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Julie C

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Posts posted by Julie C

  1. 13 hours ago, Pamski said:

    I figure I'm an alto as well, and everything you described resonated. Been thinking for over a year to get help figuring it out, so your post is really inspirational. Can't wait to hear more about your progress and hopefully hear a sample one of these days. You go girl!!

    @Pamski I didn't even have the full range of an alto when I started. Middle C is "C4".  Low c is "C3". High C is "C5". My range was F3 to F4.  And the F3 and F4 was shaky.  Less than an octave range.  I now have over a 2 octave range.  Getting those sounds my voice has never had to produce to sound good will take time.  It feels somewhat unnatural to hear these sounds come from me.  I nail it sometimes.  But not most times-yet.  Even a few lessons can point you in the right direction.

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  2. UPDATE: I have now had a couple of months of singing lessons.  Soooooo nice being a professional videographer.  Been able to barter services:-)My voice continues to surprise me as the high notes come easier and easier.  Seems learning to sing is endless tweaking.  I have spent my life singing in my speaking voice. Tweaks were very big in the beginning.  You should be standing and standing up straight.  You need to learn to use your air.  Need a nice steady stream to produce good tone.  Then the tweaks get smaller. Need to raise your pallet. Need to work on  resonance.  Sometimes it is your chest that is resonating.  Sometimes the resonation can be felt in your teeth. Or nose.  Supposed to be able to feel certain notes in your eyes.  Hasn't happened. Yet.  There is a transition point in your voice between registers--like when going from mixed voice to head voice.  These transitions are called passagios.  Learning to go up the scale without sounding like a boy whose voice is changing at the passagio is interesting.  And singing is a head voice is still a totally new sensation.  Reading music has been a big help.  I know when I hit a high c that is where my passagio lies and need to push into head voice to continue with any notes above high c.   Chin position matters.  Tongue position matters.  You need to place the sound forward in your mouth for the best resonance rather than singing from your throat.  And somehow you one day have to be able to do it all without thinking about it.  And without  singing along with another voice to keep you on pitch.  Best of all it has been the missing piece of my guitar experience.  It completes the experience.  There are many singing lessons online.  But nothing has compared to a teacher tweaking and tweaking.  It will be awhile before I "can sing".  I started out with a very rough limited voice.  But I know I will!  Even a couple of lessons from a good teacher can get you on the right track.  A great way to start developing that air flow is doing lip trills.  Here is an example. There are tons of lip other trill videos out there. 


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  3. 13 hours ago, Brian Santos said:

    WOW, Julie--I am so happy for you! Those are great tips, thank you! I'll try to remember them. Keep up the good work. I love your enthusiasm!

    @Brian Santos I have long felt not being able to sing impacted my guitar playing.  I always loved the sound of an acoustic guitar player singing.  As much as I love the guitar, part of what I love about it was missing.  No one can tell what you are trying to play just by hearing a bunch of chords strumming.  It will take a while before I can do both.  But now I know I actually will be able to one day.  It is a good feeling!

  4. 14 hours ago, Lin said:

    Hi Julie,  Such an amazing adventure. I hope you are following his lead and collecting your own progression videos. Get all those small wins on tape. I had no idea about all this. I guess I always thought you pretty much had to be born with a good voice and then practiced to make it better.  

    Thank you      Lin

    I always thought you were born either being able to sing or not also @Lin.   I have pondered my inability to sing for years.  I didn't expect there were so many things that make a difference in how you sound.  I am guessing there are so many more I haven't even touched on yet.  This teacher seems to focus each week on the one thing I am bot doing that would make the biggest difference.  First week it was yawning to feel the soft pallet raise and produce sounds in my range at the time in a mixed voice.  Second week it was doing things to increase that range up and down and control where those low notes and high notes can come from.  Feeling and understanding and hearing what head voice is versus chest voice. Third week she added lip trills to increase range and control and sustain airflow.  Last week it was keeping my tongue in the proper position.  Lip trills are hard for me.  Here is an example of a lip trill warm up in my range-alto.  I cannot do them while driving.  Makes me dizzy!


