Timing Problem With My Singing

by Bella
(TN)

I very frequently don't know when to start a song when the musicians give me the intro or if I have a stop in the song and they keep playing I don't always know when to come in.

I don't play an instrument but I'm sure many vocalists don't either.

From The Editor

Hi Bella and thank you for your question!

First of all, you are right that there are many singers who don't play other instruments...

But the thing to recognize is that your voice is an instrument!

So what you need to be thinking is that to become better at timing, you will need to improve as a musician.

It's wonderful that you've identified this as a problem and something you'd like to improve at.

Half the battle is knowing that you're doing something wrong.

Getting better at your timing is just another skill to focus on and develop.

So for starters, it's a great idea to write down and record how good you are at this at the moment.

Document it so you can go to work improving, and then look back and see how well your practice is helping.

So some tips for working on your timing...

Your ears are your friend! You must use them to listen very carefully. Listening is a crucial skill in music, and the more you understand what you're hearing, the better you'll do.

So when you have a piece of music to learn, your first job is to listen very carefully, and understand it.

There's no use just taking a stab in the dark and hoping you come into the song perfectly in time. You must understand it at a deep level. Only then will you find it easy to get your timing right.

Another great exercise you can do is record yourself practicing or performing.

When you do this you'll get invaluable feedback. You'll be able to hear where you go right, and where you go wrong.

It's very different to be performing and trying to get it right... versus listening back to a recording.

Many times when you listen to the recording, you'll be like, "I can hear exactly what I did wrong and how I can fix it".

If you still can't hear where you went wrong, then go back to step 1. Listen carefully to the song until you understand it deeply.

I hope these tips help you with singing perfectly in time with the music!

Comments for Timing Problem With My Singing

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Aug 10, 2018
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Hubby needs help too
by: Lynn

My husband has the same problem but with a big difference!!
He has a really good voice but he is quite hard of hearing. We are members of a country music club and he has been given so much advice but he seems to be getting nowhere. At practice, the band stops playing every time he misses his queue and I'm wondering if they should just keep going and let him find the beat. Please, any suggestions?

Jul 03, 2015
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timing problem
by: ebere

thanks it really did help

Jun 30, 2014
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hope
by: jongje

My advice for you.is you just have to count the last word so that you can timing the song just like what i did..im a band singer but its very hard for me to timing a song so what i did was i always count the last word...

Jun 14, 2014
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help, what to do about timing, and other stuff!
by: Barbara carroll

when I first started singing (in public, (church)about 40 yrs ago. i had a good voice, and always sang accapello. I think this really hurt my timing ability. I sang with emotion and did whatever i felt. my voice was rather deep. when i tried to sing with music, the piano or guitar player had to figure out what my key would be. then along came karaoke and accompanyment tapes. I now sing with that kind of music all the time. ( I have my own equipment) i have to use a pitch control because the song is usually not in a key i can sing in, if there are 3 different keys to choose from, i have to use the higher key and raise the level at lest 3. i guess i'm singing under the key. I sing an public all the time now, but I think I am finally wearing out my vocal cords! I'm a 74 yr old female. my voice is still strong, but it is sickening to have to practice for hours, and still goof up the timing. I can sing some songs in E flat, I sing "I believe" (christian song) in F# i hope someone understands what I'm talking about. thanks for any help.

Oct 23, 2013
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Timing Problem With My Singing
by: Anonymous

Thank you for your advice and for NOT (thank you so much!) telling us to all go and listen to a metronome or tap our feet. Not all learners learn the same way and in the past I have listened to metronomes until I was blue in the face to no avail. I often sucked at timing with some kinds of music that many consider easy tunes, and yet for some reason I could sing some Celtic music, or rock/blues, or 60s music like the Doors with ease (which I was told often follows unconventional timing). The “Western”, classical music tradition (metronome guidance abounds here), and the Celtic (or folk music as a whole) don’t always jive insofar as learning is concerned, I have found - at least, not for me. And then there’s the African-American music tradition, which has brought 20th century music to another level. Now, my lack of timing and focus on words (I KNOW this is a mistake – this is my whole point, in fact) is the issue here. I have trouble multi-tasking the word (over)focus with the music itself. Listening to the metronome at the same time as listening to (or singing) a song is confusing to a novice... It’s hard for me to feel how the two go together. Intellectual explanations of rhythm, tempo, meter etc really don’t help me (I’m like the football player in Mr. Holland’s Opus).

As someone in adult education for years, I think the problem can in part be traced to my learning style - I learn better through visual, followed by kinesthetic interaction... my auditory learning style and capacity is weaker. (And sheet music doesn’t unfortunately help me much in this regard due to its complex conventions for a novice - or at least for a novice like me). But a weaker capacity for auditory learning, and having an ear for music are NOT mutually exclusive, in my opinion. I do have an ear for musical key/tone/pitch, etc – the problem has always been with timing. I don't know why I can sense an Irish Air's (or Roadhouse Blues by the Doors for that matter) timing, so much better than many so called simpler contemporary pop songs. It may indeed simply be (as some many have tried to advise me) my familiarity with the song. But there are songs that I have heard my whole life, that are in my vocal range, for which I seem to have terrible timing. Others songs I pick up instantly. I sense that familiarity is only part of the picture. It typically takes me longer to learn a song compared to most. It feels like there is a blockage for me of some kind, centered around the timing. I just don’t get what it is.

But having said all that, and knowing my learning style, I will keep at it and one day it’ll click where the disconnect has been all along… I am determined. All I know for sure is – the answer for me has never been to listen to a metronome...

PS Listening to recordings of myself has helped, so thanks for making that suggestion - it does help and is appreciated.

Jul 18, 2013
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THANKS
by: Benson

Thought ï am the only person battling with same issue....i just pray it works....i have been searching for help...thanks sir!

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About The Author

Roger Burnley - Vocal CoachRoger Burnley - Vocal Coach

Roger Burnley is a vocal coach located in Hollywood, California. He has been teaching the voice for over 30 years and singing for even longer than that. 

Notable past and present clients include Macy Gray, Brandy, Ray J, The Beastie Boys, James Torme, Taylor Lautner, Nona Gaye, and many more.

His clients have collectively sold more than 30 million albums, with several reaching Platinum and Gold status. 

Roger has been featured on VH1, TV Guide Channel, TV One,
and MTV appearing as a vocal expert.

About The Author

Roger Burnley - Vocal CoachRoger Burnley - Vocal Coach

Roger Burnley is a vocal coach located in Hollywood, California. He has been teaching the voice for over 30 years and singing for even longer than that. 

Notable past and present clients include Macy Gray, Brandy, Ray J, The Beastie Boys, James Torme, Taylor Lautner, Nona Gaye, and many more.

His clients have collectively sold more than 30 million albums, with several reaching Platinum and Gold status. 

Roger has been featured on VH1, TV Guide Channel, TV One,
and MTV appearing as a vocal expert.

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