Singing with RAV Drum

Learn how your drum can help you sing, even if you didn't think you could do it.
The human voice is probably the oldest and most instinctive musical instrument, yet so many of us have learned that we "can't sing" or "carry a tune in a bucket." This is a shame, because our own voice is one of the most powerful and versatile means of expression, musical or otherwise, available to us. And your RAV can help you sing!
How to start?
If you are an inexperienced singer, the RAV is an excellent way to help find the right pitch. You can place stickers on the tongues with the name of the notes if needed to help you remember, and when you are singing a song and you know you need to hit a certain note, simply strike the note on your drum and just sing along - it couldn't be easier! In many ways, the RAV is easier for this purpose than the guitar.

There are no chords to learn how to strum or scales and fingerings, just one note to hit. And unlike a piano, the richness and depth of a RAV means that a single notes can easily help you find other notes related to it. For instance, hitting the G ding on your G minor pentatonic can also help you find the D that is part of the same chord. In this way, learning how to sing and find your pitch can be fun instead of an exercise in frustration. In addition, the beautiful tone of the RAV can also help you find a more pleasing and smoother timbre or tone for your own voice, which is preferred for most styles of singing.
Are you a singing teacher? The RAV, as just explained, can be a great way to help teach the voice, especially if you are working with those who are differently abled or a challenging student who may need another way to learn music. Remember, students who have fun are the ones who make progress and keep coming back for more!
For more experienced singers, or singer-songwriters, the RAV is an ideal accompaniment to the voice. It can play almost any role. As a harmonic background, it can establish harmonies more easily than piano or guitar as explained before due to the harmonic richness of individual notes. This simplifies the task of a singer accompanying themselves, as they have less to learn and worry about and can concentrate more on singing and songwriting. But the RAV can also carry melody by itself or support a voice singing the same tune over top. For example, you could play your RAV and sing an octave, third, or fifth higher or lower. The RAV can also provide interesting effects, such as a thrumming quality which comes from playing a note rapidly, or repeated Alberti bass patterns. Try using high harmonics to imitate birdsong!
Use your imagination, but you are guaranteed that including a RAV in your song will give your work and your voice a unique color and help you stand out from other vocalists interpreting the same work. Try a RAV also with a group of vocalists. A RAV by itself, or several together can replace or augment your existing orchestra and band. To help the rav competes with the volume of larger orchestral or vocal forces, you can use a pickup and an amp. Doing so, you can even manipulate the tone of the Vast and get some really unique effects. The RAV need not be reserved only for live recording either. You can record a RAV and mix it in later as part of a programmed drum beat, for example. It could be just the edge you need to nail that audition or sell a record of pop standards!
Radiohead - Creep (She Wakes RAV Drum Cover)

The article is written by David Duan, all rights reserved, copyright 2018.
David Duan
Composer, cellist, and sound healer
A Dean's Recognition Award recipient and multiple concerto competition winner, he has performed around the world with a variety of ensembles and orchestras. A graduate of New York University and the Peabody Preparatory of the Johns Hopkins University, he lives in Maryland.

Please contact david.duan@nyu.edu for information, gigs, commissions, collaboration, and more.

Instagram: davidduan
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