The Singing Blog

Harmony Workshop: New Singing Lesson Download!

how to harmonize with vocal harmony workshopMy new lesson download Harmony Workshop is all about singing gorgeous vocal harmonies. You’ll learn how to harmonize by ear, on-the-fly! The lessons cover beginning to advanced harmonization techniques including parallel harmony, counterpoint, chromaticism, multi-part harmony, and much more.

Beyond training you to find harmonies by ear as well as understand the procedure of creating a beautiful harmony part compositionally, it’s also just ridiculously fun. Vocal harmonizing is one of the most transcendent experiences in music, and Harmony Workshop is full of musical examples where you can sing along and harmonize with me.

It’s a colossal collection of techniques, instruction and training–over four hours and 300+ audio tracks. You’ll become an absolute wizard at harmonizing. Ready to dive in? Get Harmony Workshop now!


A better click/metronome

If you’re producing your own music, you’ve likely had recordings ruined by click bleed. You lay down a vocal or instrumental performance you love–it felt like magic!–only to listen back and hear the tell-tale “beep, beep, beep” of the metronome leaking through the headphones. Well, no more! I’ve attached a metronome that’ll give you a rock-solid percussive pulse to follow but acoustically bleeds very little. Victory!

Download it here: Free Metronome Download.


How to SIGHT SING! Interactive lesson video.

Learn how to sight sing with this in-depth, interactive singing lesson video. Sight-singing is the extremely powerful ability to be able to look at a piece of music and sing it (or know what it sounds like in your head) without having heard it before. This is an incredible way to train your ear, your sense of melody and, of course, learn new songs super fast! Literally at first sight. What you’ll discover is that sight singing really just requires getting good at two totally simple skills. Work with the techniques in this video regularly and you’ll master sightsinging in no time. The neat thing is that even though sight singing sounds extraordinary as an ability, this is an approach that makes it pretty simple–even for total novices. Plus it’s one of those things that’s actually a lot of fun to practice. Enjoy!



Sing high notes without straining!

how to sing high notes without strainingHigh notes are the ultimate display of vocal ability. Nail this and you’re instantly recognized as a talented singer. But many singers struggle with strained, shouty or weak and wispy high notes. Getting that gorgeous, soaring quality that sounds full and feels effortless? It’s actually surprisingly easy…once you know how to do it. There’s a method to it. A technique every great singer knows. And I lay it bare for you in my latest singing download, How To Sing High Notes.  Want to sing high notes without straining? This is what you need.

It’s loaded with the most powerful exercises to train your voice to do what’s necessary for stunning high notes. It’ll further expand your range to heights most singers think impossible. You’ll sing the high notes without strain and how you’ve always wanted–with an approach that’s rock solid, reliable and repeatable.

Check out my latest singing lesson video with a couple exercises to jump start your progress. You’ll begin to lay some of the groundwork we need and you’ll start to glimpse what your voice is really capable of.

 

But that’s just the beginning. If you want to really perfect your high notes–to sing powerfully, effortlessly, beautifully with that heart-rending expressiveness and shimmering tone we find so irresistible in the greatest singers–then you need my How To Sing High Notes lesson download.

There’s nothing quite like the exhilaration of releasing into an intense high note that’s bursting with energy but feels focused, controlled and at ease. Hitting high notes without straining is one of the great thrills of singing and I’m excited to share it with you.


mp3 vs wav

In my latest “How to Make Music” video, I tackle the distinction between mp3 vs wav audio files. The science behind how an mp3 is made–you actually get to hear exactly what sound gets removed to make an mp3 so small–and when NOT to use one. We’ll also go over ISRC, the International Standard Recording Code, which every musician needs to track sound recordings for royalties. Finally, I talk about digital distribution, how to get you music on iTunes, and I also share a VIP discount link for Distrokid. Check it out!

 

 

Most people know mp3s aren’t full quality audio files. They’re a handy compromise between small file size and acceptable sound quality. A typical mp3 is about a tenth of the size of an uncompressed CD quality audio file. How mp3’s achieve this feat is a pretty neat bit of science. Mp3 encoders use a psychoacoustic model; a model of our perception of how things sound. The idea is to discard the parts of the sound which are less noticeable to human hearing.

mp3 vs wav. mp3 encoders use a psychoacoustic model

mp3 vs wav. mp3 encoders use a psychoacoustic model which is a model of how humans perceive sound

Listen to the video to hear an example of what gets lost during the encoding an mp3–it’s a fascinating (and somewhat haunting) sound!

