Voice Teacher | Choir Director
Music Teacher | Vocal Coach | Co-founder of Singdaptive
This week’s Tips from the Team are all about vocal health! We asked Singdaptive instructors what signs to watch for to take care of your vocals! Today, we hear from voice teacher and choir director, Mandy Bryant; and singer, author, vocal coach, choir director, and Singdaptive co-founder, Kathy Alexander.
Tips from the Team Transcript: So one of the questions given to me by a friend was, “I often feel a pain or a tickle in my throat when I sing. Why?” And I think this question is really interesting because the only reason that this could be happening is because of tension in your body. There are a multitude of ways to deal with tension, from breathing technique, to where your resonance is happening, to practicing different vocal exercises. Exercises like sirens actually help the body to release tension and create freedom within the vocal folds.
The biggest thing when it comes to tension is going to a professional and getting some feedback on how to deal with it. Another tip would be to make sure that your body is hydrated so that when you do go to sing exercises or whatever is on your mind to sing, you will be hydrated and thus comfortable in your voice. This is because hydration can actually relieve some of that tension in your body.
Tips from The Team Transcript: When I am asked by a singer, ‘Why did I suddenly lose my voice’, I don’t think that you can “suddenly” lose your voice (though that might happen). I think it is likely that there were signals happening for a long time before you actually lost your voice. Now, yes, you can suddenly be struck down by quite a severe cold, where laryngitis can set in fairly quickly. But when it comes to vocal damage that may have happened through just a lot of overuse, a busy singing schedule, or just a relentless amount of singing, it doesn’t tend to happen suddenly. What’s important for us as singers is that we should aim to be quite sensitive to even very subtle changes in our voice. These changes alert us that there may be some kind of irritation, some kind of tiredness, some kind of swelling happening.
Now, it doesn’t mean that the moment something subtle changes, we should suddenly cancel all our gigs. No, but we take that awareness and we use it to know how to proceed. Maybe we proceed more carefully. Maybe we reduce a little bit of what we’re doing. Maybe we change the key of a song so that it doesn’t stretch us right up into the stratosphere. But we need to listen to these very subtle changes in the voice. We should not continue singing and think we’re fine if our voice doesn’t feel quite right. Eve if you can still sing, you probably have to force it to get the sound out. So you’re actually not 100% fine.
The Singdaptive Team feature a collection of contributions of thoughts from Singdaptive founders, instructors and currated vocal experts.
Janine Le Clair
Gregory A. Barker