Some Questions that arise in your
mind and Answers for the same

Q.1) I would like to sing. Where can I get the required training in light & classical music ?

Ans. : In your town you must be having a music teacher who can teach you the basics of classical singing. Classical training helps in learning the fundamental skills applicable to all types of music - chiefly, the ability to identify notes (swaras), different basic rhythm ( Talas & Thekas), and a few basic scales or Ragas. It is not essential to learn many ragas or improvisation unless you wish to become a professional classical musician. For that it is advisable to go to an accredited gharanedar trainer.

Q.2) I am weak in taal. Can I improve? How?

Ans. : The best way in big cities is to learn ballroom dancing (Western dancing) which will put your body into rhythm. Another way is to tap your hand on your thigh along with the song you are singing or hearing. you must understand the tune according to its beat. It could be 7 beats, 10 beats, 16 beats or 2, 4 beats. Count them as and when the beats finishes and starts again.

Q.3) My voice cracks at higher notes. How can I correct this?

Ans. : Don't sing to the highest of notes (swar). Reduce your pitch by half a note or two half notes. Cracking of throat only happens when you are singing beyond your natural capacity. Singing should be soothing. All play back singers, during stage shows, sing their own songs at a pitch half notes less than the pitch used for the original recording. One reason is that in a live concert there can not be a second `take'. The other reason is that they have to sing for a long time and their voices should not be strained.

Q.4) My voice is not of good quality. What can I do to improve the same ?

Ans. : It is incorrect to be judgemental about your voice, or any voice for that matter. Every voice has its own quality and different listeners like differnt voices; like different foods and flavours. Take the case of Mrs. Shobha Gurtu. To some, her voice sounds masculine but many others find her voice to be among the most attractive. Same is the case with Mr. Mehendi Hassan and so many other singers. Your singing should be excellent, and your voice should be clear. Mr. Talat Mehmood was rejected at the begining of his career, but many felt that his voice had a unique, distinctive quality and he proved to be a great artiste.

Q.5) Is it right to sing without accompaniment of sur & taal ?

Ans. Listening to music and singing without sur and taal is like eating best of food without salt and pepper. You must have a basic note (swar) going in your ears so that you can identify the other notes in relevance to your begining note. Unless your starting point or reference point is not definite, you will always make a mistake in singing. Rhythm is necessary like masala in any food. It is more than a reference point. Rhythms complete the total effect of a song. So don't avoite the rhythm and learn to practise it as explained in answer no.2.

Q.6) My diction in Hindi is not good. How can I improve?

Ans. : You can improve your diction by learning a few words from the Urdu language. You will come across certain words and alphabets which are to be pronounced in a specific manner. Generally light songs, ghazals and films songs use these words often. For example, some pronounce `zabardust' as `jabardusht' which is wrong. You can take help from any of your Urdu speaking friends who can help you. What is important is to be aware, alert and self critical. Improvement will be quick.

Q.7) I love listening to music, but I can not sing. Will I be able to sing ?

Ans. : Anybody who enjoys listening to music can sing. You are always worried about other people as to what they will say if you do not sing in sur & taal. In the subconscious mind you have the music, what you have to do is to sing with a conscious mind irrespective of the outcome. Start singing with a free mind without any inhibitions so that your shyness or concern about `what others will say' will go away. The natural singer inside you will emerge.

Q.8) I love to sing, but I am very much afraid of the feedback of my friends.

Ans. : Sing for yourself first. It is divine and godly and is the shortest way to meditation. Why are you worried about your friends? Are you only interested in singing for them without learning ? Start learning music in any form for yourself first and they will appreciate it in due course of time. Don't wait for feedback, just go ahead.

Q.9) I want to be a playback singer, how can I accomplish the same ?

Ans : First of all you have to be a good singer and it will help if you have learnt a bit of music and identification of notes (swar), rhythm etc. Practice can be taken from your music teachers or good friends. Then you require to know the minute details of studio recording. You have to understand the synchronisation of sur and taal, breathing, diction, use of microphone etc. It is absolutely different from stage singing. When you drive a scooter or a car, you do mechnical things automatically which is called synchronisation of all acts done in one act. Same is the case with studio recording and once you have perfected the art of synchronisation you are ready to sing anywhere with confidence. You will have to go to different music directors, producers and recording companies or even send your recorded songs to different competitions like TVS Sa Re Ga Ma, Meri Awaz Suno and many others. One has to personally pursue this with tenacity.

