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> Learning To Sing Using Influences: Part 1, Influences And Style
post Aug 13 2009, 03:48 PM
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HeyHey, I am Chris Kerswell (aka MuntaHunta)

I have lived in the UK all my life and am currently living in the north east (near Newcastle)
I am 22 years old and have been playing guitar for around 5 years and singing for just 2.

My favorite bands are Metallica and Shinedown and I have a band of my own named Act of Silence. Here is a link to my band's myspace page. http: //


Ok, After my first student instructor lesson (Muntas Step By Step Songwriting - can be found in my signature) I have had a long break from guitaring and taken up singing, thus disapearing from GMC for a while.

This is my second lesson which unfortunatly has no video or audio, yet I feel it doesnt need it for this particular topic.

I have absolutly no singing training, I know NOTHING about vocal theory and I have no breathing excercise for you to do, I will not use any jargon, However dont let that put you off. I started just like anyone else who doesnt think they can sing here on the forum. I am hoping to release a few SI lessons showing you the things I did to go from refusing to do backing vocals with no confidence to fronting my own band and being confident about my voice.

This lesson wont suit everyone yet if one person benefits from it then I have done my job smile.gif

This lesson is the first in the series to get you on your feet.

[u]Influences and Style[/u]

In this lesson you will learn about developing your own style and using influences to add to your vocal vocabulary while having fun and probably deafening the neighbours.

Step 1.
The Influences

First things first, the reason your reading this is because you dont think you can sing and you dont know where to start learning.
Singing is very much like playing guitar, you learn from other people, copying and manipulating their styles and creating your own.

I am a big slash fan so one of the first solos I learnt on guitar was Sweet Child, and when I first learnt it... it was terrible. but after time I kept at it and played the solo perfectly.
A little while later I got bored with the solo so I changed it and made it my own, adding my other influences such as kirk hammet.

THIS is what you need to do to start singing, pick a few of your favorite vocalists and a few songs by them and copy them!

Exercise 1.
The Singalong

I want you to pick 3 songs by any 3 vocalists you think are great.

Here were my first 3:

Shinedown (Brent Smith) - Simple Man
Metallica (James Hetfield) - Nothing Else Matters
Nickelback (Chad Kroeger) - How You Remind Me

Go into your room or your car or basement or anywhere you dont think anyone can hear you (or somewhere people can if your not self concious)
Turn the music up to 11 and sing along to those songs as if your rocking out on stage to a million fans. (even with the lyrics infront of you if you have to wink.gif)
At first you may sound terrible, but just like any guitar solo your learning, you need to listen to every note and try to hit that note.
Do this atleast once a day for 2 weeks on these 3 songs.

Step 2.
The Perfection

By now you should know every lyric and every note change in those 3 songs you chose.
You may not be able to sing it perfectly yet, but you know those songs inside out and your now trying to impersonate the vocalists voice.

Now you should be able to pick out a few accents the vocalist is using (not only in the songs youve picked but other songs they sing too)...

For my examples:
Brent Smith - This singer has a certain quiet "growl" to his voice when singing higher notes which seems to me adds alot of feeling to the songs. He also adds a very powerful "OOOOO" before singing a verse (this can be heard in the song Heroes by Shinedown

James Hetfield - Everyone knows of james hetfields "OH YEAH!" and "WOAHOAHOAH" and this shows in his style. He also adds "ya" to the end of certain words, these examples can be found in almost any metallica song smile.gif

Chad Kroeger - Chad has a distinctive distortion to his voice in most nickelback songs and even though when I first started singing Simple Man by Shinedown, most people would say something like "he sounds like that nickelback singer"

Exercise 2.
The Accents

Listen to those songs again and make a mental note of any accents or signature noises the vocalists make... much like effects and EQ you would use on a guitar to help you mimic their sound.

Now try and add these while you are singing along with your songs, it shouldnt take too long.

Step 3.
The Style

Ok, now you have your 3 songs learnt, you have added in your "accents" and you have really angered your loved ones from playing the same 3 songs over and over for the last few weeks...

now is the time to fly solo...

Exercise 3.
The Sing Alone

Go on the internet and try to find a kareoke version of the song you have been singing, or a backing track... or if your feeling adventurous, pick up a guitar and play the song yourself!

Sing along exactly the same way you have been adding in all of the accents and noises... this is the point where your singing without the vocals so it may sound very different from what you are used to.
Keep singing it for a few weeks and try to impersonate the original recording as much as possible.

Step 4.
The Final Destination

Now you should be fairly confident you can sing those 3 songs (maybe not perfectly, but you CAN sing them).
This is the point where you try to change it, add your own flavours, try and mix the accents you have between the songs... so for my examples i would be adding Hetfields "YEAAAA" to simple man or something similar.

try and sing the songs in a more comfortable way for you, wether that be singing louder, quieter, growlier, softer... its all up to you.

I hope this lesson has helped some people find out that they CAN sing, if you find that you cant sing the songs you have chosen by the end of this lesson, try something a little easier and start again, I picked fairly easy and well known songs to sing, maybe picking Dont Stop Believing is a little hard for this lesson but theres noone here to say you shouldnt.
Try everything and anything.

Next Lesson: Learning to sing using Influences: Part 2

Have Fun

Epiphone Les Paul Standard w/ Dual EMG 81 Pickups. Size 11 Strings.
Ibanez GRG170DX w/ Scallopd frets 17-24 - w/ Dimebucker and APH-1.
Tanglewood TW28 STR DLX CE INDIANA Acoustic Guitar
NEW: Dean Deceiver w/ EMG 81/EMG 85 Pickups
Pod XT Live AND Pod X3 Live
Cubase SX3

My Bands Myspace
Act Of Silence


Fly From The Inside (Cover)
So Far Away
Break The Cycle
Never Again (Cover)
Wake Me

More Acoustic Songs:
Chris Kerswell Soundclick Page

Check out Munta's Step By Step Songwriting Lesson
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