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Beginner I can't sing - will this hinder my ability as a sax player?

Kath

Member
Messages
119
I notice loads of people talk about voicing, and singing the notes helping you play them. BUT - I can't sing in tune! Does this pose a problem for me? If so, should I take some singing lessons - would this help the 'body bit' of my sax playing improve more? I know I'm probably at that 'greedy' stage as a beginner - I want to know it all and do ALL I can to get better - fast. I also know that bottom line, what I need to do is practice and just put years between now and me being any good - but is this something I should be at least considering - or am I being anal about it????
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,059
The bottom line is that you should enjoy it. Music is music is music. Listen, play, sing, whistle, study. Music happens to you. You can help it happen to you but you can't rush it. You will absorb it while you enjoy it. So enjoy it as you absorb it. Regular practice on an instrument will bring proficiency.

Singing in tune is just another skill. Some are given great voices and work them up into marvellous instruments. Some are given poor voices and yet with practice and dedication have a professional singing career. Rod Stewart springs to mind.

The fact that you know you are singing out of tune means that you can hear in tune. Converting this to playing/singing is just skill and practice.

The back catalogue of music produced by human kind is massive. So many different genres. I doubt any one person could know it all. So no rush.

Listening to a little of everything helps the understanding of a lot of it. It's a journey without end. Enjoy the view.
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Messages
2,773
Kath,

I think playing a sax helps your vocal technique as you are listening to the notes played on the sax to keep them in tune.
You need big ears to be a good musician.
You'll be singing in the local choir before you know it.

Treat them to a medley of showtunes for your next gig!!

Andrew
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,940
Believe it or not, very, very few people are actually tone deaf. Some lucky people have natural ability, most of us need some coaxing and teaching to be able to sing. Like all forms of music, there's technique to learn to do a good job. A lot of the breathing techniques for singing are exactly what you need to play the sax.

Anything you can do to add to your general understanding of music and how it works is going to be of benefit.

Until my mid-30s I hadn't sung a note. Now I sing with two very good choirs to a high standard and I've been chairman of both of them and I'm the project manager for the forthcoming concert in Chester cathedral. My biggest event to-date was to sing Vaughan Williams' Sea Symphony at the Albert Hall in the Proms a few years ago -so far that's the pinnacle of my musical performance experiences.

"It's a strange thing Frodo my lad...

“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say”

Tolkien - The Fellowship of the Ring
 

Chris

Well Known
Subscriber
Messages
3,821
You can't sing while playing the sax>:). Some would say you should hear the note you want to play. But that is a world away from singing the note. Learning to hear a note being played and being able to play on the sax by ear would be a better skill to learn. That way you will know what is going to come out of the sax when you blow it.

Chris..
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,551
I can't sing.....well, I guess I can sing along to something that I know pretty well, like a hymn, carol or pop song, but I certainly couldn't sing it alone with no backing.
I don't think you need to be able to sing to play the sax, but it probably helps if you have some idea of where to pitch the note. Eg if you are going to play the next note up an octave from the last, then your throat / moutj / body needs to know that is a good jump up in pitch.

Imagine if you want to sing soprano compared with bass - you make a big body / chest / mouth for the bass and less so for the soprano pitch. The same is true for playing sax - if you want to play low B you need a more open throat and mouth than for a high G.
That's all.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
I would say that singing is maybe more useful if learning the trumpet, much more than the sax. I can sing fairly well but only used it in sax exams when repeating a phrase played by the examiner on the piano. As you are a recent newbie I would bet that your singing voice is currently much better than anything that you can produce on the sax! ;}
 

Linky Lee

Member
Messages
180
I've been working on my singing a lot over the last few years, it's fun!
It's fantastic for improving your aural skills. We use our voice all the time and have excellent control over the muscles so often it's easier to learn how to sing than it is to play an instrument as you have to learn all the technical side of the instrument as well. Anything that helps build control and aural awareness is good for your musical ability in my book, especially so for woodwind and brass instruments.