Q.10) I want to prove my talent of singing, but don't have the means to do it. What should I do ?

Ans : Everyone thinks that he has the talent to be a big singer. Sure you can, but what have you learnt and/or what is your level of exposure and experience ? Classical music (instrumental/vocal), Public programmes, competitions or any such things in your town, any training in studio singing? there are a lot of factors that govern effective professional singing. Only ambition will not do. You have to go deep into intricasies. It is you who can generate the means to become a great singer in the near future. Studio singing experience is very important because this is what you will be doing to become a playback singer. We can teach you and explain the intricasies of studio singing while recording your songs which is the only practical way to learn. A swimmer can swim in a river, pond or sea, but to be acknowledged in the world of games he or she has to take training from a trainer and understand the finer points to win the international games. There are singers who understood the techniques and tricks of studio recording although they had no classical training. You can also do the same with proper taal, sur, diction, breath control and synchronisation while singing. It is very easy and just a few recordings of different songs will make you perfect, as instructions are given at the same time while you are singing and the recordings are played back to you every now and then to improve your singing for professional use.

Q.11) How do I come to Mumbai and prove my talent in singing ?

Ans : You must have recorded songs which you have done in a studio .Make a few copies of your cassettes. Go to different music companies , directors, meet them and request them to listen to your songs. If the songs are really good and different they will call you. For staying in Bombay , a chart of guest houses and hotels is given in this booklet and you can book your room with them. The charges and phone numbers are also given with full details.

Q. 12) Can you give me some contacts of persons who will listen to my singing ?

Ans : We do not undertake any promotions for anyone . We only record your songs at a very nominal fee and give the knowledge to become a recording artiste.

Q.13) How do I approach music companies and music directors ?

Ans : You must record songs on a cassette , a few copies are to be given by you to the different music directors and music companies, they will hear your songs and depending on your performance and their judgement , they will call you .

Q.14) Where can I stay in Bombay for a short visit , to see film studios & recording studios ?

Ans : Staying in Bombay is no problem. The list of reasonable guest houses is in this booklet. Film studios and recording studios are not places for public picnics . The entry is restricted and it is difficult to go to these places unless you have some person known to you. The only way is to know someone personally and then enter the studio.

Q.15) What are the essential requirements to become a play back singer ?

Ans : A good voice , breath control, diction, delivery of verses, microphone placing sense, funds to remain in Bombay for at least three months and above all good luck.

Q. 16) I can write ,compose tunes & sing very well. Do I have a future in any one of these fields ?

Ans. : Whenever you come to Bombay and meet the music Industry people, don't tell them that you write, sing and also make your own tunes. Choose anyone of them only and don't say that you can do all the others too. The reason is that wherever you go there is either a singer, a writer, or a music director sitting. If you say that you are all in one, you are likely to be disliked by all the three. If you are only a singer then it is different. Let your other talents come to the forefront when you are famous.

Q.17) I am fully trained in classical music (vocal) ,I want to make film & classical singing my career.what should I do?

Ans : Well done, but classical singing is largely performed on stage. For film singing you have to first train yourself in studio recording techniques and also learn the voice control, diction etc. suitable for film music. Then you have to meet the people concerned as explained to you in answer no 11. This industry does not give jobs as in any other industry where your qualifications are of big concern.Here your practical singing and recording of songs to their satisfaction is the criteria.

Q.18) I have been in Bombay and spent a few months /years going from one music director to another but nothing has yet happened. Can you help me ?

Ans : As said earlier we don't promote any artiste. We only guide him and make himself sufficient in the art of singing in studios. There must be something about your singing not suitable to the music directors. Do an analysis of your singing and the songs with an open mind. I am sure you will identify and then overcome all your problems.

Q.19) I am singing for local orchestras and people like my singing .Can I try my talents in Bombay for playback singing?

Ans : Unless you are in the race, you will never be able to know how to run fast and win the prize. Your experience on stage performance will help you to understand the methods of studio singing. You have to show your recorded songs to the different people concerned in this line . Infact the first step is to have your demonstration cassette and give it to proper people for listening. Your singing career is not offered on a plate. You have to get it by your efforts.

Q. 20) I have a reasonably good voice. But because of being a female, my parents are against my becoming a professional singer. Can you help me in this matter ?

