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Vocal Care and Protection for Singers

Posted on August 20, 2011 at 5:10 PM

Learning to care
 for the voice is a must for all singers. Vocal care and hygiene should be a large part of any vocal training program that you sign up for. Some singers I have worked with do not realize how important vocal care is until they lose their voice. If the voice is pushed too hard by improper singing from the throat or a lack of breath support or singing without awareness, damage to the vocal chords can result. If you push your voice and over-work it, not only can Laryngitis occur, but nodes or vocal burn can impact the vocal chords, often requiring a need for total vocal rest, sometimes lasting several weeks.

Professional singers who have trained their voice know they must protect their instrument, pamper it and do the work of learning to master breathing technique and the work involved in building strong breath support and vocal control. It is like you need to make the training your religion (so to speak) as a singer, and learn to love your practice time. --"I don't like to go on the road because it messes with my practice time." -- Sonny Rollins

I've seen students who try to sing like Christina Aguilera and some actually sound pretty good. But, when I try to impress upon them that they need to sing like themselves and retrain their voice and learn to sing properly so they are not pushing from their throat to sound like her, they disagree. They don't realize that pushing and singing from the throat is damaging. Breathing shallowly and singing from the throat is like rubbing sand paper over your vocal chords. They are very sensitive and need to be respected and cared for or they may just stop working. Some singers feel that as long as they sound great, why should they sing, "properly.?" Well, a strong, long-lasting healthy, voice that won't burn the reason.

If you are a singer who has not trained your voice with a voice teacher or vocal coach, do yourself a huge favor and find someone who has a solid teaching program that includes vocal hygiene or care of the voice. As a singer, you need to know your instrument, how it works, the parts of your voice, the ways to build, access, train and control it, so that you have it working well and healthily for a long time.

Learning diaphragmatic breathing and breath control, which allows the breath to rise up from the diaphragm, catch your tone and carry it out into the room, as opposed to your pushing it from your throat, will serve you very well. 

Many famous singers like Adele, John Mayer and Keith Urban have had to learn this the hard way. They all experienced problems with strained and damages to their vocal chords after rigorous touring schedules. The attached article explains in detail what happens when singers do not take proper care to get the training and take the steps to care for their voice. Article - Getting Vocal about Voice Care.

To learn more about proper voice care visit: Learn Voice Care & Control

To get help locating a good voice teacher: Contact us




Working on scales is an important part of learning how to control your voice. Many singers have told me that they do not believe in singing scales as a warm up to a rehearsal session or even before a performance. 

If you want to keep your voice in good shape, extend your range, learn to manage your breath, have more stability in your voice and more access to a variety of emotions... sing scales that you like and work on them daily. Often, it is with a bit of embarrassment that a singer will admit - "I never thought that doing scales was important for me. I just sing and warm up as I go. Vocal warm ups and exercises - that's really more for classical singers, isn't it?" No, that is not true.

Vocal exercises are a requirement for all vocalists.

What is a Singing Scale?

Scales are a series of notes that go up or down in pitch and have a distinctive, regular pattern. If you sing Mary Had A Little Lamb using just those first four words and you repeat them at different pitch levels (going higher and going lower), you will have an elementary type of singing scale. Most scales are not so melodious. 

What scales should You sing?

The easiest way to discover scales that work for your particular voice is to take a few lessons with a teacher who is trained to work with vocalists. That is, find a respected teacher who is supportive of you and the kind of music you want to sing. They will cover scale work with you, but if they don't, ask her/him to give you some appropriate scales for your voice and your current singing ability. It is of no value for you to be singing scales that are beyond your means at this point. Having said that, I also believe that even the simplest of scales can be a benefit to the most advanced singers. If you cannot or do not want to find a singing teacher in your area, look for someone who teaches on-line with SKYPE or over the phone.

Scales for Everyone - and Scales for Certain Problems

Some scale patterns work for all students because they exercise the entire voice in ways that everyone benefits from, regardless of their ability, age, genre or style. But there are also many scales that can help a singer with specific problems - such as singing high notes, developing vibrato or learning how to keeping the breath steady.

Daily Vocal Exercises Have a Hidden Benefit

Overall, singing scales is an important part of learning about your voice, developing your voice and keeping your voice in good shape. But there is another less obvious benefit to these exercises. When you sing them daily, you are learning how to maintain presence, physical and mental co-ordination and inner awareness. You are also working out the voice as a weight lifter works out the muscles when lifting. Regular practice and repetitive scale work allows you to maintain your skill on stage, performing well, even when you are not in good health or when other conditions are not optimal.

Scales are Fun and Energizing

When you learn scale and do regular scale work, it helps to build confidence and exercises your vocal muscle. It's like you really pay your dues to the musical GODS by doing the real work of developing your voice. You will succeed far better if you practice the scales regularly so that your voice has the opportunity to sing all of the notes in all of the key configurations that you could ever possibly encounter in a song.



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