As you know, if you read this blog at all, I decided that I wanted to learn how to sing around this time last year. I got myself some lessons and also bought several online courses. I’ve been working through them in my free time over the past year and feel like I’ve made a lot of progress. I do not yet feel good enough to sing live while I’m DJng (not even close), but I do feel like I’ve come a long ways.
When I started out last year, I couldn’t sing at all. In fact, I didn’t know much about it, by which I mean about the mechanics of singing. I didn’t understand how to position my body, how to position my tongue in my mouth and even something as simple as how to breathe. Doing all those correctly is vital to being a good singer, but I never knew that.
So I had to start from the beginning and learn all those fundamentals. I do think, however, that playing the trumpet in my youth helped me a lot here. The most obvious way it helped is, of course, in breathing. Anyone who has played the trumpet knows that it puts a lot of strain on your lungs. You really need to have good breath control and strong lungs in order to play the trumpet effectively. And I had those in my youth. These days, not so much. I smoke too much, I drink too much, and I rarely do any exercise.
That said, having that experience of playing the trumpet and needing to learn breath control in my youth helped me learn how to control my breathing for singing much more quickly, I believe. Obviously, it is different than it was for the trumpet, but just having that experience with controlling my breathing helped immensely. I was able to pick up the correct breathing much more quickly than other students, according to my teachers.
Another less obvious way in which the trumpet helped me was the music theory that I learned when I was learning to play. If I had just started out singing, I would not have had any knowledge of music theory. None of the fundamentals. I know DJs hate when people tell them they are not real musicians, but in some ways it is true. We basically play music for people. For that reason, many DJs do not understand music theory at all. That is not to say all of them. Some DJs, especially the greats who produce their own music, have a great understanding of music theory. But most do not. And I didn’t really either.
All of my understanding came from my trumpet playing days. At that time, I took music lessons and learned the basics and fundamentals of music theory. That help me a lot when I was learning to sing, since I did not have to do it all over again. I do believe it has help me in my DJ career as well, although I don’t think it is completely necessary. It helps a lot and gives me a leg up on those many DJs who don’t know anything about it, but many of them do fine as well.
Anyway, I still have a long ways to go before my hopefully soon to be beautiful voice will be impressed on a re that you can buy in your local record store. But when that day comes, you can be sure that all of my friends will be getting a copy of that vinyl record and it will be on repeat on my turntable in my living room. Okay, so maybe that is a pipe dream. But I do hope to sing live during my DJ sets. That was the goal of learning to sing in the first place and I am still working toward that goal. And I will achieve it.