I'm by no means a good singer and always used to say that I can't sing but singing along to notes on the piano, singing scales, arpeggios and harmonies has improved me dramatically both with intonation and also my singing voice. Might even be passable for karaoke now :p
 

Profusia

Senior Member
Messages
984
I notice loads of people talk about voicing, and singing the notes helping you play them. BUT - I can't sing in tune! Does this pose a problem for me? If so, should I take some singing lessons - would this help the 'body bit' of my sax playing improve more? I know I'm probably at that 'greedy' stage as a beginner - I want to know it all and do ALL I can to get better - fast. I also know that bottom line, what I need to do is practice and just put years between now and me being any good - but is this something I should be at least considering - or am I being anal about it????
Can you hear when you sing and/or play out of tune? Can you easily tell when you play a wrong note?

Have you tried tuning your sax to a tuner or a tuning note on a play-a-long CD or another instrument? Do you find it hard to tell whether its reasonably in tune or way out?

Either way it might possibly be worth you trying some ear training. I found this free site quite good...

http://www.iwasdoingallright.com/tools/ear_training/main/

Don't be alarmed if you find it hard at first though - I certainly did even though I'd say I have a reasonable(ish) ear for tuning. The site aims to help you recognise intervals which becomes helpful for both playing by ear and improvising. Well in theory anyway - I'm miles away yet!

Just an idea but I'm just a beginner like you.
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Kath,
YouTube Chet Baker's "Just Friends" which also features Stan Getz. Notice Stan's quizzical gaze as Chet scats. Try Chet's My Funny Valentine and this will also confirm the majority view that he cannot sing.

What you can learn from Chet is stay away from drugs.

Apologies for being serious.
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,658
You can't sing while playing the sax>:). Some would say you should hear the note you want to play. But that is a world away from singing the note. Learning to hear a note being played and being able to play on the sax by ear would be a better skill to learn. That way you will know what is going to come out of the sax when you blow it.

Chris..
I think you will find that people can sing while playing ...makes for a very interesting effect. Try singing a not a fourth or fifth above or below the note you are palying...makes for an i tersting effect.

my coach commissioned 7 new works for bass clarinet last year and one of pieces required singing and playing simultaneously.
 

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,890
Louis Armstrong wasnt reckoned much of a singer at first, till he swallowed a cheesegrater. George Melly, (or was it Roger), now he couldnt sing, but it didnt stop him going through the motions. I reckon you might find you can sing, in time, it doesnt have to be that good, loads of singers, I reckon, cant really sing, no matter how many intstruments they play, but no one minds too much.
Mike
 

Chris

Well Known
Subscriber
Messages
3,821
I think you will find that people can sing while playing ...makes for a very interesting effect. Try singing a not a fourth or fifth above or below the note you are palying...makes for an i tersting effect.

my coach commissioned 7 new works for bass clarinet last year and one of pieces required singing and playing simultaneously.
Not sure that was what the OP was talking about.
 

visionari1

Senior Member
Messages
1,581
I agree with Linky Lee.... I think singing is crutial, not that you need to have a good (or even passible voice) I've been working on this for quite a while and believe the link from the mind to the instrument goes automatically through the voice, especially when improvising. The old adage.....(if you can't sing it you can't play it) is in my opinion very true. Many times if I'm having trouble remembering a tune or phrase or rhythm, once I can sing it, then I can play it. You don't need to be a great singer, just to be able to recognise and hear the interval or rhythm. A lack of being able to sing and hear and understand the interval or pitch has been one of the major stubbling blocks in my coming to grips with improvisation...so I say, sing and check your singing is correct (on pitch). This will teach you much, sing scales, arppegios, patterns...etc, etc it can only help you!...and please don't read music while you do it, with time your ears and sence of pitch, fluencey, should skyrocket and help you at whatever level of playing your at!
That's my opinion!
 
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