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5 Reasons Why Singers Become Addicted to Looping

760x350-coverLive looping has been around for a long time but has only recently become well known enough to be considered mainstream.

Here’s an entry-level definition of Live Looping that applies to all vocalists and genres: “electronically layering music in real time.”

There are many reasons why you should try looping, and many reasons why singers get addicted to looping:



1. Because it’s a great way to increase your musicianship.

You have trouble playing at a consistent tempo? Get a looper with a click and practice laying down your parts. Trouble with harmonies? Sing a song and practice harmonizing with yourself. Don’t understand how your bandmates’ parts fit with yours in the song? Try looping them all yourself and explore how they fit together.



2. Because it will help you learn Tech.

Every musician should know sound support and audio tech concepts. When you start looping you have no choice but to learn! Setting up a PA, gain and volume control, EQ, running an effective sound check… you should know this stuff. When you are looping you * must * know it or you don’t get to loop.



3. Because it’s a great way to increase your performance skills.

Perform a song, all the parts, by yourself, and be entertaining, because there is no one else to cover for you. And learn how to stay interesting as you lay down that third harmony part, and the bridge. That should keep you busy for a while. (BTW, Looping is a great side project for the musician who wants to gig more. It’s also not a bad main gig, if you can figure out how to make that work ;-)



4. Because it’s a fantastic way to add variety and texture to your shows.

Use it as a change-up in your show by having one person in the band do a solo loop, or by having the whole group loop together one part at a time. (example video: Naturally 7 loop interlude). Looping still has enough novelty that if solo singer-songwriters do a loop song or two in the middle of a set the crowd will be AMAZEDFACES. And plenty of bands are using it as a way to fill out the texture and instrumentation of their songs, essentially increasing the number of musicians in the band. (example video: tUne-yArDs NPR Tiny Desk Concert)



5. Because it’s fun!

If you’ve done it, you know. If you haven’t done it, enjoy the ride!

My Reaction to This Week's Singing Competition Entry

Suzi Woods Suzi Woods - The Way You Look Tonight

Marvelous, Suzi! Excellent tone, control, and presentation. Classy.
You sing with elegant restraint, would be nice to hear you let go a little, especially at the key change it is not as energetic as I had hoped. Don’t go crazy but some sense of underlying energy trying to get out could easily add a touch of polish to your already excellent act.

Why I chose Suzi Woods as a Finalist

Suzi – your work is graceful and classy, I want to hear more from your voice.



Mister Tim www.mistertimdotcom.com is a published composer, award-winning recording artist, and in-demand performer, teacher & performance coach. In addition to an active performing and touring schedule with his solo vocal live-looping/beatbox shows, Mister Tim sings with Boulder, CO-based Celtic Rock band Delilah’s Revenge, manages the… Read More

  • Chris

    Sorry, but as an old school singer I just don’t like looping. I don’t like the sound of it, and I don’t like the way each song has to build from basic loops. To me it’s not an interesting way to start a song for an audience (me).

  • Chris

    Also, I’m not a big fan of beatboxing, just don’t like the sound of most of it, and now that everyone is doing it with looping there’s a whole lot of bad beatboxing going on out there. I can’t even listen to vocal looping videos anymore, and due to the fact that almost every video you folks post and almost every piece of equipment you’re producing has something to do with looping I’m becoming less and less interested in the “vocal” magazine. Just call it a “looping” magazine and be done with it.

  • Chris

    And I’ll say one more thing here, while I’m ranting. All singers should learn about sound regardless of whether they loop or not. I think that’s a lousy reason for looping.

  • Mezzofuoco

    I am a vocalist who loops, but not in the beatbox way, and not all the time. I’ve sung old school and work in experimental music as well. I agree with Chris in the fact that it’s necessary to learn sound and skills first. When you’re a good musician, it’s all icing on the cake from there. Electronic looping is another tool in the box when a well trained vocalist uses it, but if the tech fails, and it does sometimes, there’s got to be a Plan B, and that’s where skills come in. If someone just wants to sing and have fun with loops, that’s great. In the professional world, though, the voice needs to be able to stand alone, but I’m seeing more and more of this “anyone can do it” which is great for fun, as I said, but not to be substituted for vocal skill.
    As far as the idea that building a song from basic loops can be uninteresting, well, that’s what the great challenge is. I try to make it interesting from the beginning, and know that every aspect needs to stand on its own. My loop work is more fluid, looping is the way I get the layers that I can’t get in a resonant space, out of my head and into the air. I consider the first layer as solo piece and I go from there. It’s a little different that beatboxing. Having said that, give me cathedral, or warehouse or cistern, then I’m all good and sans machines!
    It’s like my mentor Max Mathews said, “Technology is there to enhance human expression, not to replace it.”
    There’s more variety out there than you think! I’m in a large loop community, and I’ve heard things that are amazing!

    Oh, and apologies for the long missive! I get so excited.