know.
Why do I sing then, if I don't think I am very good at it? One of the main reasons is because it is fun. And since I play guitar, it is kind of nice to have words go along with the music. Another reason is, as mentioned above, it is a great thrill to write and then sing your own song. You literally create 'something' from 'nothing', and construct it into a small masterpiece.
Below, I will list some resources that you may want to consider consulting if you are even remotely interested in improving your voice and/or learning how to sing or how to sing better. One thing I do recommend is, get a small electronic keyboard and learn the notes and match your voice to them. This is a great practice tool and by matching your voice to the pitch, you will learn how to produce the right tones. You may also want to consider getting a microphone and tape player (or a tape player with a built in mic..) to record yourself and mark your own progress. Of course, vocal lessons, books, videos, and online resources can help a lot too.