But when listening to the resultant mp3, most people won’t notice there’s anything missing. And that’s why mp3s are so popular: the filesize is small and what you lose, often enough, is not so bad. But if you’re going to sell your music on iTunes, or stream on Spotify, or distribute your music to any of the stores or services out there, don’t send them an mp3.

See, not all the stores use the same format. iTunes uses .aac (Advanced Audio Coding), Spotify uses .ogg (Ogg Vorbis) and you don’t want to send something that’s already been stripped of extraneous information to have another process done upon it. That’s making a photocopy of a photocopy! You want to send them the lossless, uncompressed source audio file; that’s your wav file.

So when should you use an mp3 file? Well, you can choose to use one anytime you’re sharing your music direct to listeners; they’re probably not going to encode your music again so you avoid the photocopy of a photocopy effect and your listeners will probably be happy you’re not taking up all of their storage space. But consider using .ogg–in many circumstances, Ogg Vorbis produces files that are as small as an .mp3 but retain better sound quality. You might also look into encoding to .flac which is identical in quality to .wav but achieves a smaller filesize. Pretty cool.

For more on mp3 vs wav files…

As well as ISRC, how to get your music on iTunes, Spotify and digital distribution in general, check out my video!


How to harmonize vocally

In this interactive singing lesson, I show you how to harmonize vocally. We’ll write a vocal harmony part then sing it together!

 

 

Learning how to sing vocal harmony is fun and opens up so many musical horizons. You’ll instantly improve the sound of your band. You’ll be able to join an a capella group. You can cover some of the most iconic songs in history. Plus it’s great for your ear and general ability as a singer! Check out the video above. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments.


How to Record A Song (starting with the equipment)

You’re a singer/musician and you want to get noticed. With YouTube and music streaming services, you have instant access to millions of listeners who’re devouring digital music. Literally trillions of songs get streamed every year! So obviously you need know how to record your music and get it out there. Nowadays that’s easier than ever. You can have a top-notch setup in your bedroom that rivals the best of the hit-making studios a decade ago. Pretty exciting!

Here’s how to record a song, starting with the equipment you need.

USB Mics:

The first thing you’re going to need is a microphone to record your voice and instruments. The simplest setup is to get a USB mic. This sidesteps the need for more elaborate gear. A USB mic plugs directly into your computer or laptop’s USB port and you’re pretty much ready to go in one minute.

The Blue Yeti is an excellent USB mic for the price.

A step up would be the Rode NT-USB. Rode makes rock solid gear and their support and service is some of the best I’ve experienced.

If you want to be able to plug your mic into your iPhone or iPad, the Shure MV51 is what you want. Shure has been making top-notch equipment since 1925. You can trust their gear.

Audio interfaces:

While USB mics are really convenient, they can be a little bit noisy and are almost never used in a serious studio setup. Want to know how to record like a pro studio? A leap forward in sound quality comes from getting an audio interface and a standard (non-USB) mic. An audio interface is like a kind of soundcard. A proper audio interface can typically record at higher sample rates and bit-depths (relating to the dynamic and frequency range you can capture) than the soundcard in your computer. It also will have a lot less inherent noise than in-built soundcards so your recordings come out more clean and detailed. I generally recommend the audio interface approach to everyone who wants to know how to record because you get much better results. If you’re serious about music, leave the USB mics to the casual hobbyists.

What are you looking for in an audio interface? First, check what kind of ports your computer has. Interfaces connect either via Firewire, Thunderbolt or USB. Then you’ll want an interface that can record at a bit-depth of 24 bits (most interfaces now are capable of this, but some of the older interfaces are 16 bit only). Then focus on reviews of the preamps; these amplify the level of your microphone and can be a significant source of hiss and noise if they’re low quality. Then finally check on the drivers; Some manufacturers pump out a decent piece of hardware, but the drivers are a nightmare or don’t keep pace with updates. If the last software update for an interface is more than a year ago, you might think twice about getting it.

If you think you’ll only ever use one mic at a time, the Focusrite Scarlett Solo is a good place to start.

I own Steinberg’s UR22 for mobile use and really like it. Rock solid physically, very dependable, simple to setup and use. Highly recommended!

