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Joined: Jan 2015
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Hi y'all,

For decades -- literally, decades -- I've dreamt of having a repertoire of pieces I can play and sing together.

I've worked on it. I've walked away from it. I've come back to it and tried again. I was trained classically, so I had to unlearn a lot of stuff and learn new stuff.

Now I'm finally good enough at the piano part. But... then comes the singing. And suddenly, it's unexpectedly hard.

I have a good voice. I used to sing in choirs and other ensembles when I was young. But I have very little experience singing solo. And -- now that I have a performance opportunity in a month -- I'm listening to myself practice and getting really cold feet.

Is my voice still good enough? Maybe it was never that good solo but fine in an ensemble? Am I projecting enough when sitting at the piano? Am I too distracted with the playing to give enough power to my voice? What if people think I sound like a soulless imitator? What if they can discern the holes in my playing? What if there are more experienced musicians in the audience?

What if I'm not good enough?

I don't know where to go with this. I have had disappointing teachers in recent years so I don't have one right now.

What do you suggest?

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I assume you're not singing classical?

If you are, you might want to stick with simple strophic songs like Mozart's and perhaps the really straightforward Schubert ones like An die Musik, where you don't have to worry about lots of 'clashing' between piano and voice (where the vocal line seems dissociated from the accompaniment and vice versa) - which can be unnerving if you're singing and playing at the same time, but not a problem if you're not, or if you're a listener.

I occasionally accompany myself singing Lieder and folk songs (Britten arrangements), even the odd piano-heavy pop songs like Bridge Over Troubled Water........but only in the privacy of my home, with my only audience being my (non-existent) cat.

But if you're singing pop or jazz, make the accompaniment as simple as possible (like slow chords - listen to Lady Gaga's Born This Way, for instance) so you can concentrate on your vocal production - but remember that some of the most famous pop and jazz singers in history have really atrocious voices, and I'm not talking about their requirement for autotune ......(never mind the voice, it's the thought - or message - that counts whistle).


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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Originally Posted by bennevis
. . .
But if you're singing pop or jazz, make the accompaniment as simple as possible (like slow chords - listen to Lady Gaga's Born This Way, for instance) so you can concentrate on your vocal production - but remember that some of the most famous pop and jazz singers in history have really atrocious voices, and I'm not talking about their requirement for autotune ......(never mind the voice, it's the thought - or message - that counts whistle).

+1.

I sing in a classical choir, and do percussion (and occasionally synth) and sing in a chant group.

For a long time, I could lead a chant, or play, but not both at the same time. I've gotten better at playing and leading singing, after absorbing bennevis's lesson:

. . . Your attention should be focused on your voice, not your fingers.

You must learn the piano part until it's automatic. If that requires simplifying it down to two-handed arpeggios, or a bass line and block chords, do that. Complexities in the piano part should be restricted to when the singer (you) is quiet -- between phrases, or between verses.

When I started singing, I was hoping to play and sing Schubert leider. Maybe in the next lifetime . . .

My teacher could play piano while singing jazz standards, but she had 40 years of experience, starting young.


. Charles
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I'm going to assume you'll be singing either pop or standards. You can be a stylist like Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond or a host of others. These vocal artists don't have terrific voices, but they have a style. Or you can be an actual singer such as Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald and so on. The key is as long as you are singing in time and in tune, relaxed and having fun, you'll do just fine. And unless you're in a concert situation, no-one will be listening to criticize you anyways. Best wishes and enjoy the gig.


Good music has no expiration date.

1920 Mason & Hamlin Model A

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