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Gosh, the last few weeks have been madness!

And, it’s been a while since I last dropped a vocal tip – I’ve had to travel to a few places for some speaking and emceeing engagements ūüôā

But I’m back!

I was having a little chat with¬†someone about singing, and suddenly he asked, “Hey, how come my voice always gets scratchy, itchy and starts sounding hoarse after singing a while with my friends at the karaoke?”

He was quick to assume that it was just the alcohol, but very often, voice loss or vocal fatigue is related to poor vocal technique and/or vocal abuse.

However, there are many other reasons for it too, which includes not getting enough rest or sleep and/or in some cases, because of dehydration, acid reflux problems, unhealthy diets & etc.

Anyway, I figured I should drop a vlog today on ways to prevent voice loss when singing – particularly if you’re thinking of singing for long hours at the karaoke! ūüôā

So here they are…

 

5 WAYS TO AVOID VOICE LOSS 

(or Vocal Fatigue).

 

#1: WARM-UP

Make sure you ease your vocal cords (which are muscles), into the activity of singing. Runners¬†don’t go straight to sprinting a 100 meters, not unless they’ve done some warm-up stretches. Similarly, a singer needs to warm his/her vocal cords up into singing, especially if you’re going to do some vocally challenging songs. You can do this by singing the very easy-to-sing songs first (that don’t require much stretching or pressure on the vocal cords), and slowly work your voice into more powerful or vocally demanding songs. But better yet, do some actual vocal warm-ups before you even start singing, such as lip trilling!¬†Check out the video to find out what lip trilling is.

#2: ENGAGE YOUR DIAPHRAGM

Make sure as you sing, you maintain good breath control and support by engaging your diaphragm. Unfortunately, the diaphragm is not a muscle that we can observe from our physical appearances. After all, we use it all the time as we breathe, but we don’t usually feel or see this muscle moving. However, there are ways to observe that we are engaging the diaphragm more actively when singing – we can do so by observing the solar plexus and the rib cage. In this video, however, I only illustrate how the solar plexus should be inflating and deflating as we sing (I’ll talk about the rib cage another day). As you sing, make sure you’re actively engaging in your diaphragm by observing your solar plexus. Good engagement of the diaphragm means better breath control and support – which lessens vocal fatigue, because you’ve got the stamina you need to sing with all the power that you want from the Power Source. The Power Source is just one out of the 3 parts of your entire musical instrument (your voice), and together, the 3 parts are what I call the Vocal Trinity‚ĄĘ (I’ll talk about this another day). When we sing, the throat and vocal mask should feel totally relaxed, while the power source should feel like it’s doing most of the work – this prevents any vocal strain.

#3: CLOSE YOUR VOCAL CORDS PROPERLY

To phonate (or make a sound) when we speak or sing, our vocal cords need to come together and vibrate. The phonation will sound unclear (or hoarse or very breathy and usually soft) when the vocal cords do not close and vibrate properly when we are singing or speaking. If we keep them open and continue singing, we’ll have to put in extra effort just to get louder, and this can definitely cause a lot of vocal fatigue. Check out the video, I’ll walk you through how you can get yourself into the habit of closing your vocal cords properly so you can sing clearer and louder with less effort!

#4: THINK RELEASE, NOT BLOW

While singing, we are exhaling. Think release, instead of¬†blowing air as you exhale. The blowing of air often happens when a singer tries to sing breathily. It’s unhealthy to whisper and sing breathily for long hours, because this dries up the vocal cords tremendously, and it also puts a lot of unnecessary strain and pressure on them. The voice can feel tight, dry and sound hoarse when we do this for long hours. Also, blowing of air causes the vocal cords to not close properly during phonation, which results in a weaker tone quality. The key to sounding breathy when singing without releasing too much air, is to think of releasing air slowly as you sing, rather than blowing the air out as you sing. Check out the example I gave – I’ve got some tools to make this illustration clear and how to practice singing breathily healthily ūüôā

#5: USE THE RIGHT VOCAL GEARS

Last but not least, ALWAYS use the right vocal gears when singing, especially when singing for long hours! If you continuously use the vocal gears that won’t help you achieve the vocal results that you want, it will only lead to vocal fatigue because you’ll end up straining your voice and using all the other unnecessary muscles to sing those songs. For instance, if you are singing songs that need to be sung high and powerfully, using the vocal gear, Belt, would be best. If you use the other gears like Frost or Cry (as I demonstrated¬†in the video), the volume will not be ideal and this usually results in a singer pushing his/her¬†voice by engaging in other muscles (like the throat or neck muscles & etc or compressing his/her vocal cords much harder than necessary), which will only tire out the voice in the end, and STILL not bring about the vocal results that you want. If you want to find out more about vocal gears, just click here.

 

So, that’s it for now.

Happy practising and say goodbye to vocal fatigue the next time you sing karaoke with your friends! ūüôā

As usual, if you’ve got questions, post them below. Otherwise, come ask me in person at my upcoming workshop, POWER TALK.

 

POWER TALK

Date: 3rd August 2016

Time: 7 – 9pm

Venue: Life Academy, Gardens

See you there!

 

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5 Ways To Avoid Voice Loss (Or Vocal Fatigue)