Singing: No Secret Formula

The key to your success is more mundane and more possible than you might have guessed –says Mister Tim

Say this ten times fast:

Those that do, do. Those that don’t, don’t. Those that do sometimes don’t, but those that don’t never do.

It means this: often the difference between one who succeeds and one who fails is that the one that succeeds just got up and DID something.

No one ever found success by dreaming about success. You can only succeed when you DO.

Yes, you still might fail if you try. But you will never succeed if you do not try.

Don’t Be an Aspiring Singer

To take the point further, I often hear people describe themselves as “an aspiring songwriter” or “an aspiring singer.”

I don’t believe there is any such thing.

If you write songs, you’re a songwriter. If you sing, you sing. If you don’t write songs, it doesn’t matter what you aspire to, you are not a songwriter.

I have been in countless songwriting workshops where someone will ask the question of the professional leading the session, “but how do you come up with ideas for songs?”

This is the reality: songwriters don’t have trouble coming up with ideas for songs; songwriters have trouble getting all the song ideas written down they have so many.

Yes, they might hit a block, but if you don’t have ideas for songs, if you don’t naturally write to some degree, you are probably no a songwriter.

Just Do It.

Those that do, do. Singers sing. They can’t help themselves.

Dancers dance. They find training and opportunities because they are out there, involved, actively pursuing their field.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point the author explores the idea that every achievement is preceded by a certain amount of work and experience (the theoretical number in the book is 10,000 hours in a particular field).

He discusses Bill Gates, The Beatles, hockey players, conservatory musicians, and many others.

It’s a great read, and the salient point is that every expert in every field has spent a significant amount of time developing their craft.

In some cases it may not matter what they are actually doing, so long as it is related to their field and they are spending tons of time on it.

There is no secret formula for success, no unfair advantage that some people have, and no such thing as an overnight success.

Those that succeed are DOING, day in, day out, hour by hour, while others sit on their couches dreaming.

And eventually the accumulation of time and experience is what leads to expert-level skills.

My Reactions To This Week’s Peer Review Vids

Daylin Jorgensen – Count On Me (cover)

Well done, Daylin. You sound great, your playing is working for you; you seem to be moving in the right direction. Keep up the good work! I like your relaxed delivery and control over your voice in all ranges. Really nice sound. As you get older and keep practicing, I recommend you think about your vowels. This song is very wordy with lots of syllables going past quickly. You have a great handle on the words, but I want to hear more… sweetness? … in the extended vowels. Don’t let the consonants pull the pitch or the energy of the vowels down. It’s a difficult concept to describe in writing. You can work on keeping a spin, a lightness, a raised sound in the vowels. This is an area where classical singing can really help you: private lessons, or in a choir, classical technique will train you to manipulate your throat, mouth, and tongue to make singing easier and to bring out the life in the sound. Add that energetic vowel tone to your skilled rhythmic delivery and you’ll only get better and better!

Regina Uy – The One That Got Away (cover)

Very fine vocal work. It is not just a pleasant sound, but an interesting sound. You are singing the story of the song, not just the notes. You are good enough that you can start thinking about the miniscule details and nitty gritty tiny fixes that need to be made to make you better. The majority of your notes and vowels are great, but occasionally end up just under pitch. Can you hear those? Listen to your recording: can you hear them? If so, can you hear them as you are singing? Can you fix them? When singing with headphones you can experiment with the phone placement: one ear on, one off, or one partially off. Hearing yourself in the room and not through the headphones can help with pitch. Your singing should sound relaxed and loose rhythmically but actually be very precise. I hear you lagging just behind the tempo set by the guitar. A listener may not consciously notice the rhythmic lag, but it can subconsciously take away from the enjoyment of the song. Clean that up and it makes it easier for your audience to be carried away by your message.

-Mister Tim

Mister Tim is a modern voice artist who respects the history of the vocal arts while not being afraid to push into new, uncharted territory. He artistic directs an eclectic array of vocal ensembles that range from traditional choral to cutting-edge, technology-based, ultra-modern vocal rock bands. A published composer, award-winning recording artist, and in-demand performer and teacher, Mister Tim is also a viral video star, sponsored kazoo player, and dedicated husband and father. He created and sings with 2010 Harmony Sweepstakes champions Plumbers of Rome, internet sensations moosebutter, beatbox online teachers and performers Mouth Beats, and all-original vocal band THROAT. He also tours with his solo vocal live-looping/beatbox shows.
www.mistertimdotcom.com and www.vocalitysingers.com


  • Kim Chandler

    Fantastic article – I’m so going to be sharing this one!