Sing Powerfully Without Strain or Vocal Blowout - By Jennifer Truesdale
Have you ever had a voice teacher tell you if you sing _______ (insert your favorite genre of popular music here. . . Rock, Blues, R&B, Gospel, Musical Theater) you’ll ruin your voice? I’ve spoken to more singers than I can count who’ve had this experience and it’s distressing! It can also cause singers to shy away from vocal training.
Well, I’m happy to tell you that this does NOT have to be the case.
Certain styles of music use a vocal styling that some call singing “hard” while others call it “belting”. Whatever you call it, the bottom line is that these styles of music call for vocals that are full, rich, and yet natural sounding. While this style of singing may be more vigorous it CAN be done without hurting your voice. It’s not the sounds you make it’s the WAY you make them. Let’s look at this in more detail.
1) Singing “hard” works your vocal muscles more vigorously. However, it’s not this vigorous workout that creates vocal fatigue and blowout, muscle tension and manipulation are the offenders.
This muscle tension can occur in various parts of your body including your lips and face, tongue, jaw and abdomen, which then creates tension in your throat. After singing with this extra effort for a period of time, the tiny muscles that create your sound become exhausted and voila! vocal fatigue or vocal blow-out. If you knew how to let your voice work free of muscle tension and manipulation, you could sing the way you want (sound and style) without hurting your voice. Eliminating these types of muscle tension will help your voice work freely and will help you to sing for long periods without fatigue or hoarseness.
2) In addition to muscle tension and manipulation there is another major cause of vocal blowout - pushing out TOO MUCH air when singing.
Making vocal sound requires breath. Some sounds require more or less breath than others, but whatever sounds you’re making, your vocal instrument requires a proper balance of air to work effectively and easily. This balance is dependent upon a well-regulated (controlled and varied) air stream. If a singer forces out too much air, his vocal instrument will be thrown out of balance and consequently, the muscles react by tensing. From there, manipulation tends to be used to create the sounds that would have been so much easier if the correct balance of air had been used.
Achieving a well-regulated air stream isn’t difficult but it does require proper exercises all of which are taught as part of the Deva Method®. This method has found the key to achieving a natural and automatic regulation of air so that you don’t have to think about breathing at all. It allows you to better trust your voice and to know that you can put your all into your performance with self-confidence that your voice will do what you want it to do.
3) Most singers I talk to know the importance of warming up their voices before singing. However, what a lot of singers don’t know is the importance of cooling down their voices AFTER singing. It seems logical enough, but is often missed.
If you think of yourself as an athlete, it makes a lot of sense. After all, would a runner, immediately after running the marathon plop himself down on the couch? He may WANT to, but the runner knows that if he doesn’t cool down his body, by stretching, walking, etc, the muscles of his body will stiffen. The same holds true for the muscles that create your sound. A good vocal cool down gets the muscles that are used to create sound back to their normal resting state.
4) Lastly, some vocal styles simply require more vocal development than others. Strong, hard hitting sounds can be created easily when the muscles are well developed through proper vocal exercise. Would that same athlete attempt to run a marathon without training for it first? A good athlete knows that he needs to exercise his body first and develop the muscles necessary. So in addition to all that I’ve mentioned above, know that correct vocal exercise is another very important step that you can take to enable yourself to sing the way you want without vocal fatigue and blowout.
While private vocal lessons are the best approach to developing your voice, we do offer some very effective home study materials and vocal technique seminars. I highly recommend the Deva Method Vocal Warm-ups and Cool Downs CD which is available on our website (see below) or by calling Jeannie Deva Voice Studios at 617-536-4553. You can also receive, FREE of charge, a booklet of our most recommended vocal warm-ups and cools downs. Simply go to our website www.DevaStudiosBoston.com for more information.
I wish you much success!! Please feel free to contact me at the above number or at Jennifer@DevaStudiosBoston.com if you have any questions. I’m here to help!
Copyright 2006 Jennifer Truesdale. All Rights Reserved.
Jennifer Truesdale is the Director of Jeannie Deva® Voice Studios in Boston. She is a professional vocal coach, certified in the Deva® Method, and a professional music career coach. An 18-year veteran of the music industry, she has performed internationally and has worked with hundreds of singers, helping each to achieve their own personal goals. Jennifer is a published songwriter who has written, produced and performed on recordings for major network television shows including: All My Children, Soul Food, Melrose Place, Sunset Beach, One Life to Live and The Young and the Restless. A former record label-marketing executive, Jennifer has earned Gold and Platinum Albums and uses her music business expertise to advance her own career as well as those of her clients.
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