  5. Just completed my 4th singing lesson.  I never would have understood what goes into singing without in person lessons.  Things I have learned:

    • Sound isn't produced just in you mouth. It comes from resonation in you chest, head, nasal cavities, throast etc. And YOU CAN learn how to direct that sound.
    • Tongue position matters.  You want the largest resonating cavity possible.  Your tongue can block your sound.  Getting used to singing with your tongue down and touching your bottom teeth feels odd.  But it does change how you sound.
    • I cannot tell what or even if I am doing wrong.  But my teacher can. She can hear tension in my throat, when my soft pallet is not raised.  She can watch for proper position of my shoulders and chin and tongue and where my breath is coming from. 
    • She could identify where my mixed voice needs to transition into head voice (never understood these things before lessons) to hit notes I NEVER EVER hit before and provide instruction and exercises to increase my particular vocal range. My highest note before lessons was the F above middle C.  In music notation, that would be F4.  By lesson three I was able to go a full octave higher to F5.  This week I managed an A5. Those sounds have never been produced by me in my 58 years of life.  Those high notes need work. They do not sound  do not sound great.  "Yet 🙂 "  
    • You can practice ANYWHERE! My car rides are very productive.  I play a youtube video "alto warm up" by Jeff Rolka and sing away.  Now I program in the mezzo soprano warm up as well. 
    • YOU REALLY CAN LEARN TO SING!  I am 58.  Never ever sung in my life-not even in a school chorus or anything. And my voice has improved in just 4 lessons.
    • It takes years to have a polished professional sounding voice.  But if you don't start, you will never get there.

    Here is a video of someone's 10 year voice transformation.  You can see how much improvement there was during that first year.  But how good he got is amazing!


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  6. 8 hours ago, Lin said:

    It's like, if all there was to learning to sing, was in a huge box, you helped me lift the lid for a peek. Very interesting. Lin

    A lot more goes into it than I ever thought.  And since I did not know how to do any of it there was a good reason I could not sing.  But you can learn all those things.  But not in a day, week or even a month.

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  7. 18 minutes ago, Lin said:

    Hi @Julie C, Thanks again for posting about this. It's fascinating. I would think, as a beginner you may not feel that you can teach us all how to sing better, but you are! Just sharing what you are learning is planting a lot of seeds. I am looking forward to your video. Do you mind if I follow you so I don't miss your posts?  I was wondering if you could describe how your teacher determined your range. I know, how when you are singing along with a song, seems like you are doing fine, then they go to low or to high and you must switch octaves. I find it interesting that my brain knows how to do that by it's self!!  Another question I think is related to this (???) is this also about the key you sing best in? Or is the key, another part of it. I have thought about starting to learn a guitar song to sing along with but when researching the song there was mention that different people played the song in different keys. I didn't learn the song, YET,  because I didn't know which version was possible with my voice. Lin

    PS. Hang in there with barre chords. I too, am struggling with them. 

    @Lin feel free to follow me.

    The teacher could just tell where my voice range was.  But there are lots of online sites to determine you range.  Such as this: https://www.wikihow.com/Find-Your-Vocal-Range

    Vocal range and singing range are 2 different things.  I can get down to a low C. But it would be hard to sing that low.  I can hit the high F (F5)on a good day.  But pushing into head voice to do so takes a lot of concentration right now. I have never ever sung high notes before. 

    As far as key,  there is no key anyone sings in.  The key of C, for example, covers every single white key on the piano.  That is a huge range! If a song is out of your range, changing the key can bring it into your range. This sheet music site linked to below is a Perfect example of how it works.  This is a link to the song "Perfect" and it shows the vocal range you need to sing it.  There is a little play button so you can hear it in that key.  You can choose to transpose it to a key you can sing that song in and hear it as well.  Since songs are written in all different ranges, you need to find what key works for you song by song. The vocal range as recorded for that song is " Eb4-Ab5 ".  My highest note so far is an F5.  The song as written is out of my range.    We kind of have easy with guitar.  If the key is too low, we can just keep moving the capo while playing the same chords to bring it into our range. Or we can transpose it into a different key in which we can sing that song.


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  8. This wiki post kind of explains a bit of all that goes into singing in your "mixed voice" range.  If I had just read the post and tried to sing, nothing new would have happened.  I cannot tell if my voice is being placed correctly.  Or if I am doing something that is hurting my voice. My teacher can.  Instantly and always knows why and what I can do to correct what I am doing.  She can hear things like my soft pallet is in the correct position but I am not projecting the sound into my nasal cavity.   You can actually feel your nose vibrate when you do.  Not good at this --"yet".

