Vocal Inconsistency - Not to Worry!
Posted Thursday, March 9th 2023 by David McCall
When your voice starts to sound and feel strange, it can be pretty scary. It can make you feel like you're not a good singer anymore and can cause you to doubt yourself. Sometimes, we try to save our voice by not using it, but that can actually make things worse...
If you feel like you've lost something from your voice over time, rest can help, but you should not give up on singing. I repeat: do not give up! You might have let some bad habits creep into your practice that are hurting your voice. Are you eating healthy? Are you exercising? Are you getting enough sleep? Taking care of yourself can make a big difference in your voice.
If you do have vocal damage, it's an opportunity to work on your technique. Try to stay positive and don't let negative thoughts get you down. Remember that nature renews itself, and your voice can, too, with some TLC.
It's a good idea to work with a speech therapist or voice teacher if your voice is hurting. If there's no pain but you just sound rough or have a hard time singing as clearly as before, there are some things you can do on your own.
Start on a low, comfortable note. Make it an "EE" vowel. Slide upwards by a third, and back down again. Make sure you keep your tongue relaxed and make the slide as even as you can. Listen for any problems and keep repeating on the same notes until you can do it without any inconsistencies. Picture two pieces of paper touching edge to edge without bunching or bending as you slide.
Next, try some falsetto slides. I know, I know - it may not be your cup of tea, but singing in a soft, breathy falsetto can give your voice the stretch it needs to return to normal.
Place a finger on your Adam's apple and breathe in. Keep your larynx low and open your jaw wide. Round your lips into a bell shape and sing "HAW" in a breathy, falsetto voice. Start on a comfortable high note and slide your way down. Check your posture - stay tall - and don't force anything.
If you think you have vocal damage, don't be scared. Periods of inconsistency happen to everyone - even to your favorite singers. Just take care of yourself, rest, and practice your slides. As always ask for help if you need it. Practice and patience are the keys.
Senior Voice Teacher, Head of Vocal Development
David has become one of the leading instructors of Contemporary Voice in New York City, with clients ranging from Broadway singers (Billy Elliot, Matilda), Classical and sacred music singers, cantors in New York City Synagogues, to Professional Rock and Pop artists, some of which have toured and been signed to record contracts, appeared on shows like The Voice and American Idol, and performed at venues such as SXSW. Additionally, David has taught as a Master Teacher of Contemporary Voice for the NYSTA Comparative Vocal Pedagogy series.
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