When I was listening to music in my early years, it seemed very natural for me to sing along with the songs I like or new tunes I heard.  I did not realize until years later that what I was doing was harmonizing with the melody, rather than duplicating it.  This was probably my first gateway into music creation.  I seemed to have a knack for developing harmonies.  Rhythms and timing also came to me without me understanding what I was doing.  Some people play sports, some are good at math, and some are builders.  I just seemed to feel comfortable with music.  My mother was in theater, radio and music and I have already blamed her for a lot of exposure to performing arts while I was growing up, so I will continue to do so!

The human voice is an amazing instrument.  There is nothing like it.  I know that I am not a powerful vocalist – I simply do not have the pipes it must take, but fortunately that did not stop my love for singing.  As I sang along more and more, I got better at finding the notes that would enhance or decorate the melody line.  I never tried to over power them, but to add to them.  Sometimes a song only needs a phrase or two highlighted by harmonies or echoing the melody.  Other tunes seemed to inspire harmonies throughout the song.  Eventually I would hear the melody in my head and sing along creating harmonies.  I could not begin to tell you how to create each note while singing… there are no manuals for this.  There are lessons to be learned and great teachers or vocal instructors, but the basics are not easily put into words.

When it comes to instruments, there is a certain amount of knowledge and practice involved in understanding where the right notes are and hitting them at the right time.  Just knowing the right ones to play are not enough as you have to know when and when not to play them.  I bring this up because a lot of musicians talk about jam sessions or getting together and without a lot of details, start playing new themes and using ideas from other musicians to create and have fun.  My point here is that I was never that comfortable simply bringing my instrument and jamming with others.  I do feel comfortable with harmonies and if asked to add percussion or drums, I could fit in.  But for me playing guitar, keys, bass, flute, sax, etc. without practicing and knowing what I was doing ahead of time is difficult.  Many of the musicians I worked with were absolutely great at this.  They were great at bouncing musical ideas off other players and coming up with gorgeous textures, themes and tonal landscapes.  I have a few early examples of jams and creative sessions I would like to offer here from time to time.

Comments
  1. Temy Hoang says:

    Really interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I sing along with my favorite music too… Unlike you… I have absolutely NO singing voice and Fortunately, I’m always alone when I do and no one is horrified, terrified or traumatized!

    My first husband was a musician, singing, playing drums, the sax and mastering the guitar.
    Your article gives me new insight into his love and passion. Thanks! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      Perfect topic. We all hide away at first. some only sing in the shower or in the car when we are SURE no one is around! (Otherwise it is a little like listening to someone learn to ply violin or other fret-less instruments !) Thank you for letting my article point out the love and passion your first husband demonstrated. sometimes knowing why can make all the difference even if we do not totally understand ‘what’.

      Like

  3. Interesting article! When your human voice sing along you connect more with music..it takes time and practice to start synchronizing with the music you’re hearing. Keep it up, and enjoy singing

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      Awww, thanks! I agree about connecting to music. some people have a natural knack,, but for me and a lot of people it is as you stated a lot of time and practice to get really good. Worth every minute of it! Great comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. zulu1976 says:

    Even I like music very much and always try to impress others whenever get a chance to do that.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Being able to harmonize like that is a wonderful gift. When ever I sang along with a choir (in a rather unlovely baritone) I would gravitate to the sopranos because I could never keep/sing any thing that wasn’t the tune. I guess I hear harmony as a mass group, but as for distinguishing separate parts, it is an impossibility. I’m (almost) jealous.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mirna Morgan says:

    No good voices here….. I envy this gift!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. cote8050 says:

    I have always been fascinated by other people’s talents in playing instruments and singing! I look forward to reading more of your blog and hearing your music! If I could chose one talent to have it would be singing. I sing all the time as it is but don’t sound very good! 😉 Michelle

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Tyler says:

    Mike,

    The voice IS and amazing instrument.

    And I know what you mean when you say there is a big difference between jamming and, say, writing or organizing musical pieces. It can be tough to dig the jam sometimes, and that can make you feel left out. But when you hit that sweet spot with everyone else, and the music is coming from some enchanting place that no one is really sure about, man, that’s magical.

    At least you understand how to use your voice to participate in the jam. Some people don’t even have that.

    I’m only a few years into my musical practice, 5 or so. It’s humbling, and I have a lot to learn.

    Keep digging sound, man. Best wishes

    -Tyler

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      Great observations. I have had those moments when seemingly random elements literally form in the air that forms into a thing of beauty. You are so right, That event – that session – is magic. It has a ‘spell’ of its own, and not just on the performers. Keep going as you are already in a good starting point (you head is in the right place!) and progress does happen in spurts. Like Yoga, martial arts, sports, there is so much more to learn than seems possible at first. We all have a lot to learn LOL! Thank you Tyler and good luck.

      Like

  9. Great post. It’s funny how I never considered the magic of our voices but when you really reflect on it… just Wow.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Tom Robinson says:

    lively discussion! voice is the most intimate musical instrument. singing generates feeling, regardless of circumstance.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. sonniq says:

    I always felt exactly the way you do about just sitting in and jamming. I was never comfortable with that. I wanted to know where a song was going. I envied those who could just jam but I think it takes more ability to be free with yourself and a certain amount of confidence I didn’t have then. Now my music is all improvisational, but I’m playing only with myself so it doesn’t have to fit with anyone else.

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      While I was not good at on the spot jamming, I was lucky in that I seem to have an uncanny knack for remembering song structure. While other players would get lost on which verse or chorus we were playing I did not need cheat sheets to keep on track. We all have our own unique talents! Most of my song writing comes from improvisational sessions. If you let the music lead the way you will hear great ideas and themes. I record everything – that way I can take the great sections and expand if needed into a new song or complete musical piece. Do you record any of your new works? I would also love to hear the earlier songs you mentioned …….

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s