    I absolutely could not be doing this without the aide of a teacher.   She identified where "the break" comes right now between mixed and head voice.  Never hit the upper notes in my mixed voice before. Kind of where your voice starts cracking badly. There are exercises to smooth the break and transition seamlessly to the higher notes you never could hit before.  Looking at the sheet music for a song can help me visualize where the break is coming and to prepare for it to hit those higher notes rather than croaking them.  I know any note above the third line is out of range for me so head voice needs to kick in.   Don't need to be able to read music to see where the note you are singing lies.

    There is no quick path to learning to sing.  But I am happy I am on it finally.  Also a bonus you can practice while driving in your car.  Lots of alto warm up videos I can listen to and sing along with while driving.

    My vocal range before lessons was from about the F below middle C to about the F above middle C.  The note on either end was iffy. Now I can get down to the C below Middle C and the F above high C when I do everything jussssst right.  13 half step range before and 30 half step range now.  Just have to work on the quality of those extra notes.  For whatever reason, the upper notes make my daughter's dog howl lol. 




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  9. Voice lesson 3 was today.  This is going to be one of those the more you learn, the more you realize how much there is to learn.  I really thought you opened your mouth to sing and either had it or did not.   Turns out that is not the case.  Worked on "head voice" today.  My vocal chords have never had to make these sounds.  Using my "head voice", my range increases by 3 whole steps.  The teacher feels she can bring me into the mezzo soprano range eventually.  Would love having more songs I can actually sing along to. There are many warm up exercises online.  But without the instruction, I would not have been doing them right and could have actually done my voice harm. The hardest part is being patient with the process.  I want to sing really good instantly.  Kind of doesn't work like that lol.  Still have not tried playing and singing.  Singing takes too much concentration right now.  I want it to feel more natural before I combine the two. 

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  10. 5 minutes ago, Sharon Tiano said:

    where did you go for your lessons? I am curious... and now, like so many here - I really want to see maybe a few lessons might help me.   I know there are lots of online options but I think I need face to face initially. 

    @Sharon Tiano I found a groupon online for a place near me called Real Brave Audio.  4 one half hour lessons for $30.  And there was a special for half off that.  I totally agree you need face to face initially.  There would have been no way to really understand this whole chest voice, mixed voice and head voice without knowing if I was doing things right. It is not second nature at all to me. This whole using your head voice to increase your range really works. 

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  11. On 9/2/2018 at 10:09 AM, Denise M said:

    Great teacher. I took voice for a couple of years because I was doing theater but I never really had the voice. I tend to sing in a lower register so yeah, we're unique among female singers.

    @Denise M singing in a lower register really does challenge us.  More than 85% of the songs we listen to are out of our range.  I seem to be able to sing songs for tenors the best.  But since they are pretty much all males the lyrics often sound wrong sung by a female.  Hoping to increase my high range more. Already have.  Want to be be able to go higher yet.

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  12. 2 minutes ago, Lin said:

    Hi Julie, 

    That is so inspiring. You sound excited, learning a whole new area and fulfilling a dream. Thank you for sharing what you have learned so far.  I hope you will keep us posted on your progress. I'm sure there are many shower only singers in TAC that will be interested.  Myself included. Lin

    @Lin I am hoping to post a video of my mouth voice versus the sound it makes when it resonates where it should.  Just need nobody to be home for that.  No one here knows I am taking singing lessons.  Don't want any negativity. Getting it to resonate consistently is hard.  Sounds like a kazoo when I don't get it right. Once placing the sound becomes more second nature, I can work on the quality of that sound.  I have spent years wondering if anything could be done to improve my singing voice.  Now I know any voice can be improved upon.  But it takes time and practice to see those results. Kind of like getting those fingers in just the right place for the F chord.  Takes a lot of effort for quite a while and it still isn't right.  Yet.

