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“Your Vocal Folds Are Completely Healthy”

Lots of Experience, but Poor Technique

I recently had a new student who has been performing on stage and in the studio for many years.  Recently, she has experienced several occurrences of her voice just leaving, and not returning full strength for weeks.  The Ear, Nose and Throat doctor scoped her and announced, “You’re vocal folds are completely healthy.”

Good News; Bad News

It was encouraging to know that there was no visible, physical damage.  At the same time it was discouraging not to know what caused the vocal loss.  Her next step was coming to me, a voice teacher (technique and mechanics) and vocal coach (interpretation and expression).

A Little of the Right Kind of Training Can Go A Long Way

This gifted and experienced singer had never had regular vocal training of any kind.  As we went step-by-step through her vocal technique, making adjustments along the way, she was shocked at all the big and little things that could be adjusted.  She was also pleased to know the “why” of everything we did.  With this full understanding, she will be able to reproduce the right technique until it becomes habit.  That muscle memory will take a few months.  But, meaningful changes were already starting to take place.

Start Where You Are and Don’t Stop Learning

Even if you haven’t experienced the kind of trouble this student did, there is a good chance you have more to learn.  Most of us get complacent until there’s trouble.  The smarter approach is to keep learning, and learning and learning.  Set yourself up for success by doing regular warm-ups and singing songs.  All along the way, track what’s working and what isn’t in a journal. That way you have a measure of what’s going on and can share it with a teacher or coach.  Even if you don’t work with a teacher you can choose what training materials you need.

For example, if you have terrible posture during the day, and run out of breathing when singing you might consider our Compete Breathing and Complete Tone CD’s.  They get right to the heart of the matter with very specific principles and exercises.  If you need to be more expressive consider enrolling in a voice class or acting class at a local community college.  If you have the desire, there’s probably a way to make it happen.

Let Me Know Your Thoughts in the Comments section below.

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  1. Hi, thanks for the tips and I hope you remain blessed in Christ! Can there be something such as having the ability to know the techniques in theory, but get stuck in the practical? What I’m trying to say is that I do know a lot, thanks to your CD’s and tips as well as my own training in the past. I even know how to internalize the theory and apply it to the workouts, but I’m frustrated when I go out to perform or minister or to do my vocal exams, that none of what I use when I train and rehearse seems to work. Like I said, I know the theory, but somewhat lacks ability to apply it properly. Would you say that this is the ultimate problem? Is there a way or perhaps one more technique that I missed that teaches me to apply what I know?

    1. Knowing theory and “owning” it in performance and exams are two different things. One is mental and/or under a non-threatening environment. The other involves emotion, fear and adrenaline, any of which can impact breathing, tone quality, pitch and more. The bottom line is this: You have to be more MORE SECURE IN YOUR PHYSICAL TECHNIQUES than you are nervous or insecure. It’s just like a baseball player who hits every pitch in practice, but under real-game pressure can’t do it. Their coaches lead them through a serious of focus and muscle memory exercises.

      We, singers, need the same. Focus. 100% secure breath management. The ability to produce free, resonance tone at a moment’s notice etc. This comes from practicing technique outside of singing songs, THEN, slowing applying it to songs while being focused and alert. It’s not either practice techniques OR performance. The two must be married.

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