Ans : In other words you want to know if you can be a successful singer. The zeal to push your talents hard is required. There are so many ambitions in our lives which are not fulfilled. However, if one of them is fulfilled, we don't thank the almighty god, but creat a few more ambitions instead. Reality and ambition are two different things and what is practical is the best for our lives. Indian society has several restrictions for females, and this mentality is not wrong since females are less strong bodily. Your parents are right in not sending you to Bombay. Possibly they may not have enough funds for this as money may be required for your marriage. It is always a great desire of all parents to get their daughters married and get them well settled in life. If they are ready to come with you for 10 to
15 days, then come to Bombay, record a few songs with us and then decide further. If they cannot, then do this after your marriage and bring your husband as well. Think rationally and then decide after consulting your parents .Please don't make plans to run away , you will ruin your life.

Q. 21) People and friends around me say that I sing in sur and taal but my voice is not good , how can I sing if my voice is not good ?

Ans : No person's voice is bad. Only music which is out of sur and taal sounds bad. For every kind of voice there are listeners provided you are singing in tune and beat , so there is no question of your voice being bad. Take the example of Shobha Gurtu -manly voice , Talat Mehmood - very soft voice, Rafi - highly pitched voice, Jagjit Singh - absolutely base voice , Begam Akhtar - husky voice and so on. Don't get conscious about other people's comments. Be determined to sing in your voice only & do not imitate the voices of other singers. Focus only on picking up the tunes and the styles.

Q. 22) I have won several awards in singing competitions , is it possible to use these awards to get an entry into playback singing ?

Ans : As we said earlier, film singing career does not go by awards. Your singing and voice must be suitable to the music director and the recording companies.

Q. 23) I have recorded at some local studios with good music and tunes but I can't sell my cassette to any music company . Why ?

Ans : Bombay is very professional in all aspects , especialy the recordings and the musicians here.Do some introspection as to what is lacking in the whole cassette. Is it the speed, diction, singing,beat, poetry, or the music which could be dragging and not played by professionals with feeling. If everything is excellent then it must sell. Please find out by being a critic yourself and with your friends. You will get all the answers.

Q.24) My parents are against sending me to Bombay , the place I can prove my talents in singing; but not having the means to do so, I feel like stealing my parents' money / jewellery to come to Bombay. What should I do ?

Ans : Your parents think that Bombay is a place of thieves and frauds but it is not so. This is a land of opportunity. You must not run away from the house or steal money from your parents to land in Bombay and try your talents . Instead convince them that you want to go for a shorter time and will be back home soon. It is the fear of parents that once you go to Bombay you will be gone forever. So many boys and girls have come to Bombay after stealing money from parents .Once you get in the hands of touts your money is finished in a couple of months and there are no more friends. Ultimately you are stranded.

A. You are not able to go home because your friends will ridicule you.

B. You can't face your parents and relatives. Everyone looks down on you.

C. Ultimately you start singing in bars and restaurants without any fixed salary from 7.00pm to 12.00 pm .You are not paid anything by the owners and whatever little tips you earn, has to be divided (60% to the artistes and 40% to the owner of the place).You finally end up making only Rs 2000/-a month.What a waste of a life! So the only way out is to convince your parents and then come for a few weeks . Don't tell your friends about your real mission as they will always find an excuse to laugh. Your best friends are your parents only.

Q. 25) I have come several times to Bombay to become a singer & have been cheated. Can you guide me with regards to the same ?

Ans : You getting cheated several times in Bombay is very suprising. You must be having the greatest weakness to become a hero or a great singer in one day, and the people who know this weakness exploit you. You must be giving money for favours or meeting people through some others, who in turn cheated you. Why can't you meet people directly ?. For addresses of all film industry people , buy one book called "SCREEN WORLD". In this book, you will get all the phone numbers and addresses required. Approach them directly and you will be happy. A person only gets cheated when he wants to walk with the help of frauds and totally depends on them. Be yourself and you will succeed.(SCREEN WORLD is available for Rs 700/- from Screen World Publications. Add-Prakash Photo Studio-295,N.C.Kelkar road,Dadar.Bombay - 28. Tel -8692244 / 8692758. Fax no-8692758 / 8694388.)