The Scarlett 2i2 is the next product in the Focusrite range. It has two inputs which is required if you’re going to plug in two mics for stereo mic’ing (which you may do if you intend to record acoustic guitar, piano or strings) or if you’d like to record two sources simultaneously (guitar and vocal, for example).

For the next bump in quality, look at the Apollo Twin. It’s incredible. Professional-grade sound quality with on-board effect processing (you’ll come to appreciate this when you get to mixing your music).

The above connects via Thunderbolt, but if you need USB connection, get this Apollo Twin.

Standard Mics:

With an audio interface, you can use a standard mic which opens up the world of professional studio microphones!

If you only have around $200 to spend on a mic, you can’t really beat the Rode NT1A for vocals. Clean, detailed, cheap.

I personally use the Shure KSM42 as my vocal mic and it’s unbelievable. Transparent, noiseless, huge sweet-spot. I love it. It’s triple the cost of the NT1A, though.

For a low-cost, nearly indestructible, all-purpose instrument mic you’re going to use just about everywhere, get a Shure SM57. Every studio needs at least one.

When recording instruments like acoustic guitars, pianos, strings and ensembles, it’s very common to use two mics (an identical matched pair) to get a true stereo recording. The Rode M5 matched pair is a good,  cheap way to get into stereo mic’ing.

Have a little extra money? The Rode NT55 matched pair are glorious. Without a doubt the best buy in the upper echelon of stereo pairs.

Monitor Speakers:

You don’t want to use standard desktop computer speakers to playback your music because you won’t get an honest representation of what you’ve recorded. Consumer speakers are usually hyped in the low and high-end giving you an unrealistic picture of how your recording sounds. To really evaluate your work, accurate studio monitors are crucial. Note that while monitors are usually sold in pairs (you need two of them, of course), they are also sometimes sold solo–watch out!

The Mackie CR3s are a small but formidable pair of studio monitors if you’re on a tight budget. They’re ideal as a cheap reference for consumer desktop speakers. Note that they only go down to 80hz, though, so you’ll be missing some low-end.

I quite like the Mackie MR8s for (relatively) low-cost, full-size monitor speakers.

The Yamaha HS8s are very well regarded studio monitors.

Headphones:

When you’re recording music, you very often need to listen to a backing track or a metronome for timing and reference. But you don’t want this reference to be picked up on the recording–you only want to record the part you’re performing. Basically, if you’re anything other than an acapella performer, you need isolation headphones.

I really, really recommend the Sennheiser HD280s. I’ve used a pair of these for over 10 years. They’re comfortable, have incredible isolation and give ridiculously detailed sound. Buy them, you’ll be glad you did.

Cables:

Right, you have to hook all this up!

You need XLR cables to connect mics to your interface.

If you’re plugging an electric guitar into the hi-z input on the interface, you’ll want instrument cable.

For your monitors, get TRS to TRS cables. The 1/4″ jacks will do but you can also use XLR if your monitors inputs and interface outputs have such a jack.

DAW Software:

To record your music, you need a program to manage all the tracks and mix them down. This is called DAW (digital audio workstation) software. There’s lots of software that does this and it all does basically the same thing. Don’t get caught up in which is ‘best’ but rather which fits with how you think. Watch some tutorials, download some trials and see what clicks with your brain. I personally use Cubase. It’s a little costly, but if you’re a student make sure to get the academic license. It sports all the same features as the full version…just generously discounted for students.

Now you’re well on your way to knowing how to record. Any questions, drop by the video below and leave a comment. I’ll be happy to help.

Note! I’ve partnered with Amazon on this how to record tutorial which means you can show your appreciation for this article by purchasing your products through the links I’ve provided and Amazon will give me a little tip for the referral. The price to you is the same. Cheers! 🙂

how to record your own music video


About the author…

sbgaltSaher Galt is a singer, composer and producer popularly known on YouTube as S.B. Galt whose colorful music career involves the co-founding of an award-winning rock band. He’s developed a singing lesson program to help you become the singer you’ve always wanted to be.

His unique and inspiring lessons have helped millions of singers achieve their goals—from beginners to professional recording artists.

The singing lesson downloads are a series of easy-to-follow instructional exercises to dramatically improve your voice—all you need to do is sing along. Used by the top vocalists worldwide, you can download them instantly and start becoming a great singer right now! Get the lessons here.

Now offering a limited number of openings for one-on-one singing lessons over Skype!