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  13. 7 hours ago, Sharon Tiano said:

    @Julie C - this is really fascinating.  I can't sing.. maybe yet.  I too have trouble in that most female driven songs are too high and most male are too low.  I love Ben Folds and played what you posted - can't quite hit him either but it doesn't help that I am not familiar with that song.  You really articulate well everything that goes into singing.  If I ever learn to play guitar, I think I might want to take a few singing lessons so I can discover if I have a range too.  So glad you shared this - it really is inspiring and I can't wait to hear more

    @Sharon Tiano before the first lesson I did not have even an octave range.  Just by the teacher showing me where my sound needs to come from, my range increased dramatically.  Sometimes I nail it and the sound moves from chest to head voice as I go up. And I think where the heck has that sound been hiding all these years!   And other times I am like a croaking frog.  Lots to remember.  I keep breathing from my chest instead of my diaphragm. Breathing and speaking requires no thought normally.  My voice drifts in and out of what it is supposed to do.  We don't need a vocal range to speak.  The process needed to make those sounds correctly has never been used by me. Here is another example of a song where my vocal range sits.

    And when I go out my range into my "mixed voice" and "head voice"  and I can keep the sound coming from where it should (sooo not easy-YET!)  I can pull off this song without changing octaves throughout .  Never ever would be able to do that singing with just my mouth.


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  14. 1 hour ago, Honey Elizabeth said:

    Wow! You must have an awesome teacher. You learned more in two lessons than I did after like two years. Love this post. ❤️👍

    @Honey Elizabeth Have to say I was a bit intimidated by the teachers credentials.


    Amy Jisun Ahn started studying piano at six and grew up singing in various church choirs. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in law and music theory, as well as two Master’s from Queens College and the Graduate Center in music composition. Her chamber and orchestral compositions have been performed by Cygnus, the InterComteporary Ensemble (ICE) and the Second Instrumental Group, among others.

    She has performed in a variety of concerts, ensembles in musical venues in New York City as a classical, jazz, theatre, pop pianist and vocalist while working as a professional accompanist and arranger. She loves to perform in a variety of genres and to improvise with other instrumentalists in jam sessions.

    She focuses on her students’ favorite music and helps them build their own repertoires so they can learn to freely express themselves with passion and joy. She regards her job as instructor to be a guide on the students’ own musical journey.


    Julie started studying piano at age 8 and never practiced so mom promptly stopped paying.

    She held the letter "W" in the school play and got to say "W is for wisdom, which Washington possessed".

    In 5th grade, she joined the school band because you got to miss class every week for a group lesson.  She chose the flute because it looked like the easiest thing to carry.

    Julie's only singing experience is when Peter Yarrow invited the audience to join him on the stage and Sing Puff the Magic Dragon with him.  And she did so with many others.

    When asked at her first voice lesson what songs she would like to learn to sing, her mind went blank.  The only song that popped into her head was "Baby Shark". 

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  15. 2 hours ago, Emma S said:

    Hi @Julie C🙂, this is a wonderful HUGE WIN🙂🎶🎤🎉. This is so fascinating to read🙂. Awesome you have taken giant steps from your comfort zone😍🙂. Super pleased for you🙂.

    @Emma S this was a HUGE step out of my comfort zone.  And all because of @dr_dave and his use of the word "yet". I am glad to know the why behind my horrible singing.  There was barely a song I could sing without having to change octaves all throughout the song.   I didn't know much about vocal range.  Turns out my range  is too low for 85% of female sung songs and too high for most male sung songs.  No wonder I cannot sing along. This song range is kind of where my voice sits.  Now I get to discover what my unique voice will sound like.


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  16. I cannot do anything at slow. And I have been here over a year.  I have stopped expecting anything.  I just enjoy my guitar journey wherever it takes me each day.  Everyone is different. You will find there is no destination or a point where you can "play the guitar".  There is always something new to learn.  The more you learn the more you realize how much more there is to know.  Take you time and enjoy the journey. 

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  17. On 7/23/2018 at 12:57 AM, Kurt G said:

    #jealous @Julie C!!!! Peter Paul and Mary is another one of those groups I grew up listening too :) remember mom and dad leaving us with the babysitter to see them play. What a cool experience :) :) 

    PS - haven’t forgotten about Julie’s song, it’s out there - written in a day :) but the stars need to align for @Doctor How, @Dom T, and me to get together and record it live :) PS - I think it’s pretty good :) 

    Incredibly cool experience! Can't wait to hear this song! Never thought about writing one.  Would not even know where to begin. And you did it in a day? Wow!

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  18. On 7/22/2018 at 3:49 PM, Rae said:

    I can't say how cool this is enough times to even get to how cool this is!! What a wonderful experience for you, and really glad it inspired you to pick up a guitar and join us here at TAC!

    Best on stage experience I will ever have!

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