???’s about singing

Submit any questions you have about singing (scroll to the bottom of this page). I’ll email you back. Some will get posted here.

Q. When I sing it sounds like I am making sounds with my throat and I feel that I'm straining to hit the notes. I'm not sure if I'm doing it right or if I'm actually hurting my voice?

A. Thank you for your question. The vocal folds are located in the larynx or "voice box" which is in the throat so in this sense you are singing from your throat. If you are straining to hit notes you are likely pulling up on the larynx by engaging the swallowing muscles that need to be kept relaxed to hit those notes without strain. This is an area I specifically address in the lessons. There are also some videos which address this issue on my video page. See "Hitting high notes without straining."

If you keep your thumb lightly behind your chin when singing and feel muscle movement when straining to hit a note that is what is happening. These muscles need to stay relaxed. You are pushing for that note and over time this can cause damage. 

It is doubtful you have hurt your voice unless you are making a regular habit of pushing this way. If you are feeling pain then consult an ENT who has specialization in the larynx (laryngologist) in order to put your mind at ease. 

Thanks.

Shane

 

Q. I've been singing professionally for over 10 years in a popular touring pop band and find my voice getting tired and cracking and unable to hit the high notes 3/4 through the set. I'm 40 years old and used to have no problem in my 20's and 30's. I've been singing for about 20 years. Is this a sign or age or is there something I can do about it? I don't really party other then an occasional beer and I'm in good shape. I have seen an ENT and he says there isn't anything wrong with my vocal cords.

A. Thank you for your question. The problems you're having with your voice wearing out and cracking are not a result of age. In fact, singers voices should continue to improve way past their 40's. The problem is that you have almost certainly been singing with bad vocal habits for quite some time. And it is those habits that place strain on the vocal cords and over time one can experience a diminishment in performance along with vocal fatigue.  You cannot continue to get away with singing with improper technique anymore. The good news is with the right training and practicing of proper vocal technique you will be able to hit those high notes again and likely extend your range beyond what you thought it was capable of. It is imperative you start learning these techniques as soon as possible before you do some damage. I offer instruction online and this will work well through a laptop while you’re out on the road. Give me a call and I would be happy to discuss this further. 

 

Q. I like singing gospel music, yet find a hard time trying to sing riffs and runs without them sounding so step wise... How can I sing through them effortlessly and with the right speed(fluidity)?

A. That is a great question!

What’s most likely happening is you are consciously forcing the notes and there’s a slight break in the constant flow of air causing a staccato rather then legato sound. In order to do these runs smoothly you need to first be able to do them smoothly slowly. Slow it down. Practice, learn, memorize , then speed up to tempo. This is the same technique used by musicians on every instrument for difficult passages. You can use a piano or piano app to break down the individual notes.

In order to be able to allow your vocal cords to easily and smoothly find the notes without muscle tension or breath interruption interfering I use inverted arpeggio vocal exercises which are much larger intervals between the notes then on a gospel vocal run. 

Try practicing the exaggerated lip trill exercise everyday for a week, It’s not an inverted arpeggio but it is an arpeggio based exercise. 

Also, download the exercise and practice singing along with the scales on the vowels U and O, pronounced like the letter U sounds in the word You. 

If the exercise scales are too fast and you can’t get to where your voice is easily flowing through them then there are other things about your technique which need work.

Best,

Shane

 

Submit your question 

If you have any singing questions you can send them to me here. I will generally respond by email within 48 hours. By submitting a question in this form you are granting permission that I may post the content of your question and my answer as an anonymous inquiry without using your name or contact info on the website. 

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