Q. 26) I can sing well. How much would it approximately cost to make an album of total (8) songs ?

Ans : If you sing well, the best thing to do is to sing in our studio on tracks and make your demo cassette. You will learn a lot of intricasies of studio singing .To make an album of 8 songs the cost depends upon the number and the quality of musicians required.This ranges from fifty thousand to one lakh fifty thousand rupees. There are albums which cost as much as Rs 8 lakhs, but we believe it is too much and not required. The total cost should range between Rs 50 thousand to Rs 1.25 lakhs including musicians', and studio charges. Homework is very necessary to economise expenditure. If pieces of music are changed during the recording, the cost goes on increasing. The best economic way is as follows

A. Keep the lyrics ready.

B. Get them tuned by a music director.

C. Keep gaps for music pieces between the verses (4 bars,8 bars ,16 bars or as required by the song ).

D. Time each song and the aggregate should not be more than 44 minutes for a 45 minutes cassette.for 60 minutes it should be about 59 minutes.

E. Divide the songs in such a manner that side A is a little larger (about 20 to 30 seconds ) than the side B because if A side is smaller than B side,then while making copies there will be a long length of blank tape. Both sides are duplicated simultaneously.

F. After you have taken the timing, you are sure about the length of the individual songs.

G. Give this tape (recorded songs done at home or studio)to the music arranger who will be the captain of your recording. He will write the score board of music on paper and will take about 8 to 10 days to write music.

H. Once this is completed the musicians and the studio are booked for recording. As you have become definite about the lyrics , timing of songs, music score written by the arranger, your work becomes faster and your music tracks are made available in a maximum of two days.

I. All you have to do next is only to dub your voice.

New comers are sometimes so confident that they sing along with the musicians live, and any mistake by the singer or others necessitates the whole recording to be redone. This consumes a lot of time ,your production cost goes high. So first finish making music tracks and then dub your voice . Any mistake done in recording your voice can now be rectified with ease because you are the only person present and not the musicians. After dubbing, mixing with sound effects takes place and your final product is ready. Tracks making - two days,dubbing - two days and mixing - one day. Total 5 days are more than sufficient to make a quality product.

Q. 27) How is studio recording different from stage performance ?

Ans : A Studio recording is heard over and over again for years unlike a stage performance which vanishes into the air as it is being performed. Hence studio recordings require a high degree of
perfection and addition of effects. The singing too has to be perfect and moreover the singer has to adjust his singing to the high level of requirement and the sensitivity of the equipment. On the other hand, there can be no retakes and rectification in stage singing; one has to be good in the first trial itself.

Q. 28) I do well on stage, but in studios my performance is not satifactory. How can I improve my singing in studios ?

Ans : For improving your singing in studios, you have to seek guidance and learn many aspects of studio singing. No studio in India guides you about your drawbacks as it is not their job to do so. Their job is only recording your songs and putting them on a tape or reel. But recording is different in our studio. We are an instructional studio and every recordist is also a singer who can always guide you as to what is not appealing in the singing or music.

Q. 29) I find difficulty in picking a musical note , Is there a technique whereby I can improve ?

Ans : Picking the right note (swar) is the whole game of singing. You must practice the differentiation of notes so that they are registered in your mind like the keys of a Typewriter. Typewriter is a bit easy as it is mechanical, but singing proper notes takes a good amount of time . When you practise sa, re, ga, ma close the base knobs of your harmonium and play only the sharp portion,they are the real notes. You may not enjoy the sharp side of the harmonium as it is a little tiny but you are able to match the high and low notes clearly by synchronising your voice with the harmonium. The voice is not an easy thing to control. It works only by getting inputs from lungs, eyes and ears through the orders of brain . Every sound has two basic factors _ sharp and base. One must sing from the sharper side of the voice so that if your voice fluctuates a little, it will remain within the vibrations (shrutis) of the same note (swar). Your voice will blend very well with the music and you will never go flat in singing .

Q. 30) I have problems in breathing while singing, How can I rectify this flaw ?
Ans : Every singer has problems in breath control. The breath in your lungs is about 45% - 50% of the lung capacity. When you utilise 30% - 35% of the breath in singing, you are left with only 15% in your lungs which is not sufficient to control your vocal chords. It will have no pressure and your singing will start losing the real notes . You will not be able to hold your note constantly because the pressure is very little. At the same time you have exhausted all the air in your lungs, Thus a vaccum is created in the lungs, so you have to breath immediately making a big sound. On the other hand, if you take extra breath before singing through your open mouth (not nose) and increase your lung capacity to 70% instead of 50%, you will always have enough of breath left in your lungs to hold the right notes. With this you must mark your songs as to where you will take breath and refill your lungs. This cannot be understood fully unless you do it pratically at your home or